27 December 2012

full moon, snowy sky

it is dusk and snowing
everything feels soft and distant right now, even though the snow and the dusk makes thing seem closer in some ways.
I am feeling insulated here in my office space.
no lights on except the white lights that drape around my window and the glow of the computer.

I am feeling off today, a bit tender, a bit raw
My darlin's have both been sick, and so far I've escaped it.

Rumors of a terrible fevery stomach flu going around have me scared, I do not have the resilience to cope with it.  Having it, tending it, dreading it.  We have one bathroom.  One is barely enough many days, and it is never enough when those bugs hit.  I just want to not get it and I want, just as much, to not be worried. Daycare does not begin again until next wednesday for us. I am hoping that through some miracle this built in delay between now and then will somehow stop the bug from spreading through the school. I do know it moves quickly.

As of January I am dropping back to three days a week until business picks up a bit. This does not feel good either.  I know it is a seasonal slump, but it feels scary, when my mosaic-ed work construct feels scary anyway due to the inherent lack of stability and uncertainty. I am hoping that it will be a soft time, with much playing with Della. I hope I can let go of the worry enough to be as present as I can be. She is miraculous.

She sings and now plays with her doll house (a little one we got her for christmas). She talks more, dances, laughs, is very very bossy, very particular, very funny with eyebrows that raise quizzically, and shoulders that shrug, and a busy-ness that takes her around and around and around, back and forth, back and forth, room to room.  She still loves her tractors, loves to swaddle her toys in dish towels, wants ever so desperately to play with the cat.  She loves Phineas and Ferb, Bo on the go, yo gabba gabba and some fairy thing Doug found on netflix.
Personally, I love Shaun of the sheep.

She can count to 20 missing only 14 and 15, asks the names of things, and is totally engaged or not, not much in between, when we do anything at all. We adventure together, out and about. She has a new car seat thanks to santa (grandpa Mark), so hopefully that will work better in my car.  She loves people watching.  There is a kid's science center up in Norwich VT, TOTALLY worthwhile if you have a little one under, say, 6. Or if you are kid-hearted.  Fun stuff, stimulating, good bathrooms.... loads to do. We'll be going again.

Sky, snow, and ground are all the same blue gray right now, the pines nearly black. I'll sign off now, but wanted to check in. Funny how when I feel unmoored a bit like this, I am called back here, a touchstone I guess, a grounding.

Wishing you all peace this snowy night, under the big quiet moon.

23 December 2012

non-weaning, an update

First, thank you.

Thank you B and Sprogblogger. Thank you Emily Erin and Trece.  Thank you Michele and Jenn and Lori.

I so appreciate your stories and support.

I realized, re-realized really, that I am just not ready.
I'm just not.

I realized that I am, however, feeling more and more socially awkward about it, and while this sucks for every reason, it is still true. So, for now anyway, screw social awkwardness. I acknowledge it but am not willing to change my immediate choices to do anything about it.  I no longer nurse in public if I can help it, I did make that change already. But my little one is vocal and also clear with her signals, and we've had many conversations with strangers as a result.

The facts are these:  This is my one time through all of this, and while I hate some parts of it (to be detailed shortly), I love the closeness, the magical fact of it. Della is thriving. She is no where near ready to stop, so it may be a battle judging from how things are going as I try to cut back at key times.  See next point. I will need to be ready, or be ready to follow her lead. I will need to play this by ear.

Here's what I am missing:  Sleep.  So we will work on this. We will be continuing to transition Della out of our bed into her own, and hope that those stretches of time begin to lengthen. Right now it is intermittent success, with stretches of 1-3 hours.  I am hopeful and we will persist.

Here's what I hate:  I'm sore.  Sore sore sore.
I hate that Della needs (OCD needs) to play with the opposite side while she nurses. I am sure this started innocently, so innocently that I did not even notice. Now it is rough and irritating and annoying and painful and unfun and Persistent.  She *will not stop*.  We're working on it, talking about it, but at night when my own resilience is low, it really rots. I make her stop, or block her, and she has a flailing freak out. Our place is small folks, it's an apartment with neighbors. Even if I did not give in I would give in.

I also hate pumping, and if I need to go away (should I be so lucky as to have another business trip), I will need to very mindfully schedule travel and my time away to make room for really great pumping since last time I was both engorged and had a painful blocked duct. And yeah, those things sucked rocks. So did pumping at the airport in the bathroom stall.

So-- yes.  I am not done.
So weaning has time to begin on its own or wait for me to be ready.
I realized that following my own feelings on this one will be the way, as it almost always is.  It is just complicated by the social climate.

20 December 2012

life by chocolate

Today, instead of just surviving, I've decided to live.
This took more work than I care to admit, but I've stacked the cards in my favor.
I began the day with tea and chocolate, and a sunrise under a clearish sky for the first time in days.
A few minutes of guitar.
A conversation with my sister. (Please check out her beautiful site, and be sure to go to this page for some amazing writing.)
And a conversation with a dear friend.

I'm ok.

This has sucked. Other tragedies (9/11) have struck in the midst of other personal horrors or somehow have not felt quite so personal (like the tsunamis).  Maybe they were just too big. Or too far away. This one, wow, this one struck me to the core.

I have finally realized that there is nothing I can do to make it not have happened.
But there are things I can do now.
I can keep loving people. I can pay attention. I can listen. I can be compassionate. I can think about consequences. I can apologize.  I can be kind. I can be honest. I can cultivate peace in my heart, in my home, in my family, in my community, in my world.

I'll write again soon with an update on my not-weaning. But for now, I just wanted to say thank you for your kindness. To hear your voices here, to know I was not alone in my struggle and sadness, it has made a difference.

17 December 2012

broken, apart, open

I do not even know where to begin

falling apart
pulling back together
hugging Della maybe a little too long, a little too tightly
trying to guard myself against images and image-provoking language that I know from experience can cause me harm, while also feeling that as a human being on this planet, those kids deserve my brokenness, my hurt, my horror, my attention

I pull it together, and then, stare at the curls that somehow know what they are doing, sproinging up from Della's beautiful head, and I think of all of the parents that will never look down and see those on their child again


I just care barely cope.

Today, I feel nearly poisoned. If you told me I ate something toxic I would believe you.

And then I just watched/listened to a video sent by my Reiki teacher, prior to the events on friday, and I have to say I was both surprised and not to find myself sobbing.   The beauty stuck me so much deeper than it would have because I am so broken open.  No amount of intellectual over-ride would let me do anything other than watch and cry, truly touched by the beauty of the music.

How can I possibly turn this openness into healing good? I don't know, but I do know I am going to try to stay more connected to beauty, to my lucky life, to the minutes of thrown food and tantrum, to those crazy curls.... to love, the big loves, the small loves, the whiskers on my cat.

Here's the video.
The name gives it away, but the beauty really struck me.

14 December 2012


My heart is just simply broken for those parents, those families, for Newtown, and for all of us. Violence against children should never ever ever ever ever happen.

13 December 2012

push me pull you

Ok I'm going to do it. I am going to talk about my push me pull you relationship with the idea of weaning.

I don't want to do it.
I want to have it be done and over with and onward on the far side.
But I do not want to do it, I don't want to think about it, deal with it, experience it, strategize about it, fear it, mourn it.

There are parts of it I am still truly loving.
But there are parts that I am getting more tired about, fatigued by, and will not miss.

Della is showing no signs of slowing down in terms of her interest and desire to nurse.

But here I am thinking and thinking and feeling and feeling and I am just not comfortable with any way through this that I can envision except my dreamy expectation that it would just magically happen.

I imagined this: Baby led weaning.
Della would grow up and get more and more independent (CHECK), she would become more and more interested in other things (CHECK), she would eat more foods (half CHECK), and find other ways to connect with me (yes?) and that along with that, nursing would sort of quietly diminish in importance for both of us.


I did not think I would have to *do* anything, expect respond to the natural turn of events.
And I did not want to mourn.

And, boy howdy, I still don't.

