“I will not give you counsel, saying do this, or do that. For not in doing or contriving, nor in choosing between this course and another, can I avail; but only in knowing what was and is, and in part also what shall be.”Gladriel, Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Frodo and the rest of the remaining Fellowship finally make it to Lórien. Laden heavy with sorrow and despair after the loss of Gandalf to the Balrog and feeling hopeless in the almost near impossible path that is laid before them. Here they meet Gladriel, an elven Lady of the Woods. When all the Fellowship is sleeping, Gladriel leads Frodo to look within her mirror. He sees visions of what would happen if his mission should fail.
Orcs invade the shire. His friends… imprisoned. One by one, others seek the ring and come after it. The Fellowship is broken.
“You are a ring-bearer, Frodo. To bear a ring of power is to be alone. This task was appointed to you. And if you do not find a way, no one will.”Gladriel The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Burdened by the weight of the ring on his shoulders and the task that rests on his shoulders. Frodo, in the belief that he alone must complete the quest, tries to give the ring to Gladriel. She refuses. When Frodo says he cannot accomplish his task on his own, Galadriel responds with the quote. She means to encourage him but also to let him know that his journey has just begun. The fellowship has given him a start, but the task ahead is his and his alone. He no longer needs the others, and, indeed, he separates from them at the end of the film. These words also serve as a warning for Frodo, alerting him to the solitude he’ll struggle with as long as he has the ring. Frodo will wrestle with solitude even after he’s destroyed the ring and returned to the Shire. When Galadriel tells Frodo, “To bear a ring of power is to be alone,” she demonstrates her understanding of exactly how enormous Frodo’s task is, and how separate he is from the rest of the fellowship. His task is completely solitary, and it will consume his life.
Synopsis above taken from: https://www.sparknotes.com/film/lordoftherings/quotes/
If you have seen Lord of the Rings, you will understand that Frodo does NOT in fact hold this burden alone. Samwise travels the entire journey by his side and the Fellowship also support him from afar. However, my point is that he feels alone because he feels that this journey rests on his shoulders alone. That there is a blame to lay on himself and he wishes not to drag others into his plight.
If you have also walked this path, or are walking it now. You will already identify with what I have said. Sometimes your brain thinks completely outside of what is realistic and what is fact and stares into the mirror to see the horrible consequences of your actions and choices. Fear and responsibility are heavy burdens to bear. I think because I am 37, the media, older generations and the medical world has already placed heavy responsibility on my shoulders for not having children before I was 35, or even before I was 30. I didn’t start dating my husband until I was nearly 32. So women are often backed into a corner with the decision of when to have children.
Do you wait until you have found love, stability (financially and in a relationship and in general) and are prepared to dedicate your time and life to a child? Or do you jump in the deep end and face possible relationship breakdown, lack of financial support and poor stability surrounding your living circumstances? Do you have a career? Are children your career and can you support that?
Each one of us has an opinion based on our own experiences. So I am not here to share mine. However, sometimes life doesn’t have the timeline you hope. That is at least a fact we can all identify with.
So, you can appreciate the burden that an over 35 year old female faces when they begin to try for children.
The internet will tell you that you are old. That you are a high risk. That you have basically failed some imaginary timeline test of when you were supposed to graduate from marriage and have kids. Your older generation will remind you of the fact by repeatedly reminding you of how old you are. That will occur BEFORE you are ready to have kids (you know, forgetting that you actually NEED another person to help with that part) and will get worse after you are married. I actually became so burdened with the fact that I was apparently so old that I was put off for a while there. I felt that I had missed my opportunity and was sick of everyone asking when I was going to have children and why I didn’t have them.
Note to everyone: DON’T ask a woman/couple/man WHY they don’t have kids and WHEN they are going to have them.
You never know the journey or the path that couple or person is on. So please PLEASE don’t ask.
Anyway, I digress.
I have lost count of the times I have said to my husband that it is my fault. That the blame for our losses lies with me and that he should leave me and I should go on alone. Like the failure of a woman I am.
“I made a promise, Mr. Frodo. A promise. Don’t you leave him, Samwise Gamgee. And I don’t mean to. I don’t mean to.”
—The Fellowship of the Ring
I understand how Frodo felt.
I have played out many scenarios in my head and often the burden rests with me. Regardless of whether it ACTUALLY does. As you know, Samwise doesn’t leave Frodo and mine has made that abundantly clear (although some days I wonder why he stays around!).
