Sunday, January 4, 2015

On Miscarriage and Mordor

Yesterday was my second child's first birthday, well it would have been his birthday except for the fact that he is in heaven.  He shares his due date with J.R.R. Tolkien, a small fact that I love and holds a bit of meaning to me.

It's hard to be in this position, even though I feel like I am at a place of acceptance and peace about our situation.  But the reality is that before summer begins I have another due date and would-have-been first birthday to celebrate.  In March we'll hit the two year mark of trying.  The reality is that I have to sit and watch pregnancy announcements, baptisms and all these wonderful milestones of earthly families larger than mine occur while those happen.  If yesterday was any sign, a lot of those things will correspond with those sad anniversaries.

The reason I find it comforting that my son shares a "birthday" with Professor Tolkien is that his works and words have brought me a lot of comfort over these last two years.  Tolkien writes about many topics in his works; he was a deeply devout man whose faith shines through as he talks about war and hope and death and life.  But the most powerful topic he's written on for me is that of coveting things we desire and what happens to us when those desires rule our life.

You see the them time and time again: Thorin, Boromir, Theodin, Denethor; all corrupted in some way by desire for things and in no character do you see this corruption so completely than in the sniveling, grasping creature Gollum.  A thing so corrupted and twisted by "his precious" that he becomes cut off from the rest of world and a twisted, pathetic shell of what he once was.

It is a metaphor that is hard to miss; if we let our desires rule our lives this is what we'll become.

In my foray through infertility, subfertility and miscarriage I've seen some wonderful things.  I've seen groups of people, family and friends band together to lead the barer of the troubles through their wilderness.  I've seen great love and sacrifice.  However, I've also seen an ugly side to it all.  I've seen women so consumed by the desire for a child that it consumes her every waking moment and begins to change her from the inside out.  I've seen lovely, caring women slowly turn harsh and angry towards anything that dares remind them of the child they do not posses.  I think it's apt that so many of Tolkien fallen characters hide themselves away from the sunlight;  Thorin in his mountain, Theodin and Denethor in their halls and Gollum in the shadows.  When we let these things consume us anything bright and lovely becomes painful to our sight.

The pain and trials of fertility problems are a journey through our own personal Mordor; it is a journey no one can make on their own, it is a journey that calls for people to stand by our side and in our weakest, smallest moments - to be carried.  But in the end it is our decision: what we'll do when confronted with that final moment.  Will we cast away the thing we desire most or will we fall with it, letting it consume us completely?

Those of us on this path cannot let our desires for a child consume and change us.  We cannot let it change our understanding of the precious nature of life, even when it is denied to us.  We cannot cast hateful eyes and hearts at every picture of a newborn or every stroller that crosses our path, because that is something evil using us for it's own devious purpose.

This is not to say that we can not be sad at the sad time or hurt by ill-timed actions or un-thought out words.  It doesn't mean that we cannot hope and pray for children to fill our lives.  But we need to remember that a child is not a thing to collect and covet; it is a person of it's own infinite worth and dignity.  It is something we should desire for it's own good and it's own worth - not the good it might do to us or the worth we assign it.  It is not something we should let rule our thoughts or our lives, because no good will ever come from dwelling indefinitely on what could be and never stepping into the light of what is.

Thank you Professor Tolkien for your beautiful words and your beautiful faith in all things good and bright.  Thank you for filling your world with characters who struggle, characters who defend and characters who fall.  Thank you for showing the world the strength and sacrifice necessary to do good in the world.

Thank you to everyone who continues to fight this fight and struggle with this weight on their shoulders.  Thank you to everyone who knows, as Sam did, that you can not carry this weight for us, but sometimes you can carry us.  Thank you to my own Fellowship of friends and family; without you I wouldn't be standing in the light today.


