The Bluestocking @ Home

Musings and Reflections


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:: Harry Potter :: Halloween Part II

Okay, so who are we kidding, there was no way that I could wait until tomorrow to post the rest of our Halloween pictures!

So here we have it, the most handsome Harry Potter ever!  We have finally reached the age where he was ready to be brought into the magic of the Hogwarts world and we have been reading the first book together.  I cherish these books so much and so it has been such a thrill to be able to finally introduce them to my son.  It has been especially exciting because I have sheltered him from the Potter world until he could begin with the books and it is so amazing to see someone fall in love with the stories and all their magic for the first time!

Harry Potter (1) :: TheBlueStocking@Home :: Magdalena Altnau Photography Harry Potter (2) :: TheBlueStocking@Home :: Magdalena  Altnau Photography Harry Potter (3) :: TheBlueStocking@Home :: Magdalena Altnau Photography Harry Potter (4) :: TheBlueStocking@Home :: Magdalena Altnau Photography Harry Potter (5) :: TheBlueStocking@Home :: Magdalena Altnau Photography Harry Potter (6) :: TheBlueStocking@Home :: Magdalena Altnau Photography Harry Potter (7) :: TheBlueStocking@Home :: Magdalena Altnau Photography Harry Potter (8) :: TheBlueStocking@Home :: Magdalena Altnau Photography Harry Potter (9) :: TheBlueStocking@Home :: Magdalena Altnau Photography Harry Potter (10) :: TheBlueStocking@Home :: Magdalena Altnau Photography

Hope you Halloween has been full of fun, magic and lots of goodies!

With Love,

Magdalena

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Little Red Riding Hood :: Halloween Part I

Sooo … We have a tradition in our family of doing Halloween costume photo shoots.  I mean we do a lot of photo shoots, but from the very first Halloween we had with kids the madness began and now it grows and grows.  It’s fun to see my kids personalities come through each year with their costumes.

This year we spent a lot of time talking about wolves and fairy tales and so Little Red Riding Hood came to life in our family! I won’t even attempt to hide my bias as I declare her to be the cutest and most beautiful Little Red Riding Hood that I have ever see!

Little Red Riding Hood (1) :: The BlueStocking@Home Little Red Riding Hood (2) :: The Bluestocking@Home Little Red Riding Hood (3) :: The BlueStocking@Home Little Red Riding Hood (4) :: The BlueStocking@Home Little Red Riding Hood (5) :: The BlueStocking@Home Little Red Riding Hood (6) :: The BlueStocking@Home Little Red Riding Hood (7) :: TheBlueStocking@Home Little Red Riding Hood (8) :: The BlueStocking@Home

Taming the Wolf

:: Taming the Wolf ::

Taming The Wolf

:: Taming The Wolf  ::

Little Red Riding Hood (11) :: TheBlueStocking@Home Little Red Riding Hood (12) :: TheBlueStocking@HomeWishing you and yours a safe and fun Halloween!  Stay tuned for Part II of our Halloween festivities tomorrow!  It’s going to be magical!

With Love,

Magdalena


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On “Being Fat”

When I was seven years old, Sister Irene, an elderly nun that we used to visit occasionally on Sunday afternoons at an open convent community, made a comment about me to my parents, in front of me.  “You’d better keep an eye on Magda,” she said, as we sat in the cafeteria eating lunch, “you’d better watch her or she’ll grow up to be a fat girl.”

And there it was, this simple sentence that was uttered almost in passing in the middle of a meal.  A sentence that no doubt Sister Irene forgot shortly after she uttered the words but to me they were words that shook my seven year old world.  Before that moment, I was happily enjoying my meal, blissfully lost in the excitement and wonder of being a child.  My general disposition has always been happy, it certainly was in those moments prior to realizing that there was something wrong with me.  I remember my stomach cramping with nerves.  I remember feeling as though a veil had been lifted and once it had been removed I realized that despite previously thinking life was happy and free it wasn’t and in the midst of it, I also realized that I wasn’t okay.  I wasn’t good enough.  That people who looked at me with smiles and friendly faces were actually judging me and every bite of food that made its way into my mouth.  Only, I hadn’t realized before that moment that I might be “fat”, that there might be something about me that was causing scrutiny and worry in the eyes of others.

