sunny dreads.
me walking cedar on the beach, taken by jessamyn

A few years ago I was sitting on the floor surrounded by a circle of women. Each of us, one by one, answering questions from a slip of paper in our hands. Some of them light, some deep but with the space I was in at that time in my life, anything asked of me to share felt sacred. I remember trying hard to swallow the tears I knew that would come, even at something as simple as "what is your favorite color and why?" Speaking in front of more than one person is already vulnerable enough for me but to be speaking to a circle of tender hearts that are intimately aware of my journey, it all just felt so raw and at the surface. I recall opening my mouth and when the words didn't come, covering my face and apologizing. It helped that in this circle of tender hearts, there was room for all of this and shame didn't have a place where my tears fell. What I remember most about this moment and why I am sharing this is because something a friend said to me, lifted my shoulders a bit higher and gave me strength to keep sharing. "Throughout this whole journey, you have been so graceful with your pain. I wish I could have been more graceful when trying to conceive." It felt so healing to hear this because I was feeling so completely messy at that time in my life and for someone I admired to see the dance in it all, the gracefulness, was a gift. A soft, tender, cotton-y gift I needed for my heavy heart in that moment.

Something very similar happened on the couch with my sister Darlene this week while she was here. My whole being was swirling with heightened emotions that come with the approach of my moon cycle. We sat drinking our tea on the last morning of her visit, exchanging thoughts about our time together. She had been with us a full week and had observed from morning until night how so totally full and different our life is now compared to before Cedar was born. She quietly observed new dynamics in my marriage. She watched me do the dance that day in and out can feel so invisible to the world. I felt that all too familiar heaviness in my throat, swallowing down the emotion that was swelling. It took one moment of a soft gaze from my sister and these words to crack me open..."I have witnessed so many times throughout this week when you could grit your teeth or grunt or pull your hair out but you are so graceful going about your day. You never stop, you're always moving and you do it so gracefully." Once again, the idea of me and gracefulness created a wider, more tender space for me to spill. The tears flowed and shame washed away and I felt safe to share the vulnerable parts of motherhood and marriage and parenthood through the eyes of grace rather than clumsiness.

Hours after my sister had left on the airplane towards her farm, I had felt so far from gracefulness. A week away from the computer left me feeling a wee out of touch with the outside world. I spent some time on the computer and in retrospect, I wish I had waited a few more days and just reveled in the quiet. The quiet my soul needs when my moon cycle arrives. I read a few blogs. I saw a few photos on facebook. All in celebration of pregnancy. An image of a sonogram. A swelling belly. Honest and raw spillings about the beautiful and hard parts of this new life and heart shift. I wish so much in these first breaths of coming across these images and words, I could celebrate with them. It is not natural for me to turn my ears and eyes and heart away from such a beautiful soul shifting miracle as a woman announcing she's pregnant or a stunning moment captured of a fully pregnant goddess twirling in a field. It is not natural for me to feel anger and resentment and sorrow with something so sacred and precious. Not only does it feel painful to feel these emotions but it also is painful to have to juggle the shame for feeling this at all. Eventually I arrive in a place of celebration with these sweet souls and calm and acceptance and bravery but in those first few moments, I want to crumble to the floor and weep. This doesn't feel graceful to me. This feels messy and clumsy and strained. I feel isolated and blind, feeling my way through a dark room for the hand of another woman that tried for almost five years and never once had those two pink lines appear through the stick. Five years. years...not just months.

So I laid my head down on the bed last night and allowed this all to be. I held myself close until the sorrow felt too exhausted to thrive. I took deep breaths and thought of what makes my journey unique. I thought of Cedar and the extraordinary way he came into our lives. I thought about what I would do if I was faced with a choice; A choice to be pregnant with another child, biologically ours or to be there at the birth of Cedar like I was. Cedar entering out of another woman's womb and not my own. I knew the answer. I would choose him. Yes, I would choose him.

I wish the awareness that I would always choose him would take that hurt away. Would steal away those first tight breaths upon hearing or seeing moments of the other side. A side I may never have the pleasure of feeling or knowing.

I am grateful for the dear ones in my life that forgive me when this happens. My soul sisters that are newly pregnant or fully pregnant or once pregnant that have always been gentle with these first tight breaths I feel. That have been patient and waited for messy emotions to move through me. That have wrapped me up in their arms to reassure. That have never forgotten my pain and longing. That have told me that my story helps them move more gently during the hard parts that comes with being pregnant, both physically and emotionally. That have told me they see gracefulness on this path of mine when all I see is unwieldiness. I am especially grateful for those that have no concept of what it is to walk on this path and yet still meet me where I am and remind me that regardless, they see me as whole and feminine and connected to the goddess within. It is when these souls in my life bend and leap and twirl with me, that I am taught what gracefulness truly is.