• Random

    I cried today.

    Considering this is day 9 of our self-isolation, I figure that’s doing pretty well. I think I’ve just been carrying all of my emotions so tightly… my stress and anxiety have been at an all-time high. Normally I’m a stress-eater, but I’m actually losing weight, which is strange and unusual for me.

    It’s actually been a really good day. P slept in which left me with a easy, slow morning to shower at my own leisure, clean the bathroom and fold laundry before he rolled out of bed. The kids and I then had a blast painting the rocks we collected yesterday. They got a bit of outside time in before the rain, then we curled up with Mighty Pups for a “picnic lunch”.

    Quiet time was another success today, so I found myself on my computer scrolling Facebook for a few minutes. A colleague from work posted a video of one of my favourite songs, so I turned it on to listen. It was a rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone… and it was beautiful. As I listened to the lyrics they felt so poignant for this strange time we’re living in and it cracked something open in my heart.

    I wept through the entire song.

    I cried because even thought today was a good day, this is scary and everything feels so uncertain… but as my heart opened I also felt an overwhelming sense of peace. The lyrics are so simple, but speak to such a powerful message that I really needed today:

    When you walk through a storm
    Hold your head up high
    And don’t be afraid of the dark.
    At the end of a storm
    There’s a golden sky
    And the sweet silver song of a lark.
    Walk on through the wind,
    Walk on through the rain,
    Though your dreams be tossed and blown…
    Walk on, walk on
    With hope in your heart
    And you’ll never walk alone!

    You’ll never walk alone.

    It’s sunny and beautiful outside, but I also feel like I’m walking through a powerful, unseen storm. It’s overwhelming sometimes. I can’t quite wrap my head around how much life has changed in the last seven days.

    Today I was gently reminded that even though I may be afraid, I’m not alone. This will pass. The storm will end. There is hope.

    And if I just keep walking on in faith, with hope in my heart, I know I won’t be alone.

    It was everything I needed to be reminded of today. Just… listen. <3

  • Random

    I Picked a Fight*

    P decided that this would be a really good time to stop napping.

    I knew it was coming, but believe me, I was not consulted on this decision and am not in love with his timing. We are making the best of it, but he’s a bit of a bear by bedtime because he’s just totally exhausted.

    Last night was not my best night.

    All the kids were tired and signs of cabin fever were peeking through their brave facades. They were whiny and bickered non-stop, and basically all I could do to make it stop was put the TV on.

    (So they watched a loooooot of movies yesterday.)

    By bedtime everyone was fried. My fuse was especially short, and when P started melting down at bedtime I was much more “yelly” than I care to be. He decided he wanted to take this box set of early readers to bed with him, but they are already kind of falling apart and he has a bad habit of ripping books, so I put my foot down.

    He lost. his. mind.

    Really, I probably could have just let him take the box to bed and been done with it… but after an entire day of him not listening or questioning every single thing I asked him to do (or not do) I was so done. I decided to take a stand and be firm… but really I just wanted to win. Is that bad? (ha)

    In hindsight, bedtime is not the best time to pick a fight with an already overtired and obstinate kid. But once I said no I knew I couldn’t back down and we went head to head.

    I’ve always categorized kid meltdowns in “stages”, with Stage 5 being the most meltiest of meltdowns. That’s the hitting-kicking-yelling-crying-on-the-floor-I-don’t-care-who-sees-the-world-has-ended tantrum.

    Last night P leveled up. I swear he took us to new heights and hit at least a level 7. He was SO mad that I wouldn’t give in and scream-cried until he had nothing left. I couldn’t just leave him in his room because he shares with H and H was trying to sleep, so I stayed with him and held him. When the screaming dulled to crying, I crawled into bed with him and held him there.

    Believe me, holding my tantruming kid after the world’s longest day was the last place I thought I wanted to be, but I think it was what we both needed. He eventually calmed down and burrowed in as close as he could get (while still saying, “I want the Blaze books, Mommy!” every 60 seconds or so). He wore himself out and passed out a few minutes later.

    It was… a lot. But I’m glad we ended in a hug instead of at war where we started. I got some much needed quiet time last night, and felt much better this morning.

    We haven’t been on any type of “schedule” yet as I know the kids’ whole world has been turned upside down… and it IS still March Break. So, we are “March Break-ing”. Taking it easy, watching movies, playing outside and doing crafts.

    That being said, I decided to try something for our collective sanity today. Just after lunch, we went into “quiet time” mode. I seriously separated everyone. M is working at his desk, H is down playing Lego, S is in her room playing toys, P is in his room playing with his Star Wars toys and I am secluded in my kitchen. I don’t know how long this will last, but it is GLORIOUS. I told them all we’d be on our own for an hour, then come back and play together. It’s been 25 minutes and it seems to be working.

