Saturday, May 30, 2015

Just saving this here...

This is a post that I placed in a Facebook group (COW: Pagan Parenting and Families) that I'm part of.  It covers a lot that I've already talked about on this blog, but I'm putting it here so I don't lose it, if I ever need it again for some reason.  I do have many links in this post that might not be up in the tab above, though.


TRIGGER WARNING: This is a heavy post dealing with miscarriage, infant loss, and depression.  If you have a problem with these things, I’d suggest you avoid this post.
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I’ve been tossing this back and forth for a little while, about whether or not to post this.  Not that I’m shy about it, I have a parenting blog where I often speak freely about my own loss, and often do in other circles.  I’d decide against it, deleting what I’d typed…, then end up seeing another woman who’s lost a child during or just after pregnancy.  They’re lost, angry, confused, guilty, and often beat themselves up about it.  The only thing that I can really say to them is to give it time…and to not lose themselves in the grief.

In writing this tonight, I wrestled with whether or not this post belonged in this group.  Surely, it’s better suited for the Healing Group?  But I decided that it was important to be here (and I’m not part of the other group).  Then I wondered if it was too…heavy, too triggering?  I’ve edited and edited, pulling back, but hopefully not leaving it too disjointed.  But then I remembered how I felt when it happened to me…wishing that there were resources when I needed them.  And I remember why I do typically speak so freely about it: do so for myself, for others…to spread awareness.  This isn’ t some taboo thing.  It happens.  A lot.  More education and support needs to be provided. 

I had a miscarriage in October of 2011.  We went to see the baby for the time around 10 weeks, only to find that it was dead.  Prior to the appointment…I felt nothing, no pain, no cramping, no spotting, everything felt normal. My body still believed it was pregnant.  But that black and white screen said otherwise.    I went through many of those same emotions.  I became numb.  I’d piss off others, just so they’d treat me badly, because I felt like I deserved it.  I fell down that spiral of crippling depression.  I felt abandoned by my Deities and the Spirits, and betrayed by my body.   I was going to kill myself early 2012, but my Matron came and stopped me.  That’s actually when I began to practice Pagan Veiling.  It wasn’t an instant relief, but it was a start.  I went through one hell of a Dark Night of the Soul over a period of months.  It was extremely difficult and took me to a lot of dark places, but I was guided by Hestia, The Madonna, Mary Magdalene, and a She-Wolf.  I survived.  I reconnected.  I rose. At the end of 2012, I gave birth to a perfectly healthy little boy.  My Lycan.  (Then to his brother 16 months later.)

At the time, there wasn’t too many active Pagan support groups out there.  Miscarriage and Infant Loss is still hush hush in some areas, despite that it happens to many women—many healthy women..  As the years tick on, I’m noticing a change in how miscarriage and infant loss is seen in the pregnancy community.  There’s more and more support groups, websites, and books available, even for Pagans (or ones that aren’t overly religious or focus solely on one faith), more women and men are talking about their experiences to heal themselves and help others.     

Here are some ways of finding some type of closure (Pagan Families):

- Having a memorial service
- Writing them a letter
- A memorial altar
- Giving the baby a name
- Having pictures taken (NILMDTS)
- A keepsake box
- Lighting a candle
- Planting a tree
- Releasing balloons or paper lantrens
- Getting a tattoo
- Expressing yourself through art, through music, through dance, through sculpture, paint, graphite; the written word, blogging, poetry, etc.
- Going to support groups
- Helping others through heal
- Donating time, money, blankets, artistic skills, and keepsakes to charities and organizations.
- Hold a Goodbye Ritual
- Spirit Babies Ceremony (Patheos)

There are many other ways.  A friend of mine did a Guided Meditation to meet her Ancestors, and met her baby.  I sought answers from my Ancestors and met my son through pendulum work on October 31st, 2014.  That brought me great closure.  I named him--he likes his name.  I’ve also crocheted him a blanket, it’s pink and blue, the colors of the Miscarriage & Infant Loss Awareness Cause Ribbon.  I’ve put October’s birthstones on it and “2011”.  My husband and I will have a little ritual, imbuing our energies into the blanket, our thoughts to Nathan, and let his brothers touch it, too. 

