Denial Keeps Me Stuck [Part 1]

Wrestling…this is what I have been up to lately. Wrestling with feelings of confusion, thoughts, my grief….my denial.

I have been stuck in my writing and wondered why.

With much gratitude, I am aware that I am in this strange place. I believe that my stuckness has been mostly around my grief and denying my feelings. Let me explain…

Recently, I felt a nudge to re-post my miscarriage stories but I kept putting it off. I avoided re-publishing these stories because I was afraid of revisiting my grief feelings. Fearful to re-experience the pain. Afraid to sit in the discomfort of my emotions. What might happen, if I go there… again?

Can you relate? Do you fear sitting with uncomfortable emotions?

You might think by now, especially as a therapist, I would understand that avoiding my feelings only brings more pain. So I decided to face that fear and re-post my stories. I was able to remember my sweet, sweet kiddos, Sage, Cruz, and Zane, who are with me always in spirit. And it was good to remember. Good to grieve my losses some more. I chose to sit with the pain…again. And I am not only ok, but more free for doing so. I feel lighter, less stuck, more connected to the world around me again. I am letting go of the denial.

OH how I miss my kiddos and grateful for the ones who are with me face to face.

You see, I have 5 children dearly LOVED…Remy, Sage, Cruz, Zane, and Hugh. I am overwhelmed with an indescribable love and connection for and to them. So deep words lack the ability to truly explain.

What pain are you ignoring? Feelings you are denying? What is eating away at you that needs to come out.

Until the next story…Bethie

My Rainbow Baby

After years of loss, 3 miscarriages, foster parenting not working out….

We were given by GOD himself a second biological child. We had lost all hope, had given our dreams up of another child, and yet here he is, Hugh Callulm Barrington born January 23, 2019. His name means, Wise Mind. I had completely given up. NO hope. I had laid it down, gave all the baby items away. I LET GO in every sense of the word. I was beginning to experience a peace passing all my understanding and an acceptance that we would have only one biological child.

My RAINBOW Baby. He is really here… breathing, eating, smiling, pooping, sleeping. He is here. I can’t pinch myself enough. It is real. I am still in shock. What a gift and blessing he is as is my daughter, Remy. Both of my kids bring me such JOY!

I am truly grateful for this gift. This new season. WOW, I don’t really have the words.

Until the next story…Bethie

Miscarriage: My 3rd Story

Today, I remember my 3rd child lost in miscarriage, Zane Barrington. My three children who are not here with me will always be remembered. I will never forget them. This post was originally published on March 30, 2016 and remembered today April 23, 2019…

Yes, it is true. I am here again. SHOCK. DISBELIEF.

A third miscarriage in two years. It feels like TOO MUCH to handle. 

Here is an excerpt from my journal: 

“Sunday, Sept 27, 2015, 3:55pm…It is happening again…our now 3rd miscarriage. I am 1:3 with having children, not a good ratio when I desperately want more biological children. It SUCKS! And that does not even describe it. I am tired and have low energy. I feel unhealthy and sick. I am tired of going to the doctor. Having miscarriages is zapping, draining, and disruptive to my life. My confidence goes away. It becomes extremely difficult to make even the smallest decisions like where to go out to eat or what ice cream flavor I want….

I truly and deeply love my daughter, Remy, and understand what a miracle she is! But with each miscarriage for at least a month or two I become unavailable to her both physically and emotionally as well as Adam, my husband. It is not fair to them to be so checked out in my mind because of this grief. It just isn’t!

I am really unsure at this point if I ever want to get pregnant again, honestly. It is such a scary, disappointing thing….Oh how I would love to find myself again whatever that means.” [End of journal entry]

This time after 6 weeks of pregnancy, I faced yet another loss. Another child of mine is gone.  

The name we chose this time: Zane, meaning God’s gracious beautiful gift. This name also starts with ‘Z’ the last letter of the alphabet hoping this will be our last and final miscarriage. 

All of my children are a gift, blessing, and miracle. Really each life is a miracle. It amazes me how so many little and big details have to align for any of us to be here living on earth. 

We are ALL walking miracles. 

This time, my grief looked different. This time, I avoided it at first. DENIAL. I kept myself busy with my routine, my work, my family. I was busy but not really mentally present with others. I was not yet ready to deal with this loss. 

My process was slow at first. I know I was avoiding, but the weight of losing three (3) children felt like too much to even begin to think about.

So after a few weeks of avoiding, I received an insulting email regarding how I am professionally. I was devastated. After receiving the email, I cried for 2 hours non-stop that night. My tears were telling me that it was not about the email, but about my loss. That email jumpstarted my grieving process and I am now grateful for that email. 

