Surrender

Surrender

Something inside of me told me to surrender.  Looking back, I am aware that I only had one other choice…fight. 

Fighting was what I knew how to do.  With my siblings, neighborhood kids who picked on my brother, adults who I felt said irrational things, my first husband, and my second.  I worked daily to make sure that those around me KNEW that I had value, and I believed the way to do it was to always make sure that they knew that I was smart and capable…and that I knew more/better than they did (there has been significant growth in this area over the years!).

That morning I was gearing up for a fight.  I felt dismissed and diminished by my then husband and I was writing him a letter. 

I hadn’t felt well over the weekend while we were attending a wedding.  When I tried to stand up, my hips weren’t working.  I remember it clearly; it was the oddest sensation, and nothing I had ever experienced before.

Having been conditioned to push through, I did.  We stayed at the reception for a while, and I spent Sunday believing that I was sick with the flu.

Monday morning, I was in a different place emotionally.  I was angry, feeling betrayed, and not good enough.  I needed to let my husband know just how he was making me feel.

While I sat on the couch writing out how I felt in the most shaming (not healthy or helpful!) way I could, something inside me said that this “illness” was about the baby that I was carrying.  After calling my doctor’s office I drove the 35 minutes to the hospital where I believed she would be working that day.

  1. When you feel powerful emotions, regardless of whether you would identify them as positive or negative, there is often a knowing inside of you that says, “Please pay attention over here”? If you can’t think of a situation right now, write a note in your journal to remind yourself to keep this question in your awareness and see what you notice over the next week.  We might often be having this conversation in our head, but we often reply with, even if we are unaware of it, “No! I want to stay in THIS emotion and you aren’t going to distract me!”

I don’t remember the drive to the hospital.  Maybe I cut someone off on the way, maybe I cut a lot of people off.

  1. I rewrote the above sentence many times, before deleting the rest of the sentence and leaving it as it appears. As I re-read over it 50 times, a knowing inside of me kept telling me to delete it.  I didn’t have a strong emotion about it, but the voice said, “That extra sentence is unnecessary and can be talked about later”.  Write down in your journal times during the past week that you were aware you overshared (from your own perspective), or held back from sharing, even if there wasn’t strong emotion around the situation.

My husband was in an all-day meeting where they weren’t to be interrupted, so initially I didn’t try to reach him.  At some point I did, I pushed through what I was “supposed to do” and made the call to have him informed.

  1. Wow, the should and supposed to's are powerful thoughts and words! Keep track in your journal for a day, how many times you say to someone, or someone says to you, “You should do…”, “You should have done…”, You were supposed to…”, or the many other variations of ways we tell our Self and others that they are going to do something wrong, or they did do something wrong.  Wrong being the “story” we have attached to the experience. 

I don’t remember much when I was in the emergency room other than feeling alone and afraid.  A friend came to be with me, though I have very little recollection of that.

4 years prior, I had encountered one of the other doctors in the obstetrician’s office, who I experienced as having no connection or empathy.  I do remember hoping that the doctor on call wasn’t her.  As the universe is always providing opportunities for us to grow, of course she was the one on-call.

She entered the room asking me if I was crying because I lost the baby, or because I was in pain.  No eye contact, no presence, she just wanted data.

When my husband arrived, they had determined that the baby had died, that my white blood cell count was high, and since I was only 11 weeks into my pregnancy, she was going to send me home to abort the baby naturally.  I clearly remember my husband telling her that I wasn’t going anywhere. 

She agreed to do a DNC but told us that the operating room wouldn’t be available until well into the night…

The image is so clear in my mind. Being in post-op, coming out of sedation, lots of activity and voices.  Someone leaning over me, telling me that they weren’t the anesthesiologist that had just been in the operating room with me, but they were the one going back into the operating room with me.  I turned to the right and seeing the doctor and my husband standing there, I heard her telling him that she didn’t think that she could save me.

Fight. My body knew how to fight.  I didn’t even have to think about it to react.  Years of being held down and tickled (tortured), had only added to my abilities to defend myself, and to trust no one to do anything to take care of me, or protect me.

Even though I craved relationships deeply, I truly didn’t trust others.  And it is still something that I am working on!

In those few seconds, I was aware that my mind was telling me to go a different path, to surrender.  That I had to choose to trust the people in this room…with my life.  “What??!?? Are you kidding me??” my body said.  My mind said, “Yes, this is the only way you will live.  This is the only way you will see your children again”. 

  1. Reading this over and editing it, I am aware of the depth of emotion connected to this experience…it brings tears to my eyes every time I read it. Maybe it would be helpful to take a few moments to breathe and plant your feet firmly on the ground before reading the next sentence, and then considering the prompt….

Over the next week, write down in your journal one time each day that your body didn’t feel good, or safe.  What was happening, who were you with, how old do you feel, what time of day was it, and anything else about the situation that comes to mind?  These experiences might be helpful to you to process with a mental health professional.

I believe that was the first time as an adult that I clearly heard my inner voice loud enough that I could hear it over the rest of the noise of life.  Over ALL of the shoulds and supposed to’s.  This was a situation that I never prepared myself for, so I didn’t know the script. I didn’t know how to fight this and live.

That was September 11, 2006, 17 years ago.  And the journey continues to this day. 

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