For Yule, I made him an ornament, along with his brothers, only instead of a hat and hospital bracelet inside the glass orb, I put white feathers and decorated it with pink and blue thread, tied around a pair of wings.  I don’t believe in Angels, but it was the best representation I could think of…and for others, the message is conveyed. 


I still grieve.   I don’t feel guilt over the miscarriage because it wasn’t my fault.  It just happened.  I still have my bad days.  And my worse days.  Sometimes it hits me at night and I can’t sleep.  I just write.  Like now.  I write.  I worry about future pregnancies, just as I did with Lycan and Vincent.  I don’t know that this pain will ever go away.  But I know that he, Nathan Jacen Wren, is in the caring, loving, protective arms of our Grandmothers and Aunts.   

I have three little boys.  One with our Ancestors and two with mommy and daddy.  

(ornament pic)

**Not all links below are Pagan**
Sources:
~ Pagan Families: Support During Miscarriage - http://www.patheos.com/blogs/paganfamilies/2013/02/support-during-miscarriage/
~ Patheos: The First Spirit Babies Ceremony in San Francisco - http://www.patheos.com/blogs/paganfamilies/2012/01/the-first-spirit-babies-ceremony-in-san-francisco/
            ~ Postpartum Progress: 13 Things You Should Know About Grief After Miscarriage or
Baby Loss - http://www.postpartumprogress.com/13-things-you-should-know-about-grief-after-miscarriage-or-baby-loss

Stories & Support:
~ The Amethyst Network – http://theamethystnetwork.org/
~ Babble: 6 Reasons I Talk About Miscarriage Even If You’re Tired of Hearing About It – http://www.babble.com/pregnancy/6-reasons-i-talk-about-miscarriage-even-if-youre-tired-of-hearing-about-it/
~ Baby Center: Miscarriage, Stillbirth, & Infant Loss Support - http://community.babycenter.com/post/a29473985/welcome_read_this_before_posting.
~ Mighty: This Mother Turned Her Painful Experience Into a Way to help Grieving Families - http://themighty.com/2015/03/this-mother-turned-her-painful-experience-into-a-way-to-help-grieving-families/
~ Moments a Day: 15 Lessons Learned from Miscarriage -  http://www.momentsaday.com/15-lessons-learned-from-miscarriage/
~ No Ordinary Love Song: the ugly side of miscarriage - http://noordinarylovesong.blogspot.com/2012/06/ugly-side-of-miscarriage.html
~ Patheos: Remebering the Never Born: Claiming a Sibling as An Ancestors - http://www.patheos.com/blogs/asenseofplace/2014/10/remembering-the-never-born-claiming-a-sibling-as-an-ancestor/
~ still birthday: A Pregnancy Loss is Still a Birthday - http://talkbirth.me/category/miscarriage/
~ Talk Birth: Miscarriage - http://talkbirth.me/category/miscarriage/
~ Unspoken Grief - http://unspokengrief.com/

Organizations:
~ Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Remembrance - http://nilmdtsremembrance.org/

~ NILMDTS Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nilmdts-Remembrance/109013512487911

Thursday, May 28, 2015

An Adventure in Sibling Rivalry

Let me spin you a tale of how evil my 1-year-old is, okay. He was playing with a ball and accidentally rolled it underneath the futon. He stared at it for a moment, then turned around and made a b-line for Wolfman's cup. Grabbing it, he looked towards the futon, then chucked it towards the futon!
"Vincent! Don't you dare."
Quickly, he dragged himself to the cup and flung it underneath!
"VINCENT LUCIAN!"
This child turned to me, grinned, and then took off out of the living room. Laughing, while his 2-year-old brother cried for his cuppy.
So evil...yet kinda funny.
Adventures in sibling rivalry...

