• One Year Later.

    Today is superhero day.

    I have a confession to make: while I wanted to do this Self-Isolation Spirit Week to help other families, a big motivation for creating it was selfish. I knew I would need a distraction this week… and there is a specific reason that I chose today as “Superhero” Day.

    I think this COVID-19 crisis is redefining who we see as superheroes. To me, first responders now include doctors, nurses, police officers, firefighters, grocery clerks, restaurant cooks, pharmacists, delivery drivers and so many others. These people are putting themselves at risk so that we don’t have to. If that’s not heroic, I don’t know what is.

    …but I also believe there’s another group of heroes out there fighting quietly. Another group wearing a different kind of mask. Another group of heroes quietly fighting to be brave for their families.

    They are everywhere. Some wear their masks in public, others keep their crests hidden close to their heart. They are your mothers, aunts, sisters, friends and cousins. It might be you.

    A year ago today, it was me. A year ago today I learned that I was having a miscarriage and endured the most traumatic experience of my life. My scars are healing, but they are still there. I needed this spirit week to distract me from the roller coaster of emotions I have been wrestling with for the last few days. So you see, spirit week was for you… but in so many ways, I needed it for me.

    I was really reluctant to talk about this right now with everything that’s going on in the world. I’ve been trying to keep things light and happy to lift others, but inside there has been a weight on my heart as this day approached. I wasn’t sure if talking about this would help anyone… and if it’s not helping, then what’s the point?

    Then, as always, the universe sent me a gentle reminder of why I started my Miscarriage Project in the first place. Over the past week, I’ve had several women reach out to me to ask if they could share my blog posts and my contact into with friends and family members who are living this right now. It was a reminder that miscarriages don’t stop just because we are in self-isolation. It was a reminder that there are women and families who are struggling and may not have the same access to their support communities because we are in self-isolation.

    I needed to take a break for a while because my own grief felt heavy… but it was the push I needed to talk and share and hopefully help someone else get through this.

    To be honest, I have been dreading this day. Being here has brought back so many feelings from where I was a year ago… first laying in agony through my ultrasound praying for my baby’s life, then later being brought to the hospital in an ambulance, praying for my own.

    When I wrote about my miscarriage last year, there were pieces that felt too fresh to write. I wasn’t ready. The piece I struggle most with were those hours in the middle of the night when I was alone. M stayed with me until almost 2am, then I sent him home to get some much needed rest so he could be there for our children in the morning. I knew they would need their Dad as they began to process this loss.

    In the quiet of my hospital room, I knew what was happening to my body wasn’t normal…. I knew I was bleeding too much. I could read it on the faces of my nurses whenever they came in, and when doctor #3 came in just after 3am to tell me to prepare for the possibility of a transfusion if things didn’t turn around in the next 60 minutes. I lay in the quiet darkness on my aching tailbone and wept as I prayed. I prayed that the bleeding would stop so that I could go home. I prayed that I would live through this and not leave my beautiful children without a mother. It was a dark moment for me and I have only ever felt fear like that one other time in my life.

    I’m still processing and working through it. For a while I was almost embarrassed that I’m not “over” it. To be honest, I don’t know if I ever will be. That trauma and the loss of our baby changed me. Every day is a little easier, but the scars are still there… and they always will be.

    And I’m learning to be okay with that.

    I don’t know why this happened to me, or why it happens to so many others. I do believe that it has helped me learn more empathy, more understanding. It’s made me want to spread kindness and light wherever I can, because I’ve learned firsthand that you just don’t know what others are carrying on their shoulders.

    So that is why I think these women and their partners are super heroes too. This weight of grief after a miscarriage is so heavy, but they carry it with grace. Most don’t ever let on that they are carrying this sorrow in a quiet corner of their heart.

    The weather forecast for this morning originally called for rain, but instead I woke up to glorious sunshine. I felt like it was a small sign reaffirming that the future is bright. A year ago, March 26th was the worst day of my life. It was full of anxiety, fear, grief and hurt.

