What Nadav Taught Me: Live Life

9 Mar

The lessons so far…

It’s kind of strange, the way your psyche can react when you get devastating news. Shock first, of course. The shock sometimes leads to tears, or sometimes the tears come right after, when the news starts sinking in.

But then your mind can go to places you never expect.

This is what happened with me. We got the news that Nadav probably won’t make it at 4am. By 4:30 I was admitted into the hospital. By 5am, I was hugging Shmerson and two sentences just spilled out of my mouth:

I want to enjoy our marriage.

I want to go study art therapy. 

Translation, now that I can look back at that moment:

I want to live my life again

A few moments before uttering those sentences an unexpected feeling was flooding every part of my being: relief.

As my mind was racing in those moments I couldn’t help but judge myself harshly for that feeling. Relief? My son is dying and I’m feeling relief? I was sickened by it until I recognized the cause.

I was finally, after almost two years, released from anxiety. The worst had happened. The worst possible thing. I didn’t need to be afraid anymore. It was, as my psychiatrist called it during our session today: Instant Immersion Therapy.

But it was also more than that. I was now finally out of the race. Because after such a devastating loss, how can you not be out of the race?

I know those last two sentences don’t necessarily make sense out of context. So allow me to give you some.

I used to be a vibrant, ambitious, energetic woman. I had chutzpah. I had dreams. I had goals. I went out with friends. I had fun. I dyed my hair silly colors. I would buy crazy jewelry and crazy shoes.

The decline – the gradually growing distance from that person – started happening before our first loss, but our first loss tossed me into a spiral. As I’ve written here before, my brain broke. Even after getting happy pills to address the problem, I still wasn’t the same person. Even medicated, my other identity continued to slip further away. Everything became about a singular focused mission: I needed to “make up” for this loss. I needed a baby. Stat.

And I pulled Shmerson into the spiral right after me.

Just so you have a general idea of how this has affected our marriage: We were married at the end of May 2010. My first miscarriage happened in July. We’ve been in the race since then. I have been pregnant for approximately 75% of our entire marriage so far.

Or in other words, I had only two months to truly enjoy my marriage before I dragged Shmerson after me into a baby making race. It consumed us. He wasn’t as vocal about it as I was, but everything was about “when a baby comes.” Or “after we have a baby.” Or “If I’m pregnant”.

Each time I saw a cute dog up for adoption, my mantra was: “Baby first, second dog later.” When I considered any major change in my career, with which I’ve been unsatisfied with for a while, it was always “Baby first, career change later.”

Everything was “baby first.” With the exception, of course, of things that would be good for a baby, like moving into a bigger place.

Baby first.

Even my lame attempts at self-improvement and “living for me” during the break between loss #2 and loss #3 weren’t for ME. They were for “a baby”. Period. I lied to myself and to you by saying otherwise. I was convinced at the time that “just relax” would work and we’d finally have a successful pregnancy. We all know how well that adventure turned out.

Over the course of these two years, Shmerson and I gradually became hermits. We couldn’t go out with friends, because we needed to save money for when a baby comes. We didn’t plan anything too far into the future because – what if I’ll be pregnant?

Once I was pregnant with Nadav things just got worse, specifically with me. What I wrote here was the tip of the tip of the iceberg. The fear was paralyzing. Apart from going to teach twice a week, I never left the house. And I’m not just talking about when I was on bed rest.

For six months, I. NEVER. LEFT. THE. HOUSE.

I also barely spoke with my friends, “real-life” or “bloggy”. I sunk into my own cyclical, self-destructive, anxiety-ridden thoughts. It was its own special form of hell.

No wonder I felt a sense of relief to be free of it.

Back to the race: The freaking race that we all call TTC. That race stole 2 years of my life. It put my thoughts of a career path change on hold. It kept me from my friends. It kept me from traveling. It kept me from enjoying my marriage. My new marriage with my best friend and the love of my life.

Instead of spending our “newlywed years” enjoying each other, we spent them in mourning, in anxiety, and in a race to fill a void that began with our first loss and just became bigger and bigger with each subsequent one.

The race. The obsessive race. It put our life on hold.

As women, we all desire a child. That desire can overcome us. A loss, naturally, throws that desire into sharp relief and makes it even greater. There is no getting rid of this desire. It’s ingrained into our DNA.

However

There is desire and there is obsession. My desire to fill the void morphed into an obsession. One that consumed all of my time, energy and thought. One that did me harm.

And let’s be honest, there will always be a void. Nadav left a hole that will never be filled with another child. It will be filled with love and light for him, and no one else. I can say the same for each of my other three pregnancies as well, though of course, I will always consider Nadav my firstborn.

