This is Part 1 of a 5-Part Blog Series
As I sit here, perched on my stool at our big wooden table on our deck, there is reverence in the air. The sun’s hitting the abundant greenery that envelops our treehouse, there's the slightest breeze moving through me, and the sweet sounds of my friend Tahlee’s Surrender Spotify playlist are softly playing.
For the last 5 minutes, I’ve been smudging sage in this space, guiding the sacred smoke into my computer with the help of a beautiful feather – a gesture that almost feels a little desperate. Please, computer, write all this for me today incase I just can’t. I have sodalite stones scattered around me, for a little throat-chakra support, and my beautiful deck of Rumi Oracle cards, gifted to me recently from women I love, sit to my right.
I guess I’m going to all this trouble to create such ritual because I sense that what’s about to tumble out may not be easy for me to remember, write about and publish. Maybe taking this pause, and burning this sage will help me to fully acknowledge that I’m about to humbly offer up these stories from a place of absolute and unconditional love to myself, to you, to all women yearning to mother in some way (in case the title of this blog series didn’t give the topic of conversation away already).
As often happens when I shuffle this deck of cards, one decided to jump on out and land in front of me, and as always happens when when one jumps out and lands in front of me, the counsel I just received from it is beyond poignant.
This card in particular is called: From Nothing To Everything, and here is a short excerpt.
O my friend,
if you are longing to be written on,
become a blank page!
Have you been shedding your skins, your layers, your certainties? Gone are fixed identified and definite options! Keep casting those aside and, even if you fear you are releasing too much and then, perhaps, you shall cease to exist! You shall only cease to exist as you have known yourself to be thus far. Another emanation of you awaits, blazing angel! Something more beautiful and true.
And with that, I think I should just bloody get on with it.
I am so sorry if what you read here upsets you. I’m sorry if it brings up painful memories for you that you’d rather not look at. And I am so, so sorry if anything I write goes against your core values and beliefs (particularly if they are religious). When we start having conversations about conception, pregnancy, loss and birth, the tone can quickly become political or over-peppered with opinions, and sincerely, that is not the space I’m holding here.
In sharing what’s to come – although it may seem like a completely selfish and awkward purge of emotion and pain – I actually sit at my laptop this morning with a goal of nothing but union. I know now more than ever that as women, we can stand gracefully united in this space, witnessing one another’s pain and reflecting one another’s light. This kind of deep and searing feminine suffering is so rarely written about at length, and my concern is that many of you may feel alienated by the (beautiful) stories of other’s positive (pregnancy, birth, etc) experiences. Of course, we need those stories, so if you’ve had one, please keep sharing it, because we need that grace and joy and gratitude to shuffle itself around the collective consciousness, but to those of you who have not been so destined as yet, one thing is for sure, you certainly need to be seen, heard, and held in some way.
Allow my story to hold you in whichever way you need, if only to let you know that you are not alone. (You are so not alone)
I have always wanted to be a mother. Actually, ‘wanted’ isn’t the write word, more like, yearned.
Although in total honesty, years ago when my priority was in getting right royally shit-faced as often as I could, I think I did a pretty good job at distracting myself from that yearning, and rather, convincing myself that ‘meh, kids, shmids.’ I mean, when everyone around you is ripping up the dance floor, it’s rather uncool to start breeding, right?
Nonetheless, I have always adored children. The oldest of my siblings and cousins, I revelled in holding babies in my arms from the moment I was able to. When both my brothers were born - one when I was 2 1/2, the other when I was 13 - I pretended they were mine. 'I’ll change his nappy!' was a favourite and enthusiastic mantra, and I sincerely loved doing just that. Every Christmas, when our rather huge extended family communed and I would once again be in the company of my precious little cousins, after seeing that they’d grown exponentially in the last year, often I would sneak away and cry little tears because I wanted them to be small again. I knew that the older they’d become, the less they would want to sit on my lap and laugh as I pulled funny faces at them.
The mother is in me. I have always felt her.
