The sky is grey today, it’s damp, it’s winter. I am holding a sadness inside me. I don’t know why or how to shake it. It’s something that comes and attaches itself to me. All the sad things that have happened swell up. The mood leaves me no where to hide, no where to run. Yesterday it started, I let Jack and Fiona watch too much u-tube after they got home from school. Last night Jack said, “Hash Tag It”. I couldn’t believe it. I felt guilty. When they got home from school yesterday, I felt distant. I painted in my studio and cleaned. I didn’t give them the attention they needed. Today I hold the guilt and fear I may not be any better today. As I work on writing a book about my experience trying to become a mother, I realize I hold feelings of loss, anxiety, fear, and inadequacy. I struggle to find emotions of hope and generosity, which starting a family is all about. I know they exist inside of me somewhere. I will work on this as I go.
I remember distinctly losing my optimism. The trauma of losing my mom suddenly and then the miscarriage shook my world. I heard a report on the radio on my way home this morning in my car, the report talked about a study of older adults, it said people with a sense of purpose walk faster, are stronger, and live a healthier life. I feel I’ve always had a sense of purpose and I’ve always been an optimistic person, but I go through my anxiety and depressions and find it difficult to deal with struggles that may come up and emotions from past trauma on top of these grey moods. I find it difficult to be positive and patient. I would rather be in my studio painting, alone, even though sometimes that makes me feel worse when I hate what I paint.
I feel I have a purpose as a parent and an artist, but I find myself holding the inevitable, that one day I will not be here. I think that makes me sad. I think if my mom was still alive, if her death hadn’t been such a shock I would feel differently.
When I was trying to get pregnant, with my own uterus we did several rounds of invitro fertilization. One time it worked. I was pregnant. I was happy. One day I went to pick up some clothes that had been altered for my husband. It was a twenty-minute drive on the freeway to get to the clothing store. I was wearing skirt and tights. I went into the store and started feeling some pressure in my abdomen.
I was waiting at the cash register while the sales associate went to retrieve Alan’s altered clothing. I felt a small gush.
Please hurry I thought to myself. I almost left, but then the sales person came back, I grabbed the clothes and got in my car as fast as I could. As I drove home, I kept feeling gushing, wetness, what was happening? There was no pain, but was I having a miscarriage? On the freeway it continued, and I could see blood coming from between my legs, saturating the car seat. I imagined that I was sitting on the fetus, but I wasn’t. It was the longest twenty-minute drive I ever had. I got home and jumped out of the car, blood dripping everywhere, I went to the bathroom and blood came pouring out, there was blood on the walls, it looked like a murder had taken place. There are still stains on the floor and wall to this day. I was so freaked out. When my husband got home, we went to the fertility doctor who had done the embryo transfer, he did a sonogram and the baby was still there. I couldn’t believe it. But the next couple of months were filled with severe anxiety and constant googling about bleeding during pregnancy.
This happened a second time, about a month later. This time I made an appointment with the OBGYN and I went alone because my husband was at work. I sat on the pregnancy side of the office waiting room. I felt dirty and damaged and like a lost case. I looked at the healthy pregnant women with their big round bellies and felt that would never be me. When I got in the examination room and the doctor did the sonogram once again there was a heartbeat, the baby was still there.
“If this wasn’t such an expensive pregnancy I would recommend you terminate it” the doctor told me.
“But since you invested so much money you might as well see what happens”
This did not make me feel better. I was so depressed and could barely leave the house for the next few months. It was a terrible experience that continued and ended in tragedy at four months of my pregnancy.
I hold this sadness to this day. Even though I have two kids, it doesn’t erase trauma. And on gloomy winter days, when the grey seeps into my body I think all those things add up.
Maybe as I write about these experiences, they will lose their power. Maybe if I take this time, the rest of this time, the hour I have left before my kids get out of school, to soak in a lavender scented bath, I will feel better. Maybe, the nature of writing stories about traumatic events is just difficult and my feelings and moods are normal. Or maybe I would feel better if I took anti-depressants again?