Losing Babies/Growing Up – Donate a Post By Alice Toohey

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May 23, 2013 by Katia

Today’s contribution to Donate a Post is a very special one. Alice is an actress currently playing Marilyn Monroe and this reblogged post is an open letter to the great star touching on one of the subjects through which Alice connected with her mentor, the loss of a baby.

The post also resonated with me as it raises the topic of guilt, a feeling so many of us who miscarried share. In an understandable attempt to make sense of what happened and to reassure ourselves that it is in our power to prevent it from happening again, we start looking for the source, always tracing it back to something we could have done differently, in other words, we blame ourselves. When I received confirmation of the news I dreaded it was delivered to me by the best possible messenger. The Doctor in charge of the unpleasant task was as comforting as possible. One of the things he brought up without me having to ask “do you think that maybe I should not have carried my three-year-old down the stairs or lift him up when he asked me to” was don’t look for what you could have done differently. Unless you did drugs followed by 5 sessions of hot yoga, it wasn’t you (my words, not his).

The stage is yours, Alice, thank you so very much for sharing this very unique post with my readers!

1962-george-barris

Photo © George Barris

Dear Marilyn,

I fear I am somehow losing the ability to write from my heart. In recent years we have been privy to many of your letters and journals and I find it quite comforting to know that you sat down with pen in hand and spilled out the contents of your heart. I can see your effort and struggle to find the right words. I can see that you didn’t intend for those words to be seen. And here I am, years later so grateful for a look inside your messiness; your insatiable desire to understand life.

I think I am like you in this regard.

I wanted to tell you that we have something else in common. I too lost a baby. We called her Ella, although we didn’t know if she was a boy or a girl. The night before I miscarried I was performing on stage. I started spotting before the performance, but decided to go on anyway. Oh God, I wanted Ella.

Please forgive me for bringing up a painful subject. I just wanted to let you know that I too have felt the spasms of my body doing exactly what I didn’t want it to do. I have lain on my side in the dark feeling the enormity of the event while my hips pushed out a baby too tiny for life.

Did you feel, as I did, that you had been chosen when you found out you were pregnant? Like everything was finally right in the universe?

I felt that there were many questions that I needn’t worry about anymore. Especially the whole “Why Am I Here” one.

Once the hormones kicked in I started to fear my own body. I was afraid to let go of control and let this baby take over. I struggled with quitting caffeine and never fully did which probably increased my chances of miscarriage. I was trying to do a lot and I was tired. My father told me after the miscarriage “Next time you get pregnant, just be pregnant.”

Now I am nearing forty and I don’t know if there will be a next time. Like you, I always thought I would be a mother. How do I reconcile my lifelong dreams with this reality of time marching on? Where do I find meaning in life if not with a child? While this thought is scary, there is also some bit of liberation. What if I do get to skip that whole thing? There are certainly enough babies in the world.

The miscarriage led me directly to you and the rest of this project. As I dive deeper into this I see it is a way for me to work with all these identities (mother/actor/wife/buddhist/daughter/sister/woman) and see what is underneath them.

Without putting too much pressure on you, I think becoming you might be an opportunity for me to create something. Something that is not really you and not really me, but both of us too. Do you mind if we work together in this way?

You see, you are the guardian of a part of my heart that threatens to harden with all this real life stuff. As a child I looked at your image on my bedroom wall and knew that all things were possible. As I got older I felt less and less possibility. I don’t want to harden my heart, Marilyn. I’m sorry if this is strange for you, but you are the person I choose to accompany me on the first part of this journey. I think you might understand. I imagine you saw all things possible in Marilyn Monroe too.

Thank you for your beautiful spirit that just gives and gives even these fifty years later. I’ll write again soon.

Love,
Alice

Donate-a-post-iv 

Alice Toohey lives in Los Angeles with her husband and small dog, Finn. She has an MFA in acting from Brooklyn College and has been studying Buddhism for about five years.  She is currently transforming into Marilyn Monroe as part of an ongoing performance project which explores the boundaries of identity as well as the intersection between performance and contemplative meditation. Follow her blog at www.alicetoohey.com and on Twitter @alicestoohey

13 thoughts on “Losing Babies/Growing Up – Donate a Post By Alice Toohey

  1. Considerer says:

    That’s a gorgeous post and really well written. How can I donate a post?

    • Katia says:

      I agree, I thought it was special the first time I read it! Such an amazing concept.

      To Donate a Post please email me at iamthemilkblog at gmail dot com with your submission or any questions. I am happy to provide more information.

  2. […] see Katia Bishops’ funny and insightful blog “I am the milk” where my post Losing Babies/Growing Up is being featured today in her campaign to raise […]

  3. Stephanie Sprenger says:

    Wow. That is gorgeous. What a beautiful approach, so fresh and raw. I am so impressed by the depth of emotion and clarify of voice. Great post. I am so glad to have been a part of this series, and to get to follow all the fantastic contributions you’ve shared.

    • Katia says:

      Thank you so much, my friend! I agree Alice’s post is totally different and so interesting!

      It makes me so happy to share such incredible and different voices on my blog. One of the most interesting aspects for me in following a series. any series, is to read about similar experiences from such different points of view. I love how each one of your brought something so unique and unmatched. I am so grateful to you and my other blogging buds for encouraging me on this idea!

  4. Terrye says:

    wow. What a from the heart message.

  5. Ruchira says:

    Gosh…gave me goose bumps!!

    Great post!

    I am aware that I have to get one across to you, Katia.

    Thank you for your patience! Hugs.

    • Katia says:

      No rush, I know you’re good for it!🙂

      I do look forward to reading your contribution, Ruchira, and thanks so much for the very kind words!

  6. Julie DeNeen says:

    This series has been incredible. This Marilyn piece…wow. I suffered two miscarriages right in row- one was traumatizing with an emergency D&C with no anthesiashia. It is something that I will never forget.

    And I know I spelled that word wrong, but I’m too dang tired to look it up!

    • Katia says:

      Thank you so much, Julie. I had no idea you had two painful experiences like that in your past. I had a D&C. It’s terrible and I cannot imagine doing it while awake. Can’t.

  7. Rachel says:

    What a beautiful series! And the post brought tears to my eyes.

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Tired. Going from 10 months of staying at home with the kids to full time work is disorienting.  I have to redefine what my involvement in their lives looks like. I have to go dig for my creativity, it's not readily available. I have to make room for friendships that were already pushed to the outskirts of my mommy life. What was previously inaccessible, existing in the "so near yet so far" category - books, blazers and heels - became a staple in this old new reality in a matter of days. Tired and disoriented but also content, supported and appreciative. #momsofinstagram #random #randomthoughts #changes #workingmom #tired #tgif
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