    This might be the single greatest accomplishment of my life.

    (I’m also totally eating a secret microwave s’more to celebrate.)

    I think it’s important to carve out a bit of time each day to be alone while we’re in this strange period of self-isolation. Part of me felt mean for enforcing it, but I really do think it will be good for everyone to just have a minute to breathe. We have lots of together time… so this is okay too.

    After all, a recharged mom is a much less yelly mom. <3

  • Random

    Self-Isolation: Day 7

    So, I haven’t written in a while.

    At first it was feeling a little weighed down as I approach the one-year mark from my miscarriage, then, you know, this whole corona virus thing felt like it came out of nowhere and exploded. Seriously–think back to a week ago. What were you doing?

    Last Wednesday I was enjoying an amazing day off work sans kids. I cleaned my house, went thrifting, got some groceries and relaxed. That feels like a LIFETIME ago.

    I feel like I have just been a giant ball of stress since last Wednesday night. After my lovely alone day, I went to bed feeling tired but fine. We put the kids to bed, watched some TV then crawled into bed a little after 10pm. I woke up at midnight and knew something was off. My stomach wasn’t right and I could feel a fever starting.

    So, naturally, I panicked.

    I felt unwell and stressed and threw up, then spent hours googling Coronavirus symptoms. I immediately left the bed to be away from M, and was awake for most of the night.

    It was the whitest of white nights.

    As a precaution, I kept all the kids home from school the next day and M worked from home. I felt a little better in the morning, but the low fever persisted and I still didn’t feel right.

    As all the major announcements began rolling out Thursday and I sat at home with my fever, my anxiety was SO high. As a supply teacher, I had worked in multiple different schools in the previous 7 days. My kids had been at school around tons of other kids. I had been out at other schools.

    Did I have it?

    So, there was that, then my parents and three of my siblings were on a trip to Florida. As things felt like they were unraveling here and talk of closing the border increased my stress felt palpable.

    It’s official: I am a worrier. Like, I could gold medal in it. I have skills.

    Then, on Thursday afternoon, I had a prearranged phone meeting with S’s teacher. We talked about why I’d kept the kids home, and she told me she had been sick with something three days earlier and noticed it seemed to be running through the class. Her symptoms were IDENTICAL to what I was experiencing and I immediately felt so. much. better. She told me that she felt almost normal after 48 hours, and I’m happy to say my bout of whatever that was followed the same course.

    I’ve been fever free for 4 days now with no other symptoms, and my family is all back in Canada now so I feel much better. Last night I actually slept through the night for the first time in days. I’ve still been staying up way too late and the news still freaks me right now, but I feel like I’m settling into our new “normal”.

    And I know I need to start writing again to process everything. So, here I am.

    I want to try and write something everyday. This is going to be something we will read about in history books someday, and we are currently living in it. I want to record what it’s like being home in self-isolation with the kids. How I’m staying connected with friends and family. What TV shows I’m watching to stay sane. All the good things. You know.

    I hope you’re doing okay wherever you are. <3

  • Random

    What am I supposed to learn from this?

    It has been a strange few months for me.

    I went from working like crazy last spring to a little work here and there… and then now there has been almost nothing since mid-December. I really didn’t realize how much having part-time availability on set days would impact my job. It was never an issue before, but since changes were made to the way calls are assigned, it has definitely been an added challenge.

    Exams and the current job action hasn’t exactly helped either.

    I’m trying not to stress about it, but it’s hard. I don’t think I realized how much of my self-worth I had wrapped up in my career. I know it’s a slow time of year and I shouldn’t take things personally… but not getting calls to work has left me with a lot of time to think. I think I’m a good teacher. Not the best, but I love my job and the kids that I teach. I love the hustle and bustle of high school. I love the energy and non-stop laughter with my colleagues. I love that I get to use my brain and I am learning as much as I teach.

    Mostly, I am trying to get over my pride and accept that I’m not any secretary’s go-to teacher anymore. And that’s okay. I had a good run, and there are just too many other great teachers out there now… and that’s a good thing.

    So I’m trying to take a step back and look at this a different way. The question that keeps coming to my mind is: What am I supposed to learn from this?

    When I left work last June I was a bit of a shell. I had mastered how to plaster a smile on my face, keep my chin up and get the work done. In truth, I was a hot mess after my miscarriage and losing Elise so quickly after. I knew deep down that I needed to step back. I needed time.

    …I just didn’t really expect this much time.

    I’m really grateful that M has a good job and we learned how to live on one income while I was on my extended maternity leave. It’s definitely easier with two, but we aren’t struggling.

