Thursday, April 5, 2018

A Change, A Catalyst, A Step Forward

7 years ago I found myself at a spot that I never thought I would be.  We wanted to start a family.  I found out just before Christmas 2010 that I was pregnant.  At the end of January we lost our daughter, 17 weeks into the pregnancy. 

No sooner had we found out and started dreaming on being a family of three, names, nursery stuff, went maternity shopping with my mom, even received a few baby items at Christmas, found out we were due within one day of my brother and sister in law...we found no heart beat and the doctor told me our baby had expired.

Those words, that day, will forever will be imprinted in my mind, in my heart.  So will the following Friday, my birthday.  For every birthday card I opened, I opened a sympathy card.  The next day, we had a service and burial for our daughter.

I turned to writing.  Just in a journal, but it was my outlet, my way of trying to work through all that was happening.  From that came My Infant Loss.  A site I created filled with resources I found helpful throughout my journey and my writings on the blog part.

From it all, Samantha has been a catalyst for many things.  Samantha's Dragonfly was created from it and has since been passed onto 100s of other people.  She taught me a lot about life, a lot about death, a lot about my husband, my marriage, friendship, and myself. 

As time went by, I wrote less and less on the site.  Then, I got pregnant again and had our first son in 2013.  After that, I didn't go back to the site and moved my writings over to here, My Mama Side.  It seemed to a better fit for the direction my path was heading.

Some of what I learned had gotten placed far back after having one son and even more so after having our second son.  After my second son I faced high anxiety and post-partum depression.  My doctor (not the one we had when we were pregnant with Samantha) said it was no wonder.  With all that we had been through with pregnancies, c-sections, being a mom of two little kiddos, and all the other twists and turns life sends your way, it all made sense to her.  She said it was okay.

Even up until more recent, I haven't felt much myself.  The one I knew deep down.  Always hard on myself and it starting to rub off on those around me.  I was frustrated with myself and impatient, so I began to get impatient with those around me as well.  The constant louder volume led to more raised voices and yelling at times.  Any little trip up I felt I faced led me to eating my emotions and inner self negative talk, never feeling good enough. 

I have tried many things since the Fall.  Attempting to take the things I make creatively and sell them, even creating websites and Facebook pages to go with them.  Starting a group on Facebook for other moms and us to build connections through meeting up a different places around the city.  Reading books on specific topics in relation to what I was thinking and feeling.  Trying to figure out other's perception of me to figure out myself better.  Spending money when I probably shouldn't have.  Stepping out and joining a focus group of a favorite author of mine.  Being a part of a book launch team.

If I am to be all has flopped.  I closed down those businesses I tried to get going.  I closed down the mom's group on Facebook after repeatedly posting activities and meet ups only to find that it was just my kiddos and I that would show up.  The  books, while good, I can't remember a whole lot from them...partially because it would take me so long to read one and partially because it was only dealing with the surface of things.  I wasn't looking truly at what was right in front of me.  The focus group has been hit or miss, a great experience to go through and got to help create some cool things (like Flirt Alert).  But I realized that I didn't really have much value added into the group most of the time.  Oh, and the book launch?  Great book, but the only reason I am guessing that I was a part of that was because the more people on the team, the more the book would get out there and noticed.

From it all, I learned I needed to work on my prayer and quiet time.  But it still wasn't enough.  I was in a spot, that I don't know how I got to, where most days I couldn't wait for bedtime to come, that I needed to be out of the house with the kids, all things led to battles and negative behaviors seemed to be growing as quickly as the yelling was increasing.  It felt like so much was just unraveling and I didn't know where to start or how to get things back to an overall peace.

I realized that so much of it and the dynamics stemmed from me.  The lack of sleep, strong emotions, carrying my own load and the load of everyone around me, striving for the unrealistic perfect, bad eating habits, and an entirely too long Winter all added to the constant spiral I was in.

But how do you get out?  I have been creating a mental bucket list.  Things I want to do, classes I want to take, places to visit, sights to see, etc.  Do you have a bucket list?  What is on yours?

One of the things that has been on my bucket list for awhile and kept being put on the, well, someday list, was a class called "The Abundant Mama Project" by Shawn Fink.  I have started her book "Savoring Slow" and liked what I read, but have not actually managed to finish it yet.  I have followed her on her blog through email and Facebook.  Her class has been something I wanted to sign up for. 

With all that I have had going on and through my mind, I decided that someday needed to happen sooner.  I signed up for the class at the end of February.  I am so glad that I have and going forward I will write more about it.  I would highly recommend signing up for it, but at the end of March, she retired the program.  But hopefully something is in the works so that going forward, the lessons are still accessible to other moms, in a different format. 

I learned a lot about myself going through the class, remember some of the stuff I learned after we lost Samantha, and found me.  I found the me that I know, the one that deep down had gotten left behind, forgotten about, the one God made me to be.

Through it all, things have changed and a newer perspective is emerging.  There is more peace within me and more peace around me.  No life isn't calm and sure there is stuff that still needs work, but things are changing and going more smoothly (usually).

I mentioned that Samantha was a catalyst earlier.  While going through the Abundant Mama Project, I found this come back to me again.  You see, the My Infant Loss side of stuff was coming due for renewal.  I had some decisions to make about what direction to go with it and what direction I wanted to go in.  For nearly 5 years I had been renewing the site without thought, just because I felt I should.

She is my daughter, always will be and I love her and nothing will change that.  A part of me had thought that by giving up the site I was giving up on her.  With a new perspective, I understand and realize that she is the reason for the site, the site is not her and letting go of the site doesn't mean I am letting go of her.  I can set the site down and take a step forward on this path using what I know from it, what I learned and give myself a firmer footing on the ground. 

Laying down some of the load that I have been carrying has been a blessing beyond words and they are the stepping stones that make up my life.  Working through the Abundant Mama Project is the beginning of the work I needed to move forward, instead of treading water.  I am not sure where this will all lead,  and I do know there is more I need to continue to do, but I do feel a peacefulness within me that I haven't felt for a very, very long time.

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