I had been blissfully ignorant of the world of dieting and weight worries, of self-esteem issues and of a complex relationship with food.  But that one sentence changed everything.  I realized that my parents were listening to Sister Irene, that they were contemplating what she had said.  I began to notice that I was being watched at mealtimes and not at mealtimes.  Family friends would remark, “Magda, you already had one you can’t have anymore” at parties and gatherings.  The net of observers had widened.

I began to develop a fear of eating in front of other people.  I became incredibly self-conscious about what others would think of me when they saw me putting food in my mouth.  I began eating what was “allowed” at meals, or at the very least what wouldn’t bring additional scrutiny but then I would be starving later on.  I would beg and negotiate with my younger sister to bring me food.  Unlike me, she just didn’t have a big appetite and so everyone worried about her not eating enough and so having her go to the kitchen to get extra food wouldn’t be bad.  Only of course, she wouldn’t be eating it, I would.  And eventually that had to stop, especially when I could feel my sister looking at me in the same way as the others.

When I was a kid the old saying, “sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me” was really popular.  We would blurt it out any time another kid would pick on us on the playground.  Only, words do hurt and they bruise and they leave scars.  I have carried my scars around for over 25 years.

My issues with food and my body image became a constant in my life.  And the truth is I don’t ever remember a time after that when I haven’t been aware of the fact that, “I’m fat”.  Even at seven … when I wasn’t.  Her words and a culture that is just as tainted with the belief of those words became my truth.  Fat girl, fat girl, fat girl … this is the script that has been running in every cell of my being for nearly twenty-eight years.

I'm the blonde ... with my younger sister ... oh so many years ago!

I’m the blonde … with my younger sister … oh so many years ago!

In my late teens, I made the connection to those words that came from Sister Irene and my lifelong struggle with weight and self-esteem.  In some ways, it was a relief to call it out.  To be able to say, yes her words crushed me and they changed the way I could look at food and the way I saw myself.  They took away the innocence.  Food became about so much more than just nourishment, it was linked to acceptance and approval.  My enjoyment of food would always be scrutinized, and even when it wasn’t in my mind I was convinced that it was.  I was sure that everyone looked at me the same way that she did that day.

But in the years that followed understanding that those words were this deeply embedded root wasn’t enough for me to shake off the weight.  Both physically and emotionally.  I remember having conversations with my mother about it and she would say, “well good, now that you know why this is an issue you can let it go and it doesn’t have to keep you down anymore.  You can be free now.”  And I wanted to.  I wanted my life and my body to prove her wrong!  “See, see, I’m not fat!  You didn’t win!” I wanted to scream. It was as though I had to break this “prophecy” in my life in order to be free.  And so naturally the only way to break it was to be skinny.

But a few weeks ago I realized something.  Believing Sister Irene’s words about ending up fat wasn’t really the problem.  Believing that “being fat” was the worst thing that could happen to me was the problem.  I bought into the lie! And you know what I’m not the only one.

You see “being fat” is supposed to scare us.  It is supposed to almost categorically assure of that a great number of joys in this life will be out of our reach.  And I knew this.

I knew for example, that I could never be loved by others and certainly not by a man.  I would never be popular enough.  Heaven knows, you have completely vetoed your own chances of being considered beautiful because as a fat girl you know that you can only be “actually quite pretty for a fat girl.”   You can even accomplish a lot of things in the world, you might even be a brilliant mind, a great artist, a wonderful speaker or any number of other admirable qualities and accomplishments but all it will take for someone to tear you down is for those words to be uttered … “ah, if only she wasn’t fat.”  Because you know, being fat vetoes all of those things.

Only you know what … IT DOESN’T!!

I may have been crushed by Sister Irene’s words all those years ago but one thing that never left me was my happy disposition.  I am actually a very happy person, I am an optimist.  I believe that I can find beauty in the simplest and most ordinary things and that even when things look grim I have always been able to find strength and joy out of the ashes.  And so, when I look at my life I see that despite the best efforts of the world to convince me that my worst fate was being fat, I have to say in my own life this hasn’t been an infallible truth.

As it turns out, you CAN fall in love, you can have a great marriage, and husband who loves you.  You can have a beautiful family.  You can matter to people and not just because you look a certain way.  You can pursue your dreams and be the person that you want to be.  Most of all, you can be happy.

Because the truth is that being happy isn’t guaranteed by external factors.  Being skinny doesn’t give you a pass to preventing life’s heartaches and trials.  I have know some miserable skinny people, just as I have know miserable ‘fat’ people.  Life happens to ALL of us, regardless of our size.