    Today, as I stood at my window and watched how my backyard was bathed in sunlight, I felt peace.

  • I Went to the Store.

    I can’t say that I ever thought that me leaving the house to go to the grocery store would be newsworthy, but these are strange, strange times.

    I’ve been debating whether or not to go for three days. I haven’t been grocery shopping since March 10th, before everything went crazy. I have an online order coming from Walmart next Monday, but I’m nervous that I won’t be able to get all the things on my list. A friend told me yesterday that her order was altered with substitutions and several things were not included as they were out of stock by the time her order was ready for pick up. As we have a family full of food sensitivities, I need some pretty specific things to keep us going.

    Last night I decided I was just going to do it. I can’t believe how stressed I was about going grocery shopping, but I totally was. I had another white night and slept fitfully… but I got up super early and was there 10 minutes before the store opened for regular shopping.

    I wore gloves, left my purse in the van and all I took inside were my keys (zipped in my pocket), my list and one credit card. I was so grateful that the store was quiet and there were very few shoppers out. I was able to get everything on my list, plus a few bonus items I wasn’t expecting to find.

    Cooking for my two gluten-free children through this has been interesting. The largest bag of GF flour that I can find in the stores is 2.5lbs, and it costs $10 a bag. I hate that it’s SO much more expensive than regular flour, but I need it to do basically anything. I lucked out and found 2 bags this morning, and may have done an excited gasp in the store when I found it. I also couldn’t order any almond milk online, but found some at the store so I am a happy, happy mama.

    I was nervous about bringing things from outside into my home, so I did something that is maybe extreme but made me feel better. I brought a container of lysol wipes with me and left them in the back of my van. Instead of bagging my things in the store, I just put them all back in my cart after paying and went outside. I seriously wiped down every container or can before putting it into a bag.

    I can only imagine what I looked like to people in the parking lot–standing in the sleet, wiping down my items before putting them into my bags. It took a few minutes, but I felt better about bringing them into my home after.

    When I got home, I wiped down everything I had touched (purse handles, credit card, phone, steering wheel, door handles, etc), left my coat in the garage and brought everything in. Then I put everything I had worn into the wash and went straight to the shower.

    I feel absolutely ridiculous saying all this, but I really wanted to to EVERYTHING I could to prevent this virus from coming into my home. My home is my sanctuary. My safe space. I almost feel like I violated it by going out, but I know we’re going to need to go to the store from time to time.

    So I’m just trying to do everything I can to keep us healthy.

    Someday I know I’ll probably forget how afraid I was to go to the store and all the freaking precautions I had to take just to get some raspberries and almond milk. Someday I’ll walk casually through the doors, touch all the things and not be afraid to be in an aisle with a stranger.

    I’m really, really looking forward to that.

  • Schedulish*

    I haven’t been grocery shopping in almost two weeks.

    We’re still fine and have lots in our food storage, but I’m basically out of produce, eggs and almond milk. I’ve heard good things about the “click & collect” option, so I decided to give it a whirl. I’m trying to stay home as much as possible, so this seemed like good middle ground.

    It was actually kind of fun perusing through the virtual aisles to see what I could find. It took a while, but almost everything I was hoping to find was “in stock” (at the time) and I went to check out. I figured it would be a couple of days and wasn’t in a major rush.

    ….I was not expecting the earliest time slot to be next Monday, nine days from the point of order. Just to see, I peeked at another grocery store in town that also does click & collect. It was also a 8 – 9 day wait.

    *sigh*

    I put my order in, and decided to splurge on the delivery option because it just seemed easier. In 8 days from now I’ll be swimming in groceries, but I might have to get a little creative until then. I’m still debating trying to make one dash out to the store just to get essentials, but we’ll see.

