TRIGGER WARNING: This post is about PREGNANCY LOSS

Halloween night, Tuesday, October 31st, 2017

At 11-weeks pregnant, I started spotting.

It was Halloween too, and I had just announced to the whole world – via Facebook – that we were pregnant with our second child! Yayyyy!!!!

We were at a family event celebrating Samhain, where numerous community members congratulated me on the news of my pregnancy, when blood spots showed up on the toilet paper after I used the bathroom. In moments of prescience, I offered as sacrament to that night’s ritual fire words of apology written to my “lost babies.”

“I’m sorry,
Please forgive me.
I love you.
Thank you for being of service.”

The last time I was pregnant and spotting was the summer before last, when red speckles showed up on my underwear on a Sunday after Dance Church, at seven-weeks pregnant.

I miscarried that embryo, two days later.

At that time, I tried to avoid the obvious by continuing with my day-to-day.

I drove 40 miles south to prepare nutritious postpartum food in a client’s kitchen, even though I was still spotting.
My client had just given birth to her second child.

Meanwhile, I was struggling with nourishing myself and my own family during those 7-weeks of my second pregnancy – a time when my hormones were woefully out of balance and I awoke at 3am with a raging fever followed by great chills.

Depleted by morning time, I neglected giving myself the food and herbs that would regenerate me. But there I was, miscarrying and taking care of someone else.

That momentary flicker of a life force energy in my womb, that 7-week old embryo – though brief it was, it was also mighty, for it – brought with it the message of how heartbreakingly out of harmony I was and how I needed to tend to the “wounded healer” archetype within me.

This “neglecting of myself but tending to others” tendency is a biological inheritance that, I believe, was passed down through my mother’s lineage. (A line of western, allopathic medicine women.)

Back then, I didn’t take advantage of the opportunity to announce my second pregnancy. After all, I was only 7 weeks along and it’s not culturally recommended to announce one’s exciting news until the first trimester has passed. Thus, it was a relatively quiet affair (yet also highly spiritual in nature), until the very end when I called my medicine people for help after finally surrendering to what I knew was happening inside of my body.

When my body purged that embryo into the toilet, I instinctively scooped it out and went downstairs to wail at my partner’s feet. After a good, long cry, our son awoke and we three somberly moved through our own meaningful ritual of loss and release. 

Documenting our process, I then shared this part of our pregnancy journey – my loss – with the world (via Facebook).

This time was different, however.

This past weekend, leading up to Halloween, I released cervical fluid on two separate occasions that looked like boogers.

In spite of my mid-wife’s suggestion to not use Google for looking up gynecological symptoms I am experiencing, I found someone online who shared in a group forum that this tinged-with-fleshy-looking-color and bulbous matter of cervical fluid can be indicative of by-products of the mucus plug (which literally plugs the developing fetus into the uterus) and, thus, early on-set labor.

That weekend, I also worried that I had inhaled 40-minutes worth of burning gasoline as we drove a friend’s old RV home from a long day spent in the country. That day, after showing our three year-old a real pumpkin patch, I felt exhausted but I still wanted to celebrate mine and my son’s birthdays at a friend’s family home in Valley Center.

By Monday morning, I had shared with a few others my concerns.

By Tuesday night, and after announcing to the world that we were expecting our second child (which was really my third pregnancy), I was spotting.

Early Wednesday morning, I put myself on bed rest and sent word that I was concerned for this pregnancy.
I prepared a hot tea made of herbs, like Raw Haw Bark, Cramp Bark, Passionflower and Wild Yam Root, for addressing “threatened miscarriage,” and then I sat down with a large journal and pastel crayons.

I tried to draw what I was feeling.
I felt really sad.

This is what I drew.

“Loss 1”

Immediately after drawing this image, a bigger rush of blood flow emerged from between my legs.

Still, I didn’t want to fully acknowledge what my intuition knew was happening inside of my body.

So, I clamped the truth shut and confirmed myself to my bedroom,
where I made more drawings.

Like this one.

Loss 2

And this one.

“Loss 3”

I imagined that my experience in trying to call in a girl-daughter-child for the past two years – and losing her each time – has been a lot about me re-birthing myself. As well as my re-writing the story of what happened when I was in my mother’s womb, where I internalized her neglect of herself – and, thus, me – to mean something about me, like as to how I was unwanted.