Am I saying that you shouldn’t ever want to pursue being thin?  Does this mean that I forgo health concerns because I think we should all dig our heels in and be fat?  No.

What I am saying is this, if you spend your whole life waiting for the external circumstance to be perfect in order to believe that you have worth and value then you will wake up one day full of regrets.

A few months ago, I caught myself in one of these regretful thoughts.  I wanted to plan a trip to the beach with my husband and kids.  The first thought that popped into my head was, “maybe next year when I am skinnier.”  And I had to stop myself and I sat there thinking, why? Aren’t ‘fat’ people allowed to want to enjoy these things?  Don’t our bodies also enjoy the sand and the waves, the breeze and the sun?  I had a good cry about how warped my own mind still is about the things that I am permitted to do or that are acceptable for me as a heavier woman to enjoy.

But I want to change that.  I want to live my life to the fullest right where I am and how I am.  Maybe in the future I will be thinner, as someone mindful of my health I hope so, but in the meantime my life can still be full of joy and wonder and exciting adventures.  I am cannot allow these externals to define my existence.  If I did, I would constantly be living in either the past or the future and ultimately robbing myself of the present moment.

I don’t want to spend my life chasing some ever-changing ideal that in the grand scheme of life seems so insignificant.  If ever there was an appropriate use for the hashtag ” #firstworldproblems ” the way in which we women of the west obsess over our bodies would be it.  It is a clear reflection of how much time we have on our hands.  But the truth is we don’t have that much time.  Time isn’t stopping for any of us and imagine all that could be accomplished if we focused on far more meaningful and important issues.

I imagine Sister Irene passed away countless years ago, though I couldn’t tell you when because my parents eventually stopped taking us to visit with her and life swept us in a different direction.  For a long time I was angry with her and with myself for letting her words fester in me for so many years.  And mostly, I was angry that I was allowing my life to be defined by her words, I was angry because I was fat.  And it hurt even more.  But the lessons that I have learned from those words have been immense.  And not only in respect to being fat, but also in just how heavy words really are. Use them wisely and with compassion!

This is not a call to giving up on ourselves, an anthem of slothfulness or frumpiness.  Rather it is a call to live life FULLY.  To embrace these moments and this ONE LIFE regardless of whether our appearances are acceptable to others or not.  Don’t wait to live.  Don’t buy the lie.  Fat is not the worst thing that can happen to you.  Your body is not the worst thing that can happen to you.  It is a tool that you use and so by all means use it wisely, but don’t be defined by it.  When I look at the world, at history and at our current struggles, to allow myself to be defined by my flesh seems to cheapen and trivialize this life.

So perhaps it is time for some new bucket lists.  Time to plan that beach trip.  Time to be in those photos with my kids again … because even though I am usually the photographer, I was there too and I don’t want to fear being seen.  Time to start chasing dreams without worrying that someone will point and say, “that’s so lovely, if only she wasn’t fat.”

With my sweet husband

With my sweet husband.

I pray you chase your dreams too!  I pray that you realize that you are not just your body.  I pray that we can start thinking about the consequences of our words, about their weight and the lasting scars they can leave.  And I pray for the healing of those scars in those who bear them.

With Love,

Magdalena

Enjoying a Fall Festival with my kiddos

Enjoying a Fall Festival with my kiddos


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Luca

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.  And October 15 is specifically a day for Remembering our Babies.

I have only recently been made aware of this, but it is an especially important subject to me as someone who experienced a very traumatic miscarriage several years ago when I was 16 weeks along with my second son.

Miscarriage is such a difficult topic to speak about.  If you have ever had one you know.  And if you are in the early stages of your grief it is especially made difficult to be open about your grief because so often you find yourself knowing someone who is pregnant and NOBODY who is pregnant want to hear about miscarriages.  Naturally, no one can fault a pregnant woman for feeling this way.  I know that a month before my miscarriage I came across an article of a woman sharing her own story of loss and I was terrified reading it.  It made me weak in the knees and I wanted to look away, because after all, nobody ever wants it to be them.  But there is also this silence around miscarriages that I feel needs to stop.  These are very real losses and the grief is profoundly deep.

I pray that we can find a way to give women and families who have experienced these losses a voice and the room that they need to mourn as we would over any other loss.

Below is my experience.  It isn’t pretty or inspiring.  It is raw and ugly, full of pain and sorrow.