When I started doing deep soul work with Belinda Davidson in 2013, the first of my twelve Soul Essences revealed herself as the reverent Holy Mother, and when I saw her, or more accurately, felt her, I felt swallowed whole by Love itself. It was such a familiar and all encompassing love to me, and I felt very much at home wrapped up in it, despite having a challenging relationship with my own mama for much of my early life. Mama and I are close now; we continue to heal our mother-daughter wounds which were undoubtedly inherited from the women that came before us, and I truly believe that much of this healing we’ve experienced has been intensified by my own journey of attempting to create a grandmother out of her – an identity I know she aches for, though she would never say so out loud.
But just to rewind briefly, to my early twenties.
I meet the man of my dreams in 2009, we start traveling the world and not 18 months later, marry on top of a mountain in 2011. We don’t talk much about starting a family because we’re too busy snowboarding and drinking gin with mandarins and squeezing the goodness out of every damn moment, as people who are stupidly in love with no where in particular they need to be tend to do.
Early in our relationship, it becomes apparent that things ‘down there’ aren’t... functioning optimally. As so many women experience, I get some not so pleasant pap smear results, words like ‘pre-cancerous cells’ and ‘endometriosis’ start being thrown around and the whole thing is just far too uncomfortable to fully acknowledge, so I continue to travel, and snowboard, and party, sometimes bleeding for 2, 3, 6 weeks at a time, all the while, turning a blind eye.
But – long story short – as I continue to deepen my meditative and yoga practices, and especially once G and I settle a little here on the Gold Coast, slowly but surely my attention starts drawing inward; away from the world out there, and towards what I'm feeling and experiencing within, in my pelvis, in my womb.
My work with Belinda highlighted an absolute need to do some deep sacral chakra work in healing my reproductive organs, and so for the next two years, I meditated, I practiced mindfulness, I practiced feeling into my womb, I worked closely with the best damn naturopath ever and ate and drank and popped whatever herb she suggested. Becoming pregnant wasn’t an option for us during this time; the growth hormones from pregnancy could accelerate the pre-cancerous cells (which still offered us a little time), and potentially rapidly promote them to cancerous ones. The ‘c’ word is a very scary word.
Many pap results came back with the same disheartening news and each time my GP (I was constantly changing them up in an attempt to find someone I felt a connection with) would say - ‘let’s cut / laser / remove what’s in there.’ My gut said no, and so that’s what I said - ’no. not yet.’ Once, after I explained to a receptionist on the phone that I’d like a little more time before going under the knife, she flat out said: ‘What on earth are you thinking!? What if you get cancer?!’ which I thought was highly insensitive and inappropriate and so responded with ‘Fuck you!’ and hung up, before my whole body burned red with anger.
Finally, we end up in the office of a very sweet gynaecologist - around February 2015 - and we go through the process again, only to be called back a fortnight to hear the news my pap results were totally normal. Egg count might be down for my age, he said, but my cervix? Ready. 'Try for six months. If you don’t have any luck, we’ll look at surgery.'
I choked up and tears sprung into my eyes and my voice. All that work I did with my mentors; the meditations, the herbs, the energetics… it worked. That inner voice guiding me… it was right. And now it was safe to try for children. And not only was my cervix ready, but I was ready. I was yearning again.
The very first time I ovulated after that meeting with the gynaecologist, we conceived.
I walked out of the bathroom like a deer caught in headlights, and impatiently waited for that second little blue line to reveal itself (it took far longer than the advertised three minutes), and when it did, I quite literally dropped to my knees and bawled my eyes out, with the loving arms of man wrapped around me.
What unfolded from there were some of the holiest memories I have. I could almost feel little bubbles of love popping inside me constantly, with the knowingness that our miracle was in my belly, growing, making a mama out of me, making everything in my life more vibrant and bright and vivid. You often here expectant mamas speak of these precious first few weeks as though they’re the keeper of the world’s biggest and most beautiful secret. I felt that. Everything was staggeringly stunning to me, everything, made more meaningful by this rite of passage of growing a human within.