44 comments:

  1. This is so poignant Molly. So true and beautiful.

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  2. What a beautiful reflection, Molly. It speaks to you exactly where I am right now, trying to find meaning outside of our fertility struggles. But you already knew that :-)

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    1. I'm so glad it's reaching you where you're at right now - I think it's a pivotal spot in the healing process, finding your purpose or meaning outside of it all. It's not a quick process, but I have faith you'll find your answers.

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  3. Molly, I'm new to your blog & new to learning about your pain, your journey, your thoughts. This post is so beautiful & sheds truth on a vast spectrum of desires & how they can twist & turn us about in the wrong direction if we are not mindful of them. Thank you for sharing! Wonderful writing!

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    1. I'm glad you're here Ashley! And very true, Tolkien speaks to many types of desires that twists us round and rob us of joy. Such a wonderful man.

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  4. this was so powerful Molly, I'm in tears. Thank you for being so transparent with your struggle and with the beauty you've found in the pain.

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  5. Powerful stuff Molly. I had 2 miscarriages now over 16 years ago - and I do still have moments when my heart aches for them. It is those moments I am most grateful for my Catholic faith with the hope of heaven and the hope they are my very own Saints praying and interceding for me (gosh KNOWS I need all the extra help I can get!!)

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    1. Absolutely. This experience has left me feeling anything but in control of my life, but a few weeks ago I had a realization dawn on my that thanks to my three saints I have a small army to join me in prayer for others.... talk about feeling powerful!

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  6. What a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing. We are Tolkien aficionados over here, too. Happy Birthday a day late to your little saint.

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  7. I'm so sorry I didn't know yesterday was a birthday for you when I told you our news. Your words are beautiful and your example of unconditional love is one of the biggest reasons we became open to life again.

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    1. Oh Missy =) It makes me so happy to hear that.

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  8. I can't tell you what this means to me. Thank you for sharing it.

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  9. Such a beautiful post. I've been thinking about it all day. Although I haven't had a miscarriage, I have been dealing with over 3 years of infertility. At times I get so tempted to "hide from the sunshine and let it consume me. Thank you for reminding me to fight against that :).

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  10. I saw your post title in my feed today and have been waiting all day to read it. Worth the wait. Well worth the wait.

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  11. This is so ... right. Thank you for this. I particularly like this sentence: "Those of us on this path cannot let our desires for a child consume and change us. We cannot let it change our understanding of the precious nature of life, even when it is denied to us." That is what God has been working with me on... not letting it consume me. I've been looking for opportunities for Spiritual Motherhood rather than physical motherhood.

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    1. It's been a long battle for me too, and it's still a struggle - not to let it consume my marriage or distract me from my son, my family or friends. The road towards spiritual motherhood is so hard, prayers for you on your journey.

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  12. A beautiful reflection, Molly. I am so sorry for your losses. How hard.
    But, you are right, whatever our crosses are in this life, we cannot let them allow us to be bitter because then the evil has the upper hand. Praying for your peace of heart.

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  13. yes, yes, yes. exactly that. <3 <3 <3

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  14. Thank you so much for this, Molly. I just stumbled upon your blog today and am so glad I found it. I have found myself recently slipping back in to the frame of mind where I can't look at strollers or pregnant women, and I know that is not the kind of person I want to be. This post is just so spot on, thank you! (Also my husband is a huge Lord of the Rings fan and found this post especially inspiring :) )

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  15. I think one of the things that adds to the pain of infertility/subfertility is the concern that my most private, ugly, knee-jerk feelings are discernible to any onlooker. Do people know that I used to have moments of jealousy at pregnancy announcements? Could they sense my bitterness? Even now- do they think I am deliberately waiting to have another child? Do they wonder if I feel overwhelmed by just one? I have always sensed a stigma to infertility (have you, Molly? Am I crazy?) and as part of my ability to adapt I just needed to give myself space to feel the things I felt- "public perception" be damned. I know it is easier now that I am a mother.

    I do think that perhaps one of the more redeeming things that has come out of my sub-fertility experience is the fact that, as a white, middle class, privileged American, sub-fertility has given me a glimpse into the minority experience. I hope it has strengthened my respect for the mystery of other people's perspectives.