It has taken me a long time to be able to share this piece with people.  I did, however, finish writing it while I was pregnant with my now three year old daughter.  There came a point in my pregnancy with her that I felt so strongly that I needed to deal with my emotions over the loss of my son because this child deserved a mother who was joyful about carrying them just as I had been with in my first two pregnancies.

It has been three years since I originally finished the piece and I really considered changing the ending in order to post it here, but after careful consideration I feel that it needs to be left untouched from then because that is where my grief was three years ago.

The passing of time does not, however, make it any easier to open myself up like this, but I feel that it is time and I pray that my voice will give another grieving mother the voice to speak her grief as well … whether it be a whisper or a bellowing from the heights.

~

LUCA

My womb is a mess. It is not as dark as I would have expected it to be, but it is a mess. Cluttered with old toys, a broken carriage wheel lies abandoned in one corner, old yarn and string lay tangled, some things I don’t recognize. Then I see it; a broken doll. A broken baby. And I know that it is my baby. But this isn’t possible, my baby is fine. My baby is not in here, not in this chaotic dirty place. My baby is safely tucked away in my real womb, where it is warm and clean and beautiful. I try to reach for the broken doll. I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe!

Gasping for air, I force my eyes open. Wake up! Wake up! It’s not real. It was only a dream. I reach for my belly. The firmness is starting to become more noticeable. A wave of morning sickness washes over me. See! See! Everything is normal, everything is fine.

~

Laughter, I remember hearing laughter. It seemed odd and out of place. I was sitting in a small examination room in the ER and I had not expected to hear laughter from other rooms. It was not my laughter.

~

I am terrified. I sit alone in that room for two hours. They won’t let my husband or my son sit with me.

“No babies or children in the exam room.” And I am so scared that I don’t put up a fight. Looking back I should have, maybe I wouldn’t have been so alone.

But I am alone. And the cramping is getting stronger. I haven’t worn a maxi pad because I have convinced myself that it isn’t that serious. That I will get an ultrasound done and they will tell that I am fine. That I should just rest and go home and that everything will be fine.

I sit politely on a chair waiting and waiting. I get blood on the chair. So I fumble with some paper towel to clean it off. It happens again. Still no sign of a doctor anywhere, how long will this take?

The longer I wait the more anxious I become and the worse the pain gets. Sharp stabbing in my abdomen, I have never been so scared in my life.

On the saddest day that I can remember in my life I sat alone in a room listening to people laughing, praying for the doctor to come in and tell me that I was not losing my baby.

Finally a doctor walks through the door. I am crying and in pain.

“Why are you crying?” he asked my abruptly. “Are you in pain or just scared?”

“Both” I stammered.

“Okay so what’s going on here?”

“I think that I am having a miscarriage”

He asks me more questions. I feel numb. Finally he says that they will take me for an ultrasound. More waiting. At last I am walked to the ultrasound room and instructed to get undressed and into a gown. The pain is getting worse. Even more waiting. I am alone again. A receptionist brings me in a phone to say that my husband is trying to reach me. Our 20 month old is tired and needs a nap. He is in the car with him now and can I call him as soon as I hear something. I hear fear in his voice and frustration as to what is taking so long.

The woman who handed me the phone and stood breathing down my neck to get it back has now disappeared. I wrap myself up and try to stand to return it to someone. Finally I give it back to a passing nurse.

At last someone comes into the room and I think that this is finally going to be it, the ultrasound. No. Someone else needs the room first.

I am asked to wrap myself and wait in triage. I am juggling my purse, my clothes, a sheet wrapped around my gown. The pain has gotten considerably worse. I can see my knuckles turn white as I grip the sheet because I am trying not to lose it in this waiting area with these other people. One lady is trying to close her eyes and is covering herself with some kind of a blanket. Next to me a woman is playing cards with her daughter. They are joking around. They smell of cigarette smoke.

I feel a gush of blood and watch as a part of my crisp white sheet turns bright red. Horror. I am filled with horror. How do I hide this? How do I not let anyone see? I struggle with the sheet, trying to wrap it as tightly as possible around me, squeezing my legs together. But none of it is working, I am bleeding more. My attempts at hiding the bloody sheet are becoming more desperate. Somewhere deep inside I know that I am losing this fight but still I can’t bring myself to believe it.

They are ready for me now. Awkwardly I try to fumble with my things. I don’t want to stand up. I am afraid that there is blood all down the back of my sheet and probably on the chair too. I start making apologies to the nurse. There doesn’t seem to be enough air to breath.