St. Elsewhere recently wrote about her new baby Figlia, and the one she lost, Cbub: Figlia is my rainbow baby. Cbub is my unicorn baby.

Like she so beautifully wrote, this is not a race to fill a void that is impossible to fill. And making it one leads, at least for me, to obsessive behavior.

I used to look at myself as two different people. The Mo before the losses, and the Mo after the losses.

That was the mistake. We are one and the same. I just forgot to grow and nurture the “Before Mo”. I ignored her. I let her whither and starve.

“Just in case a baby comes” I ignored her dreams.

Because “we should have a baby first” I told her not to go back to school to get a Master’s in Art Therapy.

I kept her from going out with her husband, seeing her friends, and enjoying her marriage because “we need the money for a baby.”

The “Before Mo” and the “After Mo” are not two different people. They are one and the same. They are me. And I need to be nurtured. Yes, I need to fulfill my desire to have a child, but I also need to grow. I also need to have fun. I also need to live my life.

There is no “Before” and “After”. There is just a woman, already a mother in her heart, that needs to remember that she should mother her own body and soul first and foremost.

Thank you, Nadav, for bringing me back together with the half of me that was missing for so long.

These tears I’ve cried
I’ve cried 1000 oceans
And if it seems
I’m floating in the darkness
Well, I can’t believe that I would keep
Keep you from flying
And I would cry 1000 more
If that’s what it takes
To sail you home
Sail you home
Sail you home
I’m aware what the rules are
But you know that I will run
You know that I will follow you
Over silbury hill
Through the solar field
You know that I will follow you
And if I find you
Will you still remeber
Playing at trains
Or does this litte blue ball
Just fade away
Over silbury hill
Through the solar field
You know that I will follow you
I’m aware what the rules are
But you know that I will run
You know that I will follow you
These tears I’ve cried
I’ve cried 1000 oceans
And if it seems
I’m floating in the darkness
Well I can’t believe that I would keep
Keep you from flying
So I will cry 1000 more
If that’s what it takes
To sail you home
Sail you home
Sail you home
Sail
Sail you home
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30 Responses to “What Nadav Taught Me: Live Life”

  1. Jay March 9, 2012 at 19:00 #

    I can really, really identify with this post. A few months before I started TTC for the first time as a single woman, I grew consumed by the process, at the stage of planning. I stopped going out too much, my entire being was consumed by thoughts of HAVING A BABY NOW.

    I got pregnant, discovered a missed miscarriage at 12 weeks. I grew even more obsessive- everything in life was secondary to making a baby. I got pregnant on my second try, and that pregnancy was a morass of fear. My baby’s heart stopped at 8 weeks 5 days. I would have thought that second loss would have send me to a very bad place,but the opposite happened. My mind and psyche rebooted, in a fashion. I took a year off from TTC, shed a lot of bad habits that I had been carrying all what seems like all my life and I have a better appreciation of myself and the things not related to baby-making. Right now I’m much more whole and strong that I was when I started on this road.

    God knows what will happen next- it may be more of the same. But I think I’m in a much better position to tackle anything now, and not let it drown me, because of the bitch-slap that was my second loss.

    For you, it seems like that jolt that snapped you out of it came with the loss of Nadav. Words cannot express how sorry I am for it.

    Life happens. The best we can do it to grow from it, instead of letting it diminish us, and I don’t think anybody can do a better job than what you are doing now.

  2. Belle March 9, 2012 at 19:02 #

    Damn-it Mo, I’m breaking my rule and reading this at work and here I am crying again. Your words are so similar to mine. We were married in late May 2010, too. I got sick in November and since then it has been a baby race. Everything else is on hold and it is killing my spirit. Thank you for writing about something I have been hiding from. xoxo.

  3. teejay March 9, 2012 at 19:13 #

    You are so wise and so *true*. I will say it again, you are a rockstar. I hate that you are learning these lessons this way but I love that you are able to take this tragedy and actually get something positive from your son. I really hope that you can continue on this path and I look so forward to following your healing journey.

  4. marriage20 March 9, 2012 at 19:24 #

    Sweet, brave, wise, beautiful Mo. I can identify so much with this post that it is breaking my heart in two and making me understand my life in a new way. Thank you. Thank you for sharing your story with us so honestly and generously. I am so very deeply sorry for everything you have gone through to get to this place, but I am grateful that you are sharing your lessons with us. Thinking of you constantly. xoxox

  5. infertilityawakening March 9, 2012 at 19:39 #

    Welcome back home to yourself Mo. Though the journey was arduous, may you now float on angels wings back to the wholeness Nadav has brought to your doorstep.

