Rose’s Birthday – the Lowlights

It’s been a full on week with so much going on I’ve been feeling stuck about sharing here… more than that, detached, disconnected from my online world which is so often my territory and my haven. Heartsick. I kept trying to write about Rose’s birthday party and finding myself feeling like I was writing spin when I only shared the good parts, or that I was omitting the bright things when I shared the tough parts. In the end, Rose suggested I write both as separate posts.

Her party was awesome, and it was tough. It was a super child-friendly space but I didn’t feel comfortable letting my kids come out because a lot of those who came were not multiplicity literate. I did out myself ‘casually’ at one point, heart beating hard. In a year or two they’ll be more ready. I can be patient, I’d rather grow something strong than tip over the boat. So I took refuge in adult roles, feeling how my own sense of agitation dissolved as I sank into something familiar and reassuring and… bounded. I didn’t have to know anything or answer any of the dilemmas that were doing my head in, I could just be, and I could be good at it. There’s something to that, I think. I don’t know what yet. Roles can be dehumanising, and yet the lack of them can be… a kind of exile. Skinless and formless and falling into space.

Rose and I were both busy and the week leading up to the party was stressful with money woes and welfare issues and a lot of work… and this was our first month of trying to get pregnant again since Tamlorn died. It’s been so hard! We both thought we would ride it out okay, we felt ready and excited and ready to pace ourselves and ride out the highs and lows… instead it’s been incredibly tough. It’s brought back the loss of Tamlorn keenly. We’re both having nightmares about babies, feeling grief and loneliness and both feeling that we shouldn’t be feeling much of anything, that we need to hide our sadness and fear. It’s not an easy place to be. My cycle hasn’t returned to normal since the miscarriage either, so we started our ovulation testing and got a ‘high fertility’ result a few days earlier than expected and started doing insems. Usually I get one or at most 2 high fertility days and then I ovulate. This month, I got 8 high fertility test results in a row, and we did 4 insems before giving up. About 2 weeks late, I finally ovulated over the party weekend and was in pretty bad pain on that side for about 20 hours. We’ve noticed that I seem to have a pattern of less reliable cycles and more painful ovulation on one side – good month, bad month, good month… which should mean next month is better. We both know this, yet there’s such sadness at the same time, a kind of quiet despair that sits alongside, or beneath all the other things, all the joys and silliness and hopes. One is not more true than the other, one is not a mask to the other. Both are real.

Many of our friends are vulnerable in some way, and the weekend has been triggering for some of us. Rose had a major flashback that’s left her reeling, vomiting with stress, having nightmares, and needing downtime – pj days to recover. We are pretty good at dealing with these now, and so we’ve been going to sleep clothed and reading Harry Potter to her. One friend became too overwhelmed to make it down, another came but was overloaded in the aftermath. I was doing great until the last night when one of the more distressed members of my system woke to the sounds of a storm and then woke Rose sobbing… we ended up out in the wild wind on the front lawn, wrapped in a blanket and watching the dawn come in because when we were outside we were calm and centred, but indoors we were hysterical and about to vomit. We settled outside, reaching a place of acceptance: that she felt completely out of sync with herself, Rose, and our body – and deeply distressed by that in comparison with how others of us have been feeling lately, our awakening sense of connection and security highlighting her sense of being profoundly lost and in despair.

Out in the wind the pain eased and that part was different, freer somehow, more powerful… recently I was exploring some archetype cards with a friend, and each card has the shadow and light characteristics of each archetype on it… I wondered if we have lost sight of her light qualities, if we only know her in shadow, in trauma and disconnection and pain.

Finding a sense of safety and helping each other feel safe… these are such valuable skills to develop. They are a key part of what Rose and I offer to each other on hard days, of how we try to treat our friends and what we ask from them. Making it okay to be human and okay to take risks and feel pain, to struggle at times, to be wounded and fallible. One of my lovely friends sends me texts when I’m struggling that say “It’s okay to not be okay.” It seems to me these qualities are so often linked to ones that it’s easier to value… those friends I know that are struggling with the darkest depressions have such kind hearts. It’s not easy to have a heart like that in a world like this. But we’re all so used to being treated badly when we’re vulnerable and being made responsible for it – this mad idea people seem to have that we can make ourselves feel other than we do, and that this would be a good thing – that we conceal our soft underbelly and our broken hearts and our bad days, and those who would be gentle or understanding never see that side of us, and we never get to see or feel their kindness.

Sharing is vulnerable but also powerful… seeing and being seen. Learning to create safety for humans, in our relationships, our families, our tribes, within our own minds and hearts. It’s such a challenge and we can’t do it entirely alone. We weave it back and forward between us, in our listening and our not hearing, in our seeing and our willingness to be seen. In the way we step outside of our roles and are human, flawed, and vulnerable and imperfect, full of brilliance and insight and deep feelings. This is what it is to love.

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