    It’s more to do with the fact that I have P in daycare three days a week whether I work or not. I set aside those days as “work days”… so I feel like I should be working when he’s not here. I want to be working on those days. Instead I’ve found myself alone for extended periods for the first time in… years. Honestly. I haven’t had this much time to myself in almost eight years.

    And it’s like I’m relearning how to be on my own.

    So, what am I supposed to learn from this? Why is this happening? What am I supposed to take away from this unexpected time on my own?

    You know I’ve jokingly talked a little bit about about “the universe” guiding me here or there, or placing things, people or opportunities on my path. Now, I feel like the universe is trying to tell me I still have some growing to do. I’ve spent most of the last eight years caring for and looking after other people.

    Maybe I’ve been given this time to relearn how to look after myself. For the first time in a long time I’ve had time to just sit in solitude and let my mind wander. To think deeply about things. To not feel like my brain is an internet browser with too many tabs open and pop-ups flying all over. It made me remember that I used to love finding a quiet place to think. To reflect. To just… be.

    I’ve started running again. I’m eating better than I have in ages. Who knew it was so much easier to eat well when you actually have time to prepare good food?

    I’m writing more often. I’ve learned that it’s not only something I love, but something I need. It’s my therapy. It’s how I process big feelings. It’s how I de-stress.

    I’m learning how to do things around the house that I normally would have just relied on M to do for me. I’m patching walls, painting, sanding and caulking. It feels good to be more involved with the care of our home aside from regular cleaning.

    I think I’m learning a little humility. Not getting calls to work has really taken me down a peg. When I decided to supply again I think I was really cocky about it. I have 10 years of experience and two specialists! Of course I’ll get all the calls, right? I went in with an attitude of being selective of where I wanted to work… instead of just being grateful for the work I was being offered. I forgot what it was like to struggle for jobs. I forgot that there are hundreds of other teachers who are also struggling for jobs who are just as good at this job as I am. I don’t say that to minimize what I do, but rather to recognize that there are also a lot of other really qualified and excellent teachers out there. And I can’t expect to come ahead of them.

    I’m learning that I don’t have to define myself by my career. When someone new asks me something about myself, I almost always default to telling them that I’m a teacher. I’m proud of it! I worked hard to be here.

    …but it’s not the only thing I’m proud of. Sometimes it’s hard to recognize those other things, but maybe that’s why the universe is shoving this time down my throat. I can be grateful for it, even if it’s not what I necessarily wanted.

    So, here I am. Learning. Not fully understanding why this year has been the way it has, but still trying to just take it one day at a time.

  • Random

    What I Wish I’d Known Before My Miscarriage*

    When I had my miscarriage last spring, I felt so… lost. Of course I had a basic understanding of what a miscarriage was, it was quickly discussed at some point in each of my previous pregnancies. But when I actually lived it, I realized that aside from a textbook definition, I really had no idea what was going on with my body or my emotions. There was SO much that I didn’t know or didn’t feel was plainly communicated to me by any of the medical professionals I saw in those first few hours.

    The not knowing what would or could happen as I miscarried was really hard. Amidst the emotional devastation of losing the baby we had hoped for, prayed for, planned for came a million questions about what was happening. Looking back now, there were so many things I wish I had known before my miscarriage. Things that would have helped me better prepare for what would happen to my body. Things that are whispered between women and partners who have been through it. Things that would have helped me cope in the days and weeks and months afterward.

    Things that would have made me feel so much less alone as I went through it.

    I read somewhere that a miscarriage is often a lonely, silent grief. I didn’t understand that at the time…

    …but I do now.

    Two weeks ago I posted a question about things I wish I had known and hoped a few women might respond with their own thoughts. My email quickly began filling up and within a few days I had sixty raw, honest answers of what each person wished they had known before their miscarriage(s). I asked,

    What was something you wish you had known or didn’t feel properly prepared for before having a miscarriage?

    Today, the “I” in my title is so much more than my own words. This is a collective response from the things each of these brave women anonymously shared with me. I know this isn’t the experience for all, but I believe it is the experience of many. These are the things that just aren’t spoken about enough.

    This is from all of us.

    Before My Miscarriage…

    I wish I had known how long the physical effects can take to diminish. It is often described as being “like a heavy period”, and for some, it is. For others it is so physically painful and can take weeks or months for symptoms to stop. The recovery is often a long road.

    I wish I had known how actively I would have to seek out support for myself after it happened. There was nothing offered to me. I wish that I had had the opportunity to speak with someone sooner.

    I wish I had known that I would blame myself for it. That I would feel like a failure. That I would feel so broken. That I would feel like I had done something wrong when in fact I had not… and there was nothing that I could have done differently.

