Understanding and acceptance

If things had worked out differently, my baby would be two today.

Incidentally, my maternal grandfather would be 98 today.  I never met him, either.

But things didn’t work out differently.  I lost that pregnancy on account of a blighted ovum in my eleventh week, and my grandfather died of a heart attack when my mom was twelve years old.  Things don’t always happen the way we think they should, and then it’s up to us to learn and grow and work with our reality.

Back in August, I asked only one thing from this project: healing.  Now, after learning that healing (in the black-and-white, magic potion, erase-the-past sense of the idea) is impossible, I know I’ve gained something even better: understanding and acceptance.

Understanding:  I started writing because I felt like I was carrying around this huge weight of an experience, and I couldn’t explain it well enough to suit me.  I wanted the right to be a little disappointed at friends’ pregnancy announcements, to refuse invitations to baby showers, to roll my eyes and complain about pregnant women wearing horizontal stripes or otherwise making something that was already in my face, that much more in my face.  And I wanted the right to do these things without having to explain myself every. single. time.  I decided to put my hurt out there into the universe, so that at least the people that knew me well would read and understand and cut me a little slack.

And acceptance: Another of my initial goals was to learn to love the life I was in, instead of mourning the life I had lost – something I’d been trying and failing to do since the day I miscarried.  So here, on days when I was not describing my pain, I tried to focus on the joy of the things going on around me: my relationship with Doug, with my family, with my friends, with Dawn’s babies.  I’ve tried, to the best of my ability, to make this an everyday practice, and I think for the most part I’ve succeeded.  I can honestly say that I spend more time in the moment these days than I did two years ago – even nine months ago.

One last bike-ride-as-a-metaphor-for-life story.  Yesterday, Doug and I went on separate rides.  He and a buddy decided to ride 70 miles in the 100-degree desert – San Diego County’s second-hardest cycling route, most of it climbing.  I went with my dad and brother, half that distance on a far easier course.

I fight with my bike all the time.  For me, the ride is rarely worth the pain.  I often feel too slow, too weak, too unprepared.  Doug, on the other hand, is a great rider.  He has the strength, the endurance, and the thick head one needs to travel great distances on pedal-power alone.  On almost every ride we’ve been on together, I’ve been miserable, and Doug has been known to say such helpful things as, “God, I love big hills!” and, “C’mon babe, you can do this, it’s easy!”

Well, yesterday’s ride broke him.  He was unprepared, he was out of his league, and the heat certainly didn’t help.  He called me from the finish, gasping for breath.  When he got home, he admitted how much he’d been hurting, and admitted that he’d had to sit out for one four-mile loop of the course to gather his wits and refuel.  He told me that, had that been his first cycling experience, he would’ve thrown the bike away and quit right then and there.  Then he said, “I’m sorry for not understanding how you must feel on rides that I think are easy.  After today, I think I finally get it.”  Understanding.

Meanwhile, Dad, Martin, and I were cruising up and down the coast, on familiar roads with familiar hills.  It wasn’t easy – at some points, I ended up 40-50 yards behind the guys, mentally cursing them for not riding at my pace, or at least being aware that they were losing me – but it was manageable.  As my dad told my mom later, I never gave up and walked, not even up the big hill leading to my parents’ house at the very end of the ride.  And I realized: this is where I’m at.  I don’t even want to try the courses that Doug expects to conquer.  For me, 35 miles with my family is a perfectly acceptable ride.  It’s good exercise and good company, with good coffee somewhere in the middle.  It’s challenging without being defeating.  I shouldn’t be mourning the hills I can’t climb or the speeds I can’t attain.  This is where I’m at, and it’s plenty good enough for me.  And acceptance.

We didn’t end up planning anything to commemmorate today – nothing ever felt like the “perfect” way to celebrate.  And then, last night, Doug told me what he wanted to do.  He suggested that we turn everything off, and just spend a quiet evening at home together.  When we decided not to try again after my miscarriage, it was under the pretense that we hadn’t gotten enough “us-time.”  So, he explained, why not make a point of having us-time now, while we still can, before the wedding-crazy and the baby-crazy really take over?  And what better night to start than tonight?  To give you (well, him) a taste of what’s coming next, I’m even going to cook.

That all being said, I think it’s only right that I end this story the same way it began: by peeing on something, and getting excited about it…

So there you have it.  My name is Marie.  Today, on the would-be birthday of both a baby and a grandfather I never got to meet, I am 28.75 years old, divorced, and child-free.  But I have a great family, wonderful friends, an amazing boyfriend, and an incredibly bright future.  I can’t wait to see what it brings.

I’m here: nervous, excited, a little sad to say goodbye.  But so, so ready.

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20 Responses to Understanding and acceptance

  1. mommyodyssey says:

    Thanks for making me cry. Congrats hon. I’m so glad to have found you here and to know that I will still have you in my life now that this little corner is closing. Love you. You are awesome. And I’m so incredibly proud of you!

  2. Kathy says:

    Though I’ve only commented once before, I don’t think I’ve missed a post; and now this is my final opportunity to comment.
    Thanks for your candor and courage, it’s been an experience; I still remember well the start of it all. Someday, maybe I can share my stories of hating showers with you. I do know that it gets better.