I know nothing that seems to ignite strong emotions and opinions as much as breastfeeding. The whole who/what/where/when/why of breastfeeding is about as sticky with intensity as any other topic I can think of. (pardon the dangling participle)
I am not trying to start a debate here.

I more just wanted to state my ambivalence because I know other folks out there might be feeling what I am and not quite know what to do either.
I just don't know how this will turn out. I just want it to be gentle. And I just don't want to be sad.

09 December 2012

perfectly imperfect

I kind of did not want to post since I didn't want to bump Susan's photos out of the way. So I will include one here to make myself feel better.

Seriously? How incredibly lucky we are.

Ok, about the tree.  
Every year that we've had a tree (not too many now) there's been a bit of drama.
One year it was a Christmas eve sort of thing when my sister's family had to flee their home after an oil spill. 
One year it was me falling in love with a fat little live tree that we planted at  the edge of the woods at the house, and, as far as I know, it is still there. The face toward the house thriving, the face toward the forest, nearly entirely denuded of needles.
I don't remember the next year, or maybe those two were reversed.
Then we were here.
And I fell for a charlie brown tree up in maine, brought it home stuffed inside the car. 10 bucks or something.

And this year, we went out in the foggy rain yesterday, to The House By The Side of the Road in Wilton, and there were rows and rows of perfect trees.
But I already knew I was not looking for perfect. I was looking for the one that maybe no one else will want. 

And after walking up and down aisle after aisle of perfect trees, I saw it a few rows away. When it is clear like that, like so few things are, it is *totally delicious*. We pushed through as if maybe someone else might beat us to it. 

12 bucks I think. MINE.

At home last night we stuffed it into a large flower pot filled with compacted soil.  We strung lights, and decorated, and it is looking rather magnificent. 

A friend once gave me a bowl she had made in a pottery class. She had stamped cool symbols around the rim, and glazed it.  I Loved it.  The reason it was so lovely was that it was perfectly imperfect. I would have been anal about stamping at regular intervals, at making sure things lined up. And the bowl I would have tried to make would have not had nearly the life and love of the bowl that arrived into my grateful hands.  That bowl taught me something so very TRUE about beauty, that it is the irregularity, the imperfection, the rhythm of some kinds of uncertainty or surprise that catch my eye and my breath.

So, little tree.  Your needles are already stuck in my socks. Welcome.  

30 November 2012

Della photos by Susan Mullen

It was *SO COLD* and yet, Susan still managed to make magic happen.
Want more?  Head over to Susan's blog.  Oh my my.

29 November 2012


Sometimes treading water looks like you aren't going anywhere, because, well, you aren't. And the not going anywhere can very easily look like not very much... can seem like lack of progress, lack of effort, lack of busy-ness and productivity.  But there is a lot of scrambling motion under the surface keeping you from drowning, and boy howdy, that sure counts.

Inside, I am feeling all sorts of scrambly.

There's a lot of motion under the surface. A lot of inner work, adjustments, re-realizations, some discomfort, a new cold, many projects, not quite enough time, and no where near enough down time.

There is no down time.
I need to figure out how to figure that out. How to allow for it.  Make space for it. Fill the space with down time that feels like down time. I am working against myself at the moment, filling filling filling. Running out of time feels like a daily deal.

Even my dreams have been frenetic and over-filled. I wake puzzled by the flood of images, quests, seeking, complexity and nonsense of them and their too muchness.

Today I am trying to get some things off my list.  Some of the too much.  Some of the weight of unfinished business.  I am trying to avoid avoidance. Do stuff that has been dangling and lingering.  Just hit send, just hit publish.  Just put it out there, not waiting until or unless, but just trying to get things done *enough*, enough for now.

One of my new updates today is to my heartwork creativity blog.  Please feel free to check it out.
Note the new tab for consulting.
Note the new tab for coaching.
Note the coaching is currently FREE for an email exchange.  Interested? Contact me!

Back to my scramblings and do-ings, just have really missed being here.
Really, really.

12 November 2012


Today I took Della to the playground. I generally don't. We go to the farm, where we interact with each other and the animals and the tractors, but not really other families, other parents, other moms.

Today, we went to the farm, and the day was just so glorious, 70 degrees, warm breeze, nearly intoxicating...I could not imagine going inside. So, on the way home, we stopped at the playground.

I do this thing-- I feel like I am the new kid at school, spend time looking at my shoes, or just at Della, in some self-protective-feeling tunnel vision.  Wider awareness comes with something like monstrous trepidation, like I am a big fat faker. Like I am the only one making it up moment by moment, an interloper, a charletan.... something negative and out of place and yet
and yet

I am there with my amazing daughter.
And people smile at her and at me.
And people say hello, and so do I.
My internal scars and scarlet letters do not show on the outside.

I said hello to a woman looking my age with a 2 year old, and a 3 month old.
To a woman much younger with four kids, all under 5, the youngest 6 months.

But I am guilty of so many things:
a temptation to assume genetic connection,
a temptation to assume easy fertility,
to assume ease...

Today I tried my best to just be me. Not totally self conscious interloperKate. Just Kate. With Della.
But I still heard some sort of apology in my voice when I noted Della's diaper needed changing, and the bag was in the car,
I heard some sort of awe when I said "wow, four kids, that's really something"
I felt some sort of "less than" in the way I held my body

But all in all it was a glorious day,
we came home with sand in our pockets and dirt on our knees
we ate popsicles and talked about our big big day

and the evening wrapped up with me, in a tangle of rookie mistakes, tripping myself up with dinner and dishes and daycare lunch preparation when really, I should have just gotten down on the floor with Della, but instead found myself creating a perfect storm of dropped rice and a too-small casserole dish and sticky stuff dumped under the burner, while Della put on her own boots, stomped through the kitchen kicking clods off the treads, and was ratcheting up Mommamommamomma, increasingly calling for my attention and me, saying one more minute one more minute one more minute with a lump forming fast in my throat
and Della ended up lying on the floor crying
when all I really wanted to do at that moment was exactly the same thing
and it got alright once the casserole was in the oven
and I gave up everything else

so, tonight I am rewinding the day, reveling in the great day that it was
because if me
in spite of me
along with me

which is really what this is all about I think
stuff burning on the stove
and rice on the floor.

06 November 2012

This I know

I began the day early. Della is NOT adjusting to the time change, so we are up at 4, and stay up too late (well into fussyland) and oh, it will be nice once we get it together and sleep enough again.

I walked downtown, through frosted everything, 19 degrees...
I voted.

I used to live in upstate New York, in an era that included old fashioned mechanical voting booths.  Little levers to swivel down for each candidate with a satisfying click, and a giant lever that whooshed and ca-changed, took the tally, zeroed the levers, and opened the curtain in a wildly dramatic way....

Today, I filled in circles like an old school standardized test but with a black felt tip, not a #2 pencil.
I fed my ballot into a machine.

And I walked back, sunshine just barely reaching the tops of the trees, and was home by 8am.

Today has been full of anxious buzz.  My mind doing me no favors by worrying worrying worrying.

Ok folks, so here's the truth.
I have a vested emotional and intellectual interest in the outcome of this election.
But I also have the ability to do many things... I can make my voice heard. I can march on washington. I can lobby and rally, call and whine, take action, civilly disobey. I can vote.  And so can you.

I may not believe the same things you do
I may not think the same things you do
You may have voted differently than I did
But up until Della, I would have fought and died for your right to free speech, free expression.

Now I have Della, and I am not quite so quick to give up my life, however,
the point here is

anxious? yes,
but with perspective too

I walked into and out of my polling place in 5 minutes.
How lucky am I, that I CAN vote, and that I live in a town where, as far as I know, there is no bullying. There is no broken touch screen bullshit.  There is no line around the corner. I am so so so incredibly lucky. And luckier too, because I know it.

05 November 2012

US *In which, I wax political*


not US and THEM
Just:  Us.