A delightful highlight of this time was how held I felt by the teachings of Kundalini Yoga. This yoga absolutely reveres the mother, and even has conscious pregnancy courses that support women with the wisdom to parent mindfully; women who desire to bring a sacred energy into the experience of mothering, but have forgotten, probably due to a society that over-emphases the importance of buying the best pram or having the most trendily decorated nursery. (Nothing wrong with those things, of course) I resonated deeply with the teachings and my spiritual practice was renewed with the following:
+ I would sit at the beach in the morning (the ocean always reminds me of the great mother), and holding a cupped hand to my ear, so as to hear ocean sounds, similarly to when you hold a large conch shell to your ear, I would chant the sweet sounds of Maaaaaaaaaa.
+ I would write letters to my baby. I would journal to my baby. I would turn to my baby for guidance.
+ I made playlists for my baby. For the pregnancy. For the birth. For her first 40 days earth side. I always sensed she was a girl.
+ In the evenings, I chanted a sacred shabd to attract the soul of a saint into my body. It sounds pretty fancy, but really, it just felt lovely to do it –all those wonderful Gurmukhi sounds rolling off my tongue and into the soul of my beloved little one.
+ I fed my body nutritious food and ate mindfully, I reached out to an old friend of mine and asked her to be my doula, I ripped through birthing books and documentaries and podcasts and landed very, very peacefully at the realisation that I craved a home birth, with mantras playing, essential oils wafting through the air, the atmosphere gentle, quiet, loving.
I couldn’t wait to birth our little girl, but was revelling in every single precious glorious moment that came alive with the gift of being pregnant.
A miscarriage was the last thing I was expecting.
At nine weeks, as I lay there in the emergency department at 5am after waking up to too much blood to be comfortable with, I was THISCLOSE to saying to the doctors, 'Sorry for taking up your time. Now that I think about it, I’m probably totally fine and the bleeding’s most likely just from sex.'
My ex was optimistic too. ‘You’ll be okay, babe.'
I mean, it felt as those the seas and the skies fucking parted to make way for this pregnancy. The stars were aligned. The timing was right. You know how they say that you’re never really ready to start a family? Bullshit! I was ready.
But finally, in a very humiliating fashion, I'm escorted into the dark screening room via wheelchair. I hop on the bed, cold goop is squirted onto my belly, and the search begins.
Where are you, little one? Where is your heart beat?
I think back to a similar situation that was unfolding six years ago; too young, naive, drugged and in way too much denial to fully confront and accept my situation at the time - that I was pregnant to a man I had broken up with and in no position to become a parent - and the sonographer said, with a smile, ‘Would you like to see your baby?’ I turned my head away from the monitor and shook my head no. I terminated soon after.
But here I was, eyes darting around the screen. Where is your heart beat? Where is your heart beat?! I love you little one, I can see you there, where is your heart?!
The beautiful old German lady to my side, who like me, was searching hard with a furrow in her brow, eventually slowly put the equipment down. In a moment where most would uncomfortably say, ‘I’ll go and get a doctor and I’ll be right back,’ instead, she reached out to me with both hands to touch me and offer her love through her softened, sad eyes, and in that moment, beyond all the hope I was clutching onto, I knew. Little tears dropped their way down my cheeks at first, before I erupted into a panicked sob that made it difficult for me to breathe. 'I’m sorry sweetheart,' she kept saying.
Howling on the inside, grabbing at my belly, I am wheeled back to my husband. When he sees me, the colour drains from his face, he mouths ‘no’ in a hopeless way and collects me into his big strong arms in an attempt to steal away some of my pain.
The places the mind goes
One day there was life within me, and the next, I was watching it all empty out of me, into the toilet, to be flushed.
One day I was a mother, the next, not.
I watched my swelling breasts deflate with the evidence that my baby was gone.
My belly slowly became trim and toned rapidly and I hated that. I wanted to be round, and growing, and full.
Everywhere I looked was proof of how excited I was to become a mother - altars all over the house, supplements to support baby’s growth, journal entries, crystal grids…
I contemplated why some women are passed the baton into motherhood with such utter ease, and yet others struggle so fiercely. (Hint: don’t contemplate this too long. Do not ask why. You will never find the answer. Asking too much hurts too much)
I drowned in my own grief for a week, barely leaving bed, often crying into ex-husband's chest.