I needed to face my pain head on and I did from that point forward. I could not go on like I was anymore. 

I knew I would be writing about my miscarriage which allows my grief process to flow.  

Since October 2015, I have really made it a priority to grieve as needed. Sometimes that means remembering my children and crying because I miss them. Sometimes that means take a nap. Sometimes that means not going to a baby shower. I allow myself to feel whatever feelings may come up and I focus on my gratitude. These things have helped me among all of this chaos, confusion, and overwhelm.  

When feelings come up, I work toward being curious about them rather judgmental.

What about you? In your loss, what feelings do you notice? Are you judging yourself? Are you beating yourself up? Are you denying a true part of you? 

It has been 6 months since our last miscarriage and I notice that it is easier to talk about. However, we never forget. Life is never the same. We never see life through the same lenses after loss.

Please know that it is okay to sleep, rest, cry, be alone some while you grieve. Others may be scared of these feelings and behaviors, but these are all things we need to do in our grief. Our bodies must do this in order for us to move forward in life.

Be so gentle with yourself.

Take care and take time to be rather than get caught up in the doing.

Until next time… Bethie

Miscarriage: My 2nd Story

Today I remember Cruz Barrington whom we lost in May of 2015 at 8 weeks of gestation. Here is a post I originally published on July 30, 2015 and remembering today April 22, 2019…

I am here again in this grief, this pain, this SOUL-WRENCHING agony. It was not supposed to be this way….AGAIN. The suffering, the anguish, it is often too deep to describe in words and to expansive to explain.

This time, it was supposed to be different. I was hopeful. I was placing my trust in God as best as I knew how. I even tried medication this time. We had family and friends praying fervently in faith that this outcome would be different.

But it wasn’t!

After 8 weeks gestation, it happened again. We had the same outcome. The same pain as the year before.

Why? What happened? Why did this happen again? Why me? Give me just one decent reason, just one! There are so many questions and few, if any, answers.

Again… It has happened again!

Another miscarriage. Another life inside of me is gone. My dreams, my hopes and expectations for this child are no more. My heart is broken once again. Sadness. Confusion. Anger. Despair. Where is God’s good plan for me in this now second miscarriage in 2 years? There was a longing in my soul that was not fulfilled, yet again. The hurt is so deep and wide and high that words are a poor description to give an account of the pain.

WHAT NEXT?

HOW DOES ONE MOVE FORWARD?

I continue to grieve. It will be another process for me just like last time. Part of my consolation is that I do feel stronger this time around having already experienced the loss of one child in miscarriage earlier last year. In a way, I know what to expect in my grieving. I have experience with it.

While I have no sufficient answers, I have found some understanding through the lens of the Parable of the Sower found in the Bible.

  1. Some seeds fell along the path, where the birds came and ate it up right away. In this metaphor, it could mean either an unfertilzed egg or a fertilized egg that never was implanted.

  2. Some seeds fell along rocky places, where there was not much soil, so the seed sprang up quickly, but since the soil was shallow, when the sun came, it scorched the seed and the seed withered up ending its short life. I think of this as like a miscarriage.

  3. Some seeds fell among thorns and began to grow strong but the thorns choked those seeds in the end. In this metaphor, it reminds me of a stillbirth.

  4. Finally, some seeds fell on healthy, deep soil, producing multiple crops. In this metaphor, our children live to see life on earth with us. A full-term pregnancy has ended with a healthy born child.

These are four possible outcomes of the seeds. It would be wonderful if we lived in a perfect world in which all seeds fell on good soil and produced much crop, but in the imperfect world we live our seeds, our little children, may fall along other paths.

It is so hard and hurts so painfully deep sometimes that it takes my breath away!

It has also helped once again to name our child. We chose the name, Cruz, this time. Sage and Cruz are no longer with us. I often wonder what they would have looked like, smelled like, and sounded like. What would have been their hair color? What would their personality have been like? All the great things they would have accomplished in their lives here on earth, I can only imagine.

But in all of this I hold onto a belief that there is a greater purpose in their death, a bigger picture to all of this. Now I can only see in part, but later I will see the complete picture. There has to be a bigger plan here. There has to be!

My faith and spirituality helps give me understanding and support through this loss.

Reading books on miscarriage have also helped me not feel so alone in my grief. I just finished reading Empty Arms by Pam Vredevelt which does an excellent job of describing what the experience of miscarriage and stillbirth is like and how to move forward.