Have you seen an image of earth from space? A little blue marble, in the middle of a whole lot of mystery. It's just US folks.  Us. We're all in this together.

The person we elect tomorrow has an immense and unbelievably difficult and challenging job. An extraordinary job.
A terrifying job.
A job with responsibility for caring for everyone: the sick, the old, the young, the rich, the poor.

As you make your choice, please, think about us, all of us.

Think about inclusivity rather than exclusivity.

We are all in the same boat, even if it rarely feels that way.

I wish we could trade divisiveness for togetherness, without the aid of foreign threat.
I wish somehow we could just see that we are all in this together.

As we stood in the cold, I stuck a pro choice sticker on my baby and my husband asked, so you are choosing for her? And I said, no.  Pro choice is all about maintaining choice, it allows her to choose whatever is right for her.


Please vote.

'nuff said.

31 October 2012


Today, perusing Pink Coyote's blog, I came across this title:
"Know That You Are Sacred"

which I immediately read as:

Know That You Are Scared.

Yes, I said.
But not in the same ways I used to be.

29 October 2012


rain against the window and blowing in from the north right now.
Here in NH we are due to have rain and wind, but nothing alarming.
But the news is very very scary, and
I'm holding hope for all of you for a safe few days, especially those out there in the more direct path, or those of you under the wide swath of collateral weather.

I remember when I was little, standing on some rocks while the remnants of a hurricane whipped up waves in Long Island Sound. That storm was just strong enough to create wild waves, and wild wind. I remember the taste of salt, and the strange warm push of air, and the feel of barnacled rock under my feet.

40 years later, I cannot imagine standing there...
even being this much bigger, and in some ways stronger
because now, in so many ways wiser
and in so many ways more aware of the bad things that could happen

26 October 2012

crazy light, the transition from wanting to having

Mo's new miracle baby, and Della's upcoming 2 year birthday have had me really thinking hard again about the bizarre and oddly difficult transition from full-time IF struggle to parenting.

First, let me be clear:  "Difficult" does NOT mean bad.

Let me explain.
I got used to being in the midst of the struggle. Every day, every night, every waking moment. I got used to the ebb and flow of the process of cd1, baseline scan, follicle counts, cysts or stimulation drugs, ultrasounds, injections, prayers while watching those little voids tucked into clusters in the midst of my innards, praying for them to grow, not too fast! please, all at once, same pace, same size.  I got used to seeing a big one and worrying. Seeing too few and worrying. Living from ultrasound to ultrasound, blood work to blood work.  When when luck would have it, I even got used to egg retrieval. When luck would have it, waiting for counts. When luck would have it, fertilization reports. When luck would have it, transfer. Interminable 2 week waits. Progesterone. Pee sticks. Negatives. Failures.

I also got used to a life that revolved around early morning appointments, injections of refrigerated equivalent of liquid gold. Liquid hope.
I got used to the struggle.
I got used to the regimented and intensely private lifestyle of IF and IVFfing.
And on some level, I got used to the failure.

When I read of someone else's cycle resulting in a negative, or heartbreaking miscarriage, I never EVER think of them as having FAILED.  And yet, with every one of mine, I felt like it was me who was failing. I remember apologizing, as if I had made it not work.  I was the old one, afterall. I was the one who waited too long. I was the one whose body did not respond like so many other people's. I was the one whose ovaries kicked out tiny follicle counts, often just over the limit to stay on the IVF path. And it was my body, mine, that somehow could not get pregnant. I felt, somehow, that I was responsible.

I confess, I'm slightly shamed by my own hypocrisy. My own double standard. 

My first pregnancy, I was stunned. It was from a conversion from an IVF cycle to IUI, a lead follicle messing things up.  I had no hope of it working. Cried my way through the insemination.
And then, suddenly and miraculously pregnant.
And then, numbers of weeks later, belly already rounding and hard, just as suddenly, not.

As soon as I could, I was back in-- cycling however they would let us.
Cycling and failing. Cycling and failing.
Failing, in fact, enough, that our old clinic would not cycle with us any more.
With Della, it was our hail mary.
It was a new clinic.
It was going to be Our Last Cycle (or so I say, who knows what I would have done to try again, or again, or again).
New places to drive to.
New phlebotomists to get to know.
New ultrasound protocols.
New new new.
But at the heart of it, it was the same old dance of injections, blood work, ultrasounds, numbers...
The first pee stick read was negative.
That was familiar too.
Then, it was not the same old dance.
Hours and hours after I peed on that stick, the faintest of faint lines had emerged:I was pregnant.
Bucking all odds, moon shot, crazy lucky, statistically LOTTO-winning, lightning striking.

And now, I have this perfect little person in my life who calls me Momma.

I have not yet learned to trust this, the way I trusted that.
That process, IVFfing, was something I could not believe I was doing (over and over and over and over), but it became so familiar to me.
Me as Momma? Not so much.  Each day I wake amazed. I know I have said this, but I really mean it.
I wake and worry some day I will wake up and I will discover to my horror (but perhaps not to my surprise) that I have dreamed this whole thing. This is too good to be true (knock wood, salt over shoulder, run around under a ladder backwards carrying a black cat).

So, some part of me wants to write to Mo and say: hey sweet and lovely lady, for some of us, not all of us, the transition from TRYING (and failing and trying and failing and trying...) to HAVING is as surreal as if we woke up next to a unicorn.
Be gentle with yourself as you try to learn this new way of being.
The new way of NOT struggling.
This new way of holding something miraculous and precious and singular and magnificent, in the crazy light of the wee hours with no sleep and no desire to close your eyes, because you don't dare close them, just in case you wake up and find it was all a dream.
And don't be surprised if, two years down the line, you find yourself in the crazy light of the wee hours, with no where near enough sleep, staring at this miraculous and precious and singular and magnificent being, stretched out long across the bed,  and feeling you don't dare close your eyes, because you don't want to wake up and find it was all a dream.

25 October 2012


"That one? That pillow is Della's."

Nigh on 2 and holy moly, language explosion time.
And moody.
And specific.
And inflexible.
And delightful.
So much person packed into that tiny body, oh my.

I'm watching clouds gather in wild waves up there,
lumps and wings, undulations...
worried about the confluence of coming storms as we head into next week.

The sky was bluest blue this morning, and the oak trees, truly, are showing off now that the maples have done there thing, and only a few yellow ash? beech? are holding leaves on the hillsides.

We are down to evergreens and oaks, mostly.
And crimson sumac.
And suddenly the anatomy of the hills is visible again.

24 October 2012

at long last

after an insanely hard journey, Mo and Will have their little one, outside into this big world, in their arms, a healthy baby girl.

I am over the moon for them, stunned and awed by the beauty and magic of this.

thank you, universe.

22 October 2012

almost 2

Amazing Della photo by my amazing sister, taken yesterday at her kitchen table.

19 October 2012


last night i dreamed of wolves.
one, in the yard, advancing toward me in spite of the noise I was trying to make, the menace I was faking.
I was just simply scared, but all of my fear filled and desperate arm waving and yelling made no difference.
it came closer and closer, so close, finally, it put its muzzle in my hand, and then we stood there in the doorway, me, stroking the soft fur of this fierce and fearless wolf

it was thirsty so I invited it in.
not much later I turned to find my house was filled with wolves.
fat ones and skinny ones, big ones and small ones. ones with spots.

today is rain and dark after yesterday's glorious everything.
light! oh, the light this time of year, low and slanty, setting hillsides into glow as a million million oak leaves turn color from brown to every kind of gold and berry.

fog lifting from every waterway
then high wispy clouds

today is very dark and flat and close
by 6am the sky was not even pretending to lighten
so I've turned on my christmas lights and am sitting in their glow, trying to gather myself for my day.

work has not been working, not as I've imagined it might.
I realized I took a detour this summer, a detour into imagining alternatives that never coalesced into actionable identifiable directions.  so now, several months into the detour, I am returning with panic to what I am already doing, gathering myself, trying to define, refine, communicate.

there are many inherent delights in this mosaic of different work for different people-- lots of stimulation, smart people, ideas, projects to wrangle. but there is fatigue in it too. switching so often from project to project means no sustained push, no immersion, and no sustained connection with co-workers. and there is loneliness in it too: I'm feeling lonely, I guess.  A part of many somethings but apart from them too....