With my own loss now looming on the very near horizon, I noticed how, to this day, I can continue to neglect myself just the way my mother did and in perpetuation of this old story in which I believe that I am unloved, and unlovable.

I felt guilt for my current loss because I have been maintaining my half cup of coffee morning ritual. I have also been struggling with my physical health for over a month and a half now, even as I have continued to push energy towards running our home-based cooperative – instead of stepping back and empowering others to do so.

There is a slight feeling of embarrassment here too in that, instead of waiting the prerequisite and “safe” three months before announcing my pregnancy, I jumped the gun and announced it for all to see.

Yet, although my feelings are very real, my thoughts associated with them aren’t true.

Pregnancy loss is a regular occurrence that happens often – 1 out of every 4 conceptions. There aren’t necessarily any reasons for “why” it happens or for how to prevent miscarriage from happening.

However, when it does happen, pregnancy loss can be its own form of medicine offering us deep healing and comfort so long as we are willing to be fully engaged with our process.

For me, my process is often a deep dance between what my intuitive BodyMind knows and what my rational, reasoning mind is willing to accept. Utilizing tools, like the expressive arts, in the midst of my pregnancy loss journey allowed for me to really feel and be with what I was feeling – in lieu of just being in my fear of loss, of hospitals, of embarrassment, etc.

Sadly, our society doesn’t embrace loss as a natural and inherent part of life and, therefore, most people don’t even know how to respond when you share the news of your miscarriage, abortion or still birth. Usually, they feel uncomfortable and want to avoid addressing what us women need to talk most about and share.

And, as American women, we have been raised within a culture and a society that tells us that we should not share the news of the burgeoning life inside of us as soon as we know about it and that, instead, we should wait to be sure that it is a “viable pregnancy.” As a result, we are often left alone to tend to our losses without any real or meaningful rituals in place to support us when they happen.

Thus, miscarriage can be a very lonely, and isolating experience. Especially when our feelings of grief afterwards are brushed aside as we are advised that “You will be pregnant again soon. Just be patient, dear,” or when the experience we just lived through is not deemed important or purposeful enough to be asked about.

We need you to ask about and listen to our experiences.

We need you to hear about our journeys and to appreciate them as the arduous, life-affirming spiritual gauntlets they are – just like parenting.

I need you to know how vital this life force energy inside of me was and how, even though it only lasted for 7 weeks and 6 days (I carried it to 11 weeks, but the embryo stopped growing and was dead inside of me for some time before my body recognized that I was no longer pregnant), it taught me some of my greatest life lessons.

I need you to know that in my being fully present with my process – in my moving through the following day of getting poked by needles and vaginally probed by an ultrasound (all of which once frightened the living days lights out of me), in my learning that this life force energy was growing abnormally and not meant to live for very long, and in my telling myself that it was now time to let it go – my body did what it needed to do.

I need you to know that even as I moved through the bloody ordeal of passing the embryo and then uncomfortably experiencing my uterus contracting so that it could expel the placenta and the other residual matter, I cried when I let it go – even as I acknowledged that this is the gamble I took when we chose to procreate.

When we choose life, we are simultaneously choosing death.

It may be one hundred years in the coming, or it may be one hundred days. But it comes, it always comes. Death and loss are not to be feared, but befriended and welcomed when they arrive at our door.

I need you to know that, even as my blood pressure dropped and I grew faint and commanded my partner to prepare us for the hospital, the worst of the ordeal had already passed and that I was taking the safest of precautions because we currently have a three-year-old who depends on his father and I being present in his world now.

I need you to know that I had the wherewithal, after our son had woken and started screaming when his dad told him to stay behind, to be sure he came with us to the hospital.

I need you to know that his being there began normalizing his experience with loss as well as with taking the best care of his self when the moment demands it.

I want you to know that my partner was willing, present and at my side during this whole ordeal. That he was the one who plunged his arm into the toilet, each time, to reclaim the parts of me that had been expelled so that we can, eventually, offer these back to the Earth in ceremony. And that he rubbed my back when I was breathing through the contractions. I need you to know that he was firmly in his manhood as he carried our son down the stairs while also helping to hold me up.

I want you to know that this was a lot like an unassisted labor and delivery and that he and I we moved through this together, as a team.

