Today is the 13-year anniversary of my first baby’s death.
I should say miscarriage because to say death implies a birth and that sadly was not the case. My miscarriages both happened in October and they bookend my fertility journey. I had my last miscarriage 7 years ago after having had 2 children.
When the Halloween decorations go up, an ominous feeling starts to brew. I am constantly caught out by a desire to withdraw when the pumpkins adorn the porches even while I am dressing up to take the children out trick or treating. October comes around and I never give myself the break to just sit and cry.
In fact, I have noticed I have stopped crying about sad things that happen to me. I can listen to music and cry and watch people attain great things and cry, but those life tears have dried up. At 47 I have emotionally hit a plateau, which I fear confuses my family into thinking I am unemotional. I’m not.
I have a high tolerance for physical pain, I can go to that place of zen stillness and focus, particularly when I was miscarrying and thankfully during both of my children’s labors. Maybe it’s not surprising then that through the anniversaries I just do that very British thing of putting a brave face on and making a brew; strong no sugar.
Today, however, my instinct is to talk and share. Perhaps all I needed to do was to cry and stay silent. Loss is confusing though, isn’t it? As I look down next to the bed now I see a feather. Is it my angels with me comforting me with their presence? For a while it feels this way…
You see, I wonder what my daughter, Iris would have been like as an older sister and a middle child. I wonder whether we would have still gone to the US. I wonder if it would have been another boy or girl, what their name would be, if they would have dark hair and various other questions as to how life would be different as a family of 3. Then I feel guilty for not saying 4 because my first ever baby’s miscarriage I am strangely thankful for as it allowed me to have Miles, for he would never have existed had I gone to term. Therefore, I do not talk about my miscarriages because to admit to the sadness and confusion of loss would feel like a rejection of the blessings that have come our way in life; two beautiful, remarkable children.
Surely, today though is the day when I should speak out, if only in support of others who share the experience of pregnancy loss, but just like others, I tend to say nothing. 1 in 4 women will experience a miscarriage but I don’t hear of anyone who is enduring the pain as it is not largely spoken about. Particularly by those who have children. We would feel too guilty moaning on when we have progressed in our pregnancy journey onto bearing a healthy child.
October is the time of year, I think about the wonderful nurse, who administered pain relief and held my hand though the tears and thinking what an angel on earth she was. I reflect on the consultant squeezing my foot in condolence when telling me pragmatically that there was no heartbeat and I should give myself 6 months. I did. I remember the fireworks dancing in the sky through the hospital window whilst I was contracting high on morphine. I remember how amazing my husband was and how in that moment I couldn’t have loved him more for being at my side.
Ironically, October is Miscarriage Awareness Month and yet I have not been aware of many voices speaking up. Perhaps because others have felt largely the same way as I did, that it is a personal loss one needs to endure privately and that time should have lessened the grief. Well, it does of course, yet in so doing, it feels like a betrayal to your babies you so desperately wanted.
According to Iris, Halloween or All Hallows Eve was when we should leave food out for our dead loved ones to show them that we still love them, as on this day their spirits are able to cross over from their realm into ours -the line between is thinner or something? It sounds like she’s been watching Stranger Things, but how lovely would that be? Instead, we will do what most people do on Halloween, dress up, parade in our costumes and scare people into giving us sweets.
This anniversary, I took my mother to tea. We talked about 13 years ago for the first time since it happened. My throat 5th chakra, got tighter and sore from the familiar feeling of loss. I swallowed the sadness down with my cuppa where it will stay for another year. Tomorrow is another day.
If you are experiencing a recent loss of pregnancy I feel deeply connected to your situation. I would like send healing to take away your pain but not to diminish the memory of your child’s significance. The anniversary is evidence that this happened, that it mattered and that they existed.
Today, I am thankful for that.
