Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Happy New Year: Google + made me cry

I've never been big on lavish New Years celebrations. When I was young, and liked to pretend I was more seasoned than my years, I was fond of this one quote (attributed to Frank Sinatra, I think?): New Years Eve is for amateurs. I guess I took it to mean that you only got worked up about stuff like that if you were too naive to really know how to live your life the other 364 days of the year. You don't need an excuse (least of all one born of chronology) for a party.

Later on, the very idea that a flip of the calendar could be anything other than a random date change began to feel like yet another bitter joke in life's plan for us. Losing S was (and continues to be) the most difficult, painful thing I have ever experienced. I remember December 31st, 2010, after surviving our first holidays as childless parents, H and I looking at each other with determination as we stated: this year will be our year. Things have to get better. It wasn't and they didn't. But in each year that followed, we dutifully repeated the mantra while our determination became more grim and our conviction more shaky. The closing weeks of 2011 - during which we continued to mourn, and adjust to that feeling of being invisible in a world that refused to acknowledge our son or the pain that came with our childless status - brought our second pregnancy loss. 2012 brought serious illness for H, months of testing that confirmed (without explanation) our subfertile status thankyouverymuch, a surprise conception in August followed with a by-then unsurprising miscarriage a week later, and by year's end, the darkest, most all-consuming depression I have ever experienced.

Of course there were lots of happier moments in there too; laughter and adventure and flickers of hope. It's just that in the context of those years, none of that stands out in memory as starkly as the sea of crap through which we waded for so long. And then, while attempting to pull myself up for air, I sat down and wrote this. That simple act of writing not only led me to all of you - all your support and encouragement and compassion and tears and anger and humour and understanding - but helped me to see those flickers of hope for what they were, to somehow more easily embrace them when they came along.

And it occurs to me that this is what movement, healing, change, growth are all about; a series of tiny things, none of which seem particularly momentous at the time (and almost certainly accompanied by laughter and tears in equal measure), that once accumulated can lead us to the most profound realizations and discoveries. Good or bad, you never know what's around the next corner. And I for one can think of no better reason for a party, whatever form that takes. Maybe it's quiet contemplation. Maybe it's filled with angst and red wine and self-soothing. Maybe it's more conventionally recognizable as a party, time spent laughing with the kind of family we all long to have and hold.

But the strength and hope and perseverance and giving-the-middle-finger to an unfair, indifferent universe? It's all worth celebrating.


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And that brings me to Google +.

Urging me to click on the highlighted little notification button when I logged onto blogger today, Google + announced that, thanks to their annoyingly titled new feature Auto Awesome, they had a gift waiting for me.

(As an aside, I'm pretty hopeless when it comes to techy stuff. I don't really have a clue what the purpose of Google + actually is. If you've ever 'added me to your circle' on Google + and I haven't reciprocated, it's because a) I don't know how and b) even if I did, I wouldn't see the point. I'm not being rude, I swear! I want to be friends! I am just not at all social media-y. I actually kind of loathe that stuff. There is nothing you can say to convince me that it's not kind of...well, superficial and narcissistic, instead of the cure for all ills of postmodern ennui from which we suffer, as it is too often touted to be. And yes, I am fully aware of the irony of my recording that statement on a blog. I never claimed to be consistent.)

Anyway, it seems Auto Awesome was so sweet as to prepare a 'personalized' 2013 Movie! for me, based on all the albums I have (apparently? I'm not techy, remember?) created while keeping this here blog.

Obnoxious, intrusive, commercial, impersonal, marketing ploy, right?

Right. Except that it made me cry.

It started off with those beautiful shots of the snowy day I sat down to start this blog. It continued on to that whimsical memory tree I found one day while practicing laughter yoga and missing my son, then went on to some of the photos we took while marking his third birthday. It threw in several lovely slides of our glorious holiday, as well as the disappointment that followed. A beautiful hike which made me again feel close to S, an impromptu, pre-new-job trip to France, a hot, boozy, day of dancing at Notting Hill Carnival. Next was a shot of the candles lit to mark Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day and all the tiny lives that never got to live. And the slideshow concluded (as though Auto Awesome somehow knew what it was looking at?), with the most amazing sight we've seen all year for a very very long time: that little grey blob, beating, growing, living. (Not that we dared hope we'd get this far at the time.) And then, blame pregnancy hormones I teared up.

And there you have it. Happy/sad/scary/fun all mixed up messily together. A year in the life, as well as in this blog.

Thanks for being here, through it all.

22 comments:

  1. I am so glad you decided to blog and I am so glad that I found you! I hope 2014 is a great year for you and I hope you continue to write about it here :)

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    1. The same goes for me friend! I'm so delighted that we get to share all the scary, exciting, unbelievable moments of this journey together and at the same time. Thanks for being here :)

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  2. Happy new year! So happy things are getting better for you and H, and I hope that trend continues in 2014!

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    1. Thanks Daryl and Happy New Year to you guys too!

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  3. Thanks for sharing it all with us! Happy new year! Looking forward to what 2014 has in store for you!

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    1. So are we! Thanks for all your support this past year Kimberly.

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  4. Hoping so much 2014 brings beautiful new memories. Happy new year.

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    1. It's starting off that way, and we're hoping it continues. Thanks for all your understanding and support, and I am sending so many good wishes for you and your growing (!) family in 2014.

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  5. De-lurking to say Happy New Year, love. I am so glad for you and praying for you. I've been on a very similar path, TTC for two years (with absolutely nothing to show for it) and struggling with the ups and downs of IVF and infertility together. xo.

    Weylin
    www.wishingawayinfertility.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you so much for following along, for your silent support until now, and for de-lurking to say hello. I'm sorry that you have to be a part of this club, but grateful for the connections blogging offers all of us; I'm off to check out your space now. Happy New Year!

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  6. I'm so glad you decided to start this blog, Sadie. Your words have brought comfort to so many women grieving losses that seem invisible to the rest of the world. I look forward to reading your birth story and hearing about your experience taking your little one home in 2014 :)

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    1. Annie, this might be one of the most beautiful comments I have received in a year of blogging. I think I just started crying again! Thank you for all the love my friend, and wishing for wonderful things for you in 2014 :)

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  7. I, too, have no clue what the point of Google + is... I guess it's to make women cry :)
    Wishing you a happy new year and hoping that 2014 brings you the baby you've been waiting a long time to take home <3

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    1. Thank you for your sweet words, support and understanding Catherine. I am wishing the same for you in 2014. It's been a long road for both of us. Much love to you, Gabriel and Poppy.

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  8. Happy New Year! I cannot wait to read about all that 2014 has in store for you. :)

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    1. Neither can we! Happy New Year my friend!

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  9. I loved reading this entry, especially the paragraph starting "And it occurs to me that this is what movement, healing, change, growth are all about; a series of tiny things, none of which seem particularly momentous at the time (and almost certainly accompanied by laughter and tears in equal measure), that once accumulated can lead us to the most profound realizations and discoveries."

    So true.

    I hope the new year is wonderful to you.

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    1. It can be hard to see things for what they might yet hold when you're in the midst of your own anguish. Being part of this community has not only allowed me to honour that sadness but also to feel less alone with it, to recognize the many ways in which people are hurting, and, hopefully, to reach out a hand of support and comfort as others have so lovingly done for me. Life moves forward whether we realize it or not, and I'm so grateful to have this community to walk with. Thank you for reading and cheering and crying for us.

      I hope 2014 brings you all you wish for, and have everything crossed for your upcoming cycle!

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  10. lots of love to you and H for 2014, may you be blessed. Love always to little S as well xx

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    1. Thank you Nomi, especially for including S. We miss him and think about him every day. Love and best wishes for your family in 2014.

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  11. Happy New Year sweet friend. Hope 2014 is filled with light + love and happiness.

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    1. Oh Jessah, I am so hopeful for you in 2014. Sending all the love and light I have right back your way :)

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