NoMoreTomorrows

Surviving is not Living

For the Mothers Who Are, But Aren’t

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My first Mother’s day was May 2008. At that point, and  prior, Mother’s day was a  whole other concept for me. It was about life, mothers who had given life to children, and celebrating those women. I might have thought about bereaved mothers fleetingly, but I never really considered what a difficult day it must have been for those mothers who could not see and hold their children. I thought of the mothers whose children sent them cards and made them dinner and  finger painted messy pictures and gave hugs and snotty kisses.

I was in my second trimester with my son. I anticipated a lifetime of all of those things. I looked forward to all of the years I would spend with my son. I was  a mom, and the following mother’s day I would raising a 6 month old.

That isn’t how it happened, and now, Mother’s day has a very different feeling for me. I still celebrate the wonderful mother I have, and the friends and  family I have that are wonderful mothers to their living children, but more so I think about the mothers who are often forgotten. The ones who question if they can still call  themselves a mother, the ones who look longingly as their friends and family receive gifts from their children, and are  acknowledged by the world as mothers, and who never question how to answer when someone asks them if they have children.

Mother’s day of  2009 approached and I dreaded it. I asked  for the day off work. I readied myself to have a flood of emotions come over me.  They never came. I was at  peace that I was still a mother.  I  think another part of me realized that even if my son had lived, at 6 months he wouldn’t have realized what the day was. For the next couple years Mother’s day wasn’t as difficult of a day to get through as I thought it would be.

But there’s something about this year that is beginning  to change. Perhaps it could be that I’m missing the  Mother’s day hug of  a 4 year old boy who is starting to understand holidays and wants to make his  mommy feel special. Perhaps it’s because I’m turning 30 this year and starting to wonder if I will ever again feel the flutters of this precious child I helped create coming to life and growing within me. Perhaps I am beginning to  feel like time is running out. Perhaps it’s the world continuing to turn and  friends continuing to welcome  home baby two and three and four…

Or perhaps it is the weight of sadness that too many women face alone each day, and especially on Mother’s day. The women who have tried for months or years and yearn to  see those two lines on a pregnancy test. The women who have seen those lines and yet weeks or  months later endure a heartbreaking miscarriage. The women who  have felt  life within and yet have held death in their arms. The women who have  no living children and not only doubt if they can call themselves mother, but start to doubt if they can even call themselves woman, after  so  much devastating loss and a body that has failed them on countless occasions.

So this Mother’s day, while I do celebrate with all of you who are terrific mothers, forgive me if my love and attention goes more  towards those like me, who  try to stifle our jealousy, congratulate our mother friends like it isn’t sometimes the  most difficult words to utter, and wonder if the day will ever come that we know what it is like to hear a child call us mommy.

Written by No More Tomorrows

May 11, 2013 at 10:13 pm

Posted in Baby Loss, Grief

Getting Ahead… of Myself

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The other day I was driving home from work and two different songs came on. I could picture both of them being a part of my “after” video. I saw pictures, and I put it all together in my mind.  

The problem?

I’m not an “after” yet. I’m still a “before”. 

On the one hand, thinking about the future I think helps visualize what is possible. It puts hope in my head that I won’t always be out of shape and unhealthy. However, on the other, bigger hand, you can visualize all you want, but if you stay sitting on the  couch eating oreos, the image you dream of will never come to  pass.

I haven’t been sitting on the couch eating oreos. I’ve  been eating  pretty well, but I’m still sitting on the couch much more than I  should be. It seems like it’s either/or with me. At the beginning of 2013 I joined a gym and was going 4-5 days a week for a few weeks. And I was eating  McDonalds and Wendy’s a few times a day. Then when I started to slack off on the gym, I changed my  eating to be more healthy. But I wasn’t really burning any calories besides that which I burned at work (which I’m lucky to have such an active job. I can now lift and carry 70 pounds on my own.. kinda crazy)

I’m guilty of dreaming a lot. That in itself isn’t bad. I fully believe it’s the dreamers who change the world.  But nothing happens to a dream when there is no action. It’s just a feel good experience and  then on continues life without change.

So, that is what I am continuing to work on. Letting my dreams turn into small goals that I can reach. Working every day to be a little more focused on doing and a little less pre-occupied with dreaming. 

I think once I get that together, I will rule the world.