“It’s fine,” she says, “I’ll clean it up.”

Back on the table and the doctor finally walks into the room. He started asking more questions. When did this start? Is there cramping? And then he starts looking for the heart beat. It is too quiet.

“Well, I’m sorry but there is no heartbeat here. It looks like this baby has been deceased for at least 48 hours”

Tears are streaming down my face now and I begin to sob.

“Are you sure?” Please, please don’t let it be true. But he is sure. He breaks my water. My whole body shudders with the sudden shock of it. It is not physically painful but I can feel my heart breaking. The gush of water and blood in that moment is the point of reality. There is no hope left now. I am losing this baby. I have lost this baby. Four months along and I have lost this baby.

The bleeding is so intense now that I hardly know what to do with myself. I find myself apologizing incessantly. There is blood all over the table, on the floor. I have soaked yet another gown. I have no idea what I am supposed to be doing. I am a doer. When things need to be done I do. I clean up after myself; I clean up after other people. I don’t know what I am supposed to be doing right now. The tears won’t stop either.

I calm myself enough to get into a wheelchair to be taken to another room. I suppose my case is finally serious enough. Nearly three hours later and finally I am important enough.

I am in the bed. They have left me by myself again but with the door wide open. The bleeding is gushing still. And in my mind I am trying to come to terms with the fact that this baby is no more.

Suddenly I feel a strong gush of blood, but there is more. Something far more solid has brushed up against me. For an instant my whole body freezes and I really cannot breathe. I pull the sheet back and I see a little body lying in between my legs. That is my baby. I reach to touch it. I see what looks like a small penis, it is a boy. I was going to have two boys, the one napping in the car and this precious little one here. But now, I will not have this one. I pick him up in my hands, but then in some cursed moment of fear or reality or I have no idea what I put him back down. It is too much. I start sobbing in a way that I did not think was humanly possible. This is not me. This is someone else. It has to be because I don’t know this person; she is hoarse with sobs, gasping for air and completely out of control. She just put her precious baby back down in fear.

A nurse comes into the room, fairly nonchalantly. I feel as though she cannot understand what all the fuss is about.

“What’s the matter?” she asks.

I pull back the sheet. My baby is lying there. Her posture changes instantly. I cover back up again and have really lost it now. She hugs me. We are both apologizing now.

She puts on gloves.

“I am going to take it away now” she says.

No. No. I’m not ready yet.

“Okay,” I stammer through sobs.

And as she scoops up my little boy I am overwhelmed with fear.

“WAIT! You’re not going to just throw him away are you?”

“No, no, of course not.” She looks horrified too.

In that moment I realize that I will never see my baby again. That was it. I had had my chance in those moments before the fear set in. Before I started sobbing and screaming. This memory haunts me terribly. What kind of a mother does that? How could I have been scared of my own child? How? How could I have just let him go like that? I will never properly remember what he looked like. I know he didn’t completely look like a baby but he did some. And he had arms and legs and that forming penis. And he was mine. Even if only for that short time he was mine.

Does he know that I let him go like that? Did he feel pain when I did it? Has he forgiven me? I have begged for forgiveness so many times.

The nurse comes back to take away more of the soiled sheets. She asks me if I need anything. Yes. I need my husband and my son. Can they please come back now? Even despite the rules? She says that I can call him and goes off to find a phone. I call Chris. It is the most excruciating call I have ever made.

The same woman from before comes in to get it back. She seems annoyed to see me. I am still sobbing.

“What exactly is the problem here?” she demands impatiently at the sight of my sobbing.

“I just had a miscarriage.” I am choking on my words. Sadly, these seem to be magic words to her. She softens her stern features and says she’s sorry. A negotiation begins between her and the nurse about letting Chris come back to the room.

“Well, generally we don’t allow that” says the phone lady to the nurse.

“I think that this is different” the nurse responds sternly. And she has won.

Watching my husband and my son walk through the door breaks my heart. I want nothing more than to see them but it pains me to know that I have failed them. I have managed to suppress the sobbing before they come in. I don’t want to scare Yuri, he is too little to understand what it going on. And yet, as I look into his eyes I can see that he knows that something is wrong indeed. His eyes are filled with concern and some kind of deep understanding that I cannot explain in words, I just know how it felt. Like an embrace, like he didn’t just see his mommy but a person in pain that needed compassion.

Chris is crying too. I don’t know how to all of a sudden tell him everything that has happened in the past four hours. How do you do that when you are still in the middle of it? But I don’t want to shut him out either. We hug and we cry and he holds my hand. And I am just as sorry for him as I am for myself. I wanted him to have this baby too. He doesn’t know that it was a boy. I am scared to tell him, just in case I am wrong. But I am not wrong.

And now in the aftermath of spending so many hours alone, the room is abuzz with people. Two different doctors and the nurse keep shuffling through. My mother-in-law arrives; she throws herself around my neck. I wish my own mother was here too, she is miles and miles away in Canada.

In the middle of it all, a social worker is sent in. I can see that she is uncomfortable and doesn’t know how to deal with my sobbing. I can’t blame her really, what do you do with a sobbing woman that you don’t know. Unfortunately, her job is also to find out now, not half an hour after my baby has been lost whether or not we want the hospital to bury the baby or if we want to do it ourselves. The hospital is willing to do it for free. Free, however, as I am able to somehow keep a clear head and ask these questions, means that our baby will be in a mass grave somewhere.

I cannot believe that I need to have an answer to these kinds of questions right now but apparently there is no way around it. An answer is required.

We decide to take the baby ourselves. I do not want him buried in a mass grave. And because I don’t know if I want to live here for the rest of my life, I don’t want to risk leaving anyone behind. He will not be left behind. Even though we only had such a brief moment with him I will not leave him behind.

On a September morning in Texas we lost Luca, Luca Olivier. We lost a son, a brother, a grandson, a nephew and a friend. It has been three years and I have seen many babies born since then, probably a dozen or so just in a very close personal circle. None of them have been my own. I have envied every one of these women, though I have breathed a sigh of relief with every happy birth, glad that these women do not have to feel that loss. I cannot pretend that it has been easy for me to see so many friends and family be granted to joy of a healthy and living child. I cannot tell you how my heart ached and how hard it was to choke back the tears the day that Yuri, so taken with a friend’s newborn baby boy asked, “Mommy, where is my brother?” I could not bring myself to answer him in that moment, but he knows now. As well as a three and half year old could know or comprehend something like death. But still he knows. And perhaps he knows more that than I give him credit for. Some time ago he asked if I wanted to send Luca a ticket so that he could come back from heaven and live with us and also could we write him a letter. What wouldn’t I give if that were possible, if all you needed was a ticket. But Yuri keeps Luca in our conversation as though he was always a part of us. Sometimes he gets a little choked up and says that he is sad that Luca isn’t here with us, some days he wants to sit down in the middle of a shopping trip to think about it. What I treasure the most is that he completely accepts the notion that he had a brother.

It is hard to move past the pain and the fear. It is even harder to know that I will never be able to take back the innocent joy of being pregnant and blissful. It seems that in truth there are no safe dates, no real guarantee that any pregnancy will make it all the way. And then no promise that your child will even be born okay. This reality is sad and depressing. And yet, perhaps true of any experience.

Grieving a miscarriage can be a truly lonely journey. I have grieved but it has been so often in quiet and alone. It has been extremely painful to feel that people don’t want you to talk about it, it makes them uncomfortable. Imagine for a moment that nobody wanted to talk to you if you lost your mother, father, husband or a living child. It is almost unthinkable and yet this is precisely how I have felt in the aftermath of my miscarriage. I have felt the impatience and discomfort of those around me, frustration as to why I am still talking about it, why haven’t I moved on already? I may heal, I am move forward but I will never be done. I don’t want to be done, Luca will forever be a part of me, of our family, and to be done trivializes his existence.

So I am talking and the one thing that I am finally over or done with is being quiet. I won’t pretend that I didn’t have another son. I am not defined by my miscarriage but it will forever be a part of me. As I have finally started talking I am surprised to find so many other women who have had miscarriages. Why hadn’t I ever known that so many women lose babies? And so many women who felt equally abandoned in their own miscarriages. I have been shocked and saddened to hear almost identical stories of being left in exam rooms for hours or worse yet in the waiting room with nothing more than the equivalent of a doggy pad to absorb the blood.

I am baffled by the care we give women who are about to deliver babies and the way in which we push the ones losing them into a corner as though they were a nuisance. Are both not equally deserving of being nurtured and guided along the way? To sit in a room and know that you have another human being dying inside of you is indescribable and it is precisely in that moment that to be left alone feels like the most unimaginable cruelty. So I am talking because I hope that in talking about it that one day when a woman walks into a hospital filled with fear and pain and her heart is breaking because she is losing a baby that she will not find herself alone in a room for hours but that there will be support for her and guidance and comfort. And so that afterwords, she will be allowed to grieve openly and for as long as she needs to.

