When You Can’t Try Anymore: Finding Peace With Ending the Journey
Guest Post by Jill
Last night I dreamt I was lost. I was sitting in a train station in Philadelphia but I wanted to go somewhere else. When I looked for my train ticket, it was gone. And my wallet was gone, replaced by some relic that must have been what my slumbering brain thought was the wallet of my youth. Pink, patterned and full of random trinkets from the early nineties.
Other passengers looked at me with a sad, concerned face. “What are you looking for?”
My wallet. My phone. My identity. How will I ever get home?
The words never escaped my lips, and as I looked up, everyone was staring at my feet. Apparently, I had lost my shoes too. Those had been replaced with ice skates.
Now I was sitting alone in a train station in a strange city with no ability to call someone, pay for anything, go anywhere. And, just for good measure in my crazy dreamland, I couldn’t even walk without stumbling.
It doesn’t surprise me that I had this dream the day after my fourth, and last, miscarriage. Laying on an ultrasound table as the tech searches desperately for signs of life in my babies is something I have done over and over and over and over. And it is just as paralyzing the last time as it is the very first time. Now I just know the look in their eyes, and the way their hands shake a little bit, and the way my husband’s eyes start to mist over as he begins the realization. Again.
You feel lost. Your voice hides away at the base of your throat. Slowly, the wet blanket of understanding and sorrow just descends upon your body. It’s over. And there is no way to run away from it. You might as well be wearing ice skates.
Yesterday I experienced my last hopeful, then dreadful, ultrasound experience. As my husband and I walked toward the car in the familiar fog, we both knew without even speaking to one another that we had been defeated by loss. That the hope, the hope that we both grasped with both hands and prayed furiously for, was spent. And while there is a small sliver of me who wants to fight, who wants to scream to the universe that I will win and get one last healthy take home baby, I know that for the sake of my living family that it isn’t the right choice for us. That fighter is the stubborn Taurus in me, not the loving mother who knows that more pregnancies would just mean more anxiety and fear. I know that the sadness I carry alongside the hope in my heart is not good for the mother in me. It is not good for my living children.
But I still wonder, how does a family decide that they are no longer willing to be vulnerable to loss? I read so many articles with happy endings, endings that have sweet newborns wrapped in hospital blankets, first cries and first smiles. I am not going to have that ending. How do I come to terms with that? Is it okay to even write about this when my ending is miscarriage and not life? Does my walking away from a third child mean I am walking away from my faith, that I am not strong enough?
No. For me, coming to the realization that moving forward as a family of four is strength. I am ready to close this chapter of my life. A chapter that has been bittersweet; full of hope, dreams, and life, balanced by anxiety, sadness, and death. I have learned a lot about myself. I am more compassionate, I am empathic, I do not take one solitary moment with my children for granted because I know how miraculous they are. I also know that their lives are not promised to me forever, and that every single day with them is a gift. I have a longing and a need to move forward, to donate all of the baby gear we have lugged around on several Navy moves, and just savor and enjoy the family I have. No more wondering “will I use this crib again?” No more thinking about vacations and wondering if I would be pregnant or have a newborn. Our family is complete and we will live life to the fullest. I am at peace.
You can read more about Jill here…