The following post touches on topics of fertility, pregnancy loss, and pregnancy. I was messaged by a kind reader letting me know she was not ready to hear this after her own challenges and wanted to include a warning up front in case you are in the same position.
Waiting to learn that I was pregnant with my daughter was agony. I will never forget the way the entire world seemed to blur into a series of arrows pointing at my empty arms. I imagined friends asking one another about it, family members worrying (“do you think there’s a problem?”). Now I see those phantom whispers were nothing but projections of my own anxious desire for a child, my frustration with the width between what I had and what I wanted.
A recent conversation with a friend trying to conceive throttled me back to those times of strain, to the nights I would lay awake crying because — to quote Richard Leigh — “the moon was full but my arms were empty.” There seemed to me at that time something against nature about the absence of a newborn against my chest.
I feel twenty three ways about this subject. I have lived it and know that it is sometimes not helpful — in fact, resentment-breeding — to hear from women who “went through it but now are on the other side.” I recall looking skeptically — uncharitably, if I am honest — at those women simply because it seemed that they had their babies and had forgotten the rapier-edged torture of waiting for them. “It will happen when it’s meant to happen,” is, quite possibly, the cruelest rejoinder when you are desperate for good news. It felt like a dismissal of my every hope and effort. I trust that these comments were never ill-intentioned, but levied against the tender heart of a woman hoping for a baby, they wore like sandpaper, or worse. On other days, I felt riotous against the perception that other people were expecting me to come forward with news of a child. “I’m not complete as I am?” I would fume, inwardly, despite the fact that I felt in some ways I wasn’t. For a time, it felt as though life would officially begin when I had children. I don’t know where or how I acquired that perspective, because I certainly do not feel that way now. I look back and think: I was living fully then, and I am living fully now, and I have always been the same, whole, full-fat soul, moving along this squiggly path I call my life. And yet. Perhaps absorbed from the occasionally problematic social and cultural narratives in which I grew up, and from the far less nefarious models of loving women I admire who happen to be mothers, I felt lacking.
If you feel this way, you are not alone. And I write this today for you — for the women who are waiting. For the women who twist in their bedsheets in worry. For the women with holes in their hearts the size of a baby. I write this to simply sit with you for a spell. I write this aware that I cannot salve your woes, though I do want you to know you are a full and complete person, living your one wild and precious life. You are the gift, the center.
I normally conclude these posts with an “onward!” call, but today I just think — it is OK, too, to sit still and let yourself breathe. I am holding a quiet, tranquil space for you here.
+On creating a tranquil frame of mind.
+You are enough.
+A prayer for rough waters.
+How do you gain a sense of perspective?
+On female friendships and the things that matter.
+These mules in the linen are absolutely fab — I swear they pass for something much higher end, like Alexandre Birman!
+Serena and Lily is offering 20% off sitewide, including off sale prices, with code HOME, including their near-iconic Riviera chairs (I love the new all-neutral colorway), this incredible side table (look for even less from a different retailer here), and fabulous patterned bedding (tempted by this gingham for our upstairs bunks!)
+Another great everyday dress. I know there are so many styles out there with smocking and puffed sleeves, but I just love the print on this one and don’t have many navy dresses personally.
+These Celine shades in the light brown colorway just shot to the top of my lust list for summer.
+Also drooling over this Tory Burch dress — ZOMG. Expensive, but like an elevated version of my everyday uniform of a long/midi shirtdress.
+OMG – how did I miss this Madewell stunner in my last roundup?! SO GOOD.
+This needlepointed key fob makes me smile.
+This cover up in white is under $30 and SO chic.
+Ann Taylor nailed it with this cute ruffled gingham top!
+Currently obsessing over all things Ciao Lucia — love this mini and this midi in particular, in such fun and vibrant trip-to-Positano colors. I also found a gorgeous white blouse of theirs on super sale here.
+Adorable romper for summer. I saw it and immediately thought of a bride at her bachelorette but would be straight up cute for anyone, engaged or not!
+This versatile and sophisticated parchment-colored LR blouse is on sale for $117.
+LOVE everything about this accent pillow for a nursery — the colors, the monogram style, the piping, the scalloping!
+I have it on good authority (i.e., Megan Stokes’) that this super inexpensive set of 5″ bows are excellent for everyday wear.
+What a fun prompt for a gal’s night in — set places with these cheeky cards.
+I love new coffee table books — this one is in my cart.
+Just the prettiest top.
+Sailor’s knot napkin rings at a great price — saw these and immediately starting plotting towards a Memorial Day cookout.