Written by No More Tomorrows

April 28, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Posted in NoMoreTomorrows

Weighing in on the Duggars

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There has been a lot of talk about the Duggar family lately, from becoming pregnant with their 20th child, to Michelle’s miscarriage, and their decision to take photographs of their daughter.  Let me just tell you, I’m tired of all the talk. This family has put themselves in the public eye, and I realize that means it opens them up to be talked about. But once again I am reminded that people oftentimes don’t think before they speak, and that many people have no filter, no concept that a public figure they are speaking about is an actual real person with human feelings and emotions. I think that’s the first lesson we should remember; “Famous” people are still people.

My opinion of the Duggar family isn’t that extensive. I don’t watch the show. I don’t know much about them, and I tend to, as a rule, not make opinions about things I don’t know of. How I wish more people followed that rule in their own lives. The one thing I have thought, and stated on one page that referenced Michelle and her miscarriage, is that I worry about her health these days. I would hate for something to happen to Michelle and for her to miss the chance to see her children grow up and her grandchildren born. That would make me very sad for that family. I don’t know much about the family but it is my understanding that they believe God will give them as many kids as He wants and will stop them from conceiving when He decides it’s time. I don’t personally agree with that belief, and I think it’s a dangerous belief to have. But that’s as far as I go with my opinion.

But it seems that everyone else has so many more opinions about this family, about how many kids someone should have, about their miscarriage being for the best, and about their decision to take photographs and share the photographs. There’s a bunch of people talking who have never experienced the loss of a child, and I think it’s about time people keep their opinions to themselves.

I remember the bereavement counselor coming into my room during my labor and telling me about Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep.

(Clicking the image will take you to the About Us page of their website. There are no images on that page. If you navigate the site, you will see examples of the photography they provide. If these images will be distressing to you, don’t navigate out of the About page)

 

I remember at the time being disturbed that they would ask if I wanted pictures of my dead son. Why would I want them?  Every day since that moment I am so thankful that I said yes. Once my son was born and I left the hospital, I had already started to forget his precious face. With the gift that my photographer Scott gave me, I will never forget Damien’s face. I can look and see he has my face. I can remember. NILDMTS provided a priceless gift for me. I could never thank them enough.

There are many people who have never walked this road, and I respect that they don’t know what it is to grieve such a huge loss. I know there would be questions about why certain choices are made. What I don’t understand is why people take it upon themselves to judge how others grieve. I don’t understand why people think it’s their place to say hurtful things. I know that nobody knows the right thing to say when a baby dies. Let me let you off the hook, there’s nothing you can say. There’s no magic words. There are, though, a lot of things you can say that aren’t helpful. Please don’t preach to the family. Don’t tell them it was God’s plan. Don’t say God needed another angel. Don’t philosophize about why it happened or guess that maybe it was best and that there could have been something “wrong” with the baby. I think I could safely say most if not all mothers would rather have a special needs child they can hold in their arms than a baby they never got to know.  Regardless of what your faith is and what theirs is, don’t try to answer for why this happened. Just don’t. It’s not helpful. If they bring it up, then that’s a different story, but don’t insert yourself into that place without their permission.

What can you say? You can say you are sorry for their loss. You can say I love you. You can say you miss the baby/or you’re sorry you never got to know the baby. And if, IF you really really mean it, you can say that if they ever need anything that they can call. But if you’re not okay with being woken up at 3 am to a crying friend, ridden with anxiety and grief, don’t say to call if they need anything. Only say it if you mean it.

I’m tired of people pretending they know. “Well it was only a miscarriage”. “Oh, so your son didn’t actually die, you just lost a pregnancy.” “It’s wrong to grieve that way.” “Wasn’t that a year ago? You’re still dealing with it? Should you talk to someone?” “It’s for the best.”

I’ve heard some of those things about the Duggars. I’ve heard some of those things about me and my son. I’ve heard those things said to others. It’s hurtful, no matter who it’s said to or about, it hurts me to know that people are willing to say such hurtful things.  I think we can all do a better job at being sensitive to others’ pain.

Written by others:

Why did the Duggars photograph a stillborn baby?

Precious Photographs: An Open Letter to Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar

 

 

Written by No More Tomorrows

December 20, 2011 at 10:43 am

Posted in Baby Loss, Grief

How do you measure a year?

