I have been thinking about writing for about 6 months. Each month that passes, I think of something I'd like to say and I add it to the internal vault, but never drag it out onto the page. Now, as I feel the arrival of our first son swiftly approaching, and the winter keeping me endlessly indoors, it seems a good moment to write.
This time last year we were still grieving an early miscarriage that had broken our hearts moments before Christmas vacation. It was early, as is custom to point out, and I have no doubt that the pain would only have deepened had the pregnancy been further along. Still, when you are as ready as we were to grow our family, the loss is strangling, and the "ready" turns to "desperate". I watched my husband struggle with his own sadness and then struggle longer with what to do with mine. One of the beauties of years of therapy is the learned behavior of letting myself actually experience my feelings. Each time I refuse that process something terrible ensues- looking at the very least like a prolonged period of struggle. When looked at with both eyes and an open heart, wounding can be attended to, loved on, and healed in due time. Jake watched me rise and fall several times throughout each month as hope would be allowed to grow. The arrival of normal, healthy bleeding would spiral me into shame at allowing such a silly thing as hope to grow. Still, I added to my altar, I prayed, and allowed myself to keep tiny secrets when I knew I would be humiliated if I revealed them. We are not talking about big dangerous-to-your-marriage type secrets people, we are talking about obsessive buying and trying pregnancy tests. Like buying them when you know they won't give you the right answer. I'm talking about being too sane to bring them all home to try them, when one feels confident their partner could only pity them, and being insane enough to take the tests in the most disgusting, untouchable public bathrooms in the drugstore while lines of people are waiting. Or quietly wanting to punch people. People who say you are still young, quote the miscarriage statistics to normalize your pain, and tell you all the pieces of your life you should be grateful for. Yes, and then you somehow equally want to poke out the eyes of the people who tell you your fear is valid, you are maybe barren and they can't wait to tell you every terrible child mortality story they've ever heard or experienced. Of course there are also those who never dare say a word, and respectfully let you be. They are not immune to your stink eye either because you just know they are judging you for things like not trying to get pregnant when you were 22. You imagine them tsk-ing in the corner, saying things like, "how could a uterus as ancient as hers carry anything at all?" When fertility leaks its way into infertility, its impossible for anyone to do or say much right. The sufferer and their community both.
One thing that was dear about this time in our process, is with each person I dared to entrust the story of our loss, most had had a similar experience. And of those who had, most were equally relieved as I to share in the tears and recognize a kindred spirit. It was another area where I was reminded that speaking is healthy and fruitful. During this time Jake and I somehow found our roots in each other and they dug down deep. I am confident that there are things and behaviors in our relationship now, that grew very specifically out of our anger and grief. As we watch my body change with this rapidly growing child, we are in that sweet spot of taking nearly nothing for granted. Our fights are brief and our lessons learned feel permanent. I have known for a long time how special this man that I married is, but watching him already bonding with our kid (which I never expected in utero), is unbelievably tender. I have felt confident in Jakes ability and desire to be a good father, or I wouldn't have married him, but the shifts we are having right now I honestly didn't expect for some time yet. I'm just saying I wake up in the middle of the night to them taping back and forth to each other on my belly. I go back to sleep because it is clearly their time.
The baby is due in a few weeks and a whirlwind of change and transition overtakes our lives once again. Jake finishes Law school and we move back to our beloved California. He takes the bar over the summer and we settle into life in Los Angeles, which never sounded good until we moved to the midwest. Chicago is a gem and we have loved it, but living in the great flatness and the eternally uncomfortable weather has built in us an appreciation for all parts of California. We simply can not wait. With the gift of motherhood present, I now I have the freedom to wrestle once again with what will become of my artist self. I have lots to discover and to say about that, but as of tonight I remembered that trying to tease the artist out of my being would be like trying to say my polish heritage can be separated from my body. Although the fears and the questions around what forms I will take and how I will manage to stay relevant as an artist grow, I am relieved to see that there is no such thing as myself minus the artist. We have clung to each other for so long now, we are dependent on each other for breathing. My fear of becoming lazy towards making is finally ridiculous. Rather than becoming someone I pity, I think my best work might truly be ahead of me. The depth of heart I have been searching for in my conceptual work since I left school so many years ago now, may actually be what comes crashing to the surface with this additional layer to my life and my marriage. Wouldn't that be something?