Sunday, January 16, 2011

Remembering The Visitor

I begin this post by admitting I watched The View recently. Not only did I watch The View, but something Whoopi Goldberg said rocked me to my core. Teachers and teachings show up at the strangest times, and this teaching had me weeping as I spoon-fed Kysa pureed mango. Please bear with me, we will transcend.

Two years ago this week I had a miscarriage. Miscarriage talk makes people uncomfortable, and so does spirituality, both of which are the subjects of this post. I get it. But this blog is not only for our community, it's for our children to read someday, and this story is part of my history, my family's history, and ultimately Mamoosh's* history.

*Mamoosh means baby in Amhraic.

The anniversary of the miscarriage is not something I mark in my calendar to remind myself to mourn, but three major things happened that week to always remind me. Fredrik always has a big-deal annual conference in New York. It consumes him for the entire week from early in the morning until late at night. Ironically, we lost our first pregnancy on the day of Obama's inauguration and the day after Martin Luther King Jr. day. So bittersweet, and looking back, so poignantly perfect as a landmark to remember The Visitor.

After getting the news, a hug, and a shot from my doctor, I walked home from 5th Ave across the Upper East Side the harsh cold a contrast to my hot tears. I made a brief call to Fredrik confirming what we feared the most, and I climbed the stairs to our 5th story walk-up to watch Hope and Change take the highest office in the land. I was happy for the distraction but mostly grateful for the good dose of Hope in the face of my dispair, as well as Michelle Obama's good fashion sense. And Aretha Franklin's hat. I mean, really...

Maybe it was all the talk of hope that kept me from burying my head under the covers and staying there. In reality, I was terrified I couldn't have children, and to me that was the worst sentence. Ever. I knew in my bones I was meant to be a mother, but I was sad and frightened that I might not be. That's when I came to realize I didn't care how Fredrik and I were to become parents....I just wanted to be one, and I didn't want to wait.

The next week I spent alone mourning and recovering physically and emotionally, while poor sad Fredrik worked his butt off at the conference. One night he came home and I announced that I wanted to explore adoption. We talked and agreed it was something we'd like to consider. The following day I spent curled up with the laptop researching adoption. I watched "gotcha day" videos on YouTube, I read adoption blogs much like this one, and I cried good, healthy, cleansing tears because I was touched and moved and inspired. Obama's words from the day before still ringing in my ears, I began to feel like I/we could turn our bad luck into something good.

At some point during my YouTube marathon, I fixated on Ethiopia. It was as if Ethiopia reached out of the computer and grabbed me by my heartstrings. I can't really explain it, but I just couldn't get enough of those babies. Ethiopia and her children simply grabbed me. Ethiopia chose me/us.

I announced to Fredrik that night that I wanted to adopt from Ethiopia. I think he was still processing the miscarriage, but he listened to his red and puffy-eyed wife speak hopefully, and I think he was grateful for a little light in the face of our sadness.

Fredrik being the patient and more pragmatic half of the relationship, suggested we go to a workshop on international adoption and explore our options. We did, and confirmed what we thought we wanted. Yes. Adopt. Ethiopia. We hadn't given up on trying to conceive a child, but we knew very quickly we just wanted to be parents. So we'd try both. Yes, we're the type people who wait to the last minute to start a family and then suddenly demand from the universe: Okay, BABY NOW!

In the meantime, in my spiritual/yoga practice I invoked Ganesha, The Remover of Obstacles, The Lord of New Beginnings. For those of you not familiar with yogic philosophy, the yogis believe that God/The Universe is too big a concept to grasp as a singular being, and so the various deities are aspects, archetypes, or particular traits of the God/The Universe. Ganesha, in particular, puts obstacles in your path to help you grow or evolve toward enlightenment. Likewise, Ganesha removes the obstacles when you have learned the lesson.

I am not sure when I started praying my prayer, or repeating this mantra but for the next few months, through my deep sadness, all I could repeat was: please let me be open to receiving the lesson I'm suppose to learn, Om Gan Ganapatye Namah, please let me be open to receiving the lesson I'm suppose to learn. I even got Ganesha tattooed on the inside of my wrist to remind me.

Fast forward to August: Walking through Budapest I tell Fredrik I think we're pregnant (like 1 day pregnant). I was right.

Fast forward nine months: Kysa is born and we're blissfully and thankfully a family of three.

Fast forward four months: We seamlessly remind ourselves of our desire to adopt. Fredrik and I can't remember how and when we decided it was "time" it just happened. We jumped.

Fast forward to just a couple weeks ago: I'm feeding Kysa pureed mango and The View is on in the background. I hear Whoopi Goldberg telling Bill and Giuliana Rancic (who were discusing their recent miscarriage) the words that rocked me to my core. She said she believes the precious beings who come to visit us for a short period of time are sent to help get us ready for our future children. "Are you ready? Are you really ready?" they ask.

I felt like The Universe had just graded my proverbial paper. I got it. I had received the lesson. We needed to loose a pregnancy in order to set us on the path to adoption. I don't know if it would have happened otherwise. The Visitor came into our lives for a short but purposeful time to make way for Mamoosh, and I will be forever grateful for that blessing.

Two years later (last week), Fredrik returned to New York for that same conference. This time I wasn't alone, Kysa was warm and cozy in my arms, and Mamoosh is on his way.



  1. Beautiful and insightful post. You have a flair for writing. So happy to be a part of your journey!

  2. What a great blog Allison! I also read your birth story a few month ago......You should check out my blog and let me know if you have any good vegan recipes to contribute!