Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Feeling is Healing...

Three months and five days.

Sometimes it feels like it's only been days... sometimes it feels like a lifetime ago. The weight of my loss has been extra heavy the last couple of days. I find myself getting choked up when I see a Mommy and her baby... the infamous lump-in-the-throat that you can't swallow away. I glance away, blink back the tears, and try to plaster a smile on my face... knowing that in feeling this pain, I'm healing. I have become an expert escape artist when it comes to my feelings surrounding the miscarriage, but I've let my emotional guard down the last couple of days and just allowed myself to feel. The tears have become therapeutic in a way.

We weren't trying to conceive when we got pregnant in January... but the minute I found out that I was pregnant, I wanted that baby. I couldn't think of anything else. I bought books... picked out a nursery theme... debated with my Hubby about what we would name the baby... we were genuinely excited to become parents. And when I lost the baby, that desire to have one did not go away. In fact, it was only intensified. I feel such a longing in my heart to be a mother... and while the mere idea of becoming pregnant again almost sends me into a panic attack, I can't wait until I can start planning fun ways (at the 12-week mark this time, after a heartbeat is heard) to tell our families that it's finally safe for them to get excited again because a little one is on the way.

A recent study came out that suggested that the best time to conceive after a miscarriage is within the 6 months following the miscarriage. You can read more about the study by clicking here. The study found that the majority of women who became pregnant within 6 months of losing a baby were more likely to have a healthy pregnancy without complications in comparison to women who waited longer than 6 months to conceive. While that statistic gives me hope, it is also a bit daunting. Kinda puts the pressure on to "plant the seed", if you will, before the 6 month mark ticks by. I know that I need to just "Let Go, and Let God"... but the control freak in me is screaming, "Get our your calendar! Mark your fertile days! Get ready... get set... OVULATE!" I guess it'll happen when the time is right... and until then, I'm praying and praying and praying.


Last week was extremely busy for me as I held the honor of being the Matron of Honor to one of my best friends, Melody. It was a stressful week because there was so much to do, but it was fun to take her creative ideas and bring them to life. Her day was absolutely beautiful. A bit of my sanity was lost somewhere between the 4am program making marathon and the hundreds of bows that we tied... but every moment was worth it. Congratulations, Alex & Melody!

Friday, June 10, 2011

How to Give/Receive Help in Times of Loss

When I went through my miscarriage almost three months ago, I realized quickly that there are not a lot of resources out there to help someone deal with all of the thoughts and feelings of grief, guilt, anger, and sadness. The night after my surgery, I remember walking into Borders in a pair of ratty sweat pants and an old tee-shirt with red-rimmed eyes and dark circles underneath those eyes, on a mission to find a book on how to deal with the emotional pain I was experiencing. ...Because that is how I deal with "stuff." I read about it. I learn as much as I can about it. I figure "it" out and make sense of it. Unfortunately, though, miscarriage is one of those frustrating things in life that can't really, truly be figured out (for the most part). As I was crouched down on my knees in the middle of the bookstore looking through books on loss and not finding a single one about miscarriage, it ocurred to me that there probably aren't many books out there on the subject because A) there aren't definitive answers to "why" miscarriage happens - sure, there are risk factors, but the doc can't do a sonogram and determine exactly what caused your pregnancy to end... and B) a lot of the feelings that you do experience through a miscarriage are the same as those that you experience when someone dies - denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. I ended up finding that the best way for me to deal with my feelings was/is through journaling, or blogging. I don't doubt that people have questioned my decision to keep up with the blog, especially when I've shared my deepest thoughts that, quite honestly, make even me feel a little uncomfortable when I go back and re-read some of those dark entries from back in March/April. But it is my hope, as my Aunt Penny reminded me this week, that one day, my experience will help someone else with what they are going through. I hope that others find through sharing my experiences that Christ really is the only hope we have, and He is the only one who can give us the strength and comfort that we need to press on in such despairing times.

Flowers and cards that we received during our time of loss. Such a beautiful display symbolizing the support network of friends and family that God has blessed us with!

Now - since I'm at a place in my grieving that I can look back on my miscarriage and reflect on what happened, I realize that there are a lot of people around me who really just didn't have any idea how to help me or what to say. So, I thought I'd share a few ideas based on my experience of ways that you can help someone going through a miscarriage (or experiencing any other kind of intense grief/loss):
  • Go and visit her at home. Be so kind as to give a little notice before you pull up the driveway, though, so that she can "pull herself together."
  • Ask what her favorite meal is and fix it. Her energy level will not be the greatest after a miscarriage.
  • Offer to help her with some housework. (Goes back to the low energy level).
  • Tell her it's OK to be sad around you. This will help her to be honest with her feelings of grief and will keep her from surpressing those feelings of depression or denying them.
  • When you talk about her loss, don't refer to the baby as "it." Just because the baby wasn't carried to full-term doesn't mean that he/she is devoid of value.
  • Don't avoid her. She needs you to communicate with her. If she wants to talk about the baby, don't change the subject. It hurts more if you don't reach out to her.
  • Pray for her, and tell her exactly, specifically how you are praying. This will help to build her up spiritually.
  • Invite her to go out. Don't assume that she's too weak or too "down" to join you. Chances are, she'd love to join you.
...And to the woman experiencing the miscarriage:

Be honest and specific with people when they ask if they can help you. When your friends and family want to serve you, receive their expressions of love - don't reject them. ...And if people aren't offering help, don't be afraid to ask for it. You'll need it. It won't be easy, believe me. But as you honestly share your heart with others, your life will be enriched, others will be blessed, and you'll be able to process through your loss. And don't forget that you have a Heavenly Father who loves you more than you know, who has a plan and purpose for your life, who "works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."

Until next time... xoxox

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Summer Dreamin'

School's out for the summer! ...And while I had dreams of swimming pools and cute little umbrella drinks dancing in my head, the reality of a jam-packed busy summer is hitting me full force. Between my summer job, the never-ending list of friends/family who want pictures taken, the gathering and preparing of materials for my classroom, working with the youth at church, and deep-cleaning the house, those happy pool-colored visions of summer that I had are fading away. I can't wait until next summer... It will be my first summer where I literally will not have to work, and I'll still get paid (because I opted to have my 10-month salary spread out over 12 months instead). But until next summer, I'll just have to suck-it-up and keep on truckin'.

Overall, I'm doing pretty well these days. It has taken a solid three months for me to get to this place, but I am feeling better. Sure, I still have my moments... but generally speaking, I'm in a much better place now than I was on March 17th. The recent news of my teaching job has done wonders for lifting my spirits. I'm hopeful that when the time and circumstances are right, God will bless us with another baby. Now that the job has been secured and health benefits will kick in on September 1st, believe me I've been thinking about the best time to begin trying to have a baby. Part of me wants to jump right on the baby-makin' train... but another bigger part of me is scared to death of becoming pregnant again. I am fearful of experiencing that tremendous loss again... and I'm not sure if my heart could endure that pain another time. So many girls get pregnant the first time around and enjoy every single minute of their pregnancy because they are naive to the potential darkness that can lurk around the corner. And I'm sad to say that I've been forever stripped of those happy pregnancy feelings because I know for certain that I'll be a nervous wreak the next time I get pregnant. I just pray that God provides me with peace in the next pregnancy... I'll need lots of prayers when the time comes. Until then, though, I'm still trying to take care of my body and be as prepared as I can be to have a healthy pregnancy when the time comes.