Pelican Painting– Chin Up, April Challenge Day 7


Chin Up, oil on gesso board, $75 click to purchase

If You’re #blessed, What Am I? Grief in the Age of Social Media

I started my pelican paintings when my world started to crumble around me.  I’d had an ectopic pregnancy that I discovered in a scary emergency room experience.  No heartbeat.  Fallopian tube.   A doctor who couldn’t understand my outraged crying– wailing.  My second pregnancy was twins, and it felt an overwhelming answer to my heartfelt begging.  I miscarried both babies. It’s not good, my doctor kept saying during the ultrasound.  But at least she spoke.  I remember the agony of the emergency room ultrasound.  Silence.  Too scared to ask for the information I knew the tech would decline to give me.

My third pregnancy was perfect.  The overwhelming nausea was a welcome guest that I missed desperately if ever it left.  I needed it to assure me all was well.

It was around this time that I started watching the pelicans that soared above Bayou St. John in New Orleans.  My apartment overlooked the water, and I took to porch sitting.  Bird watching.

I followed the bayou down Wisner St. on my way to work, and I’d see the pelicans diving for food.  And for whatever reason, perhaps because my Catholic heritage has instilled in me an image of Holy Spirit as a bird, the pelicans became for me a sign of hope, comfort, and assurance.  The baby growing inside me would be okay.  This time, the baby would live.

But even as I watched pelicans, imagined them a God-given sign of his spirit upon my life, I could not watch my facebook newsfeed.  Too many babies being born and pregnancies being announced with a confidence that seemed arrogant.  And even though I was pregnant, the pain I’d felt at every #blessed posting prior was still ever present.

If a healthy pregnancy that leads to childbirth is a blessing, had I been cursed?  Was the hand of God, his elusive holy spirit, descending upon my high school friends, coworkers, and cousins and eluding me?

 What does it mean to be blessed?

I hope you haven’t been reading this expecting an answer.  Because I don’t have one.  My brother gave me a movie once called Everything is Spiritual and in a lecture hall with a dry erase board, a man explained that the workings of the universe are so far beyond our understanding that “both, and” is often a more truthful interpretation of the nature of things than “either, or”. Could I be both blessed and cursed?  Could someone else’s pregnancy both be a blessing to them and my lost babies not a curse to me?

It’s confusing at best.  I have a son now, and he is a blessing beyond belief, confusing and uncertain as “blessing” is to me.  I post pictures of him sometimes, not too often.  But even when I do, there is still a little reservation.  Knowing there is someone, somewhere who sees his face and not the torment I experienced prior to his arrival.

I’m learning how to let go of my grief, not let it infringe on me and (God forbid) my social media presence.  But I do think its important to not only count, but to consider our “blessings”.

After I wrote this, I read this great blog post about the idea of being “blessed”. It’s not about having children, but about material wealth; it’s thought-provoking and worth the read.


Picture of Denise Hopkins

Denise Hopkins

April 7, 2014

Share Post


Related Blog Posts

Day 31. If you want to go far…

  “If You Want to go Far” 24×30 inches, oil on canvas I started this month with a bike, and...

View Post
Day 30. Reteach a thing its loveliness.

“The Bud Stands for All Things” 24×24 inches, oil on paper I discovered this poem last week by Galway Kinnell...

View Post
Day 29. Intuition

“Follow Your Intuition” 9×12 inches, oil on paper My art studio is a 300 square foot storage room underneath our...

View Post

Privacy Policy

This following document sets forth the Privacy Policy for this website. We are bound by the Privacy Act 1988 (Crh), which sets out a number of principles concerning the privacy of individuals using this website.

Collection of your personal information

We collect Non-Personally Identifiable Information from visitors to this Website. Non-Personally Identifiable Information is information that cannot by itself be used to identify a particular person or entity, and may include your IP host address, pages viewed, browser type, Internet browsing and usage habits, advertisements that you click on, Internet Service Provider, domain name, the time/date of your visit to this Website, the referring URL and your computer’s operating system.

Free offers & opt-ins

Participation in providing your email address in return for an offer from this site is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose your information. You may unsubscribe at any time so that you will not receive future emails.

Sharing of your personal information

Your personal information that we collect as a result of you purchasing our products & services, will NOT be shared with any third party, nor will it be used for unsolicited email marketing or spam. We may send you occasional marketing material in relation to our design services. What Information Do We Collect? If you choose to correspond with us through email, we may retain the content of your email messages together with your email address and our responses.