Monday, October 15, 2012

Doodle 076 - Remembrance

Today it is pregnancy and infant loss remembrance day. To be sincere, even when I am part of many of the women that have suffered through this type of loss I never even knew such day existed.

Why? Simple: I try not to dwell on things too much. As a child I was taught to be stoic, that no good would come from crying, that the world is by nature unfair and harsh, so letting tragedies bring me down would make my life even harder than it could be.

As I deal with my own sense of loss and recovery I have come to find out it is very hard to keep everything tightly wrapped in a corner of my heart/mind. The bigger the loss, the bigger the box I had to stuff it in, the more difficult it was to keep a tight lid on it, the easier it became for my fears, pain and demons to come out whenever I was at my most vulnerable.

And I do have a rather gigantic sense of loss about this one particular thing in my life.

Right now I can tell you I feel incredibly sad about the fact that I'll never be a mom... so sad I really can't wrap my mind around it.

For as long as I can remember I wanted to find someone that loved me as much as I loved him, someone I could count on no matter what, someone that wouldn't abandon me, someone I could protect and stand by as well, and truly, before I met Andrei, that possibility alone seemed incredibly remote and far fetched.

Once I found that someone I was determined to start my own family, have a couple of kids, because even knowing how incredibly hard and never-ending being a parent is, I wanted to become a mom, I wanted us to have the chance to try and teach our own children how to grow up to be an awesome person. I wanted us to be like those parents that truly love their children, put them first and still manage to hang on to their sense of individuality and keep their marriage strong.

I wanted to take our kids on trips, teach them to swim, talk, walk, draw, read, sing, dance, be kind, thoughtful, independent, strong and gentle all at once. I wanted to worry about them, laugh with them, celebrate and hold them tight when things weren't going like they would like and finally, I wanted us to see them go on and have their own lives, hopefully as happy as any parent would like their kids to be, doing whatever they grew to love.

I was ready for the job, the sleepless nights, the teething, colics, fevers, the flu seasons, the scrapes, any other malady that came our way, even the teenage years angst and struggle... I was ready for it all.

And then... it all was denied to me... just by matter of sheer terrible luck.

I am not sure how to explain what it feels like, to know something you have wanted so badly for so long and that so many people do every single day around you, with what looks like ease, will probably never be available to you... and what is worse, that you did try, to the very best of your ability, putting every ounce of effort on it, and you still didn't manage to pull it off.

In a way... it feels like pieces of my heart are missing, like something that was meant to be there, something you love more than yourself isn't there anymore. You keep wanting to fill the space back up, but nothing you do manages to plug up the hole... it just exists and you have the nagging and rather terrible sensation that it might never, ever go away.

When yet another of my friends or family excitedly lets me know they are expecting I am incredibly happy, but soon after I am equally angry at myself. It isn't rational, but there it arrives, a recrimination that I make to myself: "Why can't you do it too? This is all your fault".

And I sink down on a small dark recess of my own mind. Sometimes I'll cry, sometimes I will tell Andrei, sometimes I will just keep everything to myself, put on my happy-go-lucky mask and wait it out, hoping it will wash away.

By the time the baby shower rolls around I am better. I will excitedly go and buy a baby gift, happy that I finally get to buy something incredibly cute and small, something I would have loved to buy myself, but can't.

After nearly one decade I have gotten a bit better... but I will be very sincere, I am nowhere as well as I should be.

I am not really sure when, or if I'll ever be OK, I know that I will always be sad about not being able to do something that seems to be easy to so many, something that was supposed to be easy for me.

When parents complain about their kids over and over, act as if they never wanted them to begin with, when they mistreat them, abuse them and throw their hands up in the air because parenthood wasn't as easy as they had imagined, I feel this incredible pang of anger and disdain.

Life isn't fair, I learned that while growing up, things won't always go as planned. All one can do in life is try to roll with the punches, try to stay as true to one self as possible while adapting, and try to be happy through it all.

Sometimes though, being happy seems like a mighty tall order, we stumble and struggle to get back up... still, I am very lucky, I am still alive, I have Andrei, my family, friends, you guys.
All in all, even with the painful loss of my dream, the things that could have been but will never be... I am willing to admit that my life is still wonderful in many ways, and so I will keep on smiling, hoping that one day, even the darkest shadows within my heart, even those holes I can never patch up, will eventually become slightly brighter and less painful.

