Monday, April 11, 2011

The Future Ahead

"Today I saw the future. She was sitting in a lawn chair in the center of the road with a sign that said, "Don't go this way." She doesn't always take the direct approach. She might camoflage herself behind traffic jams, alarm clocks, burnt toast and deadlines causing the urban observer to believe she's really not there. But no matter what, she always leaves a little trail of hope leading to her infinite arms." --Monique Duval, THE PERSISTENCE OF YELLOW

What do you see for your future? What are the signs for you that you push into one direction or the other? In the parenting realm, working world, or your intimate relationship? This is a time of transition and it is good to think of how the future is directing you in one way or another. It is important to live in the moment, but occasionally it is a good exercise to visualize the future. Particularly after you've suffered a loss, it is pleasant to picture a healthy pregnancy, your belly swelling, a precious baby being born. When I was pregnant with my daughter, past the first trimester, I would watch the TV show "Baby Story" over and over. I would sit there and just weep as each family's journey through pregnancy and birth came to fruition. I think that it was my way of learning about this adventure and visualizing what pregnancy and birth could be like for us. I also kept a pregnancy journal where I recorded how I was feeling, dreams for my child, and so on. In a quiet moment think about what your dreams are for this pregnancy and the birth of your child.

Does the future feel exciting? Scary? A combination of emotions? Who would be there to cradle you and catch you in their infinite arms--the future, your partner, yourself? Once you've taken time to visualize the future and your hopes and put them out to the Universe or is important to realize that we ultimately don't get to control what happens in the future. Of course, you already know this because you've suffered a miscarriage. This was not something you would have chosen on your way to parenthood...but, you are on a new path this time and there is always room for hope and dreams.

This week, help me to remember that even though I've lost one (or more) baby and this was is ok for me to have day dreams and visualize this pregnancy and healthy baby. I am not forsaking my lost child by being excited about this current pregnancy and I am not jinxing this pregnancy either. I have hope and want to indulge in picturing my belly big, delivering a healthy baby, and enjoying this next stage in my life.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Joy Envy

"I wish we would all have more clear, truthful, jealous outbursts. We all feel jealous. I feel it often, about both odd and common things. We are afraid that it is too ugly to be seen, or not kind, or some sign that we are greedy or inferior. If jealousy is shared consciously when felt, its power disappears...Jealously increases in size if you feed it with silence. Practice saying loudly and firmly, I AM SO JEALOUS!" --SARK, The Bodacious Book of Succulence

It's not uncommon to feel frustrated by friends who have not experienced pregnancy loss. They may have tried to comfort you after your loss and may have lots of advice for you now that you are pregnant again. Sometimes the words that they use to comfort or help you cope with the anxiety of a new pregnancy are better left unsaid. However, it is important to remember that most people are truly trying to say the right thing and not meaning to offend you in any way. Another common problem for women who've suffered miscarriage is that many of their friends are also of childbearing age--so many friends get pregnant and have healthy pregnancies while you may still be on your path to parenthood. It is universal to have pangs of jealousy over friends' pregnancies and healthy babies. Certainly, miscarriage survivors don't want everyone to experience pregnancy loss, but is can also feel bittersweet when your support system is sailing through pregnancy.

I remember one friend who just found out she was pregnant, had literally just missed her period, and announced the news to everyone at the park where our toddlers were playing. She was so full of joy about her news. I couldn't help but feel amazement at her proclamation--I would never have been able to express my joy with reckless abandon at four weeks along. Instead, I would feel that I had to keep my pregnancy under wraps as long as I could to help temper my own excitement and to stave off some shame if I miscarried again. Ultimately, I was jealous because I wished for another healthy pregnancy and also to have the carefree joy in expressing excitement about a pregnancy. For me, I coped with having jealous thoughts and feelings (which made me feel terrible) and then shared our news when we reached the end of our first trimester. In the end, both my friend and I had healthy pregnancies and precious children--the process was just different for us in those early weeks. Once I was able to wrap my head around the fact that we would have different pregnancy experiences, I was able to let go of some of the jealous feelings. After all, I was fortunate beyond belief to be having another child.

