I don’t mean “why are we here?” in the greater, meaning-of-life sense; I mean it in the more specific, more self-centric context of this blog, this project, this year. Over coffee this morning, one of the Wednesday old dudes, who has read at least some of my blog, in spite of my dad’s insistence that the content is “too heavy,” posed me a question I couldn’t answer:
What made me decide to start doing this?
I told him that I didn’t know, that I would have to think about it. And then Doug suggested that this could be what I write about tonight, and so a promise was made.
And now that it’s twelve hours later, and I’ve been intermittently thinking about it all day… I still don’t have an answer for him.
What I do know, because I just searched my old emails and chats, is that I came up with the idea for this project last April, knowing it wouldn’t start until August. I then patiently waited almost half a year, building up reserves of things to write about and finding new healing methods to try. I think it was good for me to sit on the project for a while, to see whether my excitement and commitment levels remained peaked. (I’m actually already sitting on the idea for my next project, due to start in April or May.)
So I don’t know where the lightbulb came from, or when or how it hit me, but I do have an idea of what kept me motivated while I waited for August: for two years, I went through life eating, breathing, sleeping “miscarriage.” Not a day went by where I didn’t think of what had happened to me, what hadn’t happened for me, what was happening for other people. I would tell myself things like, “Try to do one thing every day that you couldn’t have done if you were pregnant or had a baby.” I would see pregnant women and have to battle the urge to break down, or run away, or say something impolite. I would look at my own child-free life – which is actually pretty great, all things considered – and cry. Every. Single. Day.
And nobody knew, because nobody was reading the things going on in my head. Not being pregnant has no outward signs. It’s not like being pregnant, or having a broken arm. It’s not even like a divorce, where at least people who knew you before might notice your ring-less finger. Although the loss I’d suffered was as all-consuming as these other life changes – affecting every aspect of my day-to-day – the only people who could tell were the people I told. And although Doug and my family and friends knew what had happened, I definitely wasn’t giving anyone the daily play-by-play, two years after the fact.
I think I started this blog so that I could give the daily play-by-play – so that the people who love me could see how much I was still affected by everything, and so that any strangers who happened upon it could see how all-consuming such a loss can be. (Because what we hear from society is that miscarriages are common, that most women have them – some without even realizing they were pregnant, and that most of those women go on to have normal, healthy pregnancies… So, basically, no big deal.) My plan was to put my daily experience – my feelings, my associations, my trauma symptoms – in everyone’s faces, to show them all what “no big deal” really looks like.
Also, I wanted to give myself the space to obsess. Nine months to be as shamelessly self-involved as the average pregnant woman is with her perfectly average pregnancy. And after the project is over, I told myself, I’m not going to let my loss consume my daily life anymore. So I set myself up with a good therapist, and I started fessing up about my emotions and my experiences, and I stopped denying myself the things I thought might help me.
There are definitely aspects of this project that haven’t gone according to plan – things I wasn’t expecting to hear or say or experience. But those, I can save for another time, if I feel like mentioning them at all. Tonight’s question was about my humble beginnings here, and although I can’t pinpoint the moment or the spark, I hope I’ve been able to answer the question satisfactorily anyway.