As you know, yesterday was my daughter’s first birthday.
I decided to check out my journal from exactly a year prior to Lydia’s birth. I’d been trying to get pregnant for over a year at that point, and I was in the throes of incredible disappointment, confusion, and despair. When I checked out my journal, I found that exactly 364 days before I gave birth to Lydia, I was grieving another cycle that had gone by without conceiving. I had to call in sick because I was so emotionally distraught that I couldn’t drive to work safely.
Here’s what I had written:
I did it!! I made it through the day without killing myself.
I had my monthly day of sorrow, despair, and writhing on the floor with pain [from menstrual cramps].
I am certain, now, that my suffering is largely hormonal in nature. Yesterday I had told myself, “If I get my period tomorrow, I’ll be totally cool. I don’t even expect to be pregnant, and I’m pretty comfortable with staying a non-mom indefinitely.” And when I awoke to cramps and a temperature drop,* I thought, “Meh – no big deal. I saw this coming.”
[*If you’re not familiar with fertility awareness and basal body temperature, that’s what I’m referring to: the drop in body temperature a woman experiences at the end of her cycle, if she is not pregnant, as her body prepares for menstruation].
I got ready for work as usual, got in my car and enjoyed the first couple of songs from my new Regina Spektor CD. But the cramps were just killing me. They were dizzying. I was afraid I was going to get into an accident. So I called [my boss], and he said it was OK to take the day off, and I turned around for home.
And on the way, inexplicably, I lost it. I was weeping all over the place. I had to pull over until the sobbing fit was over, my eyes were blurred over with tears, I was afraid I’d never make it home.
Throughout the day, I continued to have these bursts of intense sadness. Usually whenever the cramps got the worst. So every so often, I’d take a break from my writing or cleaning and do some yoga or breathing to alleviate the pain and the stress. And, as I’ve learned to do over the last 16 months, I repeated the mantra, “All I have to do today is survive. Tomorrow will be better. If I get through the day without killing myself, I will have succeeded.”
And I did.
I just thought I’d share that excerpt, in case anyone else is finding themselves in the midst of terrible hopelessness and sorrow.
I was there, and only one year later, my world was a completely different place. Everything had changed.
Tomorrow will be a better day. Just hang in there.