Tuesday, January 24, 2006

self portrait tuesday

This is my fourth entry for the Personal History challange over at Self Portrait Tuesday.

This is my favorite pregnant picture. This captures exactly how I felt. Humbled. Loved. Nervous. I did not feel matters were in my hands. I knew I would be my best at mothering. I knew I would be great; I believed I had a natural capacity for that much love and nurturing. And because I wanted to be a mother so badly, I wasn't sure I would be able to have children. I believed wanting it too badly would kibosh the deal.

Before I had Maya, I had a miscarriage. Maya's father, BD, was out at sea on a naval ship, and alone I lost the baby at 10 weeks, on my sheets, in my pajamas, in the toilet. I didn't know who to tell. I telegrammed BD out at sea, and a week later he called me from a port, frantic. Then the calls flooded in from his family asking why I didn't call them. And I didn't know why. I tend to hide into myself when bad things happen.

It took an entire year to get pregnant with Maya after the miscarriage. I was trying too hard. I wanted it too badly again. I tried not to care. When I found out I was pregnant, I chanted in my mind the entire pregnancy: healthyhappystrongbabyhealthyhappystrongbabyhealthy
healthyhappystrongbabyhealthyhappystrongbaby. . . I willed her to stick. I just chanted this nervously any time I was not talking aloud.

Before I had Mina, I had a miscarriage. At 10 weeks again, but this time Husband was with me. And he was nonchalant about what had happened. We had Our Worst Fight in Our History that night. I didn't feel as desperate after this miscarriage because I felt maybe Maya was enough of a blessing already and I wasn't going to be allowed another. But only three months later, I became pregnant, and again all I did in silent moments was chant: healthyhappystrongbabyhealthyhappystrongbabyhealthy
babyhealthyhappystrongbabyhealthyhappystrongbaby . . .


Marigoldie said...

I can think of nothing more sadly poetic than telegramming a man out at sea to tell him this sad news. Sorry you had to be alone.

Your photo is so beautiful. You and your Brooklyn shirt.

Heather said...

That photo is so sweet, you look young and innocent and happy.

andrea said...

I lost a baby a year and a half before I had ava (miscarriage at ten weeks). we were coming home from visiting family at thanksgiving and, of course, had just told everyone the Big News. it was the scariest, most intense pain. I know how you feel and I'm so sorry you had to go it alone. and then oh yes, I felt like I was walking around on egg shells while I was carrying ava, I was so convinced that I was going to lose her. I had a very similar mantra:

thanks for sharing this, danette. although it has been seven years since I had my miscarriage, it is still such a painful memory and I am strangely comforted by the fact that I am not alone in my experience... does that make sense?

gorgeous, gorgeous shot of you, by the way.

acumamakiki said...

I love this post and it's a great photo of you and Maya. It's truly a blessing to be able to get pregnant and carry a healthy baby to term.

madness rivera said...

Andrea, I feel for you too, mama. I think there are a trillion miscarriage stories, all personal and painful in their own way.

Thanks acumamakiki, I love how Maya's hand is protectively and preciously on the belly. She's such a great sister.

Marigoldie - it was hurtful to send that telegram off knowing he would have to deal with it alone too. And yes! My $5 tshirt bought right off the streets of crooklyn.

Glamorous Jo said...

The experience you've described is something I'm TERRFIED of......but I know something many women go through. It's good to know there can be another side - a BEAUTIFUL side!

Trish said...

This is a great SPT. That sweet picture with your very deep private thoughts on this...amazing

Green Whale said...

Such a powerful contrast of astonishingly beautiful picture and heartbreaking story. You are so courageous to share all this. Thank you. I'm beginning to discern, reading your blog, the positive side of being a mother rather than just the terrifying one.

madness rivera said...

Thanks Trish, Jo & GW - I think there are many terrifying things about becoming a mother, being a mother. And there is always, I have found, a beautiful side to push through to. A side more beautiful than can be explained. It is easier to imagine the terrifying things because woman without children have experienced terror in other ways, but the beauty of mothering is not tangible and harder to explain or even convey. I am not one that believes all women must experience motherhood. But I will say to those with the desire that are held back only by the imagined terrors, that joy awaits. Then terror happens again, then sheer joy awaits . . .and on.

Bethany said...

So beautiful. Thank you for sharing your story.

I don't have any belly pictures. I don't know why no one took any of me. I was always the one with the camera, I guess.

trish said...

i love love love your blog, i just haven't spoke up until now. to me, you are the epitome of determination. you're an inspiration =)

Melinda said...

Thanks for posting the picture - it's beautiful. I echo what Glamorous Jo said: I'm terrified of miscarriages. My mother had a number of them, in between the five pregnancies she carried to term. Knowing that so many women go through this is heplful, but doesn't make it any less scary.

la vie en rose said...

what a beautiful pic. you are a beautiful mother and maya and mina are lucky to have you.

Maven said...

When my sister had a miscarriage between H and J, women came out of the woodwork with their own stories and *I*, nullipara that I am, was strengthened by hearing about them. I can't imagine ANYTHING more private, so it is very powerful to read stuff like this. And once again I must say to you: word up, mami.

Kathleen said...

i love this post.
so pure and raw.
it makes me want to go back into the
past and hug you.
your strength is amazing.

i just came back from my neighbors house.
she told me that she would help give me
my HCG shot. it is a shot (in the bum) that
stimulates your ovaries to release the
mature egg so it can be fertilized.
this post was the first thing i read after i came home.
so i am counting it as a good sign.
it is an omen that i will concieve...that i just have to have faith...
and a mantra.
: )

Michelle Fry said...

You were so brave to get through the pregnancies. I would have been too terrifed to try again. The photo is beautiful.

madness rivera said...

Kathleen, I'm saying the chant right now for you girl, for that little shortie of your own.

melanie said...

Motherhood sure is a blessing, one I am betting you don't ever take for granted having gone through a miscarriage. There is great power and comfort in positive thinking/prayer/mantras, and I did my fair share while I was pregnant, too.