    I wish I had known about the lack of understanding about miscarriages in both society in general and the medical field. It’s difficult it is to process the grief of a miscarriage while dealing with the rapid changes in hormones associated with it. There is so much out there about post partum depression and the effects of it, but so little recognition of the same with a miscarriage. I was not prepared for the pressure to “minimize” my loss as doctors and friends commented about how early on it was, or how common it is.

    I wish I had known how differently men and women process this loss. It can be hard to be on the same page through your grief.

    I wish I had known how disappointed I would be with the care I received at the hospital and ultrasound clinic. I wasn’t offered options and was given little information about what would happen. The attitude of the doctors I saw left me feeling lonely and frustrated… as if these medical issues are not worthy of attention and treatment. I didn’t know that I would be expected to stay home and pass the baby alone.

    I wish I had known how common it actually is. Having never had a single friend or family member who had had a miscarriage I was absolutely not expecting to have my pregnancy end. I was emotionally devastated. Not once did I think that after I fell pregnant that I would lose my children. Had I known the full possibilities, I might prepared myself better for the possibility of trauma that comes from pregnancy loss. I had no idea how many women in my life had been through this until I started sharing. It helped tremendously.

    These last few answers were the common thread through most of the responses I received. Each one is the result of so many voices, each speaking to the same things they wish they had known. Each sharing so that maybe someone else who experiences a miscarriage might feel a a little more prepared. A little less scared.

    A little less alone.

    I wish I had known about the roller coaster of emotions that can come with a miscarriage. Grief. Sadness. Anger. Fear. Anxiety. I wish I had known that the pain is both physical and emotional. I had no idea the toll it would take on my mental health. I wish I had known how empty I would feel… and how long that would last.

    I really wish I had known what the actual physical process would be. I felt so ill prepared for what was happening to my body–how much blood I would lose, how long I would bleed for, that I would experience actual contractions, that my water would break. I wish I had known about passing huge clots and other tissue. I wish I had known that not all miscarriages happen “easily” or naturally and I would need a medical intervention. I did not know how to prepare for a miscarriage because I had no idea that it meant more than bleeding.

    I wish I had known how deep the grief is. I wish I had been more prepared for the weight of losing someone you made plans for. I wish I had known that it’s okay to feel the depth of your loss and hurt regardless of when your pregnancy ends. I was not prepared for the lack of understanding for my grief. I felt like people wanted to find a reason for why it happened, to pin the miscarriage on something (stress, too much anxiety, working too much, not exercising, not eating well enough, my size, etc.) rather than to just simply acknowledge that I had had a loss. I wish I had known that it’s okay to grieve, and that my grief might not look or feel or be the same as someone else’s.

    I wish I had known how alone I would feel. Even though I had a good support system, it felt like no one truly understood how I felt (physically and emotionally) or what I was going through. I wasn’t prepared to be the only one in my family who has experienced a miscarriage. I was not prepared for how isolated I would feel and how many people would say ‘these things happen’. It’s true that they do, but it didn’t make the pain and grief that I felt disappear. It made me feel guilty that I still felt so sad. I wish I had known there there is no physical closure. No gravestone. I was not prepared for the hidden, uncharted pain I felt… or how fragile I would feel afterward. I needed a community. People who could just come and let me talk and say all the hard things without judgment.

    I wish I had known that there are other women in my exact situation going through it that I can talk to.

    You are not alone.

    Miscarriage is such a lonely grief… but I am writing this because I want you to know that you are not alone. This was not your fault. You are strong. You are loved.

    You are enough.

    We are with you.

    I don’t know if you can ever really “prepare” for a miscarriage… but my hope is that in sharing this, maybe someone else who finds themselves in my shoes might take comfort in knowing that they are not alone. That other women have felt this pain and fear and grief. That other women are standing up behind you. Supporting you. Understanding what you’re going through… because we have also been through it.

    This is a different kind of “Me Too” moment… one that I hoped I’d never be apart of. But as I find myself here now, I’ve realized that standing up and saying, “Me Too” is one of the most important things I can do.

    I know that not everyone is ready to tell their story… this grief is deep and quiet and often steeped in pain.

    …but I hope that maybe I can be a voice for others who aren’t ready to speak out yet. That maybe here I can help others tell their stories and heal just a little. Even through the sadness of the responses I read, there was so much strength. I believe that we can draw from that strength and support one another.

    There is so much that I wish I had known before my miscarriage… but I can’t change that now. What I can do is try to be the person I needed as I went through it.

    So, here I am.

    Let’s talk about it. ❤️

    The second series of questions for this project is now live. To participate anonymously, please click the link below.

    >> Supporting Women and Partners Through Miscarriage – Part II <<

    Thank you for sharing with me. Let’s bring this out of the darkness and into the light.

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