Ten Year Reflection

In late 2010 I found out I was pregnant. By December we were told it was twins. Late in December I started spotting. We did all we could with doctors, watching and waiting, but in the end we lost the pregnancy on January 3rd, 2011. I never know how to quite phrase it. “Lost a pregnancy” feels minimizing to the experience. I was 14 weeks pregnant. I had one child who was two years old. I did not expect I would “fail” at my second pregnancy because the first happened so easily.

This morning (2021) I was laying in bed trying to recall the circumstances of ten years ago.

I remember the cramping, and feeling them leave me. I think it was night time, because I only remember the dark. I feel like I was alone, because I had to tell my husband that they had passed my body. I had wanted to be alone. Once the bleeding and the cramping started to become more intense; I didn’t want anyone with me. I did not long for words of comfort. I had a primal need to weather the pain in my own way. For weeks family had been comforting me; telling me everything would be okay. I wanted to believe them, but I knew what was happening. I needed reality, but refused to go to the hospital.

Today I feel like tissue paper.

It has been 10 years, and I don’t yearn for those souls anymore. I feel comfort remembering them residing in my womb. In the short time my body held them, I actively sent them love. I no longer calculate how old the twins would be today. I went on to lose two more pregnancies (very short term) before then having a child in 2012 and another (surprise baby) in 2014. Our house and our hearts are full.

After I lost the twins I spent most of the year in a helpless state of constant mental/emotional breakdown. Losing them released all the trauma and memories that I had held back and denied. I spent most of my days on the couch, not eating or drinking. I felt like I was going to die every second of the day. Sleeping with the light on, the short dreams I had were through a blood-red filter and I’d wake up hyperventilating. Even though I had left the cult in 2007, I did not know it was a cult until 2011 after starting therapy. I did not recognize the trauma or abuse until starting therapy. I only knew that I was not functioning. Physically, my heart started palpitating, it felt like heart break.

I had been hit with a wave of undeniable grief. Once the door to grief was open, it unleashed all the grieving I had been unaware that I was holding. With grief also comes shame. Once we had passed 12 weeks with the twins, we had told everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, about our pregnancy. We had been beyond the moon excited. I would now have to face all these people, and tell the story over and over again. This felt beyond my ability. Because I had opened up this grief door, it all came spilling out at once like a giant mess and I had no idea how to clean it up. I was surrounded. Even more so, when in conversation, I had no control of my grief-filled ramblings. It all came out like a giant bundle for anyone who would listen. Trailing behind the grief was all the other emotions I had denied. For so long I had this wonderful ability to drop the wall on my emotions when I felt sad or mad, or even joyful. I liked the fact that I could turn my emotions off quickly. With the door open now, the emotions were intensified from years of denial.

It took me close to two years in therapy to be able to unpack and unravel the emotions, experiences and memories. I still go to therapy, and will for the rest of my life. Meditation helps to keep my breathing and focus balanced. I acknowledge the privilege I hold to even have had therapy as an option. I started writing at the advice of my therapist. First came the letters to abusers. I would write all the things I couldn’t say out loud, and then rip them up. Next came the basic timeline of events: leaving friends and family, major traumatic events, etc. Followed by a daily journal. I was having trouble telling a summarized version of my experiences, and that is how this blog was formed. I needed a space to be able to write when I felt the need. Through this blog, I have connected with more folks on a more deeper level than I expected. I am grateful.

2020 was the most mentally and emotionally challenging year I’ve had since 2011. My greatest fear (and expectation) was that I was going to slip back into the breakdown of 2011. I did not. I had many panic attacks, but did not disconnect. In fact, I found support and a purpose in many unexpected ways. I am not moving mountains, I am surviving and supporting. 2020 brought the opportunity to become more socially and historically aware of issues outside of my experiences. I started listening. I began standing in solidarity. 2020 was a year of raising awareness and learning. This will continue and grow.

I see the connecting thread over the last ten years. 2011 opened the door to grief. With grief came all the other emotions. I now have the ability to sit with others in their grief and emotions, because I am familiar. 2011 also began raising my awareness. As long as I was shutting down my own emotions, I lacked the capacity to see others. I have learned so much over the last ten years. I will often get overwhelmed. That is when I know I need to return to center.

Thank you for following my past and my journey.

~E

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