  3. Amanda says:

    Awe, what a nice post to end the project. I am sad that I don’t get to read your blog everyday, but looking forward to the next project. Love you!

  4. Stephanie says:

    I think I said everything I wanted to say in a comment on Doug’s post. I hope you read it, Marie, and know that I mean every single word of it.

  5. Kristin says:

    I can’t believe I just got to read you on the day you are closing this down. It sounds like you’ve made an incredible journey and it seems like you’ve come to a place of peace.

    I also have to say how freaking impressed I am that you can ride 35 miles.

    In answer to your question on my blog, Marty and Joey are my two oldest sons. Kind of cool that your brothers have the same names.

  6. bodegabliss says:

    Beautiful, Marie. Congratulations on making it the end…and it only being the beginning.

    I’m so happy to have met you during all of this and I look forward to what your new space brings. I’ll be right here with you.

    Lots of love. xoxo

  7. Cattiz J says:

    Best of luck with everything. I have enjoyed you writing in this space.

  8. Josey says:

    This totally made me cry, Marie.

    Enjoy your quality time with Doug. You deserve it. 🙂 I can’t wait to find out what is next for you on this journey!

  9. Liana says:

    Well done. Can’t wait to see what’s next or you.

  10. Liana says:

    Er, what’s next For you. Stupid broken ‘f’ key.

  11. Dawn says:

    Over the years, i’ve read/followed just about every journal/website/blog that you’ve had. They have all been entertaining and they’ve helped me to keep up with your exciting life…even when we we’re thousands of miles and life stages apart. But…. this project has been the most eye opening for me, I love your honesty, your vulnerability and your willingness to be better (something I am always striving for). I’ll miss this project, like i’ve missed the others… but I know that there is another project on the horizon. I love seeing you grow and mature and become this amazing woman. I think the housewife project (should you choose that route) is AWESOME and the perfect transition into this next chapter in your life. Sometimes, it’s hard to see you grow up… sometimes I still picture you as a 6 year old, looking up at me…asking if i’d like to watch Danger Mouse or play with your mom’s homemade playdough. And soon enough it’s crazy to think… but it’ll be your kids asking the same thing to mine. Love it!!! Love you. xoxo

  12. marriage20 says:

    I have really enjoyed reading and getting to know you! I will miss your updates and wish you all the best on your next adventure!! xoxox

  13. The Tacke Monster says:

    I am very proud of you, Marie. Also, I love that you finished it with the pee stick. I have a friend who had that as her profile picture for months. It was terrible.

    Love you, friend.

    Also, just thought you should know. I am trying to look for jobs in Cali. Unfortunately, there is nothing in SD for me, but SF would be better than freaking DC, right?

  14. The Tacke Monster says:

    I forgot to undo the ital. Ugh.

  15. deepdreamer says:

    My name is Em, I am almost 22, I *should* have a 4 year old daughter and a 10 month old baby. I am engaged to a wonderful man, and child-free….And you know what, I feel ok about it. Babies will happen when my body is ready for it. I am focusing on embracing the future, making myself into the person I have always wanted to become, not someone baby crazy and wrapped up in grief. That was the old me. As hard as it is to face, I have embraced life for the now. I am glad you have too! Good luck sweetie. I look forward to this journey.

  16. So many hugs I would love to give you. Thank you for this blog, for the occasional email, for expressing yourself, for your honesty, your humor and your stories. I’m really really going to miss your blog, but I’m glad that you are looking forward to what you have ahead of you.
    (And I greedily hope that you post an update on whatever your next project is. [Hint Hint! Another blog! Another blog!])
    Honestly, I hope whatever you do next, you find it fulfilling. I wish you and Doug the very best.
    Much love,
    Kira

  17. slcurwin says:

    Understanding and acceptance. I think thats the best way to put what we need to find. You can’t “get over it”, and healing only happens to a point. Well said.

  18. AP says:

    Are you really saying goodbye?? 😦

    I’m so glad that you are in a happy place (at least you sound it) but will miss you out here if you’re really done. Good luck with everything. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you.
    AP

  19. Arohanui says:

    I’m kind of annoyed with myself for not visiting much in the last few weeks – sorry this comment is so late, I thought there was more time before your final post.

    I have loved reading your blog and think you are tremendously talented Marie. I will miss BCUFN, but I know you will be out there and will continue to write. I hope I will get to read some of it!

    I love the cycling metaphor by the way. I have never “bonked” on a bike ride (either definition!!), but I have been with guys who have (mainly because they forgot to eat or take on electrolytes). It is truly awful, so my heart goes out to Doug.

    I am pleased that you have gained some understanding and acceptance of the grief surrounding your miscarriage. Living in the moment is the greatest way to live, and for that gift alone you are truly blessed.

    Thanks for all your support to me, for the chocolates and cards (those delicious chocolates were very comforting when I was sheltering under my table the night of the big earthquake!), for liking some of my phrasings, and for letting me know 🙂

    Take care friend, and keep in touch xx

  20. marriage20 says:

    I don’t know if you’re checking this site anymore, but I had to mention you when I did the latest round of blog awards at http://marriage20.wordpress.com/2011/05/13/thanks-and-welcome/. When you have a new project up and running, I hope you’ll pop over and say hi so I can keep reading. Thank you for your honesty. It was beautiful to watch your project come to a close, and I miss reading!

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