A new creative project for a friend feels like a deep breath.
But I still need to re-organize my other work, and figure out how best to balance everything in a way that makes sense. I've got all sorts of wolves circling.
the best thing about the dream last night was that it meant that I was sleeping after several nights of anxious waking.

18 October 2012

Blog-to-book, save 10%

Want to make your blog into a book?

I am sure there are some platforms that will work better than others (it looks, in fact, like it is a blogger-only-thing), but, here's an opportunity to save some money if you'd like to give it a try.

I am not an affiliate, and I have not done it myself, so this is just FYI.

I got their permission to post this here because I think so many of us pour our hearts out in the blog world, and it is worth considering capturing that content in some other form for posterity.

The process is super easy and you can preview before ordering, so there is no downside in checking this out.

12 October 2012


The sudden onset of CM this past week, the kind you dream of when trying to conceive in your 40s, is making me feel, well, like shit actually.

I have not had a period since Della, except what I thought was one right after she was born (about 6 weeks after).  Somehow, indications that it might be imminent made me feel so incredibly sad, not PMS blue, but existential sad... a mark of leaving this particular part of my journey maybe, very reluctantly leaving her babyhood, the specter of re-entering hormonal wackitude....

My periods have always been painfully intense and troublesome and I have not missed them one bit. But more than that, I have not missed the hyper awareness of The Cycle and my focus on where I was in my cycle at any given time and what it could possibly mean for our attempts at family building. I have not missed that perpetual obsessive awareness, that compulsive and acute awareness. That particular way of marking time, especially the cliff-drop connection of time passing to mid-40s infertility, well,


I have not missed it at all.


I've also been having trouble with my guts again, after a long stretch of miraculous calm.
The Miraculous Calm came about after quitting gluten and dairy.  I have had so few episodes of IBS in the past 3 years I could count them on two hands. But lately, things have shifted so I have been having more and more trouble.

This has knocked me down more a few pegs too-- nothing has impacted my life in a more limiting way than IBS. No, not my introversion. Not my fear of public speaking. But my IBS. It sucks rocks.

Of course, the return of the mucous, and the return of the IBS may be related-- hormonal shifts cause all sorts of collateral shifts in other body systems and functions.

But I immediately cut my diet back down to the bare minimum. Anything I suspected as a trigger is gone for now (except my one cup of pretty dilute tea). So no chicken, no turmeric, no carageenan. None of my beloved Udi gluten free bread (it has traces of corn in it, a known trigger for me).

Yes, things are *calmer*, but I am hungry.  Hungry mostly to be able to stand down, and to once again believe and trust that I am back into a remissiony stage of this thing.

In a further attempt at rebalancing, I got myself to my beloved acupuncturist this week for the first time since Della emerged.

Taking action like that made me feel that I was doing something to make a difference, to take back control. The IBS blues shifted ever so slightly, and I seem to be tolerating my new digestive enzyme supplement well (always a surprise; I suck at supplements).

But the CM blues, those are in full complicated swing, and differently symbolic, hugely messed up and tangled with IF and my age and.... so those I need to learn to be compassionate about, even while I want to kneel on it and force it to shift via the sheer force of intellectual override.

I'm starting to suspect that intellectual override  = unicorns
I'm just sayin'.

06 October 2012

reality, and the fine thing of being home

it turns out that 3 days = eternity
badly timed air travel and a crappy hand pump meant my first experience of engorgement on the way to las vegas (holy moly, how insanely uncomfortable)
remembered everything I hate about pumping
wore my bathing suit at a very crowded pool for about 20 minutes, simply out of principle
did not sleep nearly enough, and no where near as much as I do here.... very bad...
did virtually no appreciable inner work with the exception of some brief on-bed yoga (no, not a euphemism, sincerely, yoga on the bed, as the rug was wayyyyyyy too gross)  and some Reiki infused meditation.

Some great meetings and progress business-wise, and some very nice connections with people as people.  My boss took me on a long crazy walk the first evening/night through miles of casinos, and then the next evening I spent hours with a dear friend in nearby red rock canyon (glorious) followed by the single, hands-down, exquisitely best meal of my gluten free existence. (Japonais at the Mirage)

But the place? Yeah. Not so much. I pretty much hated everything about las vegas; you can have it.  Excessive excess, to the point of obscenity. I hated the smoke, the cloying air freshener, the sounds, the lights, the crowds, the too much of everythingness.  As a HSP I really had to gird my loins and dig deep and observe while taking in as little as possible.  The people watching was stellar, I must admit, but it was hard to even do that with just so much sensory flooding.

Arrived home bone tired in a way that made my usual everyday exhaustion look like nothing, and am right now off to bed at 8:02.  I am just over my last bug and Della has a new one, so I feel doomed.

I want to write more about lots of things, my belly's recent and unnerving unbalancing act, my amazing almost-2 Della, work stuff, life stuff. But sleep needs me (or, really, I need it) more than anything else right now.  So off I go.

Just so happy to be home.

01 October 2012

3 days

ok, to be fair, it will be closer to 4 days
for sanity's sake: 3 days away from Della. 3 nights.
My first time away from her for the night EVER.
By away I mean, away at all...
Except one night many months ago that Doug slept with Della until 4am in the living room.

I am getting reacquainted with the pump.
I am getting reacquainted with separation anxiety (MINE)
I am getting reacquainted with feelings of vulnerability, fragility, uncertainty, worries...

I am interested to see how I do-- travel to a different time zone, sleeping alone instead of our co-sleeping, the weirdness that is inherent in travel... business stuff, networking, grown up shoes.

But the time away? Oh. Heavy heart.
As if perhaps she will forget me.
Or find out that this really was a dream after all.


In search, I mean support, of my sanity, I will be using travel time to sleep if possible, journal, read, do some projects that include a kind of focus that the internet and a baby do not inherently support.

I fly through atlanta to las vegas ferchrissakes
and back by dinner on thursday.

Hoping for smooth sailing, good inner work, minimal tears, sleep, sufficient food and an opportunity to wear my bathing suit in an actual pool, for more than one minute.

24 September 2012

Shady Grove, Philly Area

These folks send me info still, and I cannot quite make myself unsubscribe.
For those of you in the trenches, this place does a lot with donor eggs and shared risk, and may be worth considering if you are still rustling up options to give your brain things to mull when sleep escapes you.

2 out of 2

Daycare + start of school = sick kate
sick now for 2 weeks with only a few days off
I am very tired of being sick
tired of blowing my nose
tired of being tired like this
tired of wincing at the amazingly bright and beautiful sun and sky
tired of feeling like "upright" is nearly as unimaginable as "everest"

sorry about the prolonged quiet. I am *ok*, today, upright.
Just very very very snotty.

Next week I have my first ever night(s) away from Della, a business trip that will have me away 3 nights.  I'll write more about that soon.

05 September 2012

Dear Laura

To the nice woman with the beautiful dark eyed baby I shared a parent meeting with once (I spent the time chasing Della and cleaning up yoghurt, you spent the time massaging your beautiful son and talking about making formula from scratch)... and then I saw you from afar at a festival, ran up, shoved a card in your hand and probably looked as desperate for connection as I felt.

I want to apologize. I thought, that somehow, we would get together this summer. Get to know one another.  We could have tea or walk.  You would be holding your little one in a sling carrier and I would be holding Della's hand, or watching her turn over rocks.

But there is this dichotomy between the life I imagine and the life I am actually having.
It is not a bad thing.
It is just different than I was imagining.

