Despair is no stranger, she has sat with me with many times. I’ve thought about writing this post on grief and mourning many times too. I fear despair. She is a demon to me. I avoid her and so I avoided writing this post. She spent too long with me last year and left me feeling like an old shell- fragile and empty.
I used to read tarot. I haven’t touched my cards in a long time. Not since I was told I shouldn’t read for myself. I’m an amateur, really. But two cards and visuals that have helped me deal with despair and her storms are Sorrow and Patience.
If you look at Sorrow, the old and wrinkled man is mourning. I was mourning for my body and for that which didn’t come. I was hunched like that man more times than I wish to admit and I sobbed like a child who needs its mother. I think I needed God. I wanted to curl up and die. What kind of woman couldn’t bring life into the world?
Yet, these two cards spoke to me. Sorrow wasn’t a state in which life would come from my body, I could tell this by looking at it. It was making me old and tired inside. I knew I was stronger. Patience shows a woman in perfect harmony with herself and the environment around her. She was in peace with the movements of the moon – just as I needed to be. Acceptance to me, was a state that life would come from. Patience was a part of me I wished to know.
Now every time despair approaches – after seeing friends with their children, when decisions feel overwhelming, when life mocks me – I visualise these two cards and I remember. It soothes me and gets me back on track.
The mind is a powerful tool for the body and I’m sure that last year it didn’t do my body any favours. When asked how I visualised my womb, I’d reply it was harsh, dry and barren. I think it became my reality. We need to be careful of how we view ourselves and our bodies.Paulo Coelho once wrote that the mind is like a garden and that we must take the weeds out or they’ll grow and overtake what we’ve sowed. I understand this now and so each day I see to my garden.
I was reminded of this when I went to my first acupuncture session. I was on a bed with ugly curtains drawn around me. The type you find in hospitals. All I could think about was how I’d expected to have these curtains drawn around me in hospital after giving birth. Not in the back of a shabby shop, half naked with needles poked in me. It felt like an exorcism for infertility.
With my face hidden in a pillow, I silently cried as the acupuncturist worked the tension out of me. I tried to hide it by turning my face away but despair’s presence that day was so strong that even the medicine man saw it. He said to me that I had to learn to control those emotions or they’d harm my body. He wasn’t saying to block them but to learn to calm myself. Gradually as the sessions passed and months went by, I became all cried out.
My periods are now a time of acceptance – I’m glad they come around and I rejoice when the blood looks healthy. They are better than they were. My disappointment is soothed with warm cinnamon milk, a hot water bottle, a duvet and 80s films. I still feel the loss but I cling onto hope.
During the tough times I recall the image of the woman holding onto her baby bump with the passing moons overhead. I know the time will come one way or another. Most importantly, I leave despair knocking at the door and turn up the music in my head so I cannot hear her call.