Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
After Page One: Resilience

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A guest post to motivate, encourage, and inspire

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Writing your Truth

 

I began blogging in February of 2009, two months after the death of my second daughter. My writing, once a private, handwritten journal of resentments and grace, turned into a compulsion to capture this experience of grief, mothering, loss, survival, and love on a public blog. It was mostly about love. Though the words "grief" and "mourning" littered the page, it was always about love lost, and love found, and love rediscovered, love of self, love of others, love of the Divine, and love of the profane. After your baby dies, those things magnify. Grief, the physical manifestation of love, touches all the grief you have ever known, demanding attention, worship, and acknowledgement.

I have been asked who in the world would want to read a blog about a woman going through so much heartbreak. But grief was merely my starting point. I wrote about the specifics of my grief, but touched on something universally true. Grief is the suffering we all have experienced, are experiencing, or will experience. Grief is a noble truth. If you have never lost, you will. It is the shitty guarantee of life. Grief is something we all understand if we can move beyond the specifics, the details. One may grieve the loss of friends, or a marriage, or a house, or his dignity. But it is still grief. And it was my truth.

This month, I celebrated four years of writing about Lucia's brief life and long death. The experience of writing publicly about something so personal and dark has remained consistently scary, beautiful, strange and sacred. It has been a kind of discipline that I had no idea was missing from my life. It was easy in the early days. I couldn't NOT write. Grief was my starting point, my middle, my end. But then my grief changed, no longer the demanding, punishing, petulant guest in my home every moment of every day. I could visit Grief where she sat, solemn and honoring, with a deep gratitude for the love behind the pain. I had to approach my writing (and my truth) with the same deep respect.

When the weight of my grief changed, I grappled with whether my writing should change, or my blog should close. I simply could no longer write about a grief that changed so drastically that it could scarcely be called grief at all. But I had to write about who I am now. That is the truth of grief. You heal and change in spite of yourself, even when you don't try to heal. Time moves forward. It stops being the keening and the raw grip on your heart. I lost many readers when I stopped writing about the relentlessness of grief, and began writing about my life now. I don't begrudge those who could not abide my changing. But this is grief too. It is happiness and curiosity despite my daughter's death (perhaps because of it). This is grief four years later.

I write about what I know, however subjective it may be. And I want to read about what others know. Ask someone what they are working on, motivate them, remind them to write about right where they are--the grief, the joy, the love. That is a scary, beautiful, strange, sacred truth.

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Join our After Page One series.  We’re looking for 300 to 500-word guest posts that motivate, inspire, and encourage other mama-writers, and we’d love to feature YOUR thoughts about getting started, getting back to a writing project, integrating writing with motherhood, reading, or having a positive attitude.   The list is endless, but here are some questions that might help you get started. We’ll publish a short bio at the bottom of your post so readers can learn more about you and your projects.

 


After the death of her second daughter, Angie M. Yingst began writing about grief, art, religion, and parenting at her blog still life with circles, chosen in 2010, as one of the top 50 Must-Read Mom Blogs by Parenting Magazine and Blogher. Angie is the editor and a regular contributor at Glow In The Woods, a website dedicated to writing by parents grieving the loss of one or more babies. Angie is also an accomplished artist and painter and sells her work at her Etsy shop, Angie Yingst Studios. She published a chapbook of her poetry called Of This, We Will Not Speak, and her essay “Mothering Grief” was published in the book They Were Still Born. She holds a B.A. in Religion from Temple University.


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Thank you for writing about your truth, your heart, your grief, and how it has evolved from page one to four years later. As a writer and mother who has suffered greatly from child loss, too, I'm presently working on getting over my fear of writing about the loss and pain that has shaped me into the woman I am today. I am so sorry for your losses and pain. Your story and your words are healing and inspiring. I look forward to reading more of what you have to say.
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