Monday, May 20, 2013

An Ocean Of Hurt...

I don't really know what this blog is for anymore. Is it for art? Is it for promotion of my art? Is it a progression of my artistic practice? Perhaps it's an artwork all in itself. Mostly today I want to share with you what I've been going through and how it's broken my heart.

Last week I miscarried. It's the second time in a year. It's left me confused. I don't understand. I'm fragmented/broken/shattered. Now I'm trying to put it all back together in a way that fits and somehow makes sense.

About three weeks ago I read out a letter I'd written for Women of Letters, it was addressed to the missing piece of my puzzle. My missing puzzle piece was the child I hadn't conceived yet. Here's the letter:

To my missing puzzle piece, 

You are so wanted. You are my heart’s greatest desire. In my secret place, you already exist. In my dreams I’ve seen you. You’re big and healthy and gorgeous, with big blue eyes. My husband and I have cried in anticipation of your conception. We’ve prayed tears of hope and faith that one-day you will be in our arms. We don’t know why it’s taking so long for you to join us and make us complete but we have faith that you will arrive at the perfect time. A small bundle of joy that we can love and nurture and find pleasure in. We already have your name; we just need your face.

When I was young, I thought that I could get pregnant anytime.  I don’t mean anywhere, like at the beach or the fish and chip shop or the skate park but I believed that just coming near a mans nether regions meant that I was going to get pregnant, it was as easy as zapping leftovers in a microwave.

As I got older, I had a few serious relationships and had myself put on the pill so I couldn’t get pregnant. I spent years on it. It messed with my hormones.

Then there came a point in my life where I developed a deep faith in God and I knew I didn’t want to do that anymore. I wanted a husband and a family. I decided that I wouldn’t be with another man unless I knew that he would be my husband and the father of my children. More than that, I resolved that I would not sleep with him until I was married to him. I went old school.

Then I met him, Dan, your future Dad, and he wanted the same thing. So that’s what we did.  It was not easy.  But it was well worth the wait.  I learned so much through that experience and a trust developed between us that I had never felt before.

So two years ago we got married and went on our honeymoon. We were both so excited to begin trying for a family straight away believing that it was going to happen instantly. Well something did happen. I got thrush and a UTI. There had been so little downstairs activity for so long, it just couldn’t cope. So there we were, on our honeymoon in the hospital in Bali trying to explain what was wrong so that I could get antibiotics so that we could resume our lovemaking and baby conceiving.

And we did. However, I kind of went crazy bonkers psycho. I obsessed about it. Two months and 13 pregnancy tests later, I realised I had lost the plot.

To be honest, up until that point, I still believed it was easy. At 36 years of age, I was completely unaware of anything to do with fertility, ovulation and egg white mucous. Sorry to go there. At the risk of exposing my stupidity (which, just to clarify, is often mixed with moments of pure genius), I didn’t even realise that I had to time having sex with my husband to fall in line with me ovulating. I literally thought I could get pregnant at any time during my cycle.

All those years of being on the pill could have been avoided had I just been told that there was really only a window of a few days that I could fall pregnant in. The pill messed with my hormones. Seriously, I could have done with that information years ago.

So now, many dinners out have been spent discussing ovulating. It’s quite a mealtime topic and finally, I’m an expert or eggs-spert perhaps.  Sorry.

You already have a brother or sister. We’ve never met him or her either. They only made it to a few weeks old. But in our minds, we had dreamt their entire future lives with us. We were devastated when we miscarried. Cried for days. Couldn’t believe that it hurt us both so much. It really exposed our hearts and our vulnerability. How can you love something so much that doesn’t even exist?

We have such amazingly full lives but are keenly aware of something missing. We had been so excited that we told everyone. Then we had to tell everyone the bad news. It was hard but our friends and family sustained us. It brought us closer.

We learnt that so many people go through the same thing too but no one really talks about it. It’s weird. I don’t quite get why we’ve set up this miscarriage etiquette where we don’t tell anyone we are pregnant until we are at 12 weeks. Who are we protecting? I get that it’s hard to share bad news with people but in my experience, sharing it and being supported by the community around me was the catalyst for healing. If we share the good times, shouldn’t we share the bad? We are designed to be in empathy with each other.