    Thanks for the post, Molly. It's very thought-provoking as well as generous of you to share. I'm sorry for your losses.

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    1. Absolutely, we definitely need to give ourselves room to feel everything that comes with our struggles - I don't think IF/MC women should ever have to apologize for our feels (jealousy, bitterness, anger, sadness, etc), but I do think because we have all these feelings we need to do our best to feel them, deal with them and not let them be the boss of us. If that makes any sense. I also think it's healthy to let those feelings get out.

      Example - I'm close friends with a good number of large family mothers (normal spaces and hyper-fertility). They're amazing women and so supportive and there are days where I've sent them messages that are just emotion dumps telling them that I'm struggling with jealousy of their families and you know what, after I've sent that message and we've chatted the feelings almost always leave and I can move on. Trying to deny it makes it worse, but owning it (rather than letting it own you) seems to make all the difference.

      I get wrapped up in the "what are the other people in the pew thinking about my family" game a lot - even at church. It's so hard not too!

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    2. @Laura, I can relate to those feelings of worry that people thought we purposely only had one child. (There is a 6 year gap between my 1st and 2nd.). We live in a fairly well off area where dogs seem to be appreciated more than babies and it killed me that people might think we weren't open to life. I became another element of the cross we had to bear at that time. Those who knew us also knew the truth and I had to not worry about everyone else. I hope you are able to do the same. Saying a prayer for you that God gives you peace and strength. xo

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    3. @molly - This post is so beautiful and although we are no longer carrying this cross, I love your words to Laura that in regards to our feelings we need to feel them, deal with them and not let them be the boss of us. That is so true!! Not just with this issue but many feelings. When my husband was battling cancer I was envious of the wives who weren't worrying about their husbands dying. By the grace of God I got past that but it was stil a struggle at times. Your pain has brought you wisdom and I appreciate you being so honest and vulnerable in sharing with us. Love and prayers to you!!

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  16. Molly, this is so very stunning and wise. Thank you for writing it. You are in my prayers in a special way today.

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  17. I've never been here before; Haley's post pointed me here. Please know that I will be praying for you and asking my late husband, our first baby (miscarried early), and our nephew (died right after birth) to pray for you, too. My husband ***loved*** babies and doubtless still does. I'm sure he is having a wonderful time with our longed-for first child and our nephew. They will be strong prayer warriors for you. Jonathan, Andrew, and Jeffrey, pray for Molly.

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  18. Beautifully written post. This speaks to where we're at - two miscarriages in the past two years, and hoping that our three year old will soon have a brother or sister... It's hard not to let that hope, and the fears surrounding it, consume me.

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    1. It's so hard, sometimes the hope and fear are hard to tell apart.

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  19. There is so much truth and beauty in this. For many years, I did turn in. Looking out has yielded so many blessings. Daily prayers for your journey.

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  20. Wow. I'd love to say something caring and witty in reply to this marvellous piece of blogging, but in the end all I can say is I'm very sorry for your losses. And I'm sorry for my losses too. I think Tolkien would be proud to share your child's birthday, and I think you and I would get along well in real life. Glad to have "met" you.

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  21. This was beautiful. We lost our first, a son, at 17 weeks and the milestones are so hard (especially the due date one, which for some reason I usually forget about until I realize I've been a horrible emotional mess and maybe I should check the calendar...). This is my favorite Tolkien quote :) http://www.anna-bird.com/search/label/good%20words

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  22. This was beautifully written. We lost our baby this year the day after mothers day and it doesn’t get any easier to deal with it actually gets harder as this was a planned pregnancy and we were so very excited. We lost our baby at 12 weeks to a natural miscarriage. The pain I experienced thru this is unexplainable and heart wrenching. I wrote a blog about it to help me heal and to help other women, as it is therapeutic for me please go read and share! I am writing a book and this is an insert from it.

    https://blightedovumchangedmylife.wordpress.com/

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