It’s been a really long time since I have shared anything going on in our lives. A lot of this had to do with the little time I had to spare posting updates on our life. Most of this had to do with my own wellness, or lack there of. The last year, especially the last five months have taught me some valuable lessons about myself and my limitations, and they have been difficult to learn.
As you can probably gather from the poetry I shared in the posts below, Don and I suffered a great loss earlier this year when I miscarried our baby. It has been a rough road through our sorrow and being so powerless after feeling such joy and hope for the Life that would have joined us in September. I can honestly say that up to the moment we both understood that Life had ended we were overcome with joy and humbled by the gift we were expecting. At first we were stunned by grief and the shock of my own physical/health complications through the long four day miscarriage that ended with me having an emergency surgical procedure. We coasted through the motions of our life, our jobs and the demands placed on us there, everything. We decided mutually to keep this grief close to us and did not share both the pregnancy or the miscarriage publicly until now. We recognize that it’s time to turn outward and open ourselves to those around us, and we are more unified as man and wife through our grief which is a hidden blessing and we are grateful. We also have unspeakable peace in spite of the confusion of our circumstance (we do have the best babysitter in the universe!). This isn’t to say we have not struggled with the obvious questions that haunt any “almost” parent that lost a child: Why? What could I (Robin) have done differently? Will it happen again? Can we handle that if it did? We have struggled through them all, and probably will for some time. It has been that much more difficult to work in the field I (Robin) do and see the children who live without the unconditional love of a parent and struggle with their own self-worth as a result (how is it that a seven year old is so depressed they want to kill themselves? What are we doing to our kids?). It is in those moments where I feel the most pain and sorrow. To have and then lose the possibility of having a child to love and care for and bring up to love themselves is difficult when you see the opposite happening in front of you, and you know how willing and able you are to love. It’s been difficult to avoid counter-transference and remain objective.
That last statement brings me to the next stage of this journey as I am once again in transition with my work. Since losing the baby, I have realized how very poorly I care for myself and what my needs really are. To some of you reading this it may sound selfish, and that’s okay. Taking care of myself is my greatest personal challenge, not yours. I’ve been working on finding balance in my life and reading about Compassion Fatigue. I have learned so much about myself and certainly see these traits/ behaviors in myself over the last couple of years. I’ve gone through spurts where I have worked on areas of my life: weight loss and exercise, but I have ignored the inner part of me that also needs attention and care. So I am working on rediscovering what my interests really are, not because I am good at them, but because I like them.
I am also turning a corner again in my career, as I no longer feel I can be effective in the area of crisis care and intense behavioral health care. I am still working in the social/human service field, but as an education consultant/advocate for military families in my hometown. I am so grateful for the opportunity to return to the similar center I worked for when I lived in Germany when Don was active duty. I believe this is a good step in my healing. A quote from Thomas à Kempis has become my mission statement for this journey: “First keep the peace within yourself, then you can also bring peace to others.” It is my desire to be in such a place that I can bring peace to others, but in order to do that and have it come from a place that is authentic, it is necessary that I learn how to care for myself.