So, Degree deodorant wants me to tell you about an unapologetically strong woman. They really want me to tell you, and they’re even sending me some Degree Women® Clinical Protection with motionSENSE™, which is MOTION DETECTING SWEAT PROTECTION. It’s like having a Wii for your armpit.
Yes, my friends, I am ROCKIN’ the Cotton Fresh scent. Which is much preferable to Cotton-Left-In-The-Washer-For-A-Weekend scent, which I have smelled like before. So you see why I have to get real with y’all for a minute. And I’m not gonna apologize, because I’m unapologetically strong and all.
Because I want to tell you about women who are strong, and everyone knows that a strong woman is a woman who is intimately acquainted with blood, sweat, and tears.
The strongest women I know are the women who have suffered through unspeakable tragedy and find hope. The women who weathered the worst and then grabbed onto life with both hands and said YES! I will do it again!
The storm raged and the wind blew and she tacked her sail to surge forward into a more beautiful life.
There is a secret club of women. Initiation is harsh. Only women who have buried a child, or lost one before they even got to meet their baby can get in. It’s a Hotel California for miscarriage and stillbirth- once you check in you can never check out. When you lose something so fragile and precious, you carry it with you forever.
I am a member of this club.
I am a part of the sorority of women who carefully wrap their precious, tiny infant in lace handkerchief, because a receiving blanket is too big. I am a woman who has a box of tiny, unused keepsakes on a shelf, memories of my baby-yet-to-come. I am one of the club who somehow found the courage to bear life one more time.
Well, in my case it wasn’t so much courage as circumstance.
Anyway, the Miscarriage Club is full of unstoppably strong women.
These are women who know fear.
I lost a baby before I was pregnant with Miss E. I lost another the week of 9/11. And then I became pregnant again.
The new little life grew within me and I invited Fear to be my constant companion. Every time the doctor pauses a little too long at an appointment, or Baby was a little too peaceful and still, or I bumped my belly on the counter, Fear was with me.
And when any little thing happened?
Fear reached up inside and clutched my heart until I couldn’t breathe and I couldn’t think and I was frozen. Frozen in a silent icy bubble of terror. Why won’t the baby kick? Where is my baby? Oh god, not again, not again.
And then the baby leapt, and the ice broke and with a sigh, life went on.
Until the next time. And somehow I – and women pregnant again after loss- manage to live with this fear, and the panic attacks become normal.
We soldier on pretending nothing is wrong even though a black hole of terror is eating us from the inside out. We smile and cut peanut butter sandwiches into triangles and read Goodnight Moon one more time, and all the while we are doing kick counts with the precision of the Atomic clock.
We fret and wonder, count and chart, and obsessively check for the smallest sign every time we are in the restroom. And Fear laughs at us, mocking. We cower, hiding fear and don’t let on how desperately we are hanging on, how close we are to slipping out from behind our mask of Everything Is Just Fine. We don’t crack and we don’t apologize for keeping our vulnerability to ourselves.
And then it’s time. It’s TIME!
Fear moves in to steal our joy but now we laugh in its face and with gasps and shudders new life comes again.
We emerge stronger than before because we have triumphed, life has triumphed, and we know that nothing - nothing- will scare us that badly ever again. Fearing for your child’s life is the deepest terror, the most helpless feeling a person can experience and we’ve come out the other side.
The women in my club? Fearless. Joyful.
If you are part of the miscarriage club, you might find hope and healing in this poem and prayer.
Blogging With Integrity: This post is sponsored by Degree deodorant through the One2One Network, and I received compensation and Degree products.