How will your star sign affect your marathon?3 RepliesDoes your star sign give you an insight into how your marathon race day may unfold? Astrology consultant Caroline Trowbridge (reikiwithcaroline.com) gave me a little insight into what each sign of the zodiac should expect from their marathon experience…
Aries: You will approach your marathon as if you are at a battlefront, with huge determination and energy to get to your finish line, just like your ruler Mars. You are like a charging cavalry ready to attack and the marathon you will undoubtedly conquer! You will probably be one of the front runners (think of amazing Aries runners like Mo Farah and Roger Bannister and … ahem … *shewhodaresruns* ) and it won’t matter to you if you don’t have any support on the day. It would be wise in the first half of your race to use your strategy to conserve your energy, so you can go for glory on the finish line! You’ll want to compete against yourself to do your absolute best on the day. Remember, you’re the baby of the zodiac, so after your race make sure you plan in time to go get an ice cream, and plenty of rest – you may even have an afternoon nap!
Taurus: There’s no doubt that you will be really well prepared for race day, especially when it comes to nutrition and having your tunes lined up on your iPod. You will have enjoyed your pre-race carbo loading (did you mistakenly include alcohol?!). You won’t be so bothered about your time, for you the race will be about focusing on your senses; the roar of the crowd, the feel of rain on your skin. You can plod along for a very long time! Steely and determined there is no doubt you will finish; you will stick to your conservative planned pace although may walk, stop and talk to the band along the way. Ruled by Venus, you will be drawn to the music en route and the smell of food. After you’ll be eating a slap-up meal with your family – you will have deserved that pint!
Gemini: You deserve praise for doing the marathon, as often you flit between different events. You may use up a lot of energy on the way round chatting to everyone; your sunny disposition will ensure you make lots of friends. You will mentally prepare by thinking how you are going to get through each stage of the race, and you will keep your mind occupied as you run. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep before the race so you aren’t too tired from your nervous energy. Other runners will spot you a mile off as your nerves will show as you wring your hands. Your multi-faceted mercurial mind will guarantee success!
Cancer: You will have deep emotional reasons for running. A cause close to your heart will be the reason behind why you decided to run the marathon – it’s a good idea to have pictures of the people you love with you, and you will look out for your special supporters en route. They will be important anchors that help you get round. You will run your marathon alone (avoiding the TV cameras) if you need to, secure that you have done enough training to get through. Focus on the emotional reasons why you are running, and remember to breathe when you start welling up at the finish line.
Leo: Is it possible to run with a full camera crew, while you are also taking selfies?! It is for our Leo ladies! You can spot the Leo runner as an entourage of the opposite sex usually surrounds them. You are more than capable of running a marathon, but you will want to see your reflection in shop windows as you do – or you’ll be looking out for yourself on the TV highlights. You want to be seen to be doing well! Make sure you have your name in bold on your vest so everyone can cheer you – you love the adulation. You’ll want your support team around you at the finish, and to bask in your success. You’ll love being in the spotlight on race day, you may even be posting pictures of yourself on Instagram as you go along! This will be your greatest performance and the crowd’s support of you will only reinforce this!
Virgo: Have you been aware of every niggle during training? Has your diet been precise and scientific? Of course! Don’t forget your hand sanitiser for the portaloos as you may feel repulsed by the possibility of germs in them while you try and soothe your nervous tummy. You will wear the same kit as you do for every race. You’ll be nervous and will have to pop to the loo a lot – think about getting a Shewee! Your routine is crucial – you will have checked your shoelaces are tight enough over and over. Your training will have been precise and you will have stretched and rolled your muscles religiously. You’ll be mindful of how your body feels during the race. Try not to focus too much on your niggles and enjoy yourself as you cross the line! And take advantage of the free massages available in the recovery area.
Libra: Make sure you’ve prepared before the race – you’ll have had a manicure, your hair will be perfect and your make up too. You’ll look amazing and gorgeous as you race in the top brands. It’s all going to be about looking good! You may be racing with your loved one and, no doubt, you will steal sneaky kisses as you run. You’ll either be thinking about your loving partnership, and meeting up with your partner after, or, if you’re single, looking for that someone special when you run! Perhaps the love of your life is running right beside you. You’ll feel confident about your race and how great you’re going to look in the marathon photos at the finish!