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“You never know the biggest day of your life is the biggest day. Not until it’s happening. You don’t recognize the biggest day of your life, not until you’re right in the middle of it. The day you commit to something or someone. The day you get your heart broken. The day you meet your soul mate. The day you realize there’s not enough time, because you wanna live forever. Those are the biggest days. The perfect days. You know?”  Izzie, Grey’s Anatomy

 

I don’t know if I would say that was necessarily the biggest day of my life, but it was sure one of my top 5. It was the day I met a man who would forever change my life. I wrote about our first date here. It was one year ago today.

The year has been quite a year, that’s for sure. We had a good couple of weeks right away and then two months of not seeing each other. It was my fault. I did something dumb, and that could have been the end of that story, and I’m not sure who I would be right now if our story had ended there. But something brought him back to me.

I had seen people go from relationship to relationship without being able to be single. That wasn’t me. I spent my life being single, something that at times I hated, but I also am so glad I took the time to be alone with myself and figure out who I was. I didn’t get distracted with someone else, I was able to grow me, and be at peace with me.

That doesn’t mean I was perfect. Through this relationship I have learned so much more about myself, lessons that could only come from navigating through a relationship and figuring it out. It’s not been easy. But it’s been worth it all.  I’m not an expert on relationships, not by any means, but I believe that by being open to change, and by allowing myself to learn, that I am able to pass a few things on to others that might help.

Things I know for sure:

Women and men have forgotten what it means to be ladies and gentlemen. Our first date, he yelled at me for opening all my doors. He told me he doesn’t look at other women when he’s with his lady. I figured that was a line, but then I saw him back it up. When we are together, he looks at me. He doesn’t struggle with not looking other places, he just doesn’t do it. I see that it’s natural. I watched him in a store once when I was out in the car. He was surrounded by women, and he never looked at any of them. (And trust me they were all looking at him, because he’s hot.) He’s truly a gentleman. He treats me like a lady. He opens doors, carries in my groceries, checks the oil in my car, takes my coat from me and hangs it up. He lets me be a lady.  In fact, he expects it. It’s not some misogynistic outdated gender roles he forces on me. It’s just the standard he holds himself to. And in him being a gentleman, it naturally forces me to be a lady.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Communicating effectively means knowing when to speak up and when to shut up. Sometimes we have a disagreement and he pushes me to talk about it, because he cares about my feelings, and wants to know what’s on my mind. And sometimes he doesn’t want to talk, and doesn’t want to hear what I have to say, because what I’m saying isn’t constructive. Women, sometimes we need to shut up. Truly. Some things are not important to be said. If we’re overreacting about something, and making something about us that isn’t about us, we don’t need to vocalize that and bring negativity into our space. Some things really can just be let go. Talk about things that are important, but sometimes, remember to shut up.

Independence should only be exerted when single, not when in a partnership. I can change my own oil, fix my own toilet, take things apart and put them back together. I don’t need anyone to do it for me. That independence has carried me a long way. But exerting that kind of independence in a relationship would destroy it. If I want him to be my partner, I need to let him do the things that are important to him to do. Refer to my first point about being a lady and being a gentleman. If I never let him do things for me, he’d start to feel unimportant pretty quickly. So I don’t need him to check my oil for me. But I ask him to do it before I leave town, because it allows him to do something to take care of me, and that is what fulfills him in the relationship. Not exerting my independence does not mean I have become weak and needy. He’d run away fast if that were the case. He likes my intelligence and my ability to stand on my own two feet. He knows if we were to have a family and something were to happen to him, I could take care of our family. He is attracted to my strength. So I choose to be softer, and let him be a man.

 

 

The most important lessons in life, are not easy to learn, and do not come without pain. We have had some difficult conversations. And he has said some things to me that are hard to hear. It’s something that I love about him that he won’t beat around the bush, he cuts straight to the issue. My being the emotional person I am, it’s sometimes hard to take that, but I wouldn’t have him any other way. He has taught me to cope with my emotions, to master them so they don’t master me. Emotions aren’t bad, but nobody should live by them, and sometimes I’m guilty of gut reactions instead of thinking through things. He doesn’t coddle my irrational emotions. I’m a Cancer, and a woman, I have a lot of them. He’s a Gemini and a man, he doesn’t understand them.  Good relationships will teach you important lessons about yourself, and other people, if you are open to learning and bettering yourself.

