My womb is an empty harvest Promising plenty and starving me Both at once
I saw it as life Blood and energy and pain Until I saw it as a wasteland Lifeless But there was still blood And still pain Always pain
When I place my hands on my belly My nails claw, gently, hinting At the violence I’d like to invoke I’d like to rip it away Tear it out Bleed to death And cry out for her while I die
Until, I remember The hands that touch me My own His Are gentle and the nails only scrape for pleasure The tingling inside comes from something within me From no other life than the one I live I’m inside of me No one else is
I am a human sacrifice for all that could have been I am a hollow tree with limbs trying to reach for her family Cracking in half or maybe three I am a rock, the kind with magic inside That only shows when it’s broken
I am made of ancient sand and dirt and stars And I hope I become a maple or A weeping willow Swaying over a river that tears through the earth Witnessing the power Part of the strength that holds the foundation together
I won’t crack when the ice comes If someone ties me together Someone will say, “That should be enough” And still, I’ll threaten to crash Only with the one I love
I haven’t had a lot to say, hence the overall silence this past year on Hey Lou. This blog started more than a decade ago as something I loved — I loved sharing the new insight I had on the world. I loved sharing what I was learning about organic food, eating local, and trying to make the world a better place. I loved the support I had when I went through divorce and started a new chapter here in the midwest. I loved sharing about my life, about the struggles, about my faults, about just about everything. Second marriages, stepmotherhood, running, getting a dog. I even enjoyed (because I believed the ending would be in my favor) sharing about infertility.
Only a visceral anger that oozed out in secret, in only my safest places, lest I ruin everything in my life by saying and doing things I didn’t truly mean.
It’s been a shitty, shitty past two years. That’s maybe the most honest thing I’ve ever shared on this blog. I’ve hated my life, I’ve been angry at the life I chose, and I’ve lashed out. I’ve broken things, I’ve had too much to drink too many nights in a row, I’ve smoked a few cigarettes, and I’ve cursed at God. That is the truth, and that is what I’ve been up to during this silence.
I haven’t been able to sit with my thoughts and type anything. I didn’t even attempt it. I stayed a safe distance away from all of that.
Yet, here I am. Now.
I’ve never made a New Year’s Resolution before, and perhaps that’s because I never really “needed” to. However, when 2021 came to an end, I knew I’d have to make some big changes in order to keep my marriage in tact, and more importantly, to save myself.
So here I am, and this time I’m claiming the silence. In fact, I’m calling this my Year of Silence.
Because I spent the last few years (and ALL of Covid) hiding behind noise. Just ask my husband. Any idle time was spent with headphones stuffed into my ears while I listened to a variety of things: music, podcasts… okay, mostly podcasts. I didn’t take the dog for a walk without something to listen to. Driving? That was the time to turn it WAY up and shut out everything else. I hid in my room a lot. I didn’t like anything I was thinking about and I didn’t like the thought of changing, either. But that’s only sustainable for so long. Errr… actually, it’s never sustainable. And it’s only SURVIVABLE for so long.
I had some wake up calls. Some important conversations. Some truths come to light. Hell, I even had a car crash thrown into the mix that really shook me. (And even though I do not believe in a God who “makes bad things happen”… I sort of think He used that crash to shake me awake, out of my distraction.)
I spent a long time hiding from anything that resembled silence, and in the noise, I couldn’t speak.
Now, I’m claiming silence as mine, and words are finally coming to me.
And I’m sad, sad for all that will never be.
I’m sad that I’ll never watch my stomach grow. I’m sad that I’ll never have fun discussing future names with Israel. I’m so very sad that I’ll never hold a baby in my arms. I’ll never have those gorgeous photos from childbirth – the ones I pictured so vividly – in a tub with Israel in the water with me. I’ll never rock anyone to sleep, or read them my favorite children’s book of all time: The Quiet Book. I’ll never cry on the first day of Kindergarten. I’ll never have grandchildren of my own. I’ll never look into a child’s eyes and see my own staring back at me. And this, this is what I dreamt of. This was it.
And it’ll never be.
So I’m a little bit angry, a little bit sad, and I’m grieving a whole lot.
I don’t have much else to add, except that I’m actively working on being okay. I am working on it daily, and I won’t stop. I have too much to lose. I had to have my eyes reopened to some things.
I see that I have a husband who loves me deeply. I also see that I have three family members who came along with him – three people I cherish and will love forever. I may not be their mother, but we are family. I see that I have a good life, filled with wonderful people who care about me and have made that so so so apparent, especially when things got rough for me. Friends who stopped everything they were doing to pray for me when I found out I had RP. Friends who planned a getaway to somewhere sunny when they knew I was about to implode and disappear like a black hole. Friends who will buy me a beer during my “no spend January” month just so we can chat. Friends who make me laugh, who hug me when they see me, and who treat me like a whole person, not just someone who failed to create another human life.
Turns out, that isn’t what makes someone whole. But I truly thought it was, until very recently.
It’s hard to admit these things, but it feels good to write them down. That’s what I love to do, after all. And that’s something I forgot, too. That I am a writer, and I will always create sentences, paragraphs, words strung together for others to hopefully read. The words come from a deep place, perhaps deeper than my own womb. They create life, at least I hope, for others who might need to hear that they aren’t alone in whatever they are going through.
I’ve been lucky enough to meet several women lately who understand. Who get it. Who have walked their own steps through infertility and came out without their miracle.
My heart aches for me, for them, and for what will never be. It always will. And that’s a part of me now. With every word I ever write again, that ache will be there, with words and life growing around it. The pain will live on forever, though not for future generations, because that ends with me. The new forever I will speak of is my own forever, the one that I have to focus on in order to survive it. Whatever beauty or hope comes next, there is a deep darkness that it had to battle with and ultimately win against… the hopeless parts of me will grow and bloom into a colorful garden with bees buzzing, roots forming, and hope showing up when the sun shines.
I’m so thankful for each and every person who has reached out and shown me love – you know exactly who you are. I wouldn’t have made it without you.