'As soon as you’re ready, we’ll try again,’ he said.
He was so wonderful.
Back in the light
When enough life returned to make me want to rise up live again, naturally, being me, I woke in the dark of the early morning, walked over to the beach, and waited.
What I saw that morning was the most incredible sunrise I have ever seen in my life. The entire sky was magenta and electric violet, made all the more dramatic by a thin layering of cloud. I looked out over the ocean and heard myself saying out loud as I gazed into the sun...
‘There’s my baby. There she is. Back in the light.’
And for the first time in a week, I cried happy tears, knowing that my baby was still inside me and would continue to warm me and guide me, just like the morning rays.
A mere few hours later, my phone beeped with a text from my beloved teacher, Adi Shakti. In it, she shared a dream she had in the wee hours of the very same morning. Her and I were sitting together, on a hill, watching the sunrise together. She told me that my baby was in the sun, and that she had a message for me. ‘Thank you for pouring so much love into me through the pregnancy. Your love has liberated me and returned me to the light.'
Fair to say I could speak or move for a while out of sheer holy reverence; out of the penny dropping; the realisation that there is more to mothering than giving birth. That there is more to loving a child than having one.
This experience gave me such a clearer understanding of the Soul (that’s a paradox, I know, the soul is beyond all understanding), of the cycles of life, of karma. To be told through the landscape of a sacred dream that my act of loving had cleared the karma of this being and freed them back into the brilliance of The White was, well, an honour, to say the very, very least.
I still cry tears today when I consider how privileged I am - despite the outcome - to have loved so deeply.
Everyone copes differently with grief
Some people shut down and struggle to fully feel.
Others seek out all the people they need and surround themselves in the support they need.
Some struggle to lift themselves up out of the underworld and continue to feel all the pain for a long, long time.
Some seek solace in escapism - the bottle, the television, through their work. I think that's what I did.
When I lost my baby in 2015, after the initial shock and pain subsided slightly, my way of coping was to ensure that I kept myself so fucking busy that I don’t know how I made it to the end of 2015 without having a breakdown. Then again, I very well may of had one. Perhaps I kept myself too busy to notice.
My collaborative business exploded (grateful), I travelled around Australia hosting writing workshops (grateful), we moved house (grateful), I continued blogging (grateful), I toured the country with the Utopia wellness event (grateful), we launched Let Us Feed You Organics (grateful), I completed my Kundalini Yoga Teacher training (grateful) and begun teaching it (grateful).
Gosh. I’m tired just typing that.
I just kept going.
I displaced the purpose I was looking forward to in becoming a mother and instead tried to pour meaning into my work, which isn’t all bad I suppose, as everything was a delight and a pleasure, but I was well aware that I was bypassing much of my healing process by cramming my existence with appointments and calls and goals and achievements.
When things got too frantic, a few things brought me back into my heart.
My darling. A few very beautiful friends. And, since October, Layla.
In the next post, Part II of this series, I’m actually going to write about Layla in more detail.
Yes. Layla. Our rescue pup.
She has a starring role in this story and our gorgeous Ridgeback Staffy hybrid needs a post completely devoted to her and the healing she has brought into our lives. You’ll need your kleenex, I predict.
Friends, I would love to tell you that the heartache ends here, and that the rest of this 5-part series is devoted to love beams and fairy dust, but alas, it’s not. We’ve barely scratched the surface of these womb wounds yet. That’s kinda why I need five posts… we need a little wriggle room to unravel all this. I hope you’ll be patient with me.
Now, do I invite you to write in the comments? Do I ask you to share this post with your friends? I think I must.
In the spirit of keeping the intention of this series alive — to unite all women and to give those that have struggled to find their voice through their pain a warm and tender embrace, yes, please do. Share it, send it to a friend you know needs it, and if you need your own story heard, there is space for you down below.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. For offering me this space.
And finally, if you need to hear this today, here it is: