Catching Fire


After reading mother hunger’s blog post “Enough,” I decided to buy I will not die an unlived life by Dawna Markova. I had never seen the poem before, but I’m willing to read anything if it helps me come to terms with my my loss.

I had no idea what to expect – I’ve never read a self-help book before – my father tried giving me some Dr. Laura books when I was in high school, but I wasn’t about to read willing self-inflict myself to that garbage. The book opens with the poem that she wrote upon discovering her father had died.

I will not die an unlived life.
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
more accessible,
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance;
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.

– dawna markova

I find significant in all sorts of places, but “I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire” was written just for me.

I never used to live in fear of falling. Honestly, my theme song was “On Teasing” by Nina Nastasia:

You should not tease
And play tricks
For a laugh

Do you see her walking
The bluff for a high?
She will not know
When to quit walking, or why

A great sea beneath her
Forbodes “you will die”
She laughs at the thought
For so far she has kept very dry

She cries and she heaves
That her sides, they may break
Oh, the lapping that purples
Her ragged red cheek

“Be you coddled and cocky
I’ll have you for eats”
Cries the great sea
And drags her below by her feet

And swallows her whole
Down below
For a treat

I lived the charmed life. I’m not used to disappointment. I always thought my sea was my divorce, or that particularly uncomfortable breakup with RM. I guess that was my bluff. I had no idea just how deeply I would understand ” the lapping that purples; Her ragged red check” until my diagnosis.

After the sea dragged me down, I am afraid of falling again. Maybe I wouldn’t have fallen so hard if I had been a little more cautious, a little less free with my joy. I’m terrified that I won’t be able to enjoy my next pregnancy because I will be scared of expecting the worst.

I choose to risk my significance;
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.

Ouch. I know the seed she’s talking about, but I can’t help but give it my own meaning. First of all, it’s an obvious reminder that I have no seed, no blossom, no fruit. This is supposed to the be inspirational part, and yet it feels like another kick in the teeth.

Yet I do find some comfort in these words, even if the fruit analogy is a little painful. I may not have chosen to risk my significance, but I did choose to risk my happiness. I chose to risk my happiness; to live so that which came to me as a seed does not have to live as blighted fruit.

I know that regardless of what happens in the future, I will fall or catch fire. There will continue to be days when I hide myself in my closet so that hopefully my husband won’t hear my sobs. I know that no matter how many lines I see on any future pregnancy tests, it will end with tears. Ultrasounds and ob appointments will give me nightmares. But the poem isn’t telling me that I shouldn’t feel those things, just that shouldn’t let those things dictate my life.

My friend scolds me for trying maintain too much control over my life. She thinks that there are times when I need to learn to let go and the flow happen. This is why I will never be a true yogi.

The chapter may end this way, but I’ll be damned if this is how the book ends.


2 thoughts on “Catching Fire

  1. So happy to read this post too. I had nightmares about going in for an ultrasound last night – and they were just scanning my empty stomach with no baby inside. It was awful. I know that there will continue to be many tears ahead, both in the closet/under the pillow, and experiencing the next pregnancy. Hopefully by sharing our stories and connecting with other women we will start to heal and feel better just because we know others are also experiencing the same thing. Last night I was reading a chapter at the end of the book and Dawna talks about her birth experience and how her grandmother told her she could do it and handle the pain because of all the women who had done it before her. Just knowing all of the other women who have experienced the same pain, well it’s awful, but it’s comforting at the same time. Not to leave a novel here, but two things I’ve found comforting from other women this week: this post on Momastery ( and this entire blog/story from Kelle Hampton ( Hope it helps.

    • The Publicity Whore was spot on. I am a bit of a showboat, but that post summed up my motives succinctly and eloquently.

      I went public with this to connect to people, because hopefully some good will come out of this horrible situation. I understand that this blog will probably not change anyone’s mind about these issues, but if the least it does is assure a women faced with the same issues that she isn’t alone, then I’m content. đŸ™‚

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