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Oh, Snap! Another Milestone Is Coming Up!

We've just ordered Wolfman's toddler bed.  Ushering in a whole new era of potty training (which isn't going well right now) and fighting night nights are coming (naps are few and far between nowadays).  But everything's Paw Patrol, you know, make it exciting for him.  Hopefully things run smoother.  Hopefully.  However, I did catch him asleep in my bed on Thursday, which is big deal, because that kid would only sleep in in his car seat or in his crib (or other places when he was drop-dead exhausted, but only when exhausted!).

When the bed and all of that arrives, we're going to send him off to grandma's, so we can put it all together (bed, mattress protector, bedding, wall decals), then surprise him when he gets home.

Finally, the baby will also have a crib to sleep in, as he's been in the pack n play all this time.  Not only will it be a safer place to sleep for Warrior, but I'll also finally be able to use the bedding I bought for him.

With the kids away at Grandma's, I'll also be able to put some protective charms on their beds.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Actually Had Fun, Instead of Stress

Had family over today, hubby's side.  SIL and her kids, BIL and his kids, and he brought a friend with his son.  And guess what?  I wasn't a stressed out, anxious mess!  I'm so proud of myself today!  I was a tad bitchy in the beginning, but that's because I hadn't eaten anything prior, AND we didn't have time to go to the store, so I had nothing to feed the guests, except for baby food and water.  Everyone chipped in and we ordered pizza.

All of the kids were well behaved, for toddlers anyway.  They were polite, listened, shared most of the time.  Parents were parenting.  I was able to sit and converse with the other adults.  Good times.  For real.  No complaints, at all, except that I wished that I was in a better mood when they first arrived.  But no pointin dwelling.  I'm just glad that I didn't freak out and turn into a giant bitch.

Yay!

Now let's repeat this next time!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Nearly Finished!

I just finished crocheting Nathan's blanket!  I've been working on it since April 10th.  I started on it while we were in West Virginia, visiting family.  It's my first major project, as I just started learning on January 30th, 2014.  I'm proud of it.  A little uneven, some tension problems, but I'm a beginner.  I have a feeling that Nathan loves it, regardless of the flaws.


It abruptly stops, because the yarn immediately changed from blue to pink, instead of slowly becoming white, so I stopped it there, symbolizing the abrupt end of my pregnancy (on the left side).  Not yet finished, as I'm going to add October's birthstone, and hopefully be able to find a "2011" charm.

For now, Nathan's blanket is sitting on the Ancestral Shrine, after I announced to him that I was done with his blanket.  It felt good holding it against my chest.  I think this blanket may be good for coping.

We'll see.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Grief and Why I Write About It So Much

I read an interesting article from Postpartum Progress about the difference between grief and depression.  It would apply to me, if I didn't already have depression before the miscarriage.  And I don't know that suicidal thoughts are part of grief.  The miscarriage definitely exacerbated my depression.  And the depression, the grief.  But I'm working through it all.

I was working on a post for a FB group that I'm an admin in (Yup, I'm an admin in 6 Facebook groups, now; doing things outside of my comfort zone!), about Miscarriage, Infant and Child Loss.  Of course, I got weepy.  Getting all emotional, but I pushed on, looking for more support groups that weren't overly Christian, and gathering links to various stories and organizations.  Because...it's important.  Back in 2011, I never found too many groups or people willing to tell their story...and now, I feel that this issue is becoming less taboo....which I didn't even realize that it was!

I don't write about my traumas for attention.  I do so to get it out of me.  It brings me comfort knowing that someone's reading it.  Even in my private journal, I don't feel that it's enough.  It still feel like I' keeping it bottled up.  It's like I'm still keeping a secret.  I've kept many secrets from those close to me about various traumas.  I've write them down, privately--get it out of me--and it didn't feel different.  Not until I started blogging, did I find the courage to tell those offline, who're close to me.

