Spring is quickly coming to Vacaville and I’m so grateful. It’s been a long winter, not so much for the world outside my window, but for me emotionally and spiritually. “Popcorn” trees are blossoming everywhere you look and I even spied one tiny magnolia tree in full bloom yesterday.
Each time I see a tree budding and once again sharing it’s beautiful, fragile leaves and flowers, I find myself filled with hope that I too will soon return from what has often felt like a dormant winter.
I’ve struggled to sit down and vocalize my thoughts so many times, and I hope that this time I will finally be able to express myself the way I would like. It’s high time this baby made a, well not appearance, but received some recognition on the blog.
It started when my family left after Thanksgiving last fall. We had enjoyed a week of such wonderful fun, and I got to host them in my home for the first time. They brought so much energy and joy with them that when they had to say goodbye I found myself feeling rather empty, and terribly sad that we wouldn’t be spending Christmas with them. For the following weeks, what I can only describe as a fog began to set in around me, and I truly felt lost.
Soon after they left I was quite surprised to find that I was pregnant. After loss, then months of trying, taking so many pregnancy tests and always being disappointed, I had given up for the time being. I tried to block out period dates and just focus on living. Of course I eventually realized I hadn’t had a cycle in quite some time, and to our great astonishment, I was indeed pregnant.
My journal the day I discovered I was pregnant says, “Pregnant again. Shock. Disbelief. Hope. Joy. Fear. Paranoia. Repeat.” Two days later I had added gratitude and peace to the rollercoaster of emotions, but it was still very much a rollercoaster. After our third miscarriage last summer I couldn’t help but put distance between myself and this baby. I wanted so much to believe it was really ours, to celebrate it’s tiny life, and yet my heart was, and is, so very fragile. Even now at 18 weeks, I find myself nervous before every appointment, I hold my breath each time they check for a heartbeat and sigh sweet relief every time I hear that magical melody or feel this sweet little life kicking within me.
Christmas came, and while the world around me celebrated the joy of Christ and were merrily finding ways to serve others, I was still trapped in a fog, unsure of how to rise above. Resentful, even, of all the merry making and happiness that literally swirled around me. I’d like to think that pregnancy fears, hormones and morning sickness (that hit me like I’ve never known before) played a large roll in my bah humbug nature, but it felt so awful wishing that Christmas would just be over. There was no magic for me this year… which left me feeling guilty and more frustrated.
As we approached the due date of our lost little life, I also found myself overcome by waves of grief. I watched from afar as friend after friend who was due at the same time as me, patiently waited for her time and then delivered a beautiful, healthy baby. I wanted so desperately to know their joy, and I truly did and do feel happiness and love for them, but that doesn’t take away the sting of each weekly or monthly update. You can’t resist wondering what sweet spirit might have been placed in your arms, or how your family and the world around you would be changing, had things been different.
On top of those feelings, I struggled feeling isolated in my church calling. We stressed not knowing where we’ll be next year, but beyond that, not knowing where we wanted to be living. It’s one thing to not get what you want, but not even knowing what you want leaves one feeling a sort of identity crisis.
It feels strange talking about darkness when I truly am feeling more light and life each day. Almost to the point that I wonder if maybe I had been overreacting, that it wasn’t as bad as I think. But I remember, clearly still, that blanket of fog that brought with it so much anger, frustration, fear and anxiety.
A wonderful friend, I probably don’t deserve, called to check in on me a few weeks ago. She knew I was off and asked if there was anything I wanted to talk about. I tried to find the words to express where I was and how lost I felt, but the words didn’t come, or what did come didn’t make sense. She listened, then said, “It sounds like you’ve gone through a depression.” Somehow, hearing her say those words released me to process all the darkness I was feeling. Instead of fighting and trying to force myself to feel better I was free to feel sorrow, pain, anger, fear and all the other negative that had consumed me. And once I allowed those emotions to wash over me, I began to feel hope again. I felt lifted above my fog for brief moments in time where I literally felt the warm sunlight of joy upon my face. These moments didn’t last forever, and I still find myself below the clouds some days. But each time I soared I spent more time above than below, til now I find myself spending more time basking in the sunlight than lost in a fog.
To close, I’d like to make clear that I don’t share all of this to incite guilt or pity. My intention is not to make anyone feel uncomfortable. I truly believe writing to be healing for me. Sharing this vulnerable period of time with the world helps me to feel stronger, set free. Maybe my little essay was only for my benefit, but if perhaps you find yourself in your own fog of darkness, please know the light will come. You won’t feel like this forever, and in time you will feel yourself return to life.
Already I feel life and hope and happiness spreading through the roots and branches of my soul, and I feel certain that I’m on my way to blossoming once again.