Scorpio: It’s important for you to run your own race and not focus on everyone else. Don’t start strategising how you are going to take down the runner who overtook you at Mile 3, or who stepped on your trainer, or threw a water bottle across your path. If you focus on how others may be doing better than you this may sabotage your race Scorpio! The power of Pluto will see you through to the finish line. Take the time to enjoy the race and use your steely determination to believe in yourself; when you do this you are unstoppable! Your running is intense, it’s a passion and you’re formidable. So look up and take in what’s going on around you and enjoy this experience (it’s supposed to be a charitable event after all!).
Sagittarius: You’ve probably travelled the furthest to get to your marathon, maybe from all over the world, to run in the greatest cities. You’ll absorb the ambience of this historic city and all it has to over. This is just 26.2 miles of your incredibly exciting life. You’ll probably be chatting away all the way round. You’re incredibly capable if not always competitive. You may be guilty of not enough training but your natural ability will get you through. You may be clumsy or accident prone so look out on the cobbles and take extra care around the water stations. Even if you fall you’ll laugh it off as you’ll be buzzing at being at one of the world’s greatest events. As soon as you cross that line you’ll be thinking about the next big great adventure.
Capricorn: Did you start running because your work was putting together a team? Are you now approaching the marathon like work, with the pressure of raising money for your cause? You will approach this event like a business and will be a formidable fundraiser. You’ll be the one organising everyone in their training. However tough the marathon gets your ruler Saturn will make sure you can dig deep and carry on. It’s a metaphor for your life – teaching you how tough life can be but if you keep working hard you will make it to the end. You’re no stranger to hard work and discipline. You’ll want to lead and will get stronger as the race progresses. The marathon, like life, is an endurance test for you and one that you will master.
Aquarius: Your Uranus energy may make you an erratic runner. You may also be overwhelmed to be part of such a great humanitarian event. You’ll probably be running for a great cause, or those less fortunate than you; this will be very important to you. Your training may have come in fits and starts and might have been unpredictable, but you’ve made it to the start line! You, more than any runner, have all the latest and best gadgets. Technology is really important to you. You will probably spend your race focusing on your splits and heart rate. Avoid getting into any race day argy-bargies such as who gets the last safety pin, and make sure you have fun on your special day.
Pisces: Charity is your sole focus. You may be an elusive figure on the start line and it’s likely you will move through the pack without being noticed. Suddenly other runners will realise you’re next to them! You may have done all your training without letting on to friends that you were running a marathon – then just turn up on the day to surprise your colleagues or club mates. If you see someone in trouble during the race you will give up your goal to help them. You will prepare by imagining yourself running the race, maybe by replaying a movie of the event in your head where you hold the starring role. This is your Chariots of Fire moment, and you are the star! Then, when the race is over you may slip away with your medal, and might not even tell anyone you ran. The knowledge that you have raised money for your chosen charity is reward enough for you.
Caroline is an astrology consultant, energy healer, children’s author and actor. Find out what she is up to on facebook, twitter or at carolinetrowbridge.com
Breathe in…breathe out… I’ve got this, ok? I coach myself through my emotions every moment I experience any nerves when I’m about to do what I do...
Breathe in, sigh out on an Aaahh! In full voice of course! My actor voice training has stayed with me for some two decades now. Sometimes embarrassingly so, like when I can’t stop myself vocally sighing with pleasure during downward facing dog in yoga class…
Just put one foot in front of the other. I always lead with my left foot FYI. Like when I do splits , or cartwheels in the garden, which I convince myself I can still do and must prove to others frequently , usually to children under the age of 12…not cool!
So here goes nothing …gulp!
This is my first official blog post in what’s fast becoming a year of firsts. Fearless me, who at the grand old age of 42 left Blighty for New York with my husband, Edward and our two kids, Miles ,then 6 and Iris, then 4, for a family lifetime adventure! Or a family midlife crisis? TBD
Since my arrival on the East Coast I have:-
If I told you that most of this happened as a result of being crippled by fear you’d probably disregard it as poppycock! But, it’s true.
Starting the “adventure “can be such a steep learning curve that one can fail to see the joy in living presently anymore, as one’s present can be so scarily unnerving.
I was so overwhelmed that within 3 weeks I got vertigo. I know this because I went to Mount Sinai Hospital with my husband to eventually get diagnosed, well, by my husband, after a saline drip, pregnancy test, blood scan, CT scan and 6 hours in an Emergency Room revealed nothing to the dashing M.D overseeing me as he conceded to the rookie’s likely diagnosis of ‘vertigo brought on by stress.’
I however, learned a valuable lesson: never ever go to a medical hospital with an innocent question such as “Is this where I need to go on a Saturday to be looked at by a doctor? I have a numb right arm and I’m experiencing frequent dizzy spells?” Especially true if said hospital is a specialist stroke centre. Kerching!
In Louise Hay’s bestselling book ‘Heal your Body- The mental causes for physical illness and the metaphysical way to overcome them’ it states that vertigo’s probable cause is due to; flighty, scattered thinking: a refusal to look. Like a scared child I was living in fear; covering my eyes and literally shutting the front door meant I didn’t have to deal with the reality of my brash, relentless environment. I was dizzy and disorientated by New York’s horn honking “I’m walking here!” mentality.
I pined for pipe and slippers, England, where I’d left my support network of incredible women whom I could pop in and see for belly laughs and positive chats over a cuppa, brewed in a teapot, whilst the kids played freely in a lush green garden; or go visit my sisters who would look out for me and give me amazing advice about motherhood and spirituality whilst feeding up my kiddiewinks and me; or hug my wonderful mum- who incredibly never said “don’t go” when we took her youngest grandchildren across the Atlantic in search of a better life like millions of immigrants had done before us.
Fearful and anxious I didn’t recognize the person I had become. I had to change, as my circumstances were unlikely to change, we were here for a few years as green card holders and we had invested an awful lot of energy in the move, as well as money. I needed to reframe how I looked at my life here as an opportunity for me to shine, not just as enabling Edward to get something out of his system through working on Broadway, before we headed back home to my beloved England.
After consulting with Janet in an emotional wellness session, I knew I needed to redefine who I was. I had worked successfully as an actress on stage and screen, around the U.K and Europe but I had lost the confidence to hustle and play the game to win. I had wanted to be at home for the kids too, as I felt guilty in having taken them away from their extended family and didn’t want them to feel abandoned- my words not theirs!
I so longed for the fearless creative Caroline who can do anything she puts her mind to, that I pledged to write down my truest desires and to be brutally honest in doing so -as Socrates said “The Life which is unexamined is not worth living”.
I drew up a list of the following:
For me, the words on the page that popped out were “Who am I?”
I was to step out of my wilderness years into quite possibly the most fearless year of my life so far. I wrote this poem
I am Me.
As You can see
Some seem similar,
Some seem different,
(Though not Me!)
You may try,
But you can never be
I look a lot like them.
They look a lot like Me.
In this family,
All that I will ever be is
Can You be Me?
Can I be You?
It’s fun to try,
But ask Me why
Should I be the same as
You are great!
As I am too.
It’s so much fun to be with You!
“Shall we be a team of two, just
Us can be a family
With others who are like Us too.
Some seem similar,
Some seem different, true!
All of Us as
We are great!
Oh yes We are!
Just look at all We’ve done so far!
I am Me, You Us and We.
I will remember to always be,
Kind to Us and respectful of We
And treat Me as I would You,
As all We need ever do is
Oh! I forgot to introduce myself: Hello! I am Caroline, an actress, children’s author, reiki master, astrologer, mumpreneur, painter, runner, yogi, mother, wife, daughter, friend and finally … a blogger!