And today I will remember, at least for this one time, I will remember all I have lost, all that has been left behind, but at the same time, I'll look forward to tomorrow, to something new, to something bright, because I wasn't made to regret, I wasn't made to grieve, I was made to live and try my best to be happy.
Remembrance - non-photo blue pencil, graphite and mechanical pencil on plain Moleskine notebook. Aprox 20 mins.


Maria said...

*hug* I am so sorry for your loss

MichelleH said...

I'm so sorry! I don't think there's anything I could say - but I hope you find peace!

Melody said...

Normally I don't try to make this type of comment, especially to someone I don't know well, so please take it with a plentiful pile of salt because I do not know the intimate details of your situation. I do know that you have a lot of justified pain from tragedies in the past that robbed you of the ability to physically bear children; I know from this post that you know what it takes to be a Mom and would probably be a great one. Form that very limited knowledge, I say that you do not have to give up being a Mom even thought you cannot carry. So many babies in other circumstances of tragedy could use your love. Again, I hope I am not causing any additionally duress, as that is certainly not my intention. I just truly advocate for great couples and great babies to get together via adoption, and you seem like a great ladies with a great guy. All that being said, I am sorry for your losses and wish you all the best in life and love. Keep honing your gift for art!

Anonymous said...

This was a beautiful post, and the image at the end made me tear up. I'm lucky enough to be a Mama, and I've been following your blog since Jen from Epbot pointed it out (I think that qualifies me as a lurker), but I never realised til today that you've been denied your ultimate dream (I had thought you were having surmountable, not insurmountable, difficulties). You write like you're a mama in your soul, which is a rare and precious thing.
Thank you for your honesty and your beautiful drawings (even your simplest doodles are davinci-like images that I can't ever hope to aspire to). And thank you for the reminder of how blessed those of us who can/have cradled our babes are. I really needed that reminder today and your final drawing on this post was really evocative and poignant. Your optimisim and ability to keep going in the face of such pain and disappointment is really inspiring - my babies were my ultimate dream too, and if I had been so cruelly denied it like you, I don't think I'd have such resiliance.
I hope your struggle with your loss and your drawing both get easier/less painful as time goes on.
I wonder if I could make a request - would it be okay to print that image out to hang on my wall at home? Or is it for sale anywhere?
Thank you once again, for this blog, and your writings and drawings.

Marebabe said...

Thank you (again) for sharing. Thank you for today’s beautiful drawing. Perfect title: Remembrance. I am also childless, not by choice, and I can relate to the pain and grief you expressed. I would just add one more item to the list, the sense of not fitting in. Because most humans on the planet manage to reproduce, and they have the experience of parenting in common. But not us. Not me. Bless you, Saudade.

charissa said...

I feel your pain. Even though I don't know you (I'm a lurker like the lady above), I can say hearing your story and seeing your art and sharing this pain together makes it just a tiny bit more bearable. I'm also childless. I will never carry a child to term. I also have a caring and compassionate partner by my side. We share an unbearable grief, and I mourn with you.
I do not want pity or sad looks, I am happy and fulfilled in so many other ways. I can see you are as well.
Thank you for sharing.

Jan said...

Even though you are reliving great grief, I just know that day by day you are getting stronger and that will bring you to a place unexpected. Like walking through a forest. Sometimes it's dark and scary. Other times it is quiet and peaceful. There will be moments of darkness and dappled light. But if your keep on going, sometimes you can find a meadow. And that just adds to the beauty of nature. The forest and the meadow are both nurturing places. We are all behind you and keeping you in our thoughts.

Sparky said...

Lots of hugs and love! I know it's tough, but having never been in your shoes I can't say I know how tough. What I can say is I think you're handling your pain pretty well, considering the magnitude. Keep talking, keep drawing, and find yourself again. I think you're well on your way. You're an incredible person, and it's not your fault. At all.


Andrea said...

I can't begin to imagine your pain, so I'll just send you hugs and be here with you "virtually". Your drawing is wonderful and genuine. I want to linger over every line and curve.

Kelly said...

Much love and hugs for you, for your grief and loss. And keep talking, keep drawing, and hopefully you will keep pulling yourself more out of the dark. You are so talented and so strong. Today's picture was beautiful, and loving, and heartfelt, and heartbreaking.

