Hey friends, It’s been a little while. I’m really dedicated to showing up consistently in the space(s) I’ve cultivated to do so, because it’s my heart to share what has elevated my healing through the woes of many a mood “disorder(s)” and postpartum (and, well, life…) with you. So it was an unexpected turn for me when I went radio silent some Mondays ago. And I’m glad to be cultivating an honest line of work that holds how “ok” it is to show up (or step back) in whatever condition you’re in. When we allow the human experience to move through us, sometimes that condition qualifies us to veer off the cusp of scheduled posts, and regular activity. I personally have gathered some wildly powerful tools, and experience-transforming-perspectives over the years to help me handle some heavy shit, but this – I was just plain NOT prepared for.
Last week I should have been announcing I was three plus months pregnant. The week prior, I found out I was in the process of miscarrying. This information came as a complete shock to every level of my being.
Not long after my sister’s accident, I began to envision having a baby girl. I would tell my son stories about him and his “pretend” sister, whom my husband and I named Clara Jay. (Stephen always wanted a “Claire Bear” and I loved Clara Jay as a play on my sisters names, Jami Clara) So, after one particularly intimate night back in November my husband looked at me and said “I think we just made a baby.” I squealed and giggled and just knew he was right. The next morning I received a text from a mentor-turned-family saying “Jess, I just had the most beautiful dream last night that you were pregnant with a baby girl.”
Clara Jay. Here she was.
Over the following weeks & months, more family members were having dreams about my pregnancy. When I finally told the news to my Grammie she said she already knew, and she was just waiting for me to tell her! Signs abounded left and right (and up and down and sideways and midways) They were everywhere, most vividly inside of me, with a satisfied knowing that soon we’d be welcoming Clara Jay into the world.
Then a few weeks ago, I started bleeding. It was on a Friday night when I called my midwife in a tearful panic. This didn’t happen with my first. What could it indicate? Certainly not a miscarriage… So what could it be? Why was this happening? And WHY was it Friday?!? Monday felt so, so far away. I used the weekend to relax, to pray, to beg, and to believe – everything was ok. There is a hopeful sort of ok, and there is a soul quieting “knowing” kind of ok. That second kind of ok kept settling into me through the weekend, especially in one noticeable instance when we brought my son to an indoor play lodge. My eye caught a sign to the left that read “Happy Birthday Clara.” Ok. Yes. She is well.
I would sit in the evening with my hands on my belly and talk to my baby girl. Let her know that it was ok. I felt connected to her spirit. I felt in the chasm between quiet peace and deep unsettlement. Waiting for confirmation was stretching me, but the weekend had given me ample messages that everything would be ok (many of which were mind blowing and right up my woo woo alley, but I’m choosing to reserve those right now.)
So when Monday finally did come, so did my hopes and my knowing and my peace come to crumble around me as if they’d been kept up with nothing but some flimsy popsicle sticks that tumbled over upon a single breath.
The Universe. God. All y’all “unseen” that I cursed that Monday… It all felt like a cruel, cosmic joke.
Yet nothing was a lie. Everything would be ok. Everything was ok. It just wasn’t in the way I thought “ok” would look. It would come to be ok for me, but in that moment all I could and cared to do was put my head down and let “the soft animal of my body” grieve what it loves.
The day after I had the relief of my mom coming to get my son for the next few days. I prepared to allow that time to serve me in and toward my greatest healing. Not only was my body preparing for the physical process of laboring this fetus, my heart and my spirit were screaming out for answers. “Ask and you shall receive” has been true for me before, and it rang to the same harmonious tune yet again over the coming days. I have a pretty unconventional route, the way I go about seeking answers and receiving peace. I ask a lot bigger questions than I used to. My box has fallen apart several times over the years, and I’ve never tried putting one back together. Reforming a broken box would be suffocating to the height and depth and evolvement that my emotional threshold would come to stretch to with each traumatic life event. I don’t care about boxes anymore. Nor is it necessarily my mission to rebel against that which could contain me either. Expansion has simply become my ‘choice in response.’ I’m anchored enough in this life to those, and that which I love, to keep choosing life. And that has aided in my becoming, in my post-trauma to become growth and not disorder. (been there, done that one too though.)
And so I let my Self spread out in the days to come. To journal, and cry, pray, and petition. To read, and seek, and put forth some pretty tough questions. Because when you live with the personal awareness and felt experience of life in the very way that I do, a miscarriage is not so simply a bodily error in which to pathologize. But an experience of both existential and physical nature to explore and honor deeply, intentionally.
The whole of my experience was a crisis, until I came to understand more. Which is something I realized the night that the lifeless remnants of my sweet girl passed through my body. That the root of so much fear lies in our misunderstanding. Lies in my own misunderstanding. I was afraid of what came out of my body, because I did not understand what I was seeing. And when my beloved midwife walked me through the process at midnight, I came to understand what I saw. And with that seeing, my fear dissipated, and was replaced instead by marvel and amazement at the wonder of the human, of the female, body.
When I do not understand, I fear. So much of my life’s experience has been misunderstood. It has been about what has happened “to” me. And if you, like I do, believe in a good Creator… in the ultimate beauty of truth and the “all is well-ness” of the bigger picture, then this moment in time becomes more than just ‘something bad.’ When I become more, my moments become more. Meaning can be extracted from pain, and clarity can give way to peace. And honestly… sometimes there is not full clarity. Sometimes where there is a lack of clarity, there is a filler of trust.
I realized that those signs were holding me in a greater “all is well.”
There was a lot of experiences both prior to, and following my experience of miscarriage that were miraculous, mystical, and yes – right up my woo woo alley. Because my box is not so small for me now (and I don’t mean small in general, because what is small for me now was once a perfect holding place for where I was in that time) but because my perception has expanded – I can allow in now, what once I would have rejected. This version of “cracking me open after Monday” began with two things. A rejection of my thinking that the cosmos are cruel, replaced with an active curiosity & seeking to find purpose through pain. And a book recommendation titled “Spirit Babies” by Walter Makichen.
I would be remiss not to mention the village I premeditatively cultivated, the village that ‘showed up’ when the going got tough. There is the power in knowing, and meeting, your needs. I remember when my mom asked (in that beautiful way that a mother’s heart anticipates and protects by) if, so early in my pregnancy, I wanted to let “all these people” know. And I said yeah, of course mom. Because I mean IF (impossible, but “if,” right?) anything were to happen, I’d want and need as much love and support as I could get. And when that “if” became actual, that love carried me. Thank you friends, family. Your love buoyed me above the rockier terrain of experience that I had not anticipated would be of my reality. I see you. Thank you.
It was not my commitment to heroism, to valiantly rise from my and my unborn child’s demise. It was simply my willingness in my utter shock and devastation to seek how I could possibly feel other than I did. Oh, I knew what was true then. Remember? The cosmos were cruel. There was no higher goodness, greater consciousness, really looking out for me. I was in pain. And I was alone. And it was what it is. That was Monday’s truth. But Tuesday was a new day. And Monday hurt so much, that I was willing to see differently come a new day. And did I ever… but that’s another several stories in themselves.
What’s most important to me, is that in this time that I am announcing my miscarriage and not my pregnancy, I have peace. And I will take that peace with me until and after the day that Clara Jay comes back to me. Because that I can knowingly tell you, she will.
To the willingness to shift. To allowing the constriction, and to opening again. To seeing the “more.” It may not begin with courageous intent, but it is written through it all.
So much more love,
“You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.” – Mary Oliver