I talk about “my story” a lot. ”My story” has different parts to it, sometimes one part is all there is, sometimes all the parts make the story, it just sort of depends on what’s going on in my life. The past few years since I have literally been smacked upside the head to pay attention, I have done a lot of studying and searching. I have learned from Byron Katie and Eckhart Tolle that I should shed “my story”, eliminate it from the equation completely.
Byron’s website’s tagline: “Who would you be without your story?” is quite a question.
Here is an excerpt from an interview with Eckhart Tolle:
“We can see, for example, what’s happening in the middle East with the eternal insane conflict between Israel and Palestine. We can see how each faction is totally convinced that their mental position is the correct one. Each faction sees itself as the victim of the other. There was a writer I read last year who said each side cannot recognize any narrative other than their own; that’s also true. Narrative means the story through which you interpret reality.
People have collective stories which are mental perspectives and mental positions. Of course, when they explain it to you, it sounds absolutely right. Then you go to the other story, and they explain it to you, and that sounds absolutely right. Both are so entrenched in their narrative, their mental positions and their identifications with mental positions that they cannot see anything else. That really symbolizes the very thing that lies at the core of human dysfunction.”
As much as I believe what these two people are dedicating their life’s work to, is right and true, and as much as I want to be who I am without my story, I am who I am today because of that story. I share the story on the blog and in conversation, in part because I make new discoveries each time I do. I also feel I am giving parts of it away, thus diffusing it’s power, making it less of a mass that is following along with me, sometimes crowding me into submission.
I found myself telling parts of my story on a roadtrip this past weekend. As I was talking I made a really important realization*. Someone asked me why I wanted to go off my seizure medicine. The answer did not immediately roll off my tongue. It’s like it had disappeared. I was confused for a moment and then I remembered a part of my story:
I was trying to get pregnant, and one day I woke up with my head bashed in, and I was put on medicine that increases the chance of birth defects and I went from the mid-wife natural childbirth girl who was gonna do it again in 2008, to the high-risk black-label drugs brain girl. In an instant the future changed. And I didn’t realize this until recently, but I began the stages of grief for what SHOULD have been, with a new baby topping the list. And “getting off the meds” was so that I could finally have that baby that I had been trying for. Every time I went to my appointment I asked my doctor about pregnancy and how long until I could get off the medicine.
I struggled through watching friends and relatives become pregnant and have babies and for the first time I felt a small portion of what other women feel who cannot have what they so want: a new baby. You know those women who proclaim: “I’m done” when the topic of more children comes up? Well, that topic seemed to come up a LOT around me and I never said that. The answer was always a sorrow-filled “we’ll see..”, “I don’t know.”, & “Well, I’ve been having these health problems and…”
At times I was riddled and completely drowned in thoughts of a baby. I would bring it up to my husband and he would feel so cornered by talking about something that could not even be at the time. I would talk about it seriously, jokingly, hypothetically, I often picked it as my “falling-asleep topic”. At times I was completely obsessed with it. I have names in my back pocket all ready to go.
A few months ago my anxiety got extremely high and I went to visit my therapist thinking we would discuss the new york city school ridiculousness and it’s affect on my family. I left having discovered I was still, almost 2 years laster, grieving the loss of the baby that never was.
I took that in for several weeks and explored the stages of grief and realized I was in stage 4: Extreme Sadness. Knowing that, and being validated for my feelings and stages made the sadness slowly dissolve into Stage 5: Acceptance.
The realization* I made in the car when asked: Why do you want to go off the meds? was that my answer had completely changed. Even 3 months ago, the answer was: I do not want to have a baby on the medicine, and so I need to get off so that I can try to get pregnant. And this weekend the answer was: Ummmm….hmmm…let me think for a second, well, because I don’t want to be on meds that I don’t need to be on, and endure the side effects (sleepiness, muscle weakness, etc.), I want to feel like myself again.
I realized in that moment that baby #3 who never was, will never be. That baby’s chapter was opened towards the end of 2007, and was tried for, prayed about, dreamed of and taken away over and over again until March 27, 2010, when the chapter closed, through the telling of my story.
I realized that if I successfully get off this medicine and there is a baby in my future, that’s baby #4.