Journey circa 2013
If someone had told me when I was 18 that at 35, I’d be starting a blog about perinatal loss from the black woman’s perspective, I likely wouldn’t have believed them. In my mind, I was going to be married & pregnant by the time I was 24. If someone had told me that it would take my partner and I over a year to conceive our daughters, I wouldn’t have believed them. I just knew I was “fertile Myrtle” and it would be easy for me to get pregnant when I was ready to. If someone had told me at the start of the year that I’d encounter a ton of women who experienced some form of perinatal loss, I would have been overwhelmed and dismissed the idea.
Before 6/7/17, I knew two or three black women who had lost their babies. Since joining some support groups and going public with blackangelmom.com and my truth on social media, I have met/encountered thousands. It’s overwhelming sometimes the amount of loss…the amount of lives that were barely here but had such a great impact. Life has a way of taking you on this incredible journey and there is really no way to predict when you’ll have peaks and valleys.
The picture for this post is a photo of a plant my partner and I have. Her name (the plant) is Journey. I bought her and named her Journey about 4 years ago after a fight with my partner. We were arguing about something I can’t remember but I knew that my gesture of love was going to be to buy this plant for us. Journey represented the journey we were going to be taking together. I knew that we would both have to tend to her, love her, feed her and pay close attention to her changes to keep her alive. It was a metaphor for our relationship and the work that goes into that. I didn’t have a green thumb, in fact, I had killed every plant I ever had before this one, but I knew that I was willing to take the necessary steps on this journey of being a plant owner and with Bae.
Journey involved some work. Trying to find the right soil, the right pot, deciding on what window or area to put her in, how often and how much water, pruning and talking to her were A LOT to do. If someone had told me how much work it takes to actually keep plants alive, I likely would not have bought one! Journey did well though. She grew all over the place and likely now needs a larger pot because she’s all over the place. Her locs (that’s how I like to think of her vines) are all the way down to the floor and we’ve had to wrap them around & around her stand. I looked at her last week as I was watering her and was in complete awe of her beauty. I looked at all the twists and turns, all the new leaves, pulled off some leaves that had died, noticed her moist soil and the dew on some leaves, saw the buds where baby leaves were waiting to unfurl and I was reminded of all the time that has passed. I was reminded of all the things that have happened in our lives as a couple and now as a couple with two angel babies. Our journey is so full of twists and turns and losses and gains and old pains and new life and new experiences and old trauma and love and life and sadness and joy and frustration and triumph. All of it. The journey is everything (*insert clapping hands after every syllable). All the things have happened. It’s so much and yet so much more will become part of this story. If someone had told me, I might have run screaming or ran away to FL to be a Disney princess (don’t judge me, I actually planned to do this like 7 years ago) or something. But I look at it now for all it’s wonderfully tragic beauty. It wouldn’t be so beautiful had other things not happened along the way. I wouldn’t notice the way the vines swoop up if I didn’t notice they also swoop down & around. I know sometimes we all wish certain things didn’t happen to us. I can’t say that I don’t wish we hadn’t lost our girls. I’d prefer to be 29 weeks pregnant right now feeling my girls twist and turn inside my belly, planning the shower and decorating their room. At the same time, I know that I can’t change what happened and I have to continue to learn how to move forward with them always in our hearts & spirits. Jojo and Vivie had tiny feet but really, really big footprints.
I should mention that we put some of our daughters’ ashes into all of our plants. Aviva & Jora are part of our lives in every way and it brings me a great sense of peace to know that their lives & life energy is continuing to live on in another way. All of our plants have new leaves and just appear more full than they did before making the girls part of them. Check out these pictures.
Gaia & Aniken ‘lil Annie’