An article on Babble states, "For us, it turned out that telling the world was the very best thing that we could have done. We had support pouring in from every direction. Best of all, I did not have to hide my sadness and pretend that nothing had happened. I was open about my joy, and found I could also be open about my grief.".  Course not everyone feels the same and that's okay.  We all handle our grief and trauma differently.  Do what's comfortable.

I also write about them so hopefully others won't feel alone.  Maybe they'll see that they too can find support, can heal, can see that recovery isn't linear, they can see that you can live a normal life and find happiness.  It's a struggle, but it's a fight worth fighting.

Last night, I also came across this article, 6 Reasons Why I Talk About Miscarriage Even If You're Tired of Hearing About It.  "Grief doesn't stop at anyone's timetable. Grief is an ongoing journey and there are days where I don't think too much about it and there are days where my heart is raw. I write and talk about it when I need to and it's a healthy way to express grief."

On the head.  I feel like I wrote that article, only it's more elegant than my style.  :-)

Last night, I was weepy, emotional, and slightly numb.  I kept searching for and reading more and more for my post.  Slightly worried that the post itself was too heavy.  But I wrote in the beginning about a trigger warning.  Yet I didn't change too much, just tried to make it a summary, because it's just a Facebook status update in a group.

When I was aware of the music playing, I listened to the same few songs over and over, just like I did in 2012.  Just like I do when those emotions and memories come to the surface.  They are:

  • Grace Potter and the Nocturnals "Low Road"
  • Alex Clare "Too Close"
  • Eminem "Not Afraid"
  • Metallica "Shoot Me Again"
  • Kelly Clarkson "Darkside"
  • Florence and the Machine "Shake It Out"
  • Adele "Set Fire to the Rain"
  • The Band Perry "If I Die Young"
  • Imagined Dragons "Radioactive"
  • Otep "Confrontation"
  • Katy Perry "Firework"
  • Frank Sinatra "That's Life"
  • One Republic "Counting Stars"  (I listened to this one repeatedly when Vin was in the PICU; it's new-ish)
  • Macklemore "Neon Cathedral"
  • Mumford Sons "Dustbowl Dance"
  • Lindsey Stirling, anything, everything, especially "Party Rock Anthem" and "Shadows"
  • A much newer addition is Halestorm "Freak Like Me"
  • Postmodern Jukebox, anything, everything

I play them so often, they're memory.   I made a page over on Book of Mirrors called 'Witchfire's Jams'  Just a collection of music and dance videos that I watched often, to get my mind off of things.  Get lost in the music.  Find inspiration.  Hope.  Distractions.

Pinterest is a great distraction.

Before I knew it, it was 5 am.  I was exhausted.  I stopped.  Turned everything off.  Went to bed.  I'm off today, but not depressed.  I'm tired, with a numb headache that hasn't decided what it's going to do yet...grow or shrink away.  I guess I should go eat something, help it make up its mind.  So I'm just just kind of....here.  Not sad, not happy, just going through another day.  Listning to my music.  Taking care of my boys.  Kuan Yin and Tara's candle is lit.  Reflecting.  Recovering.  

Thursday, May 14, 2015

A Circle of Energy

Whoo, I had an overwhelming morning with my two boys.  The Warrior wouldn't stop crying (and had me up early!) and Wolfman wouldn't leave my bookshelf alone. I was at my wits end! We were just feeding off of each other's negative energy, stuck in a vicious cycle!
My usual methods of calming everybody down failed. I was just done. Not yet on the verge of tears, I think I may have been beyond that point actually.
I put Warrior down and waited until Wolfman was in the playroom. It wasn't quiet, but it was enough I could block them out for a couple of minutes. I took a breather, went to my shrines, and picked up my smudge stick. As I lit the sage, I repeated "Peace and clarity", and let the flames burn the sage a bit longer. I smudged myself, clearing myself of that stress and anxiety.
Then I gave offerings of dried lavender, dried basil, and sea salt to Hestia, lighting a candle, asking Her for peace and clarity. I felt immediately better and the boys also calmed down. Just a wave filled me. I noticed that they were happier, too.
Parenting can be very stressful, getting away from the little ones for meditation isn't always possible. On these overwhelming days, how do you calm yourself before a blow up?
Crying's okay, too. Crying can be very therapeutic!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

What Did You Just say!

