Not Another Monday

for those who know the ache of Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Child loss

It was the day after Father’s Day and I was especially excited to go to work that morning. The wait was over. I was going to tell my boss and colleagues that my husband and I would be welcoming a hatchling in six months. Due date: January 11th.

Keeping it secret for the customary three  months was excruciatingly difficult and seemed ridiculous, even though they weren’t able to find the heartbeat using ultrasound a couple of weeks before. “It’s not uncommon,” the gynecologist assured me.”It’s still very early and it may be too weak. We’ll pick it up next visit. All you’re other indicators are strong.”  I believed her. I had to.

I arrived at my office by 8:00am.  Once let loose the happy news traveled through the office at the speed of gossip and the morning was filled with congratulatory hugs and taps on the door from the receptionist to the partners.  I donned  the glow of expected motherhood.

The spotting started just before noon.

I raced back to my office, speaking to no one, shut the door and called my husband first. Then the gynecologist.

At 3:00pm, after drinking gallons of water as instructed on the phone, I was in an outer room waiting for another ultrasound and exam. I was doubled over by the urge to pee and the tumbling with the fear that my bladder might burst right there.

By 4:00pm I was on the doctor’s office phone scheduling a D&C.

I don’t remember the drive home. Only that I spent the next week balled into the corner of the sofa, my eyes swollen shut from crying, tarred by an ache that wouldn’t dull.

A week later I went to work and did my job just like the hundreds of other Mondays before the Monday before.

But now everything was different. Even Mondays. I’d never be a woman who had not lost a child to miscarriage. Once you’re that woman, you are always that woman.  And yes, the good news is you go on even on the difficult days. And you heal. But that person, that baby remains woven into your DNA, and your heart.

These XIZOZU were created for you to wear as touchstone of love and remembrance.
Honoring women who have lost children through miscarriage


For comfort and remembrance of miscarriage
Honoring the loss of a stillborn child


For comfort and remembrance of a stillborn child
Loss of a child


Comfort and Remembrance of the the loss of a child

The Many Journeys on the Motherhood Path

When mothers day brings sorrowIn a couple of weeks we’ll be celebrating Mother’s Day, which may be the biggest breakfast-in-bed holiday of all time. No one deserves the recognition more than moms and we’re not only thankful, but in total freakin’ awe of every mum, mommy, mama, and mother out there! We applaud every marvelous women fortunate enough to spend the day “any way she wants,” encircled by her loving children—or at the very least surrounded by sweet bouquets and cards they sent.

But our larger mission is in supporting the woman who, for a host of reasons, won’t have giggling children fluffing her pillow and presenting her with a flower-adorned tray of fruit and pancakes. We want those women to remember, you’re not alone. You’ll be among countless women cradling more leaden emotions that are equally sacred.

We’re with you too. We understand. Your journey to motherhood might be winding and complicated. XIZOZU exist to hold space for you, wherever you are on your personal path. And to provide a peaceful point of strength during your fragile times.

These XIZOZU were created to embrace all the shapes of motherhood:

I Chose to Not Have ChildrenI Foster Parent
I Struggle with InfertilityI Raised My Siblings
I Lost a Child by MiscarriageI'm Raising My Grandchildren
I’m a Mother of A StillbornI Lost my Child
I’m a Single MotherI Lost my Daughter
I’m an Adoptive Parent I Lost my Son
I’m a Biological MotherI’m a Surrogate Mother

Go On.

Having a child taken awayThe labor was no more or less difficult than any other. It might have come a day early or been a day late, there was little science in due dates. Breathing and pushing. Groaning. The same old story. A woeful moan. The mother, you could see, was growing understandably weary. How long had she been at this? And had she expected to do it alone? It seemed the only thing that kept her going was the sense that the next push could be the last. That, and perhaps the subconscious certainty that she didn’t want it left there, stuck half in, half out. By the time the head finally presented it took only a few more determined thrusts before the newborn slid out and dropped to the muddy earth. Her moaning immediately ceased. For a time-warping instant the two of them, mother and baby, tried to understand this perplexing new universe that now, for the first time, had the other one in it. Separately. Together. Instinctively the mother moved toward the tiny newborn who was still wrinkled with trauma and wonder, still somewhat paralyzed by its own exhausting journey.

Nose to nose the two introduced themselves. There was no name for the baby on the mother’s tongue, just unattributed gladness for having survived the long pregnancy and the birth. The baby didn’t know what to want first.

The infant, still wet with its mother’s juices but having never tasted her milk, was lifted by a pair of leathery hands that appeared out of nowhere. They had been watching her after all. The man raised the baby to his shoulder and simply started walking away. Of course, she tried to stop him. She ran around him splattering mud all about. She charged forward but it was a bluff and the man knew it; he didn’t flinch. She knew it too. The infant let out a frightened bleat as it was lowered into a green metal wheelbarrow. The man pushed forward. She kept a frantic step alongside them and when the wheel of the cart stopped dead, laden with mud, she hurried to the baby and put her lips to its head. Her pleading moans were dismissed by the man who hollered for her to get away as he hoisted himself up from the mire after freeing the wheel. “Get! Go on!” She retreated and watched him cart away her son. Then she stood still, longer than time did, dolefully crooning in a rich baritone.

 

What Happens Inside

Motherhood is protecting your young, no matter the species. Extreme close up of mother bluebird on the nest.

I thought I’d seen her fly away just minutes earlier—which she does for large parts of the day. I was curious to see if she had laid more eggs; yesterday there was only one.

Since the nest box is too high for me to view into, I have to reach up and in with my phone and snap a photo in order to see. So that’s what I did.

I was astonished when I looked at the image on the screen but instead of exhilaration over the lovely unexpected photo I’d taken, shame inflated inside my chest and shortened my breath. What? She was there? She never stirred—she just kept protecting her young. As mothers do. I felt awful for disturbing her that way and intruding on such an intimate, important time that was never meant to be mine.

I need to work on barging in less, even when I do it gently. Some spaces aren’t meant for me, not matter how much I want them to be.