From the Chasm

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I am in a chasm right now.  I have been sinking into it for months.

It began, I believed, by an inappropriate growing of my own expectations of others.  After all, issues like self-righteousness are things we are all vulnerable to.

I began facing this sliding with a deep intention to check my heart for any festering expectation of others I might find there, even as simple and rational as the expectation might be, and to actively work on surrendering such distraction from the heart of love I want to embody.

This worked.  I have been able to find some things in my heart that I haven’t liked to see.  But I don’t think they were very disproportionate or in any way over exaggerated.  I’m just simply confessing here that I am just a real person, with a real humanitarian hope and simple faith in the goodness of others.

What I’m saying, is that each of us, we want to feel that our efforts are making a difference, and we start to gauge that expectation against standards we begin to espouse about the status quo or those who may impact it.

So, self checks are really important to our maturity and to our discernment.

This intentional inspecting of my motives or expectations of others helped me to even further deepen my humility, and for that I am so thankful.  One thing I know that we all need, as anyone who steps into the sacred space of birth and of death needs, is humility.  I tend to nearly fully believe we could never have enough of it.

But this process, as enlightening and enriching as it was, still, was insufficient.

Somewhere, still, my heart was still growing more and more heavy.  More weary.  More, forlorn.

Some sort of a parasite had secretly found it’s way into my spirit, and it was growing, festering, it was gaining weight and strength off of my very essence.

Spiritual cancer.

And the platitudes began.

And the issues that I thought I had begun to reign in through my intentional efforts were proliferating, were bursting at the seams.

And the fear of this truth has been enormous.

These are some of the roles that I have:

  • I moderate all comments made onto every story here, because as much as we’d like to envision a world where there wasn’t infant death, there are those whose mental unwellness rises in them an evilness and a dark desire to bring more hurting to others.
  • I oversee all of the programs and ministries here at stillbirthday.
  • I moderate all comments made onto every post made at our facebook page and in our facebook group, for the same reasons mentioned above.
  • I mentor individuals and provide doula support to mothers and families.
  • I co-teach our doula program.
  • I work actively to raise awareness of pregnancy and infant loss in general, and of our many programs and resources here.

People who I believe ought to have at least a basic understanding of the language of grief have turned a deaf ear on my pleas for awareness and recognition of the magnitude of all we bereaved parents endure.

People reject my suggestions, my insistence, my cry for more awareness of all that we all endure.

And as much as I am involved, these things are about all of us.

I have always made myself as absolutely available as I possibly can, through multiple means of communication, so that anyone can have access to me with any thoughts, concerns, questions or ideas they may have about pregnancy and infant loss support.

But as I’ve continued to slip into this chasm, weighed by this invisible parasite of my joy, of my peace, of my healing, I have become increasingly aware that instead, I have only been open to finding unexpected and additional hurtfulness and even cruelty.

I don’t really want to elaborate because I don’t want to trip anybody up, but the issues of negativity, of minimization, of negligence, are pervasive and they are persistent.

And I assure you, an offense against any of us is an offense against all of us.  We are all, in this together.  We each bring something so significant just through sharing our stories, our truths, our tears, our hope.  I do not bring anything more than you do – but I have felt more exposed, more criticized, more aware of the legalism, judgment and discrimination of others, than at any other time in my life.

So here I am, starting way back at the beginning.  Undoing two years of effort, two years of fighting, two years of being strong.

I act professionally.

I act graceful.

I act strong.

I fulfill all of these roles, but none of them define me.

I am mother to a deceased baby.

I am not strong.

I don’t have anything fancy to bring.

Just love.  Just dignity.

Just an imperfect attempt to reach out my hand to find yours, that we might walk a little stronger on this journey that I know I have been stumbling on.  My journey has not been graceful.  My poise has been clumsy.  My smile has not always been steady.

I am hurting.

And as I slip into this chasm, I lean hard into the few things that I know I can count on – spiritually, emotionally and maybe even physically.

I touch the walls in this darkness, admitting I am here.

I remember the deep release of a full, cleansing breath.  I wonder when I will have that once again, but even in the wondering, I am believing that I will.

I trust dawn will come.  I wait for the sun to kiss my skin and for peace to warm my bones again.

I have recently closed my personal facebook page and facebook is in the process of converting it, and I know that this step itself has hurt people, people who do mean a great deal to me but some of whom have erroneously believed that their heart to help will be enough to help.

This decision was done purely to limit my exposure to the endless attacks against the dignity of the bereaved.

And these things come from the most unexpected of sources.  Religious organizations.  Bereavement organizations.  Medical establishments.   Those who espouse particular birth philosophies or beliefs.

What I need right now is to treat myself as I do all of the mothers whom I have the blessed honor to serve.   Being real, admitting that I am not strong, is messy.  Complicated.  Frustrating.  Additionally painful.

But I am here, crying out from the chasm, speaking into the shame, the loneliness, the overwhelm.  Heaving as I wearily and clumsily drudge through the mess.  Begging you to forgive me if I have hurt you by turning away, to tend to my own broken heart.

I have once again become pregnant with grief.  Those who know me didn’t need to wait for my announcement – somehow, they could see something tightening, they could see something new growing, they could see me changing.  It has become visible, noticeable.

I know, that at the end of the laboring, I will give birth to healing.

The reality of what I carry won’t just disappear or just be undone.

But it will transform into something beyond just who I am.

I know, that like the most intense labor, it is when you believe that you cannot endure anymore, that you truly are almost done.

Please, allow me to be gentle on myself, as I labor.

Please, be patient as I stumble.

Please, wait for me.

My mourning needs to be mothered.

 

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. michelle delp says:

    Sounds like you need someone to hold up your arms, Moses. Who can you start delegating some of your responsibilities to? Think about which things only you can do, and then make a list of things the rest of us can do for you 🙂

  2. My heart is breaking for you. Heidi if you help only one person with what you are doing you need to hold your head up high and be proud.
    Hurtful things people say and do is a drip in a bucket of success. Be proud. Stand tall. Keep walking forward.

  3. Caroline Nelson says:

    Do not despair, sweet lady. You are doing good and you are helping, no matter what those hateful people say. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help. Words will not comfort as much as I wish they could but you are strong and are not strong all in the same breathe. It is ok to be human and be hurt. It is ok to put on a brave face and endure. Whatever you are feeling is exactly what you should be feeling. I am here for you. Email if you need to.

  4. Heidi,

    I am here for you to support you in anyway possible. I believe in everything you are doing and have done. We are all human and we all suffer and change. I will stand by you as you go through this labor. You WILL heal. I am so sorry for what you are going through. I want to help. Please reach out.

  5. May you find peace and comfort, Heidi. And please give yourself permission to take some time off.

  6. Dear Heidi,
    Your words resonate fully and deeply with me. It would be an honor to contribute to your peace of mind and healing. One of your students put me in touch with your work today and I feel ‘brought’ here to meet you. I have made one mistake – I hurt too, just enough to resonate. At one with you in your healing. Heal yourself, heals the world. love.

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