I hope that if I talk that you will too, or someone you know and we don’t have to hide in dark corners with our pain anymore.

~

For a long time I struggled with my grief alone and I wish that I had known, that I had looked for groups like October15th, though I am happy to now be able to share them with others.

Today, I know that my grief looks very different from the way it did three years ago, and certainly a lot different from six years ago when I thought that I would never be able to come to terms with my loss.

I am so grateful to my husband for his unwavering support.  This loss was as much his as mine and grieving together was such an important part of our journey.

A book that we found especially helpful for our son, who was not quite two at the time but had questions for a long time, was called “We Were Gonna Have a Baby, But We Had an Angel Instead” by Pat Schwiebert.  I found it simple but really honest and profound.

Angel Instead

And for my personal journey, though not specifically on the topic of miscarriages, my life could never be the same upon finding or rather being found by Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts: A Dare To Live Fully Right Where You Are.  It helped my heart to heal and played a significant role in my spiritual journey.  I will be forever grateful.

It has been a long, hard road.  I still think of my sweet angel often.  And over the years I have grown in courage  to speak of him when I want to.  I have stopped being afraid of offending someone or freaking them out.  Some days I still have a good cry.  Luca was and is a part of my journey through this life and I know that one day I will wrap my arms around my sweet boy again, in a place where there is no pain or fear, only love and joy.

Today as we remember our babies,I hope you will join me in lighting a candle for your own angel, or for the angel of a loved one. Believe me when I say, that your compassion, love and support are much needed by those who grieve.  And if you are grieving, know that we grieve with you.

With Much Love,

Magdalena


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The Last of Summer

It’s that time of year again … my favourite time of year … FALL!

Of course, here in East Texas that doesn’t always mean the same thing that it means in other regions.  Our leaves haven’t started changing much this year.  But a cool front is sweeping in this morning and will hopefully bring with it some lovely chilling air that might coax those brilliant reds and oranges out.

A couple of weeks ago however, the weather was perfect outside and though not “fall-ish” by Fall standards, certainly a break from the Texas heat.  We spent a beautiful afternoon outside enjoying the breeze and what was no doubt some of the last of the summer beauty in the forest.  Today I look out into the woods and I can see as the peeling back of layers has begun.  The rich, lush green has begun to fade and our forest prepares itself for this next season.  Soon we will actually find ourselves rushing outdoors more often and for much longer as fall and winter bring temperatures that beckon longer hours spent in the fresh air.

Our forest in all its summer glory ... and the last time we will see it so lush until next year.

Our forest in all its summer glory … and the last time we will see it so lush until next year.

The littlest among us is already eager to start collecting leaves, acorns and pine cones.  She marvels at each leaf, at its colour and shape.  She is awed by the uniqueness of each leaf and thrilled at the discovery of each acorn she stumbles upon.  In our very own yard the treasures abound, and I never tire of seeing the world through my children’s fresh eyes.
Collecting Treasues

Her biggest concern is that the lawn mower might get to her leaves before she can collect them all.  I try explaining that soon all the leaves in this oh-so-full forest will be hers for the taking but she is three and she is more concerned with the present moment and diligently continues her gathering.

Collecting Treasures

Collecting Treasures

 

Big brother is on the hunt for yellow leaves.  And sticks.  Always sticks. He too is awed by the depth and beauty of the forest.  These are his quiet moments.  Simply being in and with nature.  He has his favourite tree in our yard and he watches it for changes.  It is an oak tree that shoots up high up into the sky, it’s branches layers of canopies that shade us on hot summer days.

 

Into the Woods

The morning’s thunder storm swept through here fiercely but the air smells fresh and clean.  The wind that rushes through the trees now is bold and strong and the limbs sway and bend to its will.  Windows are finally flung open to allow some fresh air into the house as this first taste of fall trickles in.

I am excited about the coming weeks!  I dream of even cooler mornings, of apple cider and comfort foods and sweater weather.  But today, I am enjoying remembering what a beautiful summer we have had.  And as we say our farewell, I welcome that brisk wind that is hopefully ushering in fall!

Happy Fall to you, where ever you are … may it be a season filled with much wonder and joy and moments of stillness and awe!