    Today was “make a schedule to survive home learning” day! I’ve seen a billion of them floating around Facebook, but I wanted to make my own. I am someone that thrives on a routine, and apparently I’ve passed that trait onto my children. Everyone in this household is happier when we are running on some semblance of a schedule so I wanted to rough something out. This is what I’m looking at this week:

    Note that there was some serious white-out action under where I have “LUNCH TIME” written. This mama got a little too excited for “Quiet Time” and accidentally wrote it where lunch should be. I almost left it. Is lunch really that important? (I kid. Sort of.)

    After I finished making I also realized that the lines aren’t straight so I did some deep breathing and managed to talk myself out of remaking it. My perfectionist heart doesn’t love it but it’s colourful and DONE so there it is.

    Also, if you angle your photos just right it almost looks straight! Eh? Eh? Look at me, winning all over the place today.

    So, we’ll see how it goes. I may throw the whole thing out the window tomorrow if it’s a total disaster, but I’m going to try and do a little bit of learning with my kids each day. I also believe that this is different and overwhelming for kids too so I don’t want them to feel stressed about “homework” either.

    I bought some cute workbooks from Dollarama before the world fell apart, and I’ve been trying to collect some online resources for them as well. If we can help H along with his reading and S with her writing then I will be super happy with that. I’d also love to blend in some life skills with this– sewing, cooking, gardening, chores, etc. These are also really important things to learn at home too.

    I do have some very important advice for you though regarding homeschooling: do whatever works for you. If it’s too stressful, let it go. If following a really rigid schedule keeps you and yours happy and sane, run with it. If following a sometimes schedule blended with screen time works for you, then that’s magic. Do not compare your new normal with anyone else’s. Just… love your kids. Be with them when and how you can. If you are trying to balance working from home too, do whatever works for you.

    And that’s all I’m going to say about that. <3

  • Quiet Time is GLORIOUS.

    This is quickly becoming my favourite time of the day.

    We are on day four (I think) of afternoon quiet time and is absolutely glorious. The kids accepting that this is just happening whether they like it or not and are starting to embrace it.

    S hasn’t really wanted to play with her Barbies lately… but for the past two days she has completely immersed herself in Barbieland in her room and played for over an hour! H is in the basement building Lego superheroes and loving the space. P has every Star Wars toy we own dumped on the floor of his room and is living his best life playing with the millennium falcon. M is downstairs on his computer, and I’m at the kitchen table with mine… and a cup of hot chocolate.

    The house is quiet and peaceful. Life is good. <3

    Yesterday was a hard day for me. My emotions were all over the place and my anxiety level was through the roof. It stayed that way until bedtime, but I feel better today. I think everyone was a little off yesterday, even without one specific trigger. S is still struggling with big feelings at night before bed, and I had a strange experience with P last night too.

    Feeling all the feelings left me absolutely exhausted, so M and I decided to turn in early for once. We’ve both been staying up way too late these past two weeks–honestly, it’s just easier to pass out when I’m dead tired rather than lay awake with my brain running.

    Last night I was done by about 9:30. Neither of us could keep our eyes open, so we just crawled into bed. I was almost asleep when I heard P start crying on the monitor.

    This is not abnormal–every so often he has a bad dream and cries in his sleep. I usually go in and rub his back, or if he’s really upset, I’ll crawl in bed with him and the minute he can feel me he stops crying and goes back to sleep.

    Last night, I laid in his bed and held his tiny body as he sobbed and did all the things I normally do… but he wouldn’t settle. Eventually I got out, pulled him into my arms and rocked him like I did when he was a baby. I walked back and forth across his dark room and felt his body start to relax. He is definitely a little bigger than the last time we walked like that, but it took me right back to the many, many nights I spent walking that track on his floor. He pressed his cheek against mine and within a few minutes he was sleeping peacefully.

    Kids are so perceptive and intuitive… I’m sure my sweet almost 4 year old tapped into the mess of emotions that I was yesterday and brought it into his sleep. I’m just glad that a big hug helped him settle and that he seems right as rain today.

    Today I’m trying to be gentle both with my own feelings, but also with theirs. We are taking it suuuuuper easy and playing toys and watching movies and being together. So far so good. <3

  • 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

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