Two years ago, I had a miscarriage. This was right before the start of my "Ultimate Breakdown" that lead to the hospitalization of 2019/2020. Finding out I was pregnant was the most mystical, magical thing that had ever happened to me. I was with a friend, at a bar and extremely tipsy. Ariana Grande and Miley Cyrus were playing on the radio and I mused out loud about feeling strangely hormonal. It hit me while I took a swig of a gin and tonic that I might be pregnant. Couldn't be- definitely couldn't be, but I stopped at a Rite Aid on the way home to check anyways. At 1 in the morning, still kind of tipsy, I sat sideways on the toilet while watching a faded blue second line show up on the pregnancy test. "Faded lines can't coun," I thought to myself. I asked google, who said... yes they absolutely do count.
My husband was on a work trip to New York City, and the next morning I woke up with a hormonal exhaustion I felt in the core of being and an uncomfortable tugging in the muscles around my pelvis. The first people I told that I was pregnant were my husband's two studio mates, who I confided in so that they would help me carry a painting I had stored in his work space. After the look on their faces, I became addicted to surprising people with the news. I told about 12 different people before my husband even came home, and I set up an elaborate surprise for him with a camera and everything. The video still sits in the annals of my phone, ashamed and embarrassed of itself.
For the month I was pregnant, I absolutely loved it. I was nauseous, exhausted, and only interested in eating pickles and season-less ground turkey. My Pinterest board was stacked, and I was planning further elaborate surprises for our parents. I had never experienced a happiness so potent, so invincible. My life was on the right path. I was a divine carrier of life.
Close to our anniversary, we went to see Harry Potter 4 with a live symphony. The night before, as I slept, I felt as though something had left my body. During intermission, I went to the bathroom and saw blood on the toilet paper. Leaving the bathroom, I couldn't find a quiet space away from the crowd to tell my husband what had happened. Loudly, in his ear, I told him about the blood. We stared at each other in silence, then went back in to finish the movie.
A few days later, at the doctors, the miscarriage was confirmed. I'd schedule a D&C for the next week with the hope that my body would pass it naturally. I cried once, and only once. That saturday, I started to feel the tell-tale cramps. I posted up in the bathtub, ready to summon all my womanly divine strength and experience the miscarriage. Twenty minutes later, something wasn't right. The cramps were coming in waves and were so severe that my legs were going numb. I threw on a long T-shirt and hobbled towards our building's elevator with the help of my husband. At some point, I fell on the ground and blacked out. I could still feel waves of unbelievable, blinding pain tear through my body while he called an ambulance and our friends who lived in the building as well came running to our aid. In the ambulance I was offered Tylenol or fentanyl- I could not possibly choose. By the time I got a room in the ER, everything was passing from my body into the diaper they gave me. It all came out in one piece- the baby inside the sack, attached to the placenta. It was so strange, sad, and beautiful to be face to face with the little being I had been growing for that month. I named him "Malibu" after the Miley Cyrus song that was playing in the bar the night I found out I was pregnant.
I vowed to not let the miscarriage derail my sense of "on the right path." I planned to get pregnant again right away. Me and husband would sit at a cafe in the days that followed and check in with each other- "What stage of grief are you in today?" I was sad, but not despondent. A blanket of quiet sadness was meanwhile claiming my husband, and that blanket is still there to this day.
We didn't get pregnant right away. In fact, we still aren't two years later. A few weeks after the miscarriage I binged watched all the seasons of Game of Thrones in 10 days. In the months that followed, my PTSD symptoms started to get worse and worse. My mom, who historically isn't great with empathy and other people's emotions, started to raise the alarm over my mental health. My therapist started to initiate the process of getting me an EMDR therapist, but my impending mental breakdown was much faster. By November, I wasn't eating, and waves of disassociation would envelop me for days as my vision went to shit and colors started jumping off pages. I lived in a perpetual state of doom, and the idea of getting pregnant slipped further and further away from me.
I go into some detail about my hospitalization in other series, so I'll spare the details. I went to the hospital, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and then I went into intensive treatment for all my mental maladies that ultimately saved my life and gave me my brain back. Thank you therapy, Jesus, and meds.
I started work on this series last summer. Around the time of my breakdown, my dad passed away. Once I was safely medicated, I chose to process his death before I processed the miscarriage. During the course of the summer, I started struggling with some pretty severe chronic pain. I spent thousands of dollars on specialists, and an OBGYN + a pelvic floor therapist told me that my pain issues were related to the trauma of the miscarriage. I made these pieces as a means to process the trauma and heal the chasm in my body.Suffice to say, processing the miscarriage through art, along with nerve medication) helped my pain significantly.
Nowadays, the miscarriage doesn't really phase me. We are trying to conceive again, and I'm not afraid of what might happen. It's taking a while, but I'm excited to one day experience the magic of life in my body again.
Even you're not an artist... if you have pain, make art. It doesn't matter what it looks like, follow what feels right to your body.