I shit you not, this baby, who only says "mama" "daddy" and "catch", just tried to say "piranha"!
I'm sitting here watching River Monsters and said, "Piranha" like that little girl does in Finding Nemo. Vin spits out his binkie and says, "ra-naa-na!"
What?!?! That's awesome.

Also he had his 1-year doctor appointment yesterday and 
his measurements are 20.6 lbs 27.7 inches.  We are making an appointment with a Physical Therapist tomorrow just to make sure that everything's okay.  Vin is trying more and more to stand, actually.  But he keeps pausing with that other leg--the one he drags.  

Hopefully nothing's wrong, if so he may just skipped crawling and go straight to standing.  He's certainly trying!

As for Lycan, he's got a rash on his torso.  Daddy thinks it's from our mattress, but i think it's from the laundry detergent.  Sometimes I get rashes (allegric reactions).  So we're going to try a couple of things.  It's itchy, he keeps digging at it.  I'm going to try some anti-itch cream advice from family to try and sooth him. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Mother's Day Musings


I thought that this was an interesting article, finding the spiritual and sacred in Mother's Day, a secular holiday.  Finding it in yourself as a Grandmother, Mother, Aunt, Sister, Caregiver, anyone who cares for another in a motherly fashion (males, yall have your day to ponder on).  

I think this is important, especially when you begin to feel downtrodden or unappreciated, think to the Motherly Goddesses and to the Ancestors.  You're no different than they are, on a parenting level, for the most part.  Maybe I'm over simplifying this idea, comparing yourself to Them (well to Deities), but I'm inspired, so i'm going to run with it.

As a Hearth Keeper, my duties are to my family and home.  I view that as sacred.  Most of what I do for them is a sacred task.  Becoming a mom, for me, was humbling and made me see my worth. 

There's an idea there that hasn't come to full fruition, so I'm not entirely sure how to put it into words.  I need to spend more time reflecting on it and it's relationship to me.  But let me post this, my initial reaction when I read the first paragraph of the article:

"I haven't read the article yet, just that first paragraph, but I never thought about giving a little something for the Maternal-like Goddesses in my life. Hestia has been like a step mother to me. She's my Matron, a mentor, a friend. Never has it occurred to me til now to do something special for Her on Mother's Day.
Then there's Mara and Tara who are Mother Goddesses, in some stories, Kuan Yin, too. Although I don't view Them as my spiritual mothers, like I do with Hestia. That's something to ponder on.
Hestia has been a spiritual step mother for me. My relationship with Her, has actually help me in understanding my relationship with my own child-less step mom. The two relationships are very different from each other, yet a little similar. I've learned to have more of an appreciation for my step mom, and that's largely due to working on this subject with my Matron. 
And respectively, working with Mother Earth has also taught me a lot about me and my mom. "

I'm still digesting the article and my thoughts concerning the Mother Goddesses and Ancestors.  Sorry that this post is disjointed and incomplete.  That's so annoying, when I want to write but the idea hasn't fully formed.  Hopefully I'll publish a follow up for this.  But I will keep thinking about it.  
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In other news, since my Wolfman just ran up with fingers in mouth, is that he hasn't asked for a binkie or tried to take his brothers.  But lately he's been sucking on his blankie or his fingers.  I'm not worried about it, but I'm hoping that he grows out of it.  I used to have oral fixation, and gross, but I remember sucking on my toes at possibly 5 or 6-years-old (I also remember having a bottle around that age, too).  I always had a need for something in my mouth, like a pen cap or a random clean piece of plastic, but braces cured me of my oral fixation.  

I'm not worried about it, just wondering when or if he'll grow out of it. Actually, I am a little, concerning sores or something.  But we'll cross the bridge if it arrives.  