Have you felt jealous of others during your process of loss and pregnancy? How did you cope with these feelings? Did it help to share your feelings with the person or was it better for you to handle the emotions on your own? Do you know women who've had a harder road than you? Is it possible that they've envied your experience in some way?

Help me to remember that jealous feelings are common for someone who has experienced loss. It is OK for me to acknowledge these feelings to myself, my partner, and my friend if appropriate. After I allow myself to wallow in these feelings a bit, it is then time to give them less power and move on. After all, I have many blessings in my life. I am fortunate to be pregnant again and this is enough for today. In life, there is always someone who seemingly has it easier than me and always many people who have a more challenging existence than me. Help me to keep this in mind today.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Activites that Restore

"May the long time sun, Shine upon you, May all love surround you, And the pure light, That's within you...Guide your way on." --song from prenatal yoga

Once you are towards the end of your first trimester, it is safe to try some restorative experiences. You might be feeling better and beginning to have more energy. Usually prenatal yoga is a favorite among pregnant women--it feels so good physically to stretch and well as such a pleasure to connect with other pregnant women and have quiet time for you and your growing baby. These activities combine the physical part of stretching, gaining strength, and flexibility while also preparing you emotionally for childbirth with breathing and calming techniques.

What activities do you do that refresh your body and mind? This is different for each person. It may be yoga, Pilates, walking, swimming, going to church, playing in the backyard with a toddler or dog, cooking, meditating, journaling, or taking a bath. If you can't think of something that restores you...then it is time to begin finding simple ways to recharge your spirit! This is your time to experiment...before this new baby arrives. You will need to have a few options tucked away for stressed-out moments once this little angel arrives! If you are having trouble making the time, I encourage you to find the time somewhere. Not only will this help prepare you for childbirth, but it also sets the stage for you taking good care of yourself as a mother. A happy home is only as happy as the mother is--remember that!

Please help me to find time for myself right now. If I feel guilty for taking time to rind a restorative activity, help me to see how important it is for my body and mind. The baby loves this special time that I spend with him/her. If I don't have an activity that refreshes me to have the courage to try some new things that might make me feel good! Help me to see that I deserve it--no matter how busy my days are.

Monday, March 14, 2011

One Day at a Time

"Being attached to the future is still attachment." --Rusty Berkus

Sometimes we are so forward-looking, especially when we're pregnant, that we forget to live in the present. Especially when you've suffered a miscarriage, your life is ruled by the calendar and frantically trying to get through the pregnancy milestones. Taking one day at a time really does allow us more time to fully experience the day's events. If we constantly focus on next week, next month, or which baby swing/bouncer/rocking chair to get--we miss the opportunity to see and experience the miracles of today. You are pregnant and this is a special time in your life and within your body. It might be nice to slow down, think about what's occurring in your body, and share this with your partner. After all, you cannot control the past or you may as well focus on today. It's easier said than done, but it's not impossible.

Children are a wonderful reminder of the joys while living in the present. They will hardly allow you a moment of peace to contemplate the future until they are sound asleep! Think about how you want to live your life...and what being attached to the future looks like for you. What kind of balance can you strike in this area of your life? Think about what makes you feel more comfortable, more at peace, and able to enjoy this current day and your pregnancy.

Are you spending too much time thinking about the future, not focusing on the current day? Is this creating anxiety for you? Does it calm you to plan the near future? Is there a way for you to allow yourself some planning time if this relieves anxiety, but then move on to enjoying the current moment? Have you always been one to think about the future to excess? If so, how do you think this might affect your parenting?

Help me to take one day at a time...this is enough for me right now. My body is working hard to take care of this baby and I need to give myself permission to live for this day. The future will work itself out. Help me to visualize myself as calm, centered, and nurturing this little baby inside of me.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Be Your Own Heroine

"Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim." --Nora Ephron

We've all suffered hurts in our lives that have been so challenging and overwhelming that we didn't know how we would cope and move forward. Most of us usually are able to pick up the pieces and begin to heal and feel better. Some of us struggle more with this in our lives--and as a result, feel victimized, angry, and walk around with a chip on our shoulder for years. Yes, you've suffered a pregnancy loss and are anxious about this current pregnancy...yet, it is so much healthier to view oneself as a survivor, a heroine of your own life. Viewing yourself as a victim is an easy trap to fall into, especially if you've had multiple losses or hurts in your life. However, if you refocus your energy on your strengths, perseverance, dedication to having a healthy pregnancy, and hope for the future--it can have a remarkable effect on your outlook and the way you live your life.