I imagined I would have energy for get togethers. For making plans.  For hikes.  For tea.  For visiting.
I imagined I would be able to carve time for this, create space, make it possible.
I imagined I would choose to carve time for this because I am lonely and it feels so important.
I imagined that this summer I would be making some local friends, some friends that I could share more than a knowing smile as we pass in the drop off or pick up frenzy at daycare.  Friends with whom I could laugh maybe, or swap ideas, collaborate, problem solve, spend time.
I imagined we could go to the farm some time or that we could hike my old hill.
Or we could go to the farmer's market. Pick blueberries.
Or go to the park.

That we would call each other to say hello. To say hey, I am heading out, want to come? And that the other would sometimes say yes.

I see you as someone I would like to know.
But in real life,  my days are filled with other choices. Time is compacted tightly- Della and daycare and work here or driving to client's sites, or up to maine or down to see my sister. For goodness sake's I saw my mom on monday for the first time since JULY 4TH and she lives just a fat hour away. Evenings are totally taken with the flailing interpretative dance that is shepherding Della from daycare to dinner to bed, balancing logistics of dishes and food with LOVE and PLAY and the sanctity of the momentum toward sleep in every fabulously intense moment.

This is about doing This now, and then this and this and this.  Occasionally I stray, I go wildly out into the world, but last minute, often alone, and often glad of that time.  An occasional pilates class. Target. A mid-week grocery visit. The laundramat.  Getting my car fixed.  An early morning walk downtown with Della on the very few mornings we are here and not heading out out out.

When time opens I do not think, who can I connect with? But, what needs to be done? Or what do I choose right now? And my choices are almost always alone and away. Not connecting. I guess I need conflicting things.

I want to apologize since I am the one who reached out to you-- so sincerely wanting to connect, so sincerely wanting to get to know you a little, and to share stories.
And in real life, while those wants persist, I am not finding those things to be what I am choosing to actually do.

I hope you will answer my email if and when I write again,
and I hope you will forgive me not seeing the difference between what I wanted to be true and the actual truth of my rich and full life.


22 August 2012


The amazing Della is 21 months old. Plus 13 days.
Last time we were up at camp, she sat on a horse.
She sings.
We play imaginary everything.
She pretends she is a snake
or a frog

Has a pathological fear of spiders.
Has learned from some heathen to make a shriek heard round the world, tangled in with the word NO while going boneless, or pushing off me with all of her strength, or flinging herself backwards out of my arms, or clawing at my face.
I hate it. I'm just sayin'.
I hold my face still. Count to 3 before I respond, but man alive and boy howdy (my two favorite superheros this week), it really really sucks.

She has been insanely wonderful in all of our travels.  Adjusting to new places, back and forth, back and forth. Adjusting to seeing Doug and leaving again.  Adjusting to the changing rhythms of weekends, to daycare.

We still co sleep, which is a mixed blessing.
She still wakes at 4am (Hello Orion! I missed you!)
We are still nursing. (Baby led weaning anyone? um, hello?)

She still loves tractors
Our favorite llama died of old age, so now we are trying to bond with alpacas, which are entirely less fun to say.

She is amazing, people.  I still am rocked by how much I love her. How inept I feel. How blessed. How old. How awestruck.  How lucky. How lucky. How lucky.
And yes, she was, in fact, wearing a giant monkey/sheep/woolen hat with long dark braid-like-objects while eating breakfast (cheerios = yar yars). Don't you?

20 August 2012

Mindful Healing, Day 20 Truth

So, yes, this month of Mindful Healing is not going to be a whole month after all, not a month of posts anyway. It turns out that (*SURPRISE*) thinking/talking/writing about grief and healing is profoundly difficult.  It has positive power (yay transformation!), but also an unavoidable power to keep me pulled down, when really, I am wanting to be pulled up. No, not like a flower, more like a sock.

Here we are.

I want to offer this to you:  healing can come from focus, but it can come from rest. It can be all about intensity, work, process... it can also be about letting it be, leaving it alone, stopping the incessant poking.

Of course, this is how I got into my encapsulation problem, where I created pockets of brand new grief, tucked in there, covered in scar tissue and optimism, created by the false hope that avoidance would result in some miraculous behind the scenes healing.
So I am not advocating avoidance.

But I am advocating being true to yourself.  As I am about to be right here, right now.

We survive our losses by whatever means possible. Breath by breath by breath by breath. I made myself eat. I slept when my body and mind allowed. I moved. I got clean, got dressed, went into the world. No, not every day. No, not always well. No not always.
Often and often with surprise, memories kick in for me, like stepping on a hoe. It is sudden, it is intense, it is difficult. And then there are anniversaries that are tailor-made for emotional slogginess. And oh, this year I wanted so much to do something, anything, that would make this time of year less shitty.

This year I made a promise to myself to do something differently, and I did. And it has been wonderfully and surprisingly healing. It has, indeed, been mindful. It has been transformative. I have come up with some new grief management skills that I will use forever more.

This morning, I woke to a starry sky at 4am, cold clear air.  A need for socks and a sweater. And a feeling, deep down and true, that I am done with this for now. This particular inquiry. I need to stop poking, however productive it has been. I need to let it rest. Let me rest from it as well. I survived the anniversary, and I am ready to not be working on it with such intensity, however mindful, however gentle and well-intentioned.

there you have it.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled program.

15 August 2012

Mindful Healing, Day 15 your story

For those of you along for this journey, I wanted to write about telling our stories. Specifically, the twin challenges of working/living/loving alongside those who know your story, and those who don't.

It sucks rocks to have to tell your story to someone new. It sucks to watch their face register the pain of the new information, it sucks even to feel the compassion. And oh, how it sucks to tell it.

It also sucks to have folks who have known you through your loss continue to feel like you are broken,  or in need of protecting, or to feel that somehow they continue to see you through the lens of your loss. It makes it very hard to move forward.

But it also is hard to feel broken, feel in need of protecting, and in the midst of living through the lens of our loss, while others feel it is time we move on, get over it, focus on the positive things that are happening in our lives.

It sucks rocks to be someone with this story.

But try to remember, there is power here too (hidden maybe)- power to connect, power of compassion, power of sensitivity that others don't necessarily have...

No wise words here, just yes, I get it.
There are no secrets here. No tried and true. Just suckitude.

We awoke this morning to a vibrant glowing orange sky.
As we watched, it got brighter and brighter, then lightning, thunder, and a slow turn from orange to gray as dawn truly turned to sunrise.

This week of travel and no daycare has resulted in sporadic time for anything external-- full time Della means no time or chance to post.
I'm rolling with it, since this time is a gift.
Time in the car means time to think. Time away from the computer feels like half relief, half panic. So many things piling into my inbox that need the kind of attention I don't have to offer in this moment.
Learning to let it be, oh my, is so challenging!
But the thinking has been fruitful, and the time with Della is intense and wonderful.
I will resurface next week.

11 August 2012

Mindful Healing, Day 11 Transformation

By date, this is my hardest day.

But this year, by the mere (and mighty) act of deciding to transform this month into something positive, something mindful and intentional, not something that I am at the mercy of moment to moment...well, something shifted, something transformed, something happened to loosen a grip on my heart that has been holding tight for 9 years.

I do not know what in me has finally allowed this transformation to occur-- maybe it was time passing, maybe it was being tired of feeling so at the mercy of memory and regret, maybe it was just luck that I stumbled on some combination that is allowing me to put forth positive energy while, yes, still remembering.

I'm still actively shoving things aside, don't get me wrong.
But each time my heart wants to put a timeline on this day versus that one, or wants to replay things I know to be true, things I saw, things I heard, I am finding it *easier* to jump off into a memory I believe to be positive. One I can hold that is not about me, not about the loss, but just a good memory. I know I am lucky to have one. I know I am lucky to have this work.  I am lucky to have this outlet, this one, here on blogger.  I am lucky that I can talk about this at all. I am lucky in a million ways.

But for me, the past nine Augusts have always felt like minefields.  Ones I knew to be strewn with mines, not just the possibility, but the certainty. It was a question of when, not whether.

This year, through this act of mindfully cultivating healing and self care each day, gentleness, compassion, all I can say is wow.

