We were camping in the White Mountains of New Hampshire when my sister-in-law went into labor half-way across the country.
That weekend, my husband Brian and I slept next to a rushing, rocky, river that sliced through the forest like liquid ice from the mountain tops. We huddled into our sleeping bags, the sound of the river carrying us to sleep.
If I hadn’t had my miscarriages, we wouldn’t have been be camping.
My sister-in-law and I both found out we were pregnant at the same time. If that pregnancy–or even the next one–had stuck, Brian and I would have been home. My feet would have been up on the coffee table while Brian paced, like expectant fathers do in movies. But we certainly wouldn’t have been camping.
Then again, we wouldn’t have done a lot of things if I hadn’t had two miscarriages in a row. And we would not have experienced those things in the same way.
I believe in the power of new perspectives; of not letting sadness and setback bury you, but instead, climbing to a new vantage point to see the world in a new way.
About a month after the second miscarriage, Brian and I hit the road, driving through part of the American West. There was a battery of tests waiting for us when we got back, but first we had to cross gorges, canyons, and mountains. And in doing so, our Very Big Problem seemed a little bit smaller.
It was liberating to see miscarriage through the lens of the world. It made me feel reassured that no matter what happens, life chugs along. Small forces work their magic. Water carves canyons and acorns grow trees.
We watched the sun set from Yavapai Point on the south rim of the Grand Canyon, surrounded by dozens of pilgrims who marveled at the view in as many languages. The sun sets everyday, usually unnoticed, all over the world. But at Yavapai Point, everyone was excited to see it in a different way. We watched it sink slowly into the canyon, and when the last edge of the orange ball dipped below the earth, the crowd broke out into spontaneous applause.
It was cold and gray beneath the dense canopy of branches that shaded our camp site the weekend our nephew was born. So I hiked through the woods, my feet traveling over the damp, springy ground toward the sound of rushing water. I scrambled down a steep embankment and settled onto a boulder where the trees opened up at the river’s edge. From here, the horizon looked clear. The clouds were scattering, revealing patches of blue and swaths of sunlight across the mossy-green mountains, and the river glittered as is rounded the bend and traveled out of site.
And as the water rushed by, I sent a happiness vibe to my sister-in-law, who was working hard to produce a new life, and imagined someday telling my nephew about the sunny riverbank I visited the weekend he entered the world.