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June 29, 2008


This post reminds me of one of my favorite myths, "Skeleton Woman," described in Clarissa Pinkola Estes' amazing book, Women Who Run with the Wolves. The story entails coming upon a treasure, realizing it is not what it seems or what you wanted, having it chase you, facing it and living with it, then loving it into something altogether unexpected and wonderful. And it is a tear that makes all the good happen...

I'm responding to your post from a literal perspective because I had a miscarriage last year after two years of trying to get pregnant. I was ten weeks along and my body and world were definitely already changing. It was a hard thing but it helped me be more compassionate towards people who miscarry. I had always felt sad for my friends and family who miscarried, but I never really knew what it was like until I had the experience myself.

It took almost another year but we're expecting again! I'm at twenty weeks so we're feeling a little more confident and excited. It was a little hard at first this time, just knowing that a miscarriage was a real possibility and not wanting to go through it again. I have an ultrasound this week so we're looking forward to that.

Oh! So sorry to hear of your loss - and miscarriage is truly a loss! My own experience opened my eyes to the pain of women unable to have what they want and desire above all - to be a Mom. Fortunately for me, we did have another child after this miscarriage, but the pain I felt then was a learning experience I shall never forget - nor minimize for others. Grieving is so important and cannot be rushed through. Wish I could give you a hug.

Lately I have been pondering the ins and outs of managing expecations. Let me explain how I think it relates to this post. After several failed attempts at pregnancy I remember when it finally happened (thanks to fertitily drugs) I refused to talk about it becuase I didn't want to deal with the dissapointment if it didn't work out. I didn't buy a crib until 4 weeks before I was due, just in case it didn't work out.

Managing my expectations, my hopes, was my way of "downside protection" if the market fell out, I was ready for it. In terms of my recent considerations on the subject, how much we expect of ourselves v. others can can be imbalanced, allowing someone to be dissapointed. Is it ok to hope for the best but plan for the worst?

Whitney, maybe the good that comes out of such a loss is the dialog between you and those that grieve when everyone around them is wanting them to "move on". A baby is real to a mom from the very beginning.

Best thoughts from me.


A few thoughts:

1) When I plan for the worst, generally, the worst happens.
2) I'm finding a more peaceful approach is accepting the outcome - whatever it is. However, this approach does not preclude me from acting in a way to influence a desired outcome (of course, keeping in mind that most outcomes, particularly big dreams, are based on a complex recipe of many factors - sometimes a small part of which are my actions.)
3) A few things I've learned from my yoga practice: The postures are opportunities to experience levels of intensity and change, and most postures require solid grounding and an open heart. Hmmm...sounds like a wise model for what we are discussing. As we acknowledge our sense of self (our identity, wants, dreams, etc., aka, "grounding") while at the same time, maintain a willingness to accept what comes our way (dreams dying, unexpected life changes, etc., aka, "opening"), we honor two great forces for good -- human will ("I can do "x") and humility (I accept "y").

I just finished reading "The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch. (I highly recommend it by the way, it's about achieving your dreams!) In the book, the author says, "Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted." Life definitely hurts sometimes, but once the pain and disappointment subside, we can usually look back with gratitude for experience gained--It's a process...Thanks for sharing, Whitney!

Thanks for your candor, Whitney. I am sorry for your loss. I think your poignant story will resonate with a lot women out there. I do think there is a lot of truth in the old saying about tough times building character. We grow from all of our experiences - good and bad and they really do make us stronger for whatever else life brings us. I try to remind myself of that when I'm facing a difficult situation.

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About this blog

  • When I took a sabbatical from Wall Street to pursue a different dream and help others live theirs, I learned that women in the U.S. may be placated, even pampered, but because we aren't dreaming, we are also desperate and depressed. Drawing on a variety of sources, ranging from academic studies to pop culture, dare to dream encourages us to dream. And then to act on our dreams.


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