A new mom and her baby had come in for their first well-child visit and her son was just 3 days old. Mom was tired and overwhelmed as many new parents are. She was sitting by the window, changing her son’s diaper and just watching him, and she sighed a long, heavy sigh. And just gazed at her son quietly as he wiggled around. There was no slow smile or beaming pride. Just deep sadness. What clinical guidelines, healthcare, and social convention tell us is that she was exhibiting signs of postpartum depression. While that may also have been true, … Continue reading The Birth of Grief
For as long as I can remember, March has always been a really uncomfortable month. Whether here in the PNW or back in the Northeast, March is incredibly strange. It’s wet, cold, windy, sunny, glorious, and in swift rotation. But March and early April has been strange for over 20 years for other reasons too. My grandfather died in March. My nephew died in March. And so did a baby I cared for. And my aunt. Then in April, my grandmother. And Michelle. Strangely, in these same 4 or 5 weeks, over the course two decades, many people I cared … Continue reading Month of Remembrance
If you have been following along for a little while, you know that one of the things I have been ruminating and writing about is loss. We all know it in some way. And we will certainly know more. To live is to love, and also to lose. It’s not uncommon for us to ‘rank’ loss. Which kind of loss is worse, changes us more deeply, is more worthy of grieving, or warrants talking about at all. Is the loss of an aging parent worthy of years of sadness? Can you be devastated by the way divorce changes your life? … Continue reading What kind of loss is harder?
Yesterday was my son’s 8th birthday. All of his birthdays kick up some emotional dust for me. I rejoice in what an amazing human he continues to be. I grieve that he is one year closer toward individuation and needing to know himself away from us. I remember his eventful arrival and how it birthed a mother, father, grandparents, aunt, and a brand-new nurse (she was in the room and possibly crying more than anyone). And I remember what I wrote half his lifetime ago, after his 4th birthday, that still rings true for me today. So I will share … Continue reading Oldie but Goodie
As the days get shorter and the darkness much thicker, it sometimes feels like we are wading through one long night. The other day my son asked me what my favorite shade of blue was. Sidebar- I love his questions. He didn’t ask me what my favorite color was, but rather my favorite shade of blue. I just love those little moments where you can see and feel their swift minds whirring. So back to my favorite shade of blue. It’s twilight. You know that deep, resonant, silky, purply, dark blue when the sky moves from sunset to night. The … Continue reading One Long Night
As we approach Thanksgiving and the holiday season in the US, one of the things that gets tossed around is Gratitude. The Big G. If you weren’t feeling that grateful, or even worse, were feeling whiny and self-deprecating, this is the week and the season to just snap out of it! This is the season for good tidings, well wishes, thoughts, prayers, and plain ol’ cheer, right? Don’t get me wrong; I love the concept of cultivating gratitude. There is an intense and dark beauty in being a witness to and feeling appreciation for the ride-or-die friendships or miraculous children that we … Continue reading Is gratitude enough?
This past weekend I got to spend some quality time with my Framily. These people are my friend-family. My chosen family. People who have literally been with me through some of the darkest days of my life thus far, and will also walk alongside me through the ones that await (cuz there’s always more). So naturally we get into some murky stuff as we wade through the years and losses we have lived together. We wondered aloud: do you have any regrets? Would you do everything, as it has played out, over again? We all felt like we were perfectly … Continue reading Would You Do It All Over Again?
Recently, I did something that was really hard for me. In fact, I was completely unprepared for it. And- some might say- unqualified. They wouldn’t be wrong. But other people’s opinions have rarely stopped me from doing what I believe in, love, or am just plain ol’ fired up to do. #firestarter #changeagent I realized a few things in the process: I believe that I can do hard things In fact, I believe that I should do hard things And more importantly, I believe that I should do things that make me absolutely afraid and uncomfortable I am already 15,443 days old. … Continue reading Doing Hard Things Could Be Easy
Have you ever flashed back to crazy, possibly dangerous, times in your life and thought: “holy crap, I should have died!” You shudder. Maybe you look over at your kid, your partner, your cat, or even at your own hands. You feel your heart beating in your chest. You feel your breath slide in and roll out of your body. And in that swift and fantastic moment, you are so fully alive. Recently I wrote to my Muse-letter followers about being not-dead-today, and being fully alive. Digging deep and getting a little murky, as I love to do, while contemplating … Continue reading It Should Have Been Me…
An interesting article was published this past Summer on the very real, little-discussed changes that occur in the brain of a pregnant, postpartum, and/or caregiving person. There are a number of rapid and monumental changes that happen to the portion of our brains that control social-emotional processes or the “ability to atttribute emotions and mental states to other people- key to raising a human.” “The more brain change the mothers experienced, the higher they scored on measures of emotional attachment to their babies, a finding that echoed past studies. And the changes in most brain regions remained two years later.” Whoa. Two years?! … Continue reading Why Does My Brain Feel Like it is Leaking?