In Utero

Day 0–22

Over the past 15 months, my husband and I have faced a number of big challenges. We’ve both lost our jobs, we’ve mourned the death of my father-in-law as well as our dog’s cancer diagnosis and demise, and we’ve suffered through an enduring fertility journey that has included miscarriage and several complications.

It’s been awful; disorienting and sad as hell. Each of our losses carry their unique grieving process. Waves of emotions, impossible questions, inexplicable regret and moments of deep despair. And because they’ve all occured over such a short time span, they’ve been mashed up and packaged as a singular experience: “A really shitty year”. “A dark period”. “Hard fucking times”.

This has brought a level of overwhelm and confusion to the situation, affecting our capacity to cope. We’re both so depleted. Short tempered. Needing space. Wanting to be supported. Each of us looking to each other, hoping to glean a glimmer of resolve. A telling sign, that it will all be ok.

The big picture hasn’t changed. Our values, those that gave us the confidence to say yes to a life together, remain steeply planted. The vision we share for our future is as beautiful now as it once was, when times felt easier.

But these hardships have taken their toll, pushing us into what feels at times like a narrow corner, void of peripheral perspective, and absent of the confidence and inspiration that once made so much seem possible, even when we didn’t know all the steps or how we would achieve them.

I’ve noticed that fear and a sense of anxious urgency are much more in the foreground. The temptation to act quickly and fix all the broken things, pulls fiercely, and with it comes guilt and loathing for the situation we find ourselves in.

This cluster-fuck of falsity is masterful and has the potential to sweep us into a tornado of choices that spin us way off our yellow brick road.

So I’m focused on creating some breathing space. For now, I’m working with a shorter horizon. Slowing everything down to lengthen the space between time. Infusing as much faith, love and gentleness as I can consciously muster, while trusting my subconscious to catch my will when it falls.

At times, I focus only on this moment and the one that comes next. Rise out of bed. Notice how my heart is handling the ache. Sit with it even if it’s too painful. Pick one thing at a time to process, and then really feel it and think it through until I find myself with some new perspective or a fresh idea. Walk outside and graciously receive the gift of fresh air. I try to focus on making one decision that feels good, and then follow it through within the span of the day. I do my best to pay as much attention as possible to my thoughts and words as a window into my fears and the beliefs that may limit my connection to possibility.

On some days I notice small positive shifts in my level of confidence and hope. These are worthy of celebration. And if I haven’t experienced a step forward, I do my best to remember that I may try again tomorrow, with the events of today in my past.

In times like these I look for cracks of light to fuel me. Today, dawn shines on patience and humility.

Painting by Chantey Dayal
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