LeAnn Woodward said...

I am weeping at your loss. You have suffered such a huge loss and I can't imagine the pain you must be filling. I would think that that will never go away. The sense of loss. I am hoping that with time the feeling that you are less because of your loss will diminish. Because of what you have gone through you have become a strength for many others unable to have children of their own. You offer comfort and understanding. You also allow a person to let their feelings be, not to hide them by sharing this of yourself.

I always dreamed of being a great mommy. I had a horrible childhood. I actually just cut ties with my mother over the weekend. I've come to realize that she was never a mom and never able to give the love that a mother should. I am thankful I have the capacity to love and have been able to shower this love on my three children who are all now grown. I too get angry when I see people having children that have no right and I have my best friend and her husband unable to. Then I find you and hear your story and it makes me even angrier.

Please know that today I am feeling your loss and your hurt. I am also sending you my strength and love. Be strong. Be resilient. Most of all, be yourself and keep sharing and healing.

Much love.

Anonymous said...

Saudade, thank you for writing this post. My husband and I are also childless, also not by choice, and I know how difficult it is to be honest with people about it. My heart hurts every single day. More often than I'd like to admit, I am overwhelmed with jealousy and anger. It just seems so unfair. I really admire that you are able to be happy for your pregnant friends and go to their baby showers. I stopped going a long time ago. It's pretty hard for me to be excited for others who easily "plan" when they'll have their next kid, who get pregnant "by accident", and I am enraged at those who constantly complain about the burdens of parenthood. I'd give my left arm for one of those "burdens." I hope someday it won't be as difficult and I'll be able to be a good friend again. Thanks for the guts that it took to write this.

Sarah said...

I have also struggled with infertility. I was blessed to carry one son before everything dried up for no real reason. It was and is very difficult. Often it just sneaks up on me and attacks me. I would love to have more children, and I have had a hard accepting that it won't happen through me. We were very lucky to adopt our second child and I encourage you to at least think about it (if you haven't...) It's a beautiful, wonderful, healing thing. I am not suggesting, at all, that it makes your pain go away or that it replaces the experience of carrying biological child. It's different and wonderful in its own way.

On any path you choose, much love and honor. Your post and drawing are both beautiful. You inspire me and I hope that you find a measure of peace.

Drawing Saudade said...

@Maria: Thanks for the hug :)

@MichelleH: Thanks, me too.

@Melody: Don't worry, it's ok, we have actually thought of adopting, maybe down the line, but I don't think I am quite ready yet for the long process and potential up and downs. There is a very slim possibility that we still can have kids of our own, but it would require a lot of surgeries and incredibly vigilant observation and in the end there are no guarantees that me or any babies I manage to conceive will come out alive at the end, so both our families have asked us to stop trying, mostly for my own sake.

@Anonymous: Lurkers are always welcome :), thanks so much for your kind words, they were very sweet and thoughtful. You are more than welcome to print my drawing, eventually I plan on scanning some of my doodles and making them available to purchase, I'll let everybody know when I get it all set up.

@Marebabe: Definitely, not being able to fit in is also part of the struggle, completely relate to that as well. I am sending you a big hug.

@charissa: I am the same way, I don't want pity nor sad looks, sharing does help me feel better and move on, and I am glad that my posts are helping.

@Jan: Exactly, every day I get stronger and somehow manage to find a piece of myself, it will be a long road, but I have great company.

@Sparky: Aw! Thanks so much Sparky.

@Andrea: Thanks Andrea I am sending virtual hugs back :)

@Kelly: Thanks for the encouragement Kelly, I'll keep on drawing!

@LeAnn: Thanks so much for sharing your story, I am very happy for your kids and you, there is nothing quite so wonderful as when a mom truly loves her children, I am very glad you got to give them all the love you were denied :)

@Anonymous: I know your pain, at first I couldn't bring myself to go to any baby related celebrations, the pain was too raw and strong, the feeling of inadequacy, jealousy and self-loathing were overwhelming, but one day I decided I wouldn't let my feelings keep me away from people I loved. I still struggle, but I manage. One day you might find the strength too, until then, don't beat yourself up, give yourself time.

@Sarah: Thanks so much Sarah, every year I feel more and more ready for adoption, hopefully soon I'll be able to let my pain go and open my heart to a child that needs a family to care for them with as much love and dedication as any child deserves.