 

Life is short. Have fun always. That is a pretty easy one. Don’t make mountains out of mole hills. Laugh a lot. Smile. Don’t hold grudges. Don’t pick fights. Enjoy life. Enjoy each other. Make memories.

Never in my life did I imagine myself with someone like him. If I had looked at my “list” (if I had even made one) he might have met half of my criteria. But I had no idea what I should be wanting in a man, and I’m glad I could see to open myself up to the possibilities with someone who was so different than I was. As social as I can be sometimes, I never thought my favorite nights with a man would be spent staying in, fixing a meal, and listening to lectures. Sharing knowledge is hot. Sizzling. Trust me.

And one more thing, cut the cord from your phone to your hand. Turn it off, put it down, and put your eyes and your attention on each other. Facebook can wait.  I promise.

Written by No More Tomorrows

December 6, 2011 at 11:18 am

Living Up to an Impossible Standard

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Click image to see difference

 

Yesterday, someone I follow on Facebook posted a link to this photo. From there a discussion followed about how we should never compare ourselves to fake images of people.

More examples of photo-shopped images.

My first thought was to say, yes, we shouldn’t compare ourselves to fake images, but we also shouldn’t be comparing ourselves at all, to anyone. I have definitely been guilty of this.  I started my journey around the same time that other people started, and some of them are farther than I am. They’ve lost more weight, can run further distances, and have gotten farther in their journeys. It’s easy to judge myself against their success and feel like a failure, like I’m not good enough. The truth is, I didn’t always put in the effort I could have, and they did. That’s why they’re further along.  It doesn’t make them better and me worse. It simply means we made different choices. I can’t compare myself to others. I can only compare myself to me.

Before – I couldn’t walk up the stairs to my apartment without getting winded.  I couldn’t go on a 5 minute walk, or complete more than a couple minutes of a workout video. I was eating fast food at least 3 times a day and drinking 600-1000 calories of soda most days. I had outgrown size 24 jeans.

Now – I can run up and down my stairs with ease. I can complete a 30 minute walk/jog with 1 minute jogging intervals. I can hold a plank in yoga. I never drink more than 1 soda per day and am working on limiting that also. I love fruits and veggies and eat fast food only a couple times a week. I am wearing size 22 pants that are starting to have give in them.

I look at that progress and I’m pretty happy. And when I look back again 3 months from now, I know I’ll have even more to report.

My other thought came from misinterpreting a comment. I thought someone was saying that the media will never change how they edit images. And I responded that that was true. The media is not going to change. Photo shop will continue to be used. And I don’t think our energy should be used in battling them, but in loving each other and reminding each other daily to live up to our own expectations. We can’t change the media, but we can change ourselves.

I challenge all of us to continue to remind each other that those images aren’t what we should be aspiring to, because they’re not real. What we should be aspiring to is being the best version of ourselves that we can be.  Stop berating yourself for not living up to an impossible standard.

I promise to remind you of that if you will remind me too. Deal?

Written by No More Tomorrows

December 1, 2011 at 2:43 pm

Posted in Inspiration, Lessons

This is My Now

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Wowsers. I cannot believe it’s been 2 weeks since I’ve written anything. I go to other pages and see they haven’t written in awhile and I get worried that they’ve slipped and aren’t doing well in their journey. However, if you follow my facebook “fan” page (weird to call it that) you’ll see that I’ve actually had a GREAT couple of weeks.

11/20 Weighin – down 4 pounds

11/27 Weighin – down 2 pounds

So, since I kicked things back into gear this month, I’ve seen results. And it feels amazing. So far on this journey I have lost 26 pounds, which puts my current weight at 294.  It still sucks to put that high of a number down, and to know it could be so much lower had I stuck to my hard work and not let myself backslide. But I made a decision when I started this journey that I’m not going back. Every pound that comes off my body will never be put back on. I’m not going back to what I used to be.

There was a time I packed my dreams away
Living in a shell, hiding from myself

There was a time when I was so afraid
I thought I’d reached the end, baby that was then
But I am made of more than my yesterdays

I got off work early and headed for a walk/run. I went to the track that’s a couple blocks from my house. I’ve been jogging the curves and walking the straights on the track, until I build up to be able to run entire laps. Half way through the workout I was almost in tears. Finishing up and walking back home, the tears were harder to ward off.

I had to decide, was I gonna to play it safe?
Or look somewhere deep inside, try to turn the tide
And find the strength to take that step of faith?

