While the physical pain has eased a bit, I’m still reeling emotionally. After Tuesday’s post, I’ve allowed myself- in the moment- to experience whatever crops up. I’m talking shame, anger, grief, confusion, sadness… there were even fleeting moments of hope and appreciation- especially while reading your heartfelt comments and emails (and I read each and every one). While writing and even texting about the series of unfortunate events has been a much needed purging, I apologize to the friends and fam whose calls I’ve yet to return. As Gaye said, texting is safe, talking, not so much… not yet. Also it’s tough, because rehashing the details over and over is taxing, especially if, in that particular moment, I was feeling alright.
The decision to share with y’all
I was back and forth. On the one hand, miscarriages are something folks don’t talk about. Especially our people. It’s highly stigmatized and many women feel forced to suffer in silence. It can be a very shame and guilt inducing experience, especially without support and information. On the other hand, being fully aware of the power of my platform, I felt it my duty to shed some light on such a shadowy subject. Hoping that if nothing more, someone in the throes, could find some peace or solidarity in my words.
I wrote the rough draft. Catharsis. The selfish act.
Then came decision time- ‘private diary’, or ‘public database’. I’d already felt a little better (if you haven’t noticed, writing is my therapy), so was airing it out really necessary? At first, I’d resolved to share what felt like ‘the embarrassing news’ only after I was once again pregnant and further along. But upon reflection, I detected the ego… the asshole-ish nature of that plan. Why not share now? It would certainly have much less of an impact in the afterthought of the ‘triumphantly pregnant again’ post.
So I shared it. The unselfish act. I shared it and walked away from the computer. I felt naked. And when I finally got the balls (lol, Betty White says- “Why do people say “grow some balls”? Balls are weak and sensitive. If you wanna be tough, grow a vagina. Those things can take a pounding.”) to check in on the response, I was overwhelmed with emotion. The outpouring of positivity, the heart wrenching stories, the prayers, the Bible passages… no words. It was like an online set of open arms waiting to embrace me. Thank you.
It’s given voices to so many women. Folks I’ve known for two decades were texting me about their multiple miscarriages they never planned to share with anyone. One of the most humbling aspects of being ‘Curly Nikki’ is providing a loud speaker or sometimes just a willing ear to women who didn’t even know they wanted to be heard.
How I’m coping n’ shit
I’ve incorporated the usual suspects; prayer, positive thinking, meditation, loud music, not withdrawing from the people I love, getting up and getting dressed, taking Boogie to the park, keeping the blog updated… things to make me smile. But the one thing that has helped tremendously is actually allowing myself to flow with the emotions in the moment… rather than fighting them off or denying them. I’ve watched my thoughts. I’ve observed the physical response to them- my emotions. I’ve practiced the art of being ‘present’, being ‘mindful’. A notion that I was introduced to in college, experimented with and eventually moved on from. A notion I’d even revisited in grad school and attempted to teach clients in practice, but hadn’t fully grasped myself. In short, my ability to cope has all come back to Eckhart Tolle.
From his book, ‘The Power of Now’, which I’d thankfully read weeks before this ordeal, I finally confronted the fact that I’d never been present a day in my life. Something I always knew on a basic level- that I was a prisoner to my thoughts- but the way he presented it was eye opening. It’s like I’d been walking around in a fog, possessed by my mind- ruminating and constantly reliving and rethinking past shit, and perpetually projecting (good and bad stuff) into the future. I’m the kind of person to have that difficult conversation in my head days before it actually takes place with the other party, the kind of person to nitpick my flaws, constantly relive my mistakes, the kind of person who puts self-imposed demands on herself and then gets angry at everyone in the vicinity when things don’t work out exactly as planned. Never satisfied with where I am, always striving for the next thing, perpetually planning and analyzing, always driven. That’s me. And while being goal oriented is a wonderful characteristic, if your entire life is spent living for some future (and unpromised) moment, you’re not really living. So I’d began to attempt living mindfully, doing my best to stay grounded and in the moment, using my breath, walking meditation and simply saying, ‘now’, whenever I felt myself being swept up by mind activity. And no, I’m not on some “lets get on the next spaceship to Heaven’s Gate” type stuff. Just…read the book, lol.
“For the moment you realize you are not present, you are present. Whenever you are able to observe your mind, you are no longer trapped in it. Another factor has come in, something that is not of the mind: the witnessing presence.”- Eckhart Tolle
That’s a new level of consciousness right there, and weeks of practicing ‘presence’ leading up to the miscarriage was a game changer. I’d already began disassociating from the negative thoughts I’d internalized, and really grasped that my thoughts, my emotions were not ‘me’. All that to say, it’s fun and even easy to be ‘present’ in the good times. But what about the difficult ones? What about when the moment is rather shitty?
I can say that disidentifying with the thoughts of failure and the feelings of emptiness was empowering. That word ‘failure,’ can truly be a heavy weight to a woman who wants nothing more than to give her husband a child, and to give her daughter a sibling, to give her parents a grandchild. In the moment, it’s encouraging when you discover that you’re capable of coping with something so painful. While allowing myself to experience the full range of emotions, I was simultaneously taking the action of figuring out how I could turn this ordeal into a positive for someone else who may be going through. This was a chance for me to evolve. To adapt. I’m growing y’all, and for that, I’m grateful.