This entry is a cross-post from my babylust weblog.
Since so many people have asked, I'm posting my essay below as it was originally published in Richmond Health Magazine (Spring/Summer 2007 edition). My friend Sarah, the editor of this magazine, did an amazing job helping me with this piece, and I am grateful to her for that. Also to be thanked are my darling husband John, and my dear friend Joriel, who both offered their editing skills.
A Mother's Intuition: Help with finding peace after a loss
We all carry hidden sorrows within us, I once heard a rabbi say.
The sorrow I carry with me, tucked away in my heart, is the grief of four miscarriages.
Grieving a miscarriage is often a lonely experience. Unlike the death of a person born into this world, there are generally no funerals, no established rituals to help one gain a sense of closure, no traditions to guide one through the grieving process.
Therefore, embarking on my healing journey required me to forge my own path: exploring various cultural and spiritual traditions — both mainstream and alternative — and piecing together ways of coping.
I attended a support group, joined an online message board and began writing about my experiences in a blog. I sought out medical providers who could help me find answers and restore my confidence in my body. I continued working with an acupuncturist who helped balance the hormonal changes in my body, and I received massages from a practitioner who was also trained in reiki, a type of energy work that can be used to alleviate suffering. With the encouragement of a skilled grief counselor, I pieced together a small, private ceremony to honor my pregnancies and miscarriages and to help me find closure.
By the fall of 2006, I was still searching for ways to find peace. I realized how much my sense of womanhood had been defined by the anticipation and expectation that I would give birth and become a mother. I became unsure of how to define myself once these dreams were clouded with doubt.
In November, I had the opportunity to meet with an intuitive, an individual who senses information about a person, such as underlying illnesses or imbalances or parts of one’s history that may be affecting his or her current physical or emotional state. I told her little about my current circumstances before initiating the meeting.
As she massaged the various parts of my feet, she explained how each region corresponded with a particular aspect of physical or emotional being, and how the shape and structure of my feet in these areas, along with the energy she picked up from me, was able to provide her with information.
With an eerie accuracy, she described my patterns in relationships, my fears, and my preferences. When she asked if I had ever been diagnosed with a hormonal imbalance, and I shared with her my history of miscarriage. Her fingers moved to the part of my feet associated with fertility and reproduction, and a few moments later she told me that she could sense the sex of our last baby. Then she shared, accurately, that our last baby was a boy. Immediately, tears welled up in my eyes. She said she could sense that his was a very bright spirit, and that he had chosen me to be his mother. She could not feel any energy from my previous pregnancies, perhaps because these losses were so early, all occurring before six weeks. The rest of the session is hazy for me, as I was overwhelmed by my surging emotions. I do recall her assurances that I would someday give birth, and that my body was healthy, capable, and whole.
In processing this experience, my intellectual self kept saying that with 50-50 odds, the intuitive had a pretty good chance of getting it right. However, I deeply believe in the power of my own intuition and the strength of the bond I had with my baby, despite the fact that he never took his first breath of air. While I kept it to myself, I knew early on that our baby was a boy. My instinct was later confirmed through testing conducted after the miscarriage, indicating that our baby was in fact a boy with trisomy 21, the marker for Down syndrome.
I would like to say that I walked away from this experience with my confidence in my body’s health and its capacity to bear a child repaired. I wish it were that easy. I know that the healing of those wounds must come from within me, that the assurances of a gifted intuitive, while comforting, cannot completely restore my faith, and they certainly cannot guarantee the future. However, I am deeply grateful for the gift she gave me in affirming my connection to my son. I feel deep comfort knowing that some essence of his spirit still lingers, that his energy was so clear and present. This solace gives me strength to dig deep into my soul for the strength and inner reserves needed to continue the rest of my healing work — work that only I can do.