I find out I’m pregnant the first week of January. Grady is three years old and we’ve just celebrated the first Christmas where he seemed to understand the festivities. It has been fun and joyful and exhausting and now I’m holding a positive pregnancy test and daydreaming about next year’s Christmas as a family of four. 

For three weeks we fluctuate between “what have we done?” and “look what we’ve done!” until I have my dating scan. I pick the private clinic over the hospital lab because calm music plays, the lights are dimmed, and soothing artwork hangs on the walls. I don’t realize until I’m walking down the hallway that the last time I had an ultrasound there was during the process of being diagnosed with cancer. Those walls with the soothing artwork in muted tones hold ghosts, for me and for others I’m sure of it, and another is added when the technician squints at the screen and says, “I don’t know what I’m looking at.”

January is the cruelest month in which to receive bad news. The sky is grey and suffocating, the rain cold and relentless. I stumble through each day in a fog, barely functioning beyond what’s necessary. Being told the pregnancy isn’t viable is heartbreaking. Carrying something that isn’t an embryo but is still a growing mass of cells, less than two years after cancer, is excruciating. 

I cry a lot. I think dark thoughts. I quickly descend down the doom spiral at the slightest provocation. It is January, and then it is February, and a month after being told something-but-not-a-baby is growing inside me, a month of blood tests every two days and internal ultrasounds every week, I have surgery to scrape out any evidence that my mass of not-a-baby ever existed. And then a week later I have another surgery to fix the results of the first surgery. 

It is another month before my blood tests are clear of any trace of pregnancy hormones. March is as terrible as February, but in a different way. In March, I am in pain - both physically and mentally - but I am also empty.  

I spend the first three months of 2015 convinced that I will not survive. The pain, the mental anguish, the uncertainty, is all too much. I am surrounded by love and support, people show up for me in a hundred different ways, I have accessible, high-quality medical care, and mental health support, all the things anyone who is going through a tough time could possibly ask for, and still I struggle. 

I spend a lot of time looking out the window at the bleak landscape in front of me - dirty puddles of freezing rainwater, piles of mud where the garden once was, and not a single green thing in sight. I start to meditate, sort of, in my own way. I stare at the garden and try to clear my mind of the hurricane of anxiety and sadness, and whisper the word “bloom.” Some days it is a plea, some days it’s more like a command. Most of the time it is just my own version of “om.”

My therapist suggests I do something to honour my not-a-baby, like buy a piece of jewellery or plant a tree, to bring closure and peace. I decide to plant a cherry blossom tree. One of the first signs of spring in BC is the arrival of the pale pink blossoms; when winter feels interminable and the grey feels like it is here to stay, the cherry blossom tree in my garden will be a reminder that there is renewal and there is light and hope blooms.



Grady graduated to his green belt in karate last week. His school does graduations once per month, and he still had his last stripe to earn, so I didn’t think he’d be graduating until February. But at the last minute, two days before graduation, he tested and passed. 

He has worked so hard and grown so much since starting karate. I know I’m biased but I promise, he’s actually really good. And he loves it. I don’t think I’ve had a cooler parenting moment than seeing my kid excel at something he enjoys.  

Graduation was a bit of a last minute scramble and I didn’t expect anyone to reschedule their lives around Grady’s karate event, but I put the invitation out to all the grandparents. And they all showed up. They watched him move up to the next belt level, they cheered and clapped and took pictures. Afterwards we all went out for dinner and I can’t articulate how much it meant to me to see how my kids are surrounded by love and support. Intellectually I know my kids are loved but to witness the sacrifice (traffic! Other plans! Work stuff!) people made to come stand in a sweaty gym for an hour when Grady’s portion of the ceremony was approximately three minutes, was humbling. My kids, my family, I am so lucky. 

It’s in a Book

My friend wrote a book. This book to be precise.  

I am ridiculously proud of my friend. When her book arrived I cried literal tears of joy. I know how hard she worked on this book. I know that blood, sweat, and tears went into this book. 

But I can’t read it.  

I can’t read any book.  

I used to read all the time. I would crack through a few books per week. I’d have multiple books on the go and switch between stories to read what suited me. I would choose reading over watching tv any day of the week.  

I don’t know what changed. Maybe it’s having kids, maybe it’s my iPhone, maybe it’s cancer and the changes my brain’s gone through on different meds and no thyroid, maybe it’s the lack of sleep, maybe it’s Instagram and the ability to scroll endlessly, maybe it’s the moon. I have no idea. All I know is that I no longer have the attention span to read.  

But I really want to read! I want to read my friend’s book and the other books languishing on my bookshelf. I enjoy listening to audiobooks but there’s something I’m missing by not curling up in a cozy blanket and flipping through the pages of a good book.  

Have you experienced this loss before? How did you retrain your brain to be able to read for longer than 15 seconds at a time? Or am I lost cause?


Tiny Happy Tuesday 2019:1

A small list of very good things. 

1. We’re getting back into the swing of things after an extended holiday break. I forgot how sweet it is to come home after a long day of work when Shawn’s picked Poppy up from daycare. She hears me open the garage and runs to the baby gate at the top of the stairs. I feel like a ding dang rockstar when she screams with joy when I appear at the bottom of the stairs.  

2. Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix. I wasn’t a huge fan of her book when I read it a few years ago. I didn’t really understand her methods and parts of the book seemed smarmy. Watching the show and seeing Marie interact with the people she’s helping is making me actually get excited about de-cluttering the house. I’m utterly charmed by her.  

3. I did a whole lot of meal prep on Sunday and it means I managed to pull together homemade, nutritious, satisfying dinners on Monday and Tuesday, our two busiest nights of the week. It feels like a major win. 

What’s making you happy this week?