Finding Myself After Loss
My friend Bracha told me in Messenger that I should pick two tasks for the day and say fuck it to the rest. Yesterday, I elected to take a shower and walk down the block by myself to socialize with some friends. Today, I was able to build on by not only taking a shower but volunteering to cook breakfast at my own free will and go to the gym for the first time in a week. Took me six hours to muster the courage to leave the house and I cried for 15 minutes in the locker room before my workout. My cross training workout wasn't too bad. I'm sure I'll be back to my regular speed in a week. Running, on the other hand, was traumatic. A week off managed to make me feel like it was my first day. I haven't struggled to walk at a 4.0 speed in almost 3 years.
What happened to me in a week?
For a month, I've been off my game. New York City's humidity threw me off severely and I felt incredibly miserable. Nothing prepared me nor would I have guessed that I was pregnant. My feelings about being a mother again overwhelmed me on a drastic level.
For most people, they're shooting rainbows and pebbles out of their ass, awaiting to tell all of their friends and family members who are possibly happy for them; this was not my case. My marathons didn't concern me. Unfortunately, I was already bearing several large fibroids for years that have been disappearing and reappearing for a while now. In fact, I'm scheduled for removal at the end of the year. In turn, this was a shock to me, especially since I was burdened with the hard question from my gynecologist months ago of which procedure I wanted to go for: Myomectamy, Uterine Fibroid Emolization or hysterectomy.
While I always wanted to have at least two children, my fibroids would not cooperate with me. I spent several weeks being in gradually increasing, unbearable pain and once finding out my pregnancy, scared to take any medication. After being rushed to the hospital, hearing heartbeats from my unborn children, Tuesday confirmed that I wouldn't be a second time mother in March 2018. In turn, the last two posts about depression was in ode to my twins who aren't here with me. I haven't been this hurt in an exceptionally long time.
Grieving & Falling Apart
Nobody can tell you how to feel.
Days prior, I wrote the blog There's No Running PR for Depression and I read it a day later like you, not realizing that I wrote this under distress. As I stated, depression is a marathon, not a sprint. Never have I felt this out of control with my emotions in my life. I don't remember what a good night's rest feel like anymore. It feels as if everyone that I know is either pregnant or popping out children. Going to the gym today, I saw two very pregnant women walk happily into the locker room immediately upon entrance, rubbing each others' stomachs and asking when's the due date. I'm not asking for people to conceal their prides and joy but as a briefly expecting mother, it hurts every ounce of my core. I desperately wanted to be them for two minutes. When I felt my stomach a week ago, before knowing I was bearing twins, I knew what my babies felt like. At this moment, I can tell the difference. My bladder no longer feels heavy. I'm no longer nauseated by the scent of leftover Indian food nor polishing off a half box of Cheerios with peanut butter and honey on toast. I miss it and now, I'm a parent in bereavement.
Before you load my site or inbox with a bunch of "you're strong" posts or "God took the most beautiful flower" bullshit, please respect that I don't want to hear it. This selfishly hurts. I am not a stranger to losing children. I had several miscarriages in the past and I was willing to spare my own life just as I did before carrying my son, despite being heavily advised not to continue pregnancy a decade ago. Losing an unborn child and postpartum depression is not new but it doesn't make it okay. I am not a bereavement professional. Despite my social work background, it doesn't make me an expert at being okay.
Being "strong" doesn't exclude you from experiencing pain or having mental breakdowns. You don't just snap back immediately because "you will be okay." Everything is NOT okay and that is actually okay.
Running While Suffering Postpartum Depression
I know that I am broken and until today, I contemplated walking away from everything that I became for the last four years. Some of my nearest and dearest are still doing their best to talk me out of this decision, as they think that I will regret it. Perhaps they are correct about this theory. I spent my Friday night entertaining a promise to at least consider writing out an outline of my revised marathon and ultra marathon training. In turn, I stuck to my word since I've been averaging around 2 hours of sleep each night.
I'm thankful that one of my lifelines, Rayne, talked me into giving this a test drive before considering to abandon this. While it was painful to be around others and pretend that my once safe haven was going to give me normalcy, I think I actually need it now more than ever. Two weeks ago, the gym and pavement was my primary source for a therapist with an occasional glass of red wine. I'm not certain if I can say the same, as I really do need to speak to a professional, but I know that life has to go on after all of this. After all, I do have a child, a husband, friends and family members who haven't damned me to hell. My bill collectors don't give two bits of a damn about my feelings and the world doesn't stop spinning for a second, despite me wanting that to be the case most days.
Strong People Need Accountability Buddies Too
I will do my best to not be a Debbie downer with all of my future posts but I'm not going to sugar coat how I feel either. Some of you might be asking yourselves why I even disclosed this information. Well, here's why:
I did a Google search about postpartum depression and I found a sleuth of information for people who had children and experienced it but exceptionally minimal for those who:
2. Opted to terminate pregnancy (whether by personal choice or for health preservation)
3. Still birth
That's alarming as fuck to me. If I am disclosing my rants and bitching with the world about fuck boys at the gym and I find sharing my open diary practically therapeutic, I told myself that when I was ready, I'd have an open conversation about this. Previous miscarriages consumed me because I kept the thoughts to myself. You don't realize how much you can relate to people until you start talking. Frankly, I don't give a damn if someone looks at me as an over-sharer or question my sanity for writing this blog.
With this statement, please stop telling your "strong friends" to get over it or they will be fine. I heard so much of it this week and many had no idea how fragile I was at those moments. Sure, I didn't disclose to many but that's the point: YOU MAY NEVER KNOW. Your words can make or break people. Your 'strong friends' break too. Tears are therapeutic and if placed in the right area, they help nurture life into another place constructively. Don't tell people how the fuck to feel or try to rush their process. If it makes you feel helpless, consider that it's not about you. Sometimes, your presence or your ear is the best thing that you can possibly provide. So please, if you don't know what to say, it's really okay. Be present.
For the next three months, if I can mentally stick with it, I'll be continuing my marathon and ultra marathon training. I don't make any promises that I will follow this regimen completely, as I am taking it easy despite being cleared to go back to my fitness schedule. I can only hope that I can stick with this. If you happen to be a marathoner, ultra-marathoner or someone who is curious, check out the PDF link below. It's my modified Eight Week Marathon Training and Beyond regimen for the next three months. Before all of this, I was scheduled to do back to back marathons/ultra-marathons in a two month span. These crazy antics are my thing and save your lectures about my knees. In the meantime, do me this favor:
Hug, call and SOS your loved ones know how much you give a fuck about them within the next 24 hours. In addition, whoever is in your life that's toxic, write them their walking papers. Nobody's guaranteed to be here and negative people can block your blessings.
I would like to send special thanks to my husband Eric for really allowing me to crumble in peace despite being exceptionally concerned. Thank you to my partner in crime Rayne for being more than present because I gave you every reason to walk away from me this week. Thank you to Bracha Williams for the most simplistic yet incredibly powerful advice that I received in a long time. Thank you to Justin and Kamilah Vazquez for your light over Saturday brunch. Thank you to others who have sent me your love and I haven't responded. It's not that I didn't see it...I'm just drained. Bare with me.
Love and Light,
Running Fat Chef
That is a lot to have to hold. Thank you for sharing your experience. Just had LAV hysterectomy 3 weeks ago for fibroids and planning to run NYC in November as well. Jammed the month of May with races and the fibroids gave me hell. Happy to share information on hysterectomy and getting back to running if you have any questions. Not a lot of info out there.
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Latoya Shauntay Snell
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