In what ways can you take charge of your life so that you feel more empowered? Are there ways that you want to feel more self-efficacious at work or home? Are there ways in which you'd like to take control of your medical treatment? Is it time for you to speak up about something? One way that you can ease some of your anxiety about this pregnancy, is by renting a Doppler to use at home. This is a wonderful option that can quickly reassure you if you are feeling nervous. Dopplers are available online and allow you to listen to your baby's heartbeat at home. Depending on the baby's position, you may be able to locate the heartbeat on your own now so this may be a useful option to calm your nerves.

Are you the heroine or victim of your life? If you feel that you are a victim, are you uncomfortable and unhappy enough in this role to make a change? Are there ways that you can feel more empowered in this pregnancy and in your life in general? What lessons do you want to teach this baby growing inside of you about overcoming challenges? How do you want this child to view you as a parent and a person in the world?

Help me to explore within myself whether I walk around this world as a heroine or a victim of my own life. Perhaps my own parents perceived themselves as victims and I didn't have a good role model for being a survivor. It is time for me to take care of myself, empower myself, and take charge of my life. I want to walk around with my chin up and I know that I can do this--and it will make me so much happier. I want this baby to know that I am strong, brave, and proud of who I am.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Embracing the Moment

"In life, there are no ordinary moments. Most of us never really recognize the most significant moments of our lives when they're happening." --Kathleen Magee

It is important to be present in our lives. Sometimes we are so caught up in the daily grind, the worries about everything going on in the world, planning too far into the future...that we lose sight of what is going around us and within us. Today, pause and look around you: who is beside you, what were your joys of today, and how is your body feeling with this growing baby inside of you?

Take a moment to really let life sink in. Thank the people beside you that have been supportive and loving in your life. Cuddle with your pets. Pat your tummy--allow yourself to feel thankful for this little miracle growing inside of you. Indeed, these are not just ordinary moments...unless you let them slip by.

Now is the time to begin being "awake" in our lives--when you have this baby, the moments will slip by all too quickly. Learn to relish the wonderful moments in your life now. You will look back on this pregnancy and time in your life later and wish you could re-experience parts of it again. It is easier to count your blessings when you have slowed down enough to reflect.

For this week, help me to slow down and take an inventory of what is going on in my life. Help me to live in the present, enjoy the moment, and not to obsess about the future. After all, I don't have control of the future, but I can enjoy today. Help me to focus on the good and positive aspects of life and the people around me.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


"There are disappointments that wring us ,there are those which inflict a wound whose mark we bear to our graves. Such are so keen that no future gratification of the same desire can ever obliterate them: they become registered as a permanent loss of happiness." --Thomas Hardy, A PAIR OF BLUE EYES

It is surprising to some women how much they still think about their lost baby or babies. It's common to remember them on their due dates, around the time they were conceived, on the date of your miscarriage, at holidays, or when you see a child who is the same age that your child would have been. These rememberings can often crop up at random times like during a movie, in a dream, or in a sad moment alone. They were a part of you and some women find it hard to totally let go. Everyone has a different experience with this--and this is OK. Even now that you're pregnant again, you may still find your mind drifting to your lost angel or angels.

One of the hardest parts about miscarriage can be how you feel so alone with it. In one book about miscarriage, it begins by saying "Welcome to a lonely club..." Often couples haven't told anyone they were pregnant and they then suffer silently. Even couples who have shared the joyful news of pregnancy with others, still feel alone because no one "knew" the baby. In reading Elizabeth Edward's memoir, SAVING GRACES, which discussed the death of their teenage son, she mentions how she doesn't want anyone to forget about his existence. You may identify with this concept and feel strongly that you don't want yourself or anyone else to forget about the existