Friday, October 31, 2008


Happy Halloween sticks in my throat a bit today. I want to be joyous as I watch my kid's excitement about the holiday and dressing up and sugar, but underneath is sadness at what today could have been for us--welcoming a new little pumpkin into our hearts and homes. But when I opened the paper today I found this article on the formula for happiness and it resonated with me so I'll share the 6 tips here and try to remember them today when I feel sad!

1. Give yourself permission to be human.

2. Happiness lies at the intersection between pleasure and meaning. Mere pleasure for its own sake is fleeting.

3. Happiness is dependent on our state of mind, not on status or the state of our bank account. We can control happiness by choosing to be optimistic.

4. Simplify!!

5. Remember the mind-body connection: exercise, healthy eating and good sleep habits affect our physical and mental well-being.

6. (AND MY #1 fave, especially on Fridays!) Express gratitude whenever possible, whether large or small--a good life or a good meal--the wonderful things in life are too often taken for granted. Take time to reflect on the positive gifts of a life well lived.

Time to go trick or treat!! I'll post my little goblins later, but for now: Happy Halloween!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Gratitude Monday

Whoops! Friday was crazy and I was out and about all weekend so I never posted all my gratitude. Better late than never:

This week especially I'm grateful for my children. They are the light of my life and make it all worthwhile, even when they're being little demons (or vampires and cowboys!)

I'm grateful for this gorgeous fall weather and the amazing colors of the foliage in my neighborhood.

I'm grateful for my health and for this life I've been given. I hope I'm using it well.

I'm grateful for being able to be grateful even when life is not easy. It makes a difference.

Friday, October 24, 2008

"You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness."
Jonathan Safran Foer

The Ugly

Now that I've announced a rebirth I guess I actually have to follow through . . . so here's the ugly. This week is really hard for me. I have a few, for lack of a better word "anniversaries" during the year that are difficult, emotional moments and one is coming up next Friday. If things had gone as "planned" I would be giving birth next Friday. A Halloween baby. A little pumpkin. But I lost this baby in May and so instead, I will just take my boys trick-or-treating and let them eat too much sugar, and try to find time to be alone with my grief that day.
I have had 4 miscarriages in the last few years. Each one is painful and terrible for J and I and this last one was especially so. We weren't trying to get pregnant this time because we had been through so much--losing the other three--and we didn't think we could face it again. But many times, things happen that we don't plan for, and I found out I was pregnant last winter. We were absolutely terrified, of course, but thrilled all the same and so sure that it must "be meant to be" since we hadn't planned it. Maybe it was finally time for us to welcome another baby to our family after all our heartache. But alas, we went for the CVS test at the 13 week mark and a week later my doctor called to tell us something was terribly wrong. He told us the baby had massive chromosomal abnormalities, and while he may make it to 40 weeks and be born to this world, he would not live more than a few hours or days. So there we were, faced with the most heart-wrenching choice we could imagine. The first three times I had lost the babies between 7 and 11 weeks and we had been told that chromosomal abnormalities were present when they tested for them after the fact, but I had always miscarried. The choice had been made for me.

So we were stunned and sick and broken, but we knew, just knew that we couldn't bear the next 6 months knowing this baby could die any time, knowing he wouldn't live to see more than a sunrise or two. I know this choice is controversial and no one else can make the decision for you. No politician or doctor or friend or parent can do it. We were alone in this. Alone, but thankfully together. So we made the awful choice and went to see our doctor to prepare ourselves for surgery. He did a final ultrasound and if there is any bright spot at all, I mean any minute hopeful moment, it was this one: the baby's heart had stopped beating on its' own. I knew I'd question our choice for the rest of my life, even though it was my choice to make, but the choice was taken from us and I was so relieved. We could mourn and grieve, but not feel the pain and guilt that would have inevitably been a part of that process.
And we have mourned. Not only that baby, but all 4 of them. I've tried to explain this to friends who have asked, but a miscarriage is so strange. You are sad and grief-stricken as you would be for any death, but there is no body to bury, no grave to plant flowers, no ritual, no casseroles baked and family and friends coming by to talk and remember. There is no one to remember, no face and name or life lived. No one knows what to say to you. No one knows how to treat you. It is a lonely road. And so this time, I had to mark it in some way. It took a while to come up with something, and it's not a typical thing, but it helped me to find a way to memorialize this child and the other three before him. I found this site called Art House, which creates massive, nationwide art projects that anyone can sign up to join. So I joined their latest project called "Stuff Your Sorries in a Sack" and I got my burlap bag in the mail and painted four flowers on it--one for each baby, and made copies of the sonogram photo of our beautiful baby boy, and on the back of each copy I wrote messages to these 4 souls:
And I sent my sack of sorries to a gallery in Georgia. So I was able to grieve in my own way, and also to memorialize these babes. I created the ritual that I needed to live more peacefully with their deaths. It isn't easy to think about what we lost. It is hard to explain my feelings about it all to people, and most people don't ask. I know I never got to know these babies, but they were still my children and I feel their loss deeply. But I have found a way to mourn and move forward, and that is something everyone can relate to.
So that's the ugly. And my rebirth continues . . .

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

rebirth (part 1)

This is actually rebirth part 2, but part 1 was just getting this blog up and running so I didn't announce it as a rebirth, per say, but it was. Now it's been a few weeks and I've only blogged 7 times. I think I got scared. Scared that I was putting myself out there in this way, scared I wouldn't be able to do it as well as my favorite peeps, scared that my stuff would be too weird or messy or ugly and no one would read it. I froze. I felt paralyzed. So I stopped--dead cold and haven't written for a few weeks. But today is another rebirth. I've decided that I like it and I don't really care about all that other stuff. And I admire everyone who says what they want to say and damn it all to hell. So I'm back and it will all be here. The good, the bad and the ugly.

Stay tuned. (if you want to.)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Gratitude Friday

Oooh. I almost forgot it was that time again already--until I read Amy's post and so firstly, I'm grateful she reminded me! Then in no particular order:

1. I'm grateful for good friends who make me laugh so hard at myself.

2. I'm grateful for our contractor who is a really good guy and is easy to work with (and YES, I'm hoping for a little extra good karma from this one so the rest of the project goes smoothly and quickly!) but I really do like him. When I pulled up from doing errands yesterday he was cutting some wood with a circular saw in my front yard and singing at the top of his lungs, "Dance all night until the morning come . . . day oh, dayayay oh, daylight come and me no want to go home!"

3. I'm grateful that the boys looked really cute for their school pictures today because, um . . . well we all know how that can so easily go the other way. Although we'll wait for the results and hopefully be grateful again in a few weeks!

4. I'm grateful for the smell of fall and the bright yellow and orange leaves that will blanket the yard soon. (not looking forward to the cold though, not looking forward to that at all!)

5. I'm grateful for my dog, Lola who makes me feel unconditionally loved every day. How can you not love a dog who smiles like that? (I swear to god I'm not really the kind of person who gets professional photos taken of my dog, but we were getting a family portrait taken and the photographer fell in love with her and $75 later, here it is. I had to.)