  6. Rebecca Pallack (@RPallack) March 9, 2012 at 20:29 #

    Oh this journey of heart ache, will it ever end? I often ask myself that very question. I understand how you feel Mo.

    Last night, as you know J deploys soon, I said to him that my infertility is driving me insane. We’ve spent 5 years trying and lost three pregnancies, and me one before J with my previous husband. J and I have given up so many opportunities in this race for a baby. Even now do we stay or do we go? We have the chance to move when he gets back but if we decide on donor eggs we’ll stay here. I’m wondering if this is now affecting his career and I’m thinking it might be time to call a halt to this insanity and just go on with our lives as a childless couple.

    Mo, I wish you the very best that life has to offer. I have hope that one day you’ll find your happiness and feel complete one way or another.

  7. Courtney March 9, 2012 at 20:37 #

    <3 Beautiful.
    *hugs*

  8. MotherNatureSchmature March 9, 2012 at 21:23 #

    Beautiful post. Hits close to home with the before and after of TTC. Thinking of you.

  9. Erin March 9, 2012 at 22:44 #

    This had me in tears because it truly hit home for me, in a couple ways. After my loss, I felt an enormous relief. I never examined the reason for that because I felt so ashamed that I felt that way. But it seems obvious now that you’ve said it, that I’d experienced my worst fear. There was nothing left to fear.

    And then what you said about preventing yourself from living your best life because everything was on hold for “the baby” — that has been me for the last couple years, too. And it’s made me extraordinarily miserable. I’ve only recently begun to feel I’m wasting what could be some of the most magical moments of my marriage and my 30s.

    I’ve been thinking about you and wishing you the best. I hope writing about your experience brings you some peace. I know that it has been eye-opening for me.

  10. Trisha March 9, 2012 at 23:01 #

    This is a beautiful post Mo. How brave and smart of you to admit all these things. Your dreams and hopes are still important and so is the before Mo. Don’t let her be hidden away because she deserves to shine and have all that life can offer her.

  11. Courtney March 9, 2012 at 23:32 #

    You are so articulate, I cannot believe it. I nodded along to this entire post, and had no idea I’d done the same thing until just now. I just started getting my ass in shape again after the last 3.5 years of IF treatments, pregnancy, and parenting a new baby. Just before reading this post, I told my husband how good it feels to feel sore muscles again. Being active and social was my life before IF. I gave it all up in my quest for a baby, and I dragged my husband right along with me. Thank you for making me see that.

    Now, I need to apologize to my husband. Truly.

  12. marriage20 March 9, 2012 at 23:47 #

    I’ve been thinking about this post all afternoon, and I have one other thing to add: please don’t beat yourself up or call yourself a liar for decisions you made in the past. We can all only handle what we can handle when we can handle it. If your “putting things on hold” then feels fake from your perspective now, it’s totally understandable and okay. But it doesn’t mean you weren’t doing the best thing you could do for yourself then. Hugs. xoxox

  13. journeyofconception March 10, 2012 at 01:02 #

    Absolutely beautiful…

    I have followed your blog since my own miscarriage last July. I have struggled for the last 7 months with TTC and prior to the miscarriage for 6 months. In addition, I struggled with getting my partner to get to the point where he was willing to try.

    I have seen TCM and going to acupuncture every week. The conversations I have with my TCM Jen keeps on coming back to the fact that I still need to live and enjoy live day to day no matter what. I want my other self back while we continue this journey. I don’t want to hold off going out, enjoying my relationship, and doing all the other stuff during this anymore. I don’t want to stop living during TTC anymore. Thank you for sharing!!! Much love Rach

  14. Kat March 10, 2012 at 01:03 #

    Wow, Mo. This post is just stunning. I completely know the feeling of losing years of your life to the baby race. I want a baby but I want my life back to. I haven’t figured out yet how to do that but if I can, I will. Art Therapy sounds wonderful.

  15. stinkb0mb March 10, 2012 at 01:32 #

    this is just beautiful. sometimes it takes a tragedy to awaken us from the slumber we’ve found ourselves in. sometimes we forget who “we” are and in the process of chasing our goals, our very desires we lose ourselves. i’ve been on this ttc for nearly 12 long years. i’ve suffered too many losses to begin counting them [i no longer count them, the number causes me too much pain] and still here i am with empty arms and no life because i was so focussed on a life that had my arms filled with a baby, that i couldn’t imagine a life where they weren’t, no matter begin to live one.

    until recently, where i said enough is enough – http://www.stink-bomb.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/beginning.html – it was time to live again, in this life i’m obviously meant to live, minus babe in arms.