I want you to know that I had a spiritual bond with this life force energy inside of me and that it had begun on the day of its conception.

I want you to know that I referred to it as a she, and that I thought of her as “Lila,” for the Sanskrit word meaning the divine play of God. In her passing, she sears within me the Truth that life lived on our planet Earth is a divine playground that we get to revel in now (and not later.)

I want you to know that, yes, it could have been a boy and that I was very willing to let life play out its hand – however it may. And I also want you to know that I am not implying that all embryos are babies. Each woman gets to decide for herself what her pregnancy journey means to her.

I want you to know that when people asked me if I was excited, I couldn’t say “Yes,” because a May due date still feels far out in the future and I am not there yet. I can only be here, where my body is, now.

I need you to know that none of us know what the future holds, and that I am in no rush to decide what we will do from here. But if I do find myself pregnant once again, I won’t wait to announce it and I will be honest in my announcement that it is #4 – even though I only currently have one child.

I want you to know that I feel at peace with my journey and fairly “complete” – although, when is anything ever complete?

The same day after returning from the hospital and while still recovering from our bloody ordeal, I went to a public place and sat there for almost an hour watching growing babes play. My deep love for children remains. I can love them all as though they are my own – even from a distance. They don’t have to be “mine.”

I also need you to know that blood, cervical fluid and other feminine processes aren’t something to hide or be ashamed of.

I need you to know that all of this is natural and that my pregnancy loss journey is just as sacred as carrying a healthy baby to full term, and then delivering it safely into our world, is.

I need you to know that this life force energy that I carried inside of me – no matter for how short of a time it was – mattered and made all the difference in the world.

I need you to know.

xoxox

“Life Goes On, even after loss” Saturday, November 4th Sunset

At forty-one years of age, and after having experienced a miscarriage last year,
I am now eleven-weeks pregnant with my second child.

Why, you may wonder, during this seemingly dark time – filled with eclipses of the sun and the moon, natural disasters such as catastrophic hurricanes and firestorms, as well mass shootings and other violent acts of domestic terrorism – would my partner and I choose to bring another child onto our planet?
Especially when it feels like there is little hope to be found amongst all of the collective carnage that our individual greed, pollution and war is wreaking.

Honestly, I do it to evolve my Soul and I am absolutely selfish for it.

Once upon a time, we had to propagate our species in order to survive on this planet.
Now, with almost eight billion people worldwide, our reproduction is no longer a necessary undertaking for our species’ survival. Instead, many can and do rightfully argue that our continued replication is an irresponsible deed, pushing our planet far beyond its innate ability to naturally provide.

In other words, today, we have choice and choosing to bring more human lives into form on this planet can be both an impulsively foolish as well as an incredibly hope-filled act of faith (and trust).

I also do it for the evolution of my children’s souls and, as a result, for the transformation of our species. I do it to change my relationship with myself, with others and with our planet – which I understand has and will have a ripple affect.

Because, ultimately, I believe that we – as human beings – are here to grow.

That’s it. It’s that simple.

I also believe that our being incarnate in this life form on this planet now affords us great opportunities for growth and transformation.

And I also think we are here to transform our handed-down traumas and mistakes and to use all of our past misdeeds as well as misfortunes as fodder and fuel for co-creating the world we want to live in – and not just the one we inherited.

———————————————————-

Parenting is not for the faint of heart, however.

It is a spiritual practice in which I have been forced to confront my shit, over and over again – including my emotional turmoil that was hidden, for decades, deep within the DNA and tissues of my body as well as all of the physical maladies that I have picked up over a lifetime of both tumultuous tragedies and vibrant successes.

During the first trimester of my pregnancy with my now three-year old son, my abandonment wound was cracked open. At thirty-seven years of age, I hadn’t even realized that I was carrying this pain, which dates back to my time spent alone in a crib where I was left to cry it out.

And, for the past month plus, I have been in the midst of a “healing crisis.” Along with the development of an embryo into a fetus, my body – and immune system – has been working over-time to try and kick out some decades-old junk that has been trapped in my lower right lung.

The deep, intra-personal work continues long after a baby’s due date, of course.

What us Mamas learn, really quickly, is that these ten months of pregnancy, when this being is growing big and strong within us, is one of the most blissful parts. It’s after they come out and they are screaming in the middle of the night and they are needy and refusing to sleep for longer than two hours, and you yourself are already sleep-deprived and just needing a break, that you most assuredly come to understand just how easy it would be to throw your child out of the window!