It’s not easy to push through exhaustion. It’s been my thing to give up on everything that is hard. It’s been the thing I do to take the easy way out. Making myself continue running when my lungs and legs are burning is uncomfortable. I don’t enjoy it. The other day I was holding plank (in yoga) and set my knees down when it started to hurt. I had to berate myself “Carrie, stop quitting!” And I got back up and held it the rest of the time, while I was shaking, and hurting, and struggling.

But I have a courage like never before, yeah
I’ve settled for less, but I’m ready for more
Ready for more!

This is my now and I am breathing in the moment
As I look around I can’t believe the love I see
My fear’s behind me, gone are the shadows and doubt
That was then, this is my now!

But as I was walking home from the track that day I had to face facts. This wouldn’t have been so difficult if I had started before now. I was overweight my whole life, but for about a third of it, I was the same weight plus or minus 10 pounds. It wasn’t until a year ago, at the weight I swore would be my heaviest, I put on an additional 40 pounds in less than 6 months. Call it stress, call it depression, call it whatever you want to call it, but if I had started then, I wouldn’t have had those extra 40 pounds to take off.

Now, instead of 140 pounds I wanted to lose, I have 180.  Now I have that much harder to work, when it could have been just a little bit easier before to start and get it done. I never would have had to know what it was like to see 300 on the scale. Do you know what it’s like? It’s hell. That’s what it is. It’s facing the fact that you’ve completely lost control.

So this is it for me. I refuse to look back a year from now, 50 pounds heavier, and wish I had started now.  And I’m asking you to do the same. Don’t give yourself a holiday pass. Don’t wait for new years. Don’t wait for the money to get a gym membership, or the doctor to call you back about surgery, or your chance at the Biggest Loser, etc. Start now. Whatever it is.

This is my now, and I’m not looking back. And I’m asking you to join me.

*Lyrics for This is My Now, performed by Jordin Sparks

 

Written by No More Tomorrows

November 30, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Is “fat” a bad word? My response

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Yesterday there was this.

I shared the post on my facebook and I responded with:

Since when does obesity take away someone’s humanity? Are we not still people who matter in this world? Fat people make him money everyday. If all he wants in his facilities are fit people maintaining their fitness, than he’s doing a good job at guaranteeing that’s what it will be.

And today came this.

I have tried about a dozen times to post my response but it keeps telling me there’s invalid information. I am tired of trying so I’m posting my response here and will drive the traffic to me instead. 😉

I am not offended at the word fat. And to reduce the outrage to being simply about a word is to entirely miss the point of why a community is angry.

 Essentially, the way in which it’s written says this, “Society doesn’t like fat people, and you’re not going to get ahead while you’re fat, so get thin so you can be accepted.”

 Is that the reality? Yes, it is. Should it be? No, it shouldn’t. It is not up to me to lose weight so that I can be accepted by society. It is up to society to stop being ignorant and judgmental and realize I don’t care who accepts me, because I accept me. I have never lived with the idea that I couldn’t achieve something because I am fat. And I have been fat my entire life. I see the looks. I hear the name calling. I was 136 pounds when I was 9 years old. I broke 200 in middle school, and 300 since I turned 25. I know what it is to be fat. That’s all I have ever known. But I never let it stop me. I played sports. I went for jobs I wanted, and was hired to every single job I interviewed for. I have dated men that would make other women drool in jealousy.

 If name calling and bullying would make me lose weight I’d be thin by now. It doesn’t. It doesn’t work. And if it does, that’s not right. Why is okay to shame somebody into a socially acceptable size? It’s not. I started my journey to health because I made a decision that I wanted to live, and I wanted to have healthy babies and be around to see them have babies. I did it for me. Screw society and it’s ignorance.

 If McDonalds was to say that people who eat fast food are losers, I imagine they’d lose business. It’d be a bad move by them to do that. But essentially this is what the book has done. Hey, we’re going to tell fat people they’re not good enough to make it in life and hope they come flocking to our doors to give us business. And to even consider the notion that my mother should have been put in jail because I was an obese child is ridiculous, and far more offensive to me than telling me I’m fat.

So what about you? Join the conversation, on his blog if you can post it, or leave a comment here. Are you offended by the word fat? Do you take issue with the way any of it is worded? 

Written by No More Tomorrows

November 16, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Posted in Lessons, Weight Loss