    sometimes, we have to admit defeat and in doing so realise that we haven’t failed, our life was just meant to be different from how we envisioned it to be – perhaps even more fabulous that we first thought it would be.

    this is ending to my post that i linked to above –

    “and so this is the end. i am not meant to be a mother. it hurts to write that. it hurts more than i could ever adequately describe to admit that but in the core of my soul, from the very fibre of my being, i believe it to be true. the pain subsides as the relief of realisation takes over.

    in admitting it, not only here but to myself, i’m allowing my heart to love itself again. allowing my body to forgive what it could not have stopped and allowing my soul to see it’s potential in fulfilling it’s purpose in this world in some other, no doubt fabulous, fashion.

    my arms may never have been destined to hold a babe in them but they were destined to be flung wide open and embrace life in all it’s fabulous glory and from this day forward, that’s just what i intend to do. if you want to, i would love for you to come along for the journey at my new blog abode – nothing is planned, the world is my oyster and if you let me, i’ll take you to the moon and back because baby, my life is just beginning……

    THE BEGINNING.”

    i hope that this is you’re beginning too and i hope it’s going to be just fabulous.

    ~x~

  16. Esperanza March 10, 2012 at 02:16 #

    First of all, before I forget THANK YOU FOR LINKING TO THIS SONG! I haven’t heard it in ages and I love it so much and it was just wanted I needed today.

    And thank you for this post. From the bottom of my heart. Obsessed is exactly the word to use to describe how I felt when we were TTC. Actually it could describe the entire year before we even started trying, when I was in therapy basically bullying my poor partner to do it with me. I was a woman consumed. It was awful.

    And then my daughter was born and I was like, wait, I thought this was supposed to make everything perfect and wonderful. And while it was wonderful and there were perfect moments to be sure, there was also a lot I wasn’t ready for, a lot I didn’t expect. I charged into TTC not knowing what I was getting myself into and my relationship suffered dearly for it. And I look back now and I can see that it was my fault. Our year of TTC fractured us deeply, by the time we faced the challenges of parenthood we were already so, so broken. Only now, almost two years after her birth are we starting to feel whole again as a couple.

    And now, as we head into TTC, I see those tendrils of obsession sneaking back into my mind, even when I learned my lesson the hard way, I still feel this compulsion to move forward at all costs, even though now I do truly fear that we might not make it as a couple. So stop. I step back. I breath and I remind myself of my own hard lesson learn.

    I’m not trying to say that parenthood is not a worthy pursuit or that you will be disappointed when you get there. You are already there. You already know the love involved. It’s indescribable.

    But there is so much more to it. And it is hard. This path you’re on now is harder, without a doubt, but it’s good to remember that the end game is not a panacea. That it’s not the answer to ALL the questions, to ALL the problems. They will still be there. In fact some will seem so much bigger. It makes sense to work on them now. It make sense to invest in yourself now, because now can also be wonderful, if we let it.

    I hope this doesn’t sound preachy, like the woman who got there easily saying to the one who wants to get there so badly, “eh, it’s not that great.” Because it is great. I’m SO grateful. But, at least for me, it wasn’t the panacea I was expecting. And I wish so bad I could go back and tell my TTC self that, so that I might have spent that time differently, with my partner instead fighting him, finding myself instead of running from her.

    I love you. And thank you Nadav, for teaching your mother this, so she could teach all of us.

    Thank you.

  17. Christina March 10, 2012 at 02:37 #

    Another beautiful post, Mo. I agree that the best way to honor all that Nadav was/is, is to live your life to the fullest and to be you and what you want to be.

    I’m so very sorry for you that it took the loss of your sweet boy to bring you back round to taking care of yourself and living.

  18. slowmamma March 10, 2012 at 02:48 #

    Another beautiful and inspiring post. I know that I too can identify with so much of what you have written here. I try not to dwell on the years that I threw away throughout this process but I still acknowledge their loss. I am also aware that that road has taken me well into parenthood, aggravating the already intense difficulties of my son’s first year. But, as the tone of your post teaches, the best thing that we can do is work to get ourselves back.

    I wish you a wonderful career as an art therapist who occasionally wears some pretty far out earrings!

  19. Emily @ablanket2keep March 10, 2012 at 06:24 #

    Just beautiful and so true. Big Hugz!