It has been transformative for me.

I questioned and question whether this is the right forum for this particular series, but I am connected to no other population that has experienced nested losses quite like this one. I hope that by writing it out, reminding us all to extend ourselves some latitude, gentleness, compassion, and awareness of how complex loss can be, maybe some of you are feeling a little more healed or at least feel that incremental healing is possible.

That would be my wish.  That we all can heal a little bit more, and let positive transformations happen, even (or especially) when they are totally unexpected.

10 August 2012

Mindful Healing, Day 10 Breathing

There is a deep fatigue in loss, isn't there? There is so much to carry.

Sometimes, things spiral. Memory, regret, longing.

What if, for this moment, and maybe the next, we just try to be mindful of our breathing. We don't have to try to do anything else. We don't have to be anyone else. We don't have to pretend or imagine or regret. We don't have to wish or long for...
We can just be.

A few days ago I posted a short audio meditation as an assist for "I am here, in this moment" (under 3 minutes long).

I'm going to post it again here, because really?  The only way through anything is breath by breath by breath.
And not every moment has to be filled with heavy lifting.

Today I invite us all to return to this moment, to breathing in this air, to breathing out this breath. 

Background music is Healing Relaxation With Tibetan Singing Bowls

08 August 2012

Mindful Healing, Day 8 Identity

As part of our healing process, it helps to admit that with our loss, came the loss of one or more identities, roles, personas, facets of our selves as we were, were becoming, or hoped to become.
There is such power in projecting forward our hopes for ourselves and our lives and our loved ones. We connect to an outcome, or the status quo. 

I introduce myself-- I am Kate, I am a ____ usually filled in with workstuff
but really, aren't we all a million different things?

Some of these are contextual
some are permanent
some are transitory
some are things we can have or achieve again 
and some are not

Like innocence, loss of identity can be staggering.
Who am I now? is such an existentially frightening question.

In the moments after loss, this can be profound.
But it turns out, for many of us, there are longer term implications too. 
We will forever be the person who experienced the loss.

So, I invite you to join me in an intention-- 
just for today I will honor the lost parts
and I will hold myself gently in cupped hands, light streaming through the seams, glued imperfectly... no, not back together, but into something new.

07 August 2012

Mindful Healing, Day 7 Innocence

With loss comes loss of innocence.
Suddenly, there we are.
We cannot unknow it.
We cannot undo it.
We cannot not have it have happened.
We cannot ever be the person we were before.

Wisdom comes, yes, but the expense. Oh, the expense.
Fear can come too-- fear that something like this could happen again. Conscious fear, unconscious fear, ride shotgun, whispering worry.

But it cracks us open to a different kind of compassion. A different way of knowing. A different way we can connect to other people.

It is one of the things that makes this medium, this internet, so powerful.  We connect over countless miles, different cultures, different languages, over losses that are somehow shared experiences. Not replicas.  But over the solace of hearing
Yes, I have been in that trench.
Yes, I have fought that fight.
Yes, I have been wounded too.

There is such a profound potential for connection, for offering and receiving compassion.

Just for today, imagine extending yourself the same compassion you would extend a stranger-- gentle understanding, room for whatever is coming up, support, kindness.

I think of the stones that line my shelves, the ones worn smooth from untold waves, of salt and sand.
The ones I picked up warm from the sun, piled into my pockets for comfort.
Their velvet softness a response to a billion minute collisions.

06 August 2012


No photo actually looks exactly like Della-- it is as if the thing that is she is present in the kineticism, in the wildness, the glint, the saunter....
but this photo?
Yes, she looks like this sometimes, if you can imagine it as a pause between this moment and the next one... but that glint?
YUP.  All Della.

Taken this weekend up where Doug is working-- found it on his facebook and wanted to share.

Mindful Healing, Day 6 Collateral damage

No loss is simple.
When we lose something, there are often many other things we lose along the way. Faith, hope, expectations, dreams, a future we envisioned, peace, identity.

Today I invite you to acknowledge that there might be unresolved pieces, futures and dependencies you might not even know you had started to create, build up and build on. I invite you to acknowledge them even if you don't know what they are.

This is not about intention, or lack of intention.
This is not about setting ourselves up.
This is not about foolishness or delusion.
These pieces-- doesn't it make sense that they are the natural byproduct of hope?-- ideas and emotional connections cast forward into a future with some expectation (however unconscious) of how things might be or become.

This is about all the things that come along for the ride when we begin down a path.
Yes, our fears are along for the ride too (go check out Sprogbloggers most excellent post).
But this post is about all of the things that line the sunny side of the road, all of the good things we imagine that will be.

The fact is, I know of only some of my pieces of hope. But I am still, all these years later, realizing just how many there were and are.

So how do we best deal with this unfinished business? This hope, or that one, that we suddenly realize or eventually realize is tied up to what we hoped would happen? These bits that are not central to the loss, but are often central to who we are and who we let ourselves become?

I think the best we can do is hold ourselves gently and offer heartfelt compassion to both who were were then, and who we are now. We did and we do the best that we can.

I think that we need to be more gentle with ourselves when we catch ourselves in our whatiffing. In our whatmighthavebeens. In our ifonlyies.  In our perhaps unfolding awareness that our loss means the loss of so much more.   Be gentle--Your future, as you envisioned it consciously or unconsciously, shifted out from under your feet. You may feel out of whack in ways that you cannot explain, or in ways you cannot articulate.  These places of unmet hope, of unmet expectations need healing too.  They may need a bit of attention, perhaps even a bit of grief, a bit of letting go, even if we do not know all that they are, or all that they impact.

Be aware that there might be an undercurrent holding you to these nested losses, that these too might be links we hold as connections to what we lost. So it is not necessarily as easy as brushing dust from our hands, saying There, enough of That.

I offer this intention and invite you to do the same:  
Just for today, even if I do not know all of the details of all of the repercussions of my loss, I admit and acknowledge that there were plenty.  
I will accept (for today) the fact that some I will know, and some I will never know.
But no matter what, I will be gentle with myself as they come up, and release them as best I can. 
I will also meditate on releasing all of the tangled bits I will never fully know, imagining combing them out, perhaps twining them around my hand, imagining placing them lovingly in a basket tied to a balloon, imagining releasing them. 

03 August 2012

Mindful Healing, Days 3-5 First do no harm

I'll be mostly offline until Monday, so I'll offer all of us this seemingly simple assignment for the next few days:

Let's be gentle with ourselves.
Let's be mindful of when we are doing more harm than good. Even if the harm is disguised as habit.
Let's try to make choices that lighten and simplify...
and let's give ourselves permission to not make decisions that we are not ready to make, to not make plans, to not say yes, to not say no.  Let's give ourselves permission to buy time, say, we'll see, to wait until we know more or know more clearly what we truly want or what we can truly handle.
For the next few days, imagine that we are a close friend. How would we treat us? What words would we choose to speak? What support would we offer? What diversions would be create? What laughter would we find? What gentle touch, what compassion, what kindness would come?

Give yourself that.
Go on, try it.
I'll try too.

See you monday.

02 August 2012

Mindful Healing, Day 2 Being here now

Welcome to day 2!

A particularly tenacious aspect of grief is the rip tide, the undercurrent that pulls us back again and again and again... memories, upwellings, reminders, regret... they all keep us rooted in and connected strongly and immediately to the past event, while keeping the feelings fresh and present.  It can be hard to stay present in this moment, this one.

After yesterday's toughie, I thought we could all use a little break.
So today, I offer a gentle exercise in mindfully being here now.

This takes just a few minutes-- seriously, like a minute (my-noot) re-boot.

Find your mind racing/retracing?
Gently say, "stop". You can whisper it. You don't need to yell. I bet it is tired anyway.
Let it know you'll get back to it in a moment, but in This moment, you are going to take a well-deserved break.

I find that if I say stop and tap my thigh, I can stop saying stop, and that the tap will continue to work to remind me to come back to the present moment. I can often get myself out of grief loops this way.

