May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
-Irish Blessing

Monday, March 28, 2011

Walking Away the Pain

After Wyatt died I was lost. I took four weeks maternity leave at the recommendation of my doctor. At the time, my husband and I had just completed college plus grad school and were only one year into our new careers. We lived in a two bedroom apartment. I spent the last three weeks of my leave alone in that apartment day after day. Afraid to leave, afraid not to leave. I lived in my sweatpants and "fat clothes", my maternity clothes packed away before I returned home from the hospital. After hearing my mom regale stories of how she left the hospital after I was born, her first, in her pre-maternity jeans, I was prepared to slip back into my old clothes, my old life. I acutely remember the shock and horror upon returning home and selecting the outfit I would wear to Wyatt's funeral only to discover that not one thing fit me. I collapsed into tears and my husband went shopping. He returned home with a few dresses a size or two bigger than my normal. I selected the turquoise dress with bright red poppy flowers, my funeral dress. One year and a few days later it became our daughter's baptism dress.

Less than a month after Wyatt's birth we moved into our first house, I returned to work and I embarked on a mission to lose weight - fast. I began parking on the top level of the parking garage at work and taking the stairs up and down. I cut calories. I did sit-ups and worked out on our stepper. Less than four months later when I got pregnant with our first daughter I had lost all but about two pounds of the thirty-four I had gained during Wyatt's pregnancy. I had succeeded in losing all traces of being pregnant and was able to embark on that new pregnancy with my sense of hope and my body intact.

This post about loss and alcohol at Glow in the Woods hit home. I asked my husband prior to Eli's birth if it would be kosher to bring alcohol to the hospital and was only half joking. I then planned on having a glass or two of wine after returning home. I have been thinking about that glass or two ever since. There is one bottle in the kitchen. The one bottle we did not drink before I got pregnant with Eli. I dusted it once during the pregnancy. I know it's there without having to look. I have never had a problem with alcohol. My husband and I can split a bottle of wine. I get fuzzy after just one beer and often don't even finish the one. Nonetheless, I'm scared. Scared that once that bottle opens it won't close until my pain is drowned and that is something I just cannot chance.

So I've turned to an old friend, my second best friend actually - my treadmill. My treadmill bears my weight, the physical weight of my pregnancies and the emotional weight of my losses. It bears my tears with silence. It forces me to move, even when my legs feel like lead. I exercised throughout my pregnancy with Eli, even used the elliptical the day before he was born. But c-sections are frustrating. I am able to exercise, lift weights, elliptical, treadmill, yoga, etc, throughout the entire pregnancy and then boom, nothing but walking for at least four weeks after baby is born. And all I want to do is jump on and run. Run from the pain, run through the pain. Sweat. Right now all I can do is walk. And walk I do, I'm up to about two miles a day already and it feels so good. It is probably the only time of my day when I am focused. I focus on healing and it feels like each mile is a step closer to where I want to be.


  1. Exercise is a great tool to not only get into shape in a bodily sense but also emotionally. It is said that while working out your body releases different chemicals and hormones that give you a "feel good" mood. I think its an excellent way to relieve stress and channel your emotions. Keep working at it and you'll find you not only look better but you'll feel better. Hope you'll see it all soon Mandy,

  2. Reading this post makes me wonder how many other BLMs fight this battle with themselves in the months and years after their losses. I still struggle with it sometimes. I have had a few drinks, but I only when I know the opportunity to keep drinking doesn't present itself. After losing Gracie I also returned to exercise and walking. I walked and walked and walked...with my hubby, with the dogs. Some days I wanted to just walk away from it all. Your experience has lived in the front of my brain since I first read your blog not long ago. Even though I don't know you, I have though of you often over recent weeks. I pray that your healing process continues to move forward and that you are able to find some peace in the coming weeks and months, with as few potholes as possible.

  3. Wow, I could have written this post about a year and a half ago...except I opened that bottle of wine and enjoyed it. The fear of not being able to stop never crossed my mind, so I commend you for recognizing that it did yours.

    I'm still reading, momma!



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