As for potty training?  Still no progress.  He just doesn't tell us when he has to poo or pee.  He comes after he soils his pull-ups.  Advice or tips?

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

That Inspiration Bug Likes to Bite at the Most Inopportune Times...

...it's 2:30 am, I need to go to bed and yet there's a writing fire lit up under my bum.

Anywho, I'm sitting here watching The Duggars....decade of babies...whatever this special is called.  And I'm crying while these women go through labor and then push their babies out.  It's cute, nostalgic.  Makes me think of number three that we're going to try for either later this year or next year.  I don't want the kids to be too far apart, but I'm also trying to lose enough weight that hopefully I won't have GD again.  Or other complications that can come with being obese and pregnant.

Then comes the part when the Duggars lost Jubilee.  They're at the ultrasound and can't find the heartbeat.  I start ballin', because our first ultrasound was where we found out about having lost Nathan.  That tech said, "Are you sure you were pregnant?"  If I wasn't in so much shock, I would've wanted to smack her.  How fucking rude.  An example of how NOT to respond to a couple who've just learned they've miscarried.  Then, of course, a couple days later my body started the natural process of expelling the remains.

That was an awful fucking time.  I don't wish that on my worse enemy.

But I watched the episode of the Duggars and how the mom delivered Jubliee, then they hosted a funeral for the 16-17 week fetus.

We didn't have a funeral because there was nothing to bury and we were just in shock.  I don't know if I was just in too much shock or what, but my doctor never offered the surgical process of removal.  The thought of holding a memorial service never crossed our minds because...well, because it was just a lump of cells...right?  It was unheard of to me.  I'd only heard of such services being held much later in the pregnancy, for stillborns.  Course now I know that's not true.  Many families hold such services for their deceased babies, no matter their stage; it's not so taboo or alien to me anymore.  I'm working on a Memorial Blanket for Nathan now, because to not have something in his memory says to me that he never existed.  He deserves recognition, to be honored.  Even if he never took his first breath, he still existed.  I carried him.  Felt him, fed him.  Loved him.  He brought a lot of happiness to us in his few short weeks.

Anyway, so I was watching this episode and I started thinking about souls.  Back before I decided that I wanted to have kids, I believed that the embryo/fetus was just a lump of cells until 18 weeks, or when it started to look human.  This was my Pro-Choice argument, "It's not murder because it's just a lump of cells."  When it could feel, think, when it had a soul.  I was never certain when a soul entered a body, but then I didn't really put thought into it.  I guess at the time, Soul = Thought.  When it can think, they are alive with a spirit.  Like a lot of people, I was pretty ignorant of the developmental process that the embryo and fetus goes through.

Now I'm not saying that having gone through pregnancy makes me righter than others, this is just me just trying to figure things out.

Having lost Nathan within my first trimester has really changed that old belief.  He was just a teeny tiny lump of cells...yet he exists in the Spirit World, as a 3-year-old in the loving, caring arms of my grandmothers and aunts.  Now I think the soul enters the life form when it's conceived.  That spark of life is the soul entering those growing cells.

That being said, I'm still Pro-choice, to a point.  Personally, I don't know that I could abort an embryo or fetus, depending on circumstances, but I still support those who do.  They have their own reasons.  Their choice doesn't affect me.

Sorry, I'm not trying to turn this into a Pro-Choice vs Pro-Life/Birth debate.  Not trying to start anything, just starting to cess out the thoughts that came during the funeral scene.  This idea of Nathan existing in the Spirit World never came to me until my friend and I were on a guided meditation in October to meet our Ancestors.  My meditation didn't go anywhere, but hers did.  She met the baby she'd lost a few years ago.  The baby was being held by one of female ancestors.

That prompted me to see if my little one was on the other side, too.  He is.  It blew my mind.  Made me rethink my stance on when a baby becomes a baby, when a lump of cells gains a soul.  It never affected my stance on Abortion, but it did affect how I view life.  It broadened it, I guess.

Yeah, it's 3:17 am.  I don't have anything else to add right now.  Night.