Gollum is hanging over me like a shadow. He’s always there. In the shadows. Making me feel anxious. Like I’m the focus and the world is looking at me. Which, for any other introverts out there reading this, is literally the WORST place you could be. My Nana is unwell after the loss of my Grandfather and Parkinsons has taken her body from her. She was moved into a Nursing home a little over a week ago. She is my last remaining grandparent and a huge part of my life. I am thousands of kilometers away. It hurts. My beautiful dog, my rock, who loves me unconditionally and has stood by me for 13.5 years through tears, times of joy and times of despair… has final stage heart failure. I am not coping at work – I am tired, mentally and emotionally exhausted and hold little energy for others. I struggle to put on my ‘smile mask’ every day and continue to treat Paediatric patients and others with the same gusto and strength I have for the last 15 years. I feel out of steam. I feel empty. I feel trapped on multiple fronts and the next person who says “Are you stressed? Because that can affect the baby” is treading a fine line. Yes, I am stressed. Yes I am tired. Yes I am miserable.
And I have EVERY right to be. These emotions are how I SHOULD feel with all that is going on.
Life is cruel and hard right now. My Samwise and I really need a break but the only holiday time I have is over Christmas where everything is triple the price and, with a very unwell dog, we don’t want to travel right now.
I feel like I am falling.
Just last week, a mere 5 weeks since my D&C surgery and only the first cycle back…. I was pregnant again.
I thought nothing of being a few days overdue, as this is a normal occurance after a miscarriage. But 6 days was a stretch. So we decided to test.
At this point, testing and being pregnant loses a lot of it’s excitement. Instead, it brings a mixed bag of relief, dread, anxiousness, despair and worry. I don’t mean to sound like an Eeyore here but this is what happens after two losses. At least a couple with children already have some more hope than I…childless and with two failed pregnancies under my belt. So testing becomes the start of a familiar pathway and your emotions just take over.
We told my parents, who were here from New Zealand and reminded ourselves not to count our chickens before they hatch.
The next day I contacted our specialist and booked an appointment for the following week. Congratulations all round. But I was feeling a little emotionally numb. I couldn’t bear to be excited only to be disappointed again. So I remained, balancing on the edge….
As an aside, we actually found out we were pregnant again on International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day, October 15th. Our third little “bug” would be due June 18th, 2020.
The very next day, the cramps came. I was 5 weeks exactly.
I tried to stay calm and shrug my shoulders and not panic.
The next morning, I was bleeding.
“It could be normal”…. that old chestnut……
I spoke with my specialist’s nurse who fired me through two blood test forms for HCG to be done today and again on Saturday. I lost my break at work to run down the road for another blood test. It bruised badly as I worked the rest of my shift.
When I got home, the bleeding got worse still and I knew it was happening again. There is no way this little one would survive. I couldn’t feel any more worthless and broken. I tried to be strong, I wished we hadn’t tested. My brain went straight to “Now you are one of the small percentage of women who have recurrent miscarriages… you’re broken”
For those who don’t know, medically, a recurrent miscarriage is 3 or more. So here we are.
The second blood test, out of the same vein, made me look like a drug addict (especially with all the bruising) and, with the blood loss, I felt faint and tired. We decided to keep this time to ourselves as we had a wedding and a number of social occasions to attend that weekend and the thought of the focus being on me/us was just too much to bear. I didn’t want people approaching us at a wedding to offer sympathy or to say those things I mentioned in a previous post because they don’t know what else to say. I didn’t want to hear “Wow, that was quick, at least you can get pregnant easily”.
Reality is. I wish I wasn’t able to get pregnant. My body is so exhausted and wrecked from three miscarriages in a row. The hope and then the fall into despair with each loss. Grief laid upon grief. I don’t know what would be worse. Getting pregnant and losing every baby, or struggling to get pregnant at all? I only understand my situation and you’ll always prefer what is on the other side of the fence.
I attended a show and sat through as my body went about it’s business. We attended the wedding and other social functions this weekend past.
I am exhausted.
I am glad we told people about our other losses as it means you don’t have to put on your mask for social occasions and I realise how important it is to talk about these things. It’s hard to be energetic, social and happy when your body is getting rid of a pregnancy.
I sit here as I write this post at the tail end of miscarriage number three.
My beautiful dog is resting after his belly was drained of fluid this morning.
I went food shopping and burst into tears on the way home because I was so overwhelmed by everything all at once.
Frodo’s burden is becoming too much to bear and the road ahead looks dim.
The Phial of Galadriel, also known as the star-glass, is a gift that Galadriel gives to Frodo as he leaves Lothlórien in The Fellowship of the Ring. It is a crystal that glows with the light of the elves’ favorite star, Eärendil (the Morning and Evening star).
“May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out “Gladriel The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Hope is something that I am trying to cling to. But right now, a lot of my world is dark. That is ok. Darkness is necessary sometimes. If we didn’t have it, we wouldn’t appreciate the light – or even know it exists at all.
I carry hope. Like the phial. Maybe it will light the darkness for me and Samwise as we go on our journey alone.
For now, I am working through my burden and trying to learn to share the load with Samwise as we walk on. My steps are feeling heavy and my heart is torn between many different things. My brain is aching and my disdain for my body continues as I try and find some source of comfort in each day. I don’t know what will happen at our next appointment but I know we are in good hands.
These things… they must pass.