Watching and hearing from other moms who have lost children in miscarriage or stillbirth also helps ease the pain. It is more common than we realize.

Moms, I just hurt for you. You are not alone. I share in your pain and your grief. 

I hope you have found some comfort and hope here in my second story. Please, give yourself an unlimited amount of permission to grieve and feel your feelings.

Until the next story…Bethie

6 Ways to Grieve Your Miscarriage or Stillbirth

Today is Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019. I am choosing to remember several deceased loved ones today and over the next several days. One being my sweet grandmother, Mama Kathlyn (whom I have been writing about recently) as well as my three children whom are with JESUS…Sage, Cruz, and Zane Barrington. My three children, lost in miscarriage, will never be forgotten. I know one day I will see them again and get to play with them, hug them, swing with them and just be with them. They wait for me knowing that I have two kiddos here on earth to care for between now and then.

So here is a post from January 11, 2015…. in rememberence of Sage…

It was 1 year ago today, that I birthed our child, Sage Barrington, whom my husband, daughter, and I lost in a miscarriage after 10 weeks gestation. Not only is there physical pain in a miscarriage or stillbirth, but there is an indescribable emotional pain that can last months or even years later [it brings tears just re-reading this now in 2019]. I miss Sage dearly. His maybe her birthday would have been in July 2014. He or she would be almost 5 years old this summer. Sometimes I daydream about what he/she would look like now. Our life would look so different than it does. Sage is always and forever in my heart.

Miscarriage and stillbirths are not often talked about. Unfortunately, there is a cultural stigma against talking about them . It can be difficult to understand how to support those who have experienced a loss of this kind. It could be because of the painful comments that are received like, "well there was probably something wrong with your child" or "he/she was not strong enough to survive." or “at least you have a healthy daughter.” While this may or may not be true, it is JUST NOT HELPFUL to hear. Implying that our children were sick or deformed and therefore were not able to survive only adds to the emotional pain of our grief. I know that these comments are intended to be kind and caring, but the truth is that these comments can compound the pain of our loss.

Throughout my year of grieving, I learned some very helpful tools. I want to share with you now what works and can help you FEEL BETTER:

SEEK SUPPORT. Find safe people to share your story with. Do not go through your grief alone. Not everyone in your family or circle of friends is safe, but safe people do exist. You may need to go see a professional, spiritual mentor, best friend, or partner.

JOURNAL. Write down you thoughts, feelings, experiences, ideas, things that help you, and things that do not help. Whatever comes to your mind as in freely associating, write it down. Writing these things down frees up space in your mind to think more clearly and focus on your tasks at hand (like being able to go back to work and stay focused). It can also help you organize your thoughts and feelings as well as gain new personal insights.

NAME YOUR CHILD. I encourage you to name your child just as you would if your child had lived. It has been incredibly healing for me in my personal journey to name our lost child. We named him, Sage, because he was so spiritually 'wise' beyond his years that he wanted to skip earth and go straight to heaven. 

IDENTIFY THE LIES. There are most likely some lies that have come from your loss. You can do this on your own or with a trusted person. With the help of my therapist, I realized that I had come to believe many lies about myself around feeling punished and undeserving because of the miscarriage. It was not until I began to think through and write down the lies that I was able to replace them with true beliefs which helped me to continue to heal from the miscarriage.

HAVE A CEREMONY. Yes, have a funeral service or burial ceremony of some sort for your named child. This will look different for everyone. Having a ceremony helps bring some closure. My husband and I on Sage’s due date decided to write letters to him and read them aloud to each other. We lit candles and had the ceremony in our bathroom because this is where I birthed Sage. We cried, we laughed, we healed all the more because of this ceremony. I encourage you to have a ceremony of your creation that will help you move forward.

CRY. Give yourself so much permission and freedom to cry as you need to. If you are back at work or out in public, take a bathroom break and go cry. Call up a friend and cry with them on the phone. I found that the more I cried and allowed myself this freedom, the stronger and better I felt to move forward with my day. My daughter has seen me cry many times over the last year. Each time I cry about Sage and she sees me, I explain to her why I am crying. She and I have talked many times about what my tears mean. I will occasionally ask her, "Remy, where is Sage?" And she replies in her 2 year old wisdom, with a big smile on her face "with Jesus." And then I cry some more. Crying is NOT a sign of weakness. It is the exact opposite, a sign of strength and healing.

If you have experienced a miscarriage or stillbirth, you have been through a deeply emotional and painful event. It can be hard to even describe with words. I am truly sorry for your loss. I grieve and hurt with you.

Is it time to give yourself permission to grieve?

Until the next story…Bethie