It’s late February and it’s an unseasonably warm evening. My property is starting to green up and the daffodils and other bulb plants are blooming. I have the windows and doors open to the fresh air and the spring peepers sound as if they’re having a raucous party on the pond. I love this time of year when life starts to take a deep stretch as it wakes up from winter sleep.
Today, Lola Jane surprised me by delivering a beautiful blue eyed doeling. It was a stormy day and I kept the girls in the barn. Around lunch I went to replenish their hay and check on everyone. To my surprise, when I opened the door there was a tiny baby girl, barely dried from birth, staring at me with large dilated pupils. Lola was busy fussing over her new arrival. Ellie seemed utterly traumatized over witnessing the birth and wouldn’t stop yelling at me in her shrill little baby goat voice. Maybelle and Gemma Jane were unfazed. Having a kid isn’t interesting to them when it isn’t their own. After giving Ellie love I slipped into the pen to inspect the new arrival. She was perfect and already had the nursing thing down.
Last week an online article by People Magazine came out telling a brief story of my miscarriage history. I won’t rehash the article here but you can find a link to it on my Press page. Prior to moving here, and even shortly after leaving my city life I still had hope of meeting a good man and even having a family of my own. Over the years that hope started being replaced more and more by fear. The fear of discovering that motherhood may not be in my future. Who was I as a woman if not a wife and mother? What value did I have to a society that completely revolves around families and a woman’s role in it?
As the years passed on my little farm full of reminders of what I didn’t have, and probably never would, I found myself in varying degrees of mourning. I was in denial at first, then intense anger and pure grief set in. I was on an emotional rollercoaster all while learning a totally new life. Oddly, after I found happiness in a new lifestyle and I started to get the hang of things my mind had time to contemplate what I was missing. What was missing was something I couldn’t give myself.
Thoughts of experiences I’d never have, like seeing my mother holding my child or reading bedtime stories or watching my kids fishing on the pond – a million memories I’d never have ran rampant through my mind. Every. day. Every. night. Every. weekend. Every. Holiday. I was mercilessly ambushed by these thoughts.
I didn’t expect so much emotion to come crashing in on me. Pushing me further away from the peaceful shores I’d found on my farm into depths I didn’t know I had. It sucked. I had to deal with knowing that my path in life wasn’t going to be typical and certainly wasn’t desired on my part. One day you’re 28 years old having your first miscarriage and divorce but even through your grief, knowing there was still time – then you wake up years later and it’s still just you but the time has run out.
So how did I overcome the past losses and fear of a solo future? I gutted through it. I stopped punishing myself for having feelings and I stopped trying to ignore them. I didn’t drink or drug or sleep or cope them away. I let them wash over me with their icy waves and accepted them not knowing where they would lead me. I processed my emotions lightly with a couple great girlfriends who had the lives I always thought I’d have. Then literally one day, not long ago, the fog suddenly lifted. Just like that. Gone. And yet again, like when I moved to this new life from the city, I waited for the other shoe to drop – waited for the feelings and desire to come back. They didn’t and they haven’t. What has shown up in their place is a strong sense of freedom, of release. The kind of freedom only a new lease on life gives you, one you fought hard for. I’m OK, I’m enough. I actually like myself, the people in my life and the future I’m building…even though I don’t know what it looks like yet and that’s OK.
The writers of the recent articles about me have asked what’s next? Will I get married, will I adopt? The answer is: I don’t plan my life anymore. I’ll sift through whatever comes my way and choose it, or not.
My filter is much thicker now as to what and who I let in my life. If I find myself in the company of people who don’t bring out the best in me or I don’t like who I am when I’m around them I’ll choose to not participate. Choice is a wonderful thing and we all have the power to say No. Every once in a while we have to redefine our relationships (even to ourselves) and that’s not only OK, it’s healthy.
I’m still trying to figure out what my value is to society but in the meantime I’ll stay focused on following my heart. I’m having to learn to relate to others from the perspective of a new life and new role that I don’t even understand yet.
Hopefully my role has something to do with inspiring others and showing a different way somehow. For now, I’m learning to navigate life in a new direction so we’ll see how that goes. xo