A really wise invention of our humanity is that our children are born just so adorably perfect.

Otherwise, it would be, “Sayonara, baby!”

As turbulent and trying as this time of no sleep and little physical separation is, it too is immensely joyful. Witnessing, encouraging and, sometimes even, guiding all of the “firsts” in a developing human’s life is beyond words.

It is a sacred bond to be entrusted with the care and upkeep of another.

However, the euphoria of infancy also wears off. And your once toothless and gummy baby who drooled and needed help with everything begins walking, talking and asserting their selves as separate individuals from you.

The challenge has just begun.

To top it off, I am writing this as an American woman from within a country that doesn’t believe in supporting women or mothers. As a developed nation, we have one of the highest rates of infant mortality; we provide the least amount of paid maternity leave; and our childcare costs are astronomical.

Thus, many of us are staying home to rear our children where, often times, we live without the support of any loved ones or family members nearby. What this means is that we come to lead existences of isolation, and our lack of daily, meaningful adult interaction – let alone opportunities for tending to our own self-care – renders us depressed and lonely.

A tuned-out mother whose own needs for nurturance and soul-full nourishment go unmet does not make for happy children, or a family.

Just the opposite, in fact, as these factors contribute to higher rates of child abuse and neglect as well as spikes in mental health disease.

To speak of “family values” in this country is an oxymoron, to say the least.

So what do we do?

We re-create not the world we are already living in – a toxic environment where an addiction to consumption and a values system based in money rules the day – but rather the one we wish to thrive within.

We apply the raw potential that parenthood is – this act of calling in a new energy, committing to its growth, moving through the extreme discomfort of its labor and delivery and then remaining open hearted as it learns to think for itself and become its own individual – to whatever we endeavor to do.

We remember that the power to create a new reality is a birthright that lies within each of us.

What does a new reality look like for you?
Have you stopped long enough to reflect upon it?
Do you know what your values are outside of how you were raised?

For me, it’s a sustainable and dynamic village where children grow up learning the language of consent and where adults model behaviors of empathy and compassion for self, others and Earth.

How do I do this, you ask?

1.) During my postpartum period, I went to our local birth center every week where I helped to hold a circle for women and their infants in their first year of life. This meant that some of my own child’s earliest experiences included seeing me tend to other babies as well as sitting within a circle of mothers where he experienced himself not as the center but rather as a part of the whole.

2.) Since our son was six-weeks old, he has been a regular attendee at our weekly Dance Church.
His developing consciousness includes witnessing adults communing with each other, and their selves, through their bodies in motion (and not just their talking heads).

As a result, our son has healthy exchanges with a wide circle of adults. He is also quite adept at moving his own body through time and space and, for the most part (although he is currently growing through a developmentally appropriate phase in which he doesn’t like talking to strangers), he is unafraid to speak to adults and ask for what he needs and/or wants.

3.) When my partner and I finally moved into the large, suburban home we had been dreaming of, we hastily set to work in co-creating a homestead. We put in a clothesline so that our home is more energy efficient; we created garden space as well as storage for grey water gathered from inside of our home in our yard; and we also rented three of the bedrooms to community members so that our young child experiences living in community as well as the constancy of change. (We have had at least nine roommates, including three children, since moving in a year and a half ago!)

Currently, we have a single mother and her 15-month old living with us. They are like family in which our gentle boy gets to practice his big brother skills with her daughter. Meanwhile, both of us Mamas feel more supported with each other’s presence than we would if we were the sole directors of our own home. We also do a ‘nanny share’ in which we hire a friend to watch our two children here for the hours that are affordable to us as well as necessary for our own self-care. This reduces our childcare costs as well as contributes to the livelihood of our immediate community.

4.) Living this intimately with others is certainly more “work,” in that it requires ongoing, authentic communication as well as – for me, as the woman of this household – to release any notions I hold about how things should be done, i.e. how the silverware should be kept, etc. I also have to notice and let go of any archaic thought patterns that may rear their head, such as resentment over “there’s too much stuff in the garage,” which can lead to my repeating a decrepit adage like, “It’s MY home,” et al.

However, it is this “work” that our souls need most.
We are not meant to live in isolation.
We are a social species, and we thrive in and through meaningful interactions with a multitude of others.

