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I pray to God that I gave to you even a fraction of what you've given me. But now I will give you the most difficult thing I will ever have to give.
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I want you to know that you are not alone. Through your grief and pain and loss you have joined the club that no one wants to be a part of. But the most astonishing thing is that this club is made up of some of the most powerful, compassionate, and inspiring women.
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These are the moms who have outlived their children. They are mothers without official titles and have concocted clever ways to answer, "how many children do you have?" when asked by well meaning folk. These mothers cling to old memories, photo albums and painful frequent visits to cemeteries.
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Loss hammered you incessantly. Grief hollowed you out until you were gasping for breath, empty and fully spent. Your heart was broken and battered into a heap of crumbled bits and pieces. And still, you stood.
It's exhausting having to constantly point out privilege, what it is, how it operates and how it's insidious and thus extremely hard to see or understand when you have so much of it; which is precisely why even those feminists with the best intentions can get caught up defending their own story instead of listening to the stories of those more oppressed.
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I'm a professional family photographer and I have one beautiful son. But I've been pregnant three times. Last year I endured two miscarriages in the span of 10 months. My weariness was palpable. It lay on me like a thick heavy blanket. So many questions arose. So much soul-searching. It felt like a crisis of my spirit.
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When someone we love dies, we experience many different emotions, such as sadness, anger, shock, guilt or helplessness to name just a few. But everyone experiences grief differently. After someone close to you dies, you may have good days and difficult days. And, they can be impossible to predict.
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This is the perfect time for pure, unadulterated optimism. In order to hone in on the power of collective hope, we gotta get intentional. Not only dream big, but pull up those gumboots and get ready to get dirty, cuz creating change requires creating some mess. Oh yes.
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As a therapist, I help people to recognize their patterns of defense, their habitual ways of responding: their default mode. We all developed ways of adapting and protecting ourselves in our early years when our brains and nervous systems were developing. These ways of coping can become hard-wired.
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It is Saturday night and I am rebounding on my mini trampoline (so good for the body and mind), watching a movie on www.Gaia.com. The main character just broke his neck in a car accident, lost his job...
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While everyone else throws back rum and eggnog and busies themselves with holiday shopping, those of us in grief are doing our best just to get through the day. Hearing a holiday song, smelling a familiar scent or walking by a decorated store window can be all it takes for us to come undone. So, what can you do? Well, quite a lot. Below are my suggestions for how I plan to get through -- I hope it's of help to you too.
Joshua M. Ferguson 2016
I am terrified that tens of millions of Americans came out in spades to support a man who is endorsed by the KKK, a known terrorist group. Trump is an admitted sexist, a liar, cheat and alleged rapist. A man(child) with zero political background -- completely and entirely unqualified for any position of stature. He is Hitler 2.0, and he now represents the most powerful country in the world. It is, in a word, devastating.
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I am a non-binary trans person. I know that many people do not yet understand what this means. Many people refuse to acknowledge my existence. Being seen as I am by people is a remarkable feeling, and my grandmother gave this gift to me in the most unexpected moment. My grandmother spent her minute of clarity, while suffering in a state of almost perpetual dementia and physical exhaustion, to give me a beautiful gift of cross-generational respect as a trans person. To see me as I am.
I hear this same deeply unsettling story again and again from women who experience loss. Women who are left with a profound sense of loneliness and isolation. So, let's talk. If you know someone who has experienced a miscarriage, later pregnancy or infant loss, here are three things you should do.