  20. lis March 10, 2012 at 06:56 #

    yes, yes, yes, all of that.

    some thoughts and scattered responses, friend.

    i told myself (about a year) after we lost the girls that i needed to stop putting life on hold in case i might be pregnant in a couple months.i was holding on to the mere possibilities of my tomorrows instead of what was right in front of me, my todays.

    pregnant for over 75% of a marriage will take a toll on it, as will the repeated trauma of rpl. hugs to the both of you.

    pregnancy sometimes=hell.

    you may have stayed in every day and ignored whoever and whatever but i will remind you that you had every one of those moments with your sweet boy. one could look back and say it was a blessing to have withdrawn from the noise of the world to be quiet and hold your son for a while. your description just brought me back to that place. it was so lovely. juxtaposed with the anxiety, not so sweet. im sorry you had those feelings and i wasn’t more supportive when you were going through them. sometimes i don’t want to freak pregnant women (esp with cervical issues) out by talking to them. i feel like that might be a little crazy but it’s true.

    i hope you study art therapy and enjoy your marriage my sweet. might i request that you keep writing too?

    so much love to you guys
    xoxo
    lis

  21. Alissa March 10, 2012 at 07:54 #

    perfect and beautiful. I have felt this way many times and unfortunately keep restraining my ‘before me’. It is an obsession and I think you are on to something definate. I constantly find myself saying ‘when the baby comes’ or ‘in case i’m pregnant’ and putting those same things off.

    I will consider your words heavily and see to it that I start making some changes.
    Thanks Mo.

  22. Cristy March 10, 2012 at 15:58 #

    Mo, this is me. During the last 2.5 years, I’ve put so much of life on hold for baby and feel like I’ve watched it pass me by. Sure, I’ve completed things and moved to other aspects, but I can relate to the holding pattern caused by infertility. And I have no one to blame but myself.

    What you address in this post is something that is incredibly important for anyone who’s on this journey: the lesson to not let this take over one’s life. Because it’s very easy to allow it to happen and it does so much damage. Fighting IF is a hard, hard thing, because the grief we live with is like nothing most people will ever experience. Yet, to allow it to consume us will not bring us any closer to the end goal.

    Like you, I’ve been craving change after loss. To stop this pattern of waiting and obsession. This post put into words why exactly that is so important. I wish you all the best are you begin your journey to study Art Therapy and thank you for reminding me that I need to be whole.

  23. Kristin March 10, 2012 at 20:11 #

    You are truly amazing my friend and this is one of the most beautifully written pieces I’ve seen in ages.

  24. Tracey March 10, 2012 at 20:42 #

    Thank you, Mo, for sharing your experience and knowledge here. Your words are beautifully spoken and so very true for so many of us that have been TTC for a while. Your baby boy is touching so many lives through your words here.

  25. Glitterandrainbows March 11, 2012 at 06:38 #

    Oh, I am so glad to read this post. Our situations are different, but the gist is the same. I have shut down so many parts of my life and self while TTC. And now that my husband and I are taking a break I feel like I should feel guilty for not taking our efforts farther but really I am relieved. I feel sad but I see so many things I can enjoy in life where before I had this baby tunnel vision.

  26. chon March 13, 2012 at 02:07 #

    So today on FB a footballer whose fan page I like (please please don’t judge me!) considers himself a bit of a philosopher.

    He wrote this as his status update

    “Nos nos momentos difíceis há bênçãos escondidas. Mas você tem que achar elas.”

    Which translated meant, “even through the tough times there are hidden blessings. They are there for you to find.”

    As soon as I read it I thought of you.

    Through the toughest time of your life you have found hidden blessings. I feel privileged that you are sharing them with us because each lesson you have learned, I am learning something about you and me.

  27. greensoulcarer March 25, 2012 at 10:58 #

    Just an amazing, honest post. Congratulations on finding yourself. You are so strong.

  28. Ms. Future PharmD November 1, 2012 at 04:21 #

    The changing your life thing does help, I think. After our first loss, I was pretty broken but I think it was good that I was in the middle of a career change at the time and that process gave me hope that things would be different, and also new things to be excited about (school! yay! wait… no, still yay! now that I’m 3 years into the 5 years of a 4 year degree… whoops). I do hope you follow your dreams and keep building yourself into your best self and your relationship with Shmerson into the most awesome relationship you can have. Also, a song that was very healing for me after loss 2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6s3LHX25qc

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Startled « Marriage 2.0 - March 10, 2012

    [...] Mo’s latest post really got me thinking. It took me further down a path I feel like I’ve already been on. And it led me to ask myself a startling question: What if I found out today, right now, that I will never be a mom? What would I want to do differently? How would I want my life to look? What am I putting off or holding back on or avoiding in the name of “baby first?” [...]

  2. MPC Day 8: Heal | Daydreaming in Progress… - March 10, 2012

    [...] specifically, we all know that Mo lost her sweet baby boy at 22 weeks. Even though all of our hearts still break for her fourth [...]

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