Sit comfortably. Close your eyes if you want, or softly focus your eyes on something neutral to pleasant....
While you Breathe in (slowly but not with effort): say to yourself, "I am here"
As you breathe out: "In this moment"

Would you like audio assistance? Here's a short (under 3 minutes) guided exercise:

Background music is Healing Relaxation With Tibetan Singing Bowls

If ideas and thoughts come in, gently say stop, or tap your thigh, and let yourself return to the repetition of I am here, in this moment.

I invite you to try doing this for just a few minutes.
See if anything shifts for you, if anything comes up, if anything releases just a little bit.

Ok, so I did not use the word meditation until now, since meditation can seem kind of intimidating, but really, meditation is just this: mindfully coming back to this moment, again and again and again.

Want a more kinetic (but not frenetic) version?  Try walking meditation--walk very slowly, letting each foot fully contact the ground before moving the back foot forward.... and simply pay close attention to each foot as it is coming into contact with the ground.  Focus on arriving, not leaving.  Thich Nhat Hanh, the well known Buddist monk and peace advocate, says when he does walking meditation, with each step, he repeats, I am arriving, I am arriving, I am arriving, or, perhaps more powerfully for some of us, I am home, I am home, I am home. (A thank you to Oprah's interview with him on Super Soul Sunday several months back for this insight).

Want the assistance of some sweet visuals?
Just want to have a 2 minute break (with or without guided meditation) anytime?
Go to www.calm.com

Remember, you can take mini breaks throughout your whole life if you remember to do this-- just quietly fall into it, and for a few breaths while you wait in that checkout line or for the water to boil or that file to load.... just bring yourself back to this moment, this moment, this moment, this moment.

01 August 2012

Mindful Healing, Day 1 Shame

Jumping right in to my month of mindful healing with a toughie since it is what was rattling my cage as I awoke this morning:
Let's talk about shame.

Yikes, right?
Now wait, don't click away; this may be gentler than it may appear.
It does not require you feeling any additional shame.
Or doing any deep delving into discomfort or cause and effect.
Or replaying.

This is about acknowledging that, for many of us, grief is tangled up with guilt and shame.
And most of us know what our shame triggers are, or at least are familiar with some of them.
And this is about releasing the grip that shame has on our hearts. Even if it just releases a little, wouldn't that additional space be a great thing?

Ok, first and most importantly:  If you do not feel safe, don't do this.
Let me repeat,
if this does not feel safe, just don't do this.
Don't even read it.
Screw it.
This is about healing, not hurting.  And if this hurts? There are better ways to use your time toward healing your heart.

Promise me, heck, promise you, that you'll stop if it sucks, ok?

Option 1: Quietly speaking the truth so that your heart can hear it.
Try saying out loud (even a whisper into your cupped hands counts):
I acknowledge my feeling of shame, but I was not and am not responsible for what happened.

Then imagine letting it go, imagine the words sitting cupped in your palms and then blow them away as if they are dandelion seeds, and imagine them floating away.

You do not need to repeat any details at all about what happened, you already know them by heart.
Just whisper and gently, compassionately, release the words.

If it feels right, you can do this again and again, feeling the weight lessen each time (the first time is hardest).  You may find yourself speaking louder as the weight lifts. Or you may find this goes deeper and deeper and once is PLENTY.
Trust yourself.

You can repeat this for other facets of the shame-- be careful and mindful to use language that supports your highest and best.

Option 2: If you'd rather do something more tangible, write it down.
Again, write the acknowledgement of the shame, and then state the reverse of the thing that is causing shame. EVEN IF YOU DON'T BELIEVE IT (yet). Use "for what happened" in place of the event, don't replay it.

Then, shred it. Light it on fire. Release it/transform it in some way that allows it to not be buried or hidden (for example, don't paint over it)-- truly let it be gone.

It is important to acknowledge it, but it is also important to not dwell.

To close, be very gentle with yourself.  Open your eyes, engage your brain in the here and now, and really look at something way out in the distance--trees, clouds, sky, things that are big and real and current and humbling....
really see what you are looking at, this sky, this cloud, that tree...
put your hand over your very big loving heart, fill yourself with as much love as you can muster and whisper (inside your head is fine):
No matter what I may think or feel, I deserve healing. I deserve wholeness. 

Ground yourself in the here and now. Wiggle those toes.  Breathe deeply, taking in this moment.  In this moment, nothing is happening but compassion and healing.

31 July 2012

catch and release

I had a reiki session yesterday-- and with it, spoke some of my truth to my practitioner, and there is something sometimes about speaking out loud that makes you hear yourself differently and whoa, yeah, there is STUFF going on for me right now.

Tomorrow is August.
For those of you who've been here for a while, you know August sucks rocks for me. No, not all of August, but the light, the sound of the birds, the crickets, the kadydids, all elicit instantaneous gut memories of some very difficult times.  August is beautiful and treacherous for me.

My beloved Della's sudden infatuation with all things tractory is bringing up that odd and intense connection to my past in a far-from-timely fashion (although, maybe in the bigger healing story, it is right on time. Oy. and WTF.)

My reiki practitioner said that Della is my biggest teacher right now (oh how I know this to be true) and boy howdy, on the way home from daycare yesterday, she dropped a clover she'd been holding, and when she does that she usually freaks out-- so I quickly said, don't worry, we'll find it when we get home. And instead of escalating into frenzy, she said with a shrug,
All gone.
A few minutes later, she dropped something else-- a sticker I think-- again, usual cause for freak out...
At her first whimper, I said, don't worry! We'll find it when we get home!
But instead of escalating, she calmed right down and said:
Momma, all gone.

She's never ever said this before, not once, not ever.
So that second time? I laughed hard. Ok, I hear you little one, I hear you.

There is a mythology of grief and of loss that is pretty intense and pretty compelling-- the idea that holding the memory fresh and true is some way of memory-keeping, as if, if that memory loses immediacy, loses intensity, the mere act of letting the acuteness fade is evidence of not having loved quite so much, or not having lost quite so much, or maybe it is also about compounding the loss with losing something else (the acute present-dayness of the pain and memories)....
if I were speaking to a beloved or dear friend, I would say:
Beloved, no amount of replaying will change what happened, and will only cause you re-injury (cue PTSD)...  the love was (and is) love, the loss was and truly always will be, loss.  The person was the person. The situation was the situation. Hear me: there will always be grief.  I know this to be true.
But holding onto acute grief as evidence of what was lost is like keeping a bone broken to prove the game happened.


So, I'm going to try to mindfully (radical idea) deal with my own tender self these next few weeks. 
Yes it is AUGUST. I will be tender. To think otherwise would be bullshit. But, maybe I can do this differently this time.
In my mindfulness, can I catch myself mid-stride, on the verge of habitual grief or triggered escalation, nearly compulsive re-injury through re-playing...
can I catch myself, even once, and mindfully envelop the whateveritis in lovingkindness and release it?

So this August, this day, beginning right now, I am going to try to do this differently. I will fail often, but every moment I succeed I am giving myself the gift of healing, even if just tiny bits, and every single tiny bit counts toward the wholeness I want to feel.  

I am inviting you-- all of you out there who are on your own healing journey-- to try this along with me for the month of August. 31 days of incremental healing, of mindful gentleness and self-compassion.

30 July 2012

nearly wordless monday

Thank you, truly, for all of your kind comments --there really is solace in hearing: "yes, I know how you feel".

I started this morning by painting over a painting I did not like. I began a new one that will undergo the same fate some other monday, but, regardless of the fits and starts, it felt like progress (frustrating progress still counts!)

25 July 2012


Strangely, or perhaps not so strangely, writing that last post made me feel worse rather than better. I am used to some relief upon truth telling, as if somehow by sharing the story, by sharing my truth, I am able to both express where I am, and possibly reveal something that makes someone out there feel less alone.

Today is different. Since I hit *post*, I have felt uneasy. Not as if I have not told my truth, but as if by telling it I was making it more solid, more sticky maybe.