Our American, single-family lifestyle not only wreaks havoc on our environment but it also breeds insanity. Think about it: how do you behave when you are alone with your family members versus when there are people who are not blood-related to you, or married to you, around? Having a wider circle of others we are emotionally intimate with keeps us in check.

5.) We are not meant to do it alone, so I started a mother’s cooperative out of our home.
Childcare is the most base, topical need in a mama’s life but she also needs emotional, educational and professional support – as well as resources – for assisting her on her journey. This is what we do here.

We co-create an exciting, outdoor space where our children gather and grow together as we take turns tending to them. We have a separate Wi-Fi equipped, co-working studio on-site where us Mamas can tend to our personal and professional lives. And we also schedule regular offerings, like child-friendly, community acupuncture sessions, emotional support circles and professional development workshops, so that our lives together as women isn’t just about our kids.

It is imperative that we model for our children (and each other) that our purpose for being here on the planet and our passions that sustain us while we are here are just as equally important as our roles of caretakers and guides to our most impressionable young people. Their lives, and ours, depend on it.

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Jesus Christ was, first and foremost, an activist.
He tended to the most vulnerable people in society – the beggars and the immigrants, the prostitutes and the throwaways, and the women and the children. He kneeled on the ground and washed their feet, forever enshrining the demonstration of being in service to others.

As an American mother in our world today, I aim to model – through my words and deeds – cooperation and working together to help take care of the whole.

These are just a few of the ways that I embody parenting as a spiritual practice.
How do you embody it?

 

 

Feel Cherished, Mama!: Enroll the Support You Need.

Day 5, and our final day, for addressing this week’s topic of Enrolling the Support You Need so that You Can Feel Cherished!!!

Ask for this week’s FREE handout by emailing info@coachingwithcara.com

And, don’t forget to add yourself to our new FB group – Mama: Voices for Transformation:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/womensvoicesfortransformation/

Mamas,

Do You Need Help?
Are you asking for the help you need?
Are you able to identify your needs in order to ask for them?

Week 1 and segment 4 of Coaching with Cara’s Live FB Series continues and we will get right to addressing the 4th step in our process of enrolling the support we need so that we can feel cherished!!!!

Enjoy!

I am offering 5 women the opportunity to drop in and find their voice with me. Sign up for a discovery call now!
http://meetme.so/CaraHCadwallader

And, don’t forget to add yourself to our new FB group – Mama: Voices for Transformation, https://www.facebook.com/groups/womensvoicesfortransformation

Feel Cherished, Mama!: Enroll the Support You Need

Day 3 of this week’s FB live series and we will pick back up on clearing out any of the impediments that are in the way and that keep us from asking for help and/or receiving support.

I will also touch upon, again, what I believe is one of the most important parts of identifying our needs –
those pesky ol’, so-called “negative emotions.”

Plus, I will talk about step #3 in the process of “Enrolling the Support We Need.”

Enjoy!

I am offering 5 women the opportunity to drop in and find their voice with me. Sign up for a discovery call now!
http://meetme.so/CaraHCadwallader

And, don’t forget to add yourself to our new FB group – Mama: Voices for Transformation
https://www.facebook.com/groups/womensvoicesfortransformation/

Day 2 in our first 5 day series and I continue to address a few of the impediments
and blocks that can be in our way and keep us from receiving the support we deserve.

Dissolving Shame is one way that we can set ourselves up for Success – in all facets of our
lives. But how do we do that?

Also, I talk about the fertile soil that our so-called “negative emotions” are.
Dig deep, Mama. You are so worth it!

I also have a FREE handout on “Permissioning Ourselves.” Want yours?
Email info@coachingwithcara to get it now!

Coaching with Cara is officially launched!

I am Owning my Voice by offering eight weeks of a weekly, FB Live Series.
“Why 8 weeks?” you ask. Great question.

I am establishing a new pattern in my body by repeating the same action for a 40+ day time period.

In owning my voice, I am asserting that what I have to say – and share  -is valuable.

In so doing, I am honoring
my worth and, thus, re-writing any underlying, unconscious belief systems of “I am not enough.”

I am worthy. I am showing up.
I am using my Voice as a catalyst for transformation –
for myself, for us and for our planet. 

This is just the beginning.
xo,
Cara