Now of course, people will lovingly lean in towards me and ask me while giving a subtle nod to my tummy ‘How’s it going?’ I never know what to say. If you are a close friend and I can be inappropriate, I’ll say ‘Great, still shagging away’. Otherwise, I don’t really know how to respond. Something like, ‘Good, we’re enjoying trying’ might work. I’m never really sure whether they’re asking about how efficient we are at making babies or if I’m pregnant already. Perhaps I should seek clarification. So awkward.

I know the day is coming when I’ll be able to say yes, it’s gone so well I’m actually pregnant. Our prayers will have been answered and we will give thanks to God. I’m not sure I’ll be able to wait the 12 weeks before I blurt it out, I don’t even know if I want to. I’ll be too excited and I know now that whatever happens I’ve got great people around me who are going to sit with me in the good times and the bad.

But you, my precious little baby to be, will be growing in my tummy and I’ll feel you and we will bond, even before you see the light of day. I’ll be your Mummy and Dan will be your Daddy and we will speak to you and sing to you and dream of what you look like. And the very thing we’ve longed for will be our reality. Not just a dream and a hope but a child of our very own.

We already love you, the missing piece of our puzzle.

One day after writing this letter, I found out we were pregnant. We were so over the moon. We completely allowed ourselves to fully surrender to the pregnancy and fall in love with our child to be. We didn't reserve any part of our hearts for just in case. We trusted God and let our friends and family know. Then the inconceivable happened. Again.

The sadness has consumed me. I watched myself, my husband, my hope and my dreams sink into the deep unknown waters of an ocean of hurt. I'm struggling to resurface. Yet somewhere deep in my heart, there's a small voice that says, this isn't over, the journey is not finished. This is a bump in the proverbial road and, that at the end, my unborn family is still waiting for me.

How do we trust God when it seems like he is allowing our dreams to be shattered? Sometimes, we believe that because we are good people that bad stuff shouldn't happen to us. But life is both joy and pain, ecstasy and suffering. It is no different with God. However, with God, everything has a purpose. We just don't always get to see the purpose whilst in the midst of the suffering. Our vision is not clear, out thoughts are twisted. But if we don't turn away from Him, there will come a time when we see the purpose in the pain.  It's happened before in my life and it will happen again.

I'm not there yet.  I'm not sure I will be for a while.  But I will still believe.

Question: Why do you think we don't tell people we're pregnant until twelve weeks?

11 comments:

Kirrilly H said...

I'm so very sorry. I was there to hear your beautiful letter in person. Don't give up. x

summer pickles said...

So very sad to hear about your babies. I also believe that you will meet, one day. We also lost two precious bundles, within one year. It was the hardest time for me, I lost myself completely. Though the worst time for me, it was the best time for our marriage, we found strength and resilience we didn't know we had, together.

I took a few months off trying so desperately to become a mum, and then we conceived (through fertility treatment) our beautiful boy, who we got to meet, and who is about to turn five. He is a delight and so worth every moment we went through to meet him.

He is our first miracle - we have since had two more. We have been blessed. I wish you all the very best in your journey xo

Anonymous said...

It is good that you can speak your grief, you are right that silence is more usual and silence is so damaging. I spent 13 years and all of my health trying to have a child, after eight miscarriages (two of which went past the magic 12 weeks so I thought "this time, for sure!" only to be crushed) everyone (and I mean EVERYONE!) told me to stop (actually the 'stop trying' voices kicked in after my fifth loss and just got more strident). I am stubborn, so very stubborn and I believed with everything in me that I was meant to have a child, so I refused to give up. During my ninth pregnancy I needed life-saving surgery and as I was only 5 months along the chances of losing my daughter were very high, she stayed with me even though I died on the table and it took 6 minutes to bring me back. She was born 5 weeks prem but perfect. And the overwhelming waves of relief that we were both alive ebbed back and left me stranded on a reef of grief for all of the babies that I had lost. I love my daughter beyond anything but I had been holding out for her for so long and not letting myself feel all that I had been through that I crashed. Speak your grief. Feel it and let it pass through you. In silence and shame I had buried so much of mine that it resurfaced and nearly killed me once my goal of having a child was finally reached. Speak your grief but never give up, no matter what they tell you.

Anonymous said...

I am very sorry to hear of your loss.
I have had only ectopic pregnancies but haven't discussed them or our six year struggle for a child with anyone other than medical practitioners. Yes, it is hard to cope with repeated grief without a support network, but quite frankly, in some ways it is easier. For me our struggle is a deeply personal issue, not an item suitable for gossip amongst an unsupportive extended family (especially those who delight in the inability of others to match their flock of healthy offspring). If all humans were capable of empathy we would share happy news earlier than 12 weeks but I suppose we withhold to prevent further hurt.

Be kind to yourself, allow time to grieve and don't be afraid smile at glimpses of sunshine through the cloud.

Becki Hyde said...

Oh Bindi,
I've carried your letter in my mind and shared it with my kindred sisters. I am so sorry it wasn't to be this time and so humbled by your honesty. The other replies have been so genuine & warm and I hope they give you some small comfort.
All I can add is...I think you are AMAZING and I wish I could give you a big cuddle. XXX bek

Miss Prince said...

Oh Bindi. I am so saddened and sorry to hear this. I was lucky enough to hear you read your letter at Women of Letters and was one of the many people who cried tears of joy for you when you revealed you were pregnant. I have prayed for you and your family in the weeks since, and I can't possibly imagine how you must be feeling, but I want you to know that I, and others, are going to keep you in our thoughts and prayers. It's terrible when we can't understand why God let's things happen the way they do, particularly when they cause us so much pain, but I know He is sharing in your sadness and that this will all be part of his plan. Stay strong in faith, not just in God, but in yourself also xoxo

Wendy said...

Bindi,

I have been thinking of you ever since attending the last Women of Letters, hoping, hoping that this time would be the time that it had a happy ending. I watched you read out your story with tears in my eyes, because I've been through it too. I wanted to find you afterwards and give you a hug but lost my nerve. Please know I was sending you spiritual hugs.

Why we don't talk about it? For me I felt like I carried the disappointment of close family and friends as well as my own. The forth time we were able to carry to term, and we waited until 12 weeks so that I could just focus on myself and my husband. I do think that you should share news with those you will need support from if it does not end happily.

Miscarriage is an awful thing, and so much more prevalent than it feels when you are going through it. This provided little comfort knowing I was not alone but by sharing hopefully you find support from those who have shared your tears and sorrow.

Be kind to yourself Bindi and may you find your missing puzzle piece soon.

Wendy xx

Mari Eleanor said...

I too was at that Women of Letters, and was so touched by your courage in sharing again your news again, early as it was and in the face of your previous experience. I was also inspired. I'm so sad to hear that this has happened to you again, and I can only add my voice to those saying to not give up, whatever that means to you and what decisions you make. We are walking with you invisibly, hoping, and supporting. We are no equivalent for your day to day loved ones and the children we hope you will have, but we are there. Hang in there...

Anonymous said...

I was at WOL and cried as you announced your wonderful news. I cried again when I read your devastating news. Your voice gives women permission to speak and cry and grieve and hope - thankyou for sharing it.

Anonymous said...

I'm so very sorry Bindi. Beautiful and insightful words. My love and thoughts to you and Dan xx Susie

Belle said...

I missed your letter at WoL but clicked on their Facebook link to this post.

My heart breaks for you; I've had two miscarriages over the last couple of years, and I also empathise with the questions/strength that come from going through tough stuff like this with faith in a loving and big God.

We decided to announce any future pregnancies earlier after the first miscarriage. After the second one (at 8 weeks), I felt like people thought we were foolish for letting them know too soon (perhaps I just thought myself foolish for getting excited too soon). I got the impression that people generally liked to know when they didn't have to worry, and felt uncomfortable knowing before then.

I didn't like talking about my miscarriages in person, but I found writing about them incredibly cathartic (http://theelbowsofbelle.blogspot.com.au/2012/06/miscarriage-introduction.html); being open also meant other women told me their stories (as other commenters are doing here), which made me realise miscarriage was far more common than I'd previously assumed.

Anyway, this is super long and I'm a complete stranger, but I hope you're feeling overwhelmed by love and support as you grieve right now. I'm praying for you, sister. xo