I am not taking it down, but I wanted to say this part too-- sometimes the tender underbelly confessions are more tender than they first appear, or maybe they are bigger than expected since they are actually attached to other sticky things.

I'll be meditating on this, since it feels as if there are unexamined hooks in this for me, perhaps other untaken roads, or options that are no longer options, or simply (or not at all simply) facing some of the collateral damage that comes with aging.

Wisdom? BRING IT
Options falling away since I've literally run out of time? SUCKS ROCKS

Not sure what all the elements are, not sure I will ever know all of them, but there are more messages in this for me and it (and I) deserve some time to feel my way around this.

Tender reality

But, see, the fact is, I'm 45.

We are blessed and lucky to have Della. We have been struck by the very best type of lightning, won the very best type of lottery, bucked the very worst kind of odds...

I don't know how many IUIs we did, but I remember the feeling like the procedure should have been something *more*-- more what? Romantic? MOMENTOUS? Something that conveyed the immensity of the possibility that a BABY may result... yeah, well,  no.

When we began, I had a definite limit to the kind of intervention I would try-- I knew I would never inject myself with anything, so big was my hatred of needles, so innocently certain was I of my NEVERNESS.

Then, time passed, and things did not work.  What I knew shifted. Never turned to maybe turned to finding myself one fine day staring down the business end of a lupron needle.

I remember that first IVF cycle attempt, the one with the bad drug reaction that left big welts on my belly, reordering meds... and then the shock of empty follicles. No eggs retrieved, not one. None.

I remember the second IVF cycle, the single follicle, the cancellation before retrieval, the last minute conversion to IUI, the totally surprising pregnancy. The heartbeat, the hope written every day into a notebook, the loss. Oh the loss. I will never forget how it felt to learn that the pregnancy was over, that Sprout was gone. I thought I would die from it. I will never forget the morning of the D&C. How I felt when I went to sleep. Or how I felt when I woke up.
Then the wait for the HCG to get back down after the miscarriage.
The wait. The wait. The wait.
It was Spring.

Then a few more IUIs since nothing seemed to be playing out right to try another IVF... oh, those IUIs helped me feel I was doing something. After all, we did achieve a pregnancy that way once upon a time. Lightning could strike twice. Couldn't it?

then, finally, alignment in the universe: an IVF, perfectly played, 5 embryos, negative.

then another IVF, perfectly played, 2 embryos, negative.

then my clinic broke up with me, telling me that it was time to stop trying. and oh, the pain of that. the pain drove me to rebound with a new clinic, a new protocol, and
IVF attempt #5, 2 embryos
the lightest and slowest developing positive line that any pee stick has ever shown...
one miraculous heartbeat
one profound and profoundly stressful pregnancy, one long-ass, intense labor followed by urgent C section in the dark of the earliest part of morning.

And one perfect Della.

Many of the folks I cycled with in the beginning have already had another baby.
More and more people are asking when we'll have another.
Saying how great it would be to have a mini-Doug.
How great it would be if we had more kids.
And I think:
Yeah, see, but I'm 45. We spent 3 years.  At least 60K we are still paying.  And oh, the rollercoaster. The heartbreak. And this time it would be donor eggs, a totally different ball of wax emotionally for me. And with no big paying job. No way to really do this. Really, no way to do this that is even on the far side of reasonable.

But, in this moment, I also get why people want to have more babies when their first one is this age. I know, if we had embryos, I would be working toward an FET right now in spite of everything pragmatic and reasonable.
I know, I know, that I could not love anyone more than I love Della, and that this urge, this longing, this sort of sadness, this is about something else, some weird biological imperative maybe, some *something*. 
I know it comes from a place of love, thinking of More-- Della is so spicy, so smart and funny and beautiful, of course we would welcome more!

I look younger than I am, which is a blessing in many situations. But not when it comes to this question.
Doug works with folks in their 20s. They just don't know that time runs out. They ask with such innocence, such delight in Doug, such delight in imagining how cool it would be to have a little mini-Doug running around....
The lady at the farmer's market, holding her 5th, talking about how as each new one turns 1 she begins to plan, telling me that I won't regret it if I have another, and yes it is hard to do it while working, but it is * so worth it *...yeah, well....

It is strangely hard to know we are done.

Even though this is not a capital L LONGING, it is hard to hear folks ask without some visceral ache, knowing it is not an option for us.  It is hard to have it come up, and let it go without a really deep wistfulness. Without the possibility. Without the ability to just change our minds and go for it.
This is a grief of a different kind. A quieter kind. The boat has sailed kind. The not even possible enough to revel in regret kind.
This just is.
And these past days, thanks to the innocent delight and questions from an abundance of strangers, the thing that it is, is really tender.

18 July 2012

Perhaps strength...

This amazing quote came to me today, from a visit to the Road Less Traveled, (quote attribution Unknown, I tried to look it up-- if you know, leave it in the comments please!!)
I found the artist! Kristen Jongen

Oh my.

16 July 2012

Happy to you!

A weekend of sick baby and fever and no sleep and the weekend came and went and oy.
She is better but still not really eating (except nursing). On Saturday, she was hoarding spit in her mouth to avoid swallowing. That throat must have been sore sore sore.
But, to focus on the positive since there is so very much of it (now that the fever is gone)--

Della came home singing one day last week--
"Happy to you, happy to you!"

Could this be any more perfect?

Shouldn't we be wishing this on everyone??

So, I say to you, and encourage you to pass it along:

Happy to you!

11 July 2012


I sing this to Della in a tune I made up--

you are my baby
beautiful, smart, creative and kind
resourceful, resilient, self protective
and sleep through the night

(a bit of fantasy there at the end. I'm just sayin).

computer woes and a wee bit of flailing have kept me away for a bit-- so I'll add some photos my brother in law took this past weekend with his cell phone.
Note the pigtails.
and so it begins.

27 June 2012

toes? bite them?

... was the first complex sentency-thing uttered by the insanely adorable Della yesterday morning. Asked, earnestly, while holding her foot up to my mouth, you know, in case I did not *get it*.

I realized I need to document a few things here, otherwise they'll get lost-- like she cannot yet make the k sound... inserts t instead.
Blat instead of black, for example.

She is all about body parts, today's review included her showing me her calves, knees, and asking again and again what her heels are called.  She often wakes up, and immediately begins a review of recently learned ideas and words.  Amazing.

She is also able to fill in words in songs now, twinkle twinkle little  (tar)
life LIFE is so big right now... crazy moments of ill timed and stunning computer crashes, quick decisions, of plans and unplans, and replans, and plans to plan and chucking the plan and just making stuff up.

It is about adaptation right now, survival-mode adaptation, with a bit of jaunty glee.  Sleep deprivation, necessity, mother of invention, of pushing through anyway, of whittling down though some of the extra stuff, making course corrections again and again and again, like walking a maze in the dark.

I am making work changes, check out www.kate-johnson.com for updates. I am pretty excited about bringing my best workstuff forward a little more, make it more visible to the world.  I also have to do it in bite sized pieces of time. Again, not waiting until, but doing it anyway, in the space I have, in the time I have... a very different kind of choice than I would usually make.

Usually I want to know what the plan is.
I want to have one.
I want to minimize my exposure by either staying invisible, or being damn sure all my ducks are in a row before I reveal anything, especially things close to my heart.

But this time, DOING not planning, and boy howdy, how exhilarating! Scary and interesting, feeling my way through.

My poor busy brain would have me say otherwise, but really, this is so much more about feeling than thinking.

I am used to my heart taking sort of a back seat work-wise, and it is so cool to have it starting to lead.  But my poor brain is not quite ready to just hush up and make things happen.

I almost imagine a stubborn ox pulling the cart.  The heart says GO GO GO, and the ox-brain says, now wait a minute.  Let me eat something. Or nap. Or go over here instead.  Or are you sure? Really sure?
And I imagine fear as a little rat, nibbling the reins.
And sometimes the rat outsizes the ox.