Friday, March 30, 2012


I can't sleep. Again.

Not because I'm pregnant, though that does its share of damage.

No. I can't sleep anymore because I'm haunted.
Truly. It's bad.

I have a few friends who have told me about the horrific dreams they have only when they're pregnant. Dreams about awful things happening to family and loved ones. Dreams that keep them up.

Funny, I thought. Because for all of my life, my dreams have been ultra-vivid. Like being in a movie. Or a book. With deep, dynamic plot lines and danger and fear and love and romance and all those elements. And they always feel real, while I'm in them. Real enough that sometimes Chad is forced to listen to me talk them away at two in the morning, so that I can fade back into sleep without a stomach knotted with fear. So it was funny, I thought, that some of my friends were getting their first taste of that during pregnancy.

And now, with my third pregnancy nearing its end, I realize that I had no idea what they were really saying when they told me they had bad dreams. No idea. None at all.

Because NOW I am haunted with bad dreams.
Awful, horrific dreams. About my children. And death.
And I didn't know what it felt like to have a dream fit just like a reality before.

But now I do. Oh man!

I feel the soul of myself shatter to fragments as I pull my little girl's crushed body from beneath a car. I cannot even breathe as I look at the blood. I cannot bring myself to even look at her face, because I know it's not there anymore. I am literally suffocating. Because nothing about this is a dream. It is too real, too awfully, horrifically, devastatingly real. And I wake up gasping for air, for life, for a miracle.

Or I am sobbing, sobbing uncontrollably as I try to explain to my husband, who just got home from work, that now Coren is dead. Risa died last week, unexplainably, and now his boy is dead too. But I can't explain because I can't even speak. My body is wrenched, wracked with a pain that has no words. And he waits for the news, while I sit in a heap on the floor, wondering why I'm still alive. And all I can get out is, "Oh Honey, why did we ever have kids? How will I ever get through this?" And I cry, and I cry, and I cry. And I wake up to my own heavy sobbing.

And Chad silently moves to my side of the bed and puts his arms around me. The dark room and his warm body jar me out of the dream. And it was a dream. I can breathe a sigh of relief. Except it doesn't come yet. Even in the reality of my safe little bed, in my safe little home, with my living, breathing family, I am haunted. For ten minutes I cry and shudder with fear, with my face buried in my husband's chest. And the dream slowly fades away. But not nearly fast enough. And even with my mind completely reassured that the scene was a figment, a dream, I have this intense need to go into my kids' rooms and feel their chest rising and falling. To scoop them up and hold them and just breathe, breathe with them and feel their warm, living bodies in my arms.

I hope this is a symptom of this one single pregnancy. I hope I don't experience these with the next one. I don't think I could do it, keep growing more children, while my nights are haunted with the loss of those I already have. I don't know that I can do it for eight more weeks. It is too awful. It is too haunting.

I need a dream with unicorns. And Care Bears. And rainbows. And laughing children running along the beach. That is what I need. How do I fix that up?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Choices & Changes

"And you are the mother
The mother of your baby child
The one to whom you gave life
And you have your choices
And these are what make man great
His ladder to the stars"

-Mumford & Sons, "Timshel"

(Tea Lights Mae and Bebe, by Kat....
See more of her lovely art at

I have been dwelling on the theme of choices lately... Really, our whole household, since we're making a concerted effort to teach choice and accountability to our firstborn these days. And it's sinking in; he's starting to get it.

And my husband and I have myriad choices to make in the next few weeks and months: Our car is/has been broken....Do we buy an older car? Do we get a loan and buy a not-so-old car? Our computer is on it's deathbed....What kind of computer do we replace it with? When? And Baby #3 is coming.... What do we name him? Where do we put him? Where do we put the other two little chickens? What if we just had him here at home instead of a hospital this time?

See, choices. Big and small.

And I made choices at the beginning of this year. Personal choices that would drive me and challenge me. That would make me a better me at the close of the year. And I think it's working.

It was discouraging for a while. I had made changes, and I saw no results. I was making a concerted effort, and yet there was nothing to see; no greater serenity; no sense of enlightenment. Hm.

But I made a choice to keep going. Day after day after day. Choosing not to climb onto the computer in the mornings--spend the time playing puzzles and balls and books with my little chickens. Doing a mini-preschool with my son. Choosing not to climb onto the computer immediately after I put the kids down for naps. And choosing not to turn on Netflix either. Choosing, instead, a home project or a book or a personal project. Choosing to read and meditate. Choosing to plan and organize. Choosing to work on my talents, some I've kind-of cast along the wayside in the last few years.

Choosing to focus on encouraging my kids, rather than scolding them. Choosing to listen to their incessant questions and requests and pointless stories with enthusiasm rather than exasperation. Choosing to really look at them, that I am reminded, everyday, of their divinity, their wonder, their imaginations, their innate ambition for only love and embracing. Choosing to see them with their tabula rasa; and my connected responsibility to fill that slate with decency and moral confidence and a sense of unbounded worth. Choosing to kneel down on the floor--often quite literally--and see the world from their perspective, with their simplicity, and refrain from mucking it up with our very grown-up absolute nonsense. Choosing to stand in awe of them, rather than running in exhaustion from them (okay, not really that dramatically; but, moms, you know what I mean).

And it's working. My day has more smiles than frowns, more sounds of laughter than of anger. I feel peaceful. I am full of hope and excitement for this next little dude. I am proud to report to my hard-working husband at the end of the day. I feel productive and efficient. And yes, I still have a long way to go. And, in all honesty, there are a few of my resolutions that really haven't even been touched. But the big ones, the important ones, the change-me-inwardly ones, those are the ones I chose to do and keep doing. And I am finally seeing hints of change. And it feels.... nice. Not awesome or breathtaking. Nice. In a peaceful, harmonious, kind-of zen way. Good. Comforting. Encouraging.

And so I think I'll choose to do even a little better tomorrow. And the day after. And the day after. I'll keep choosing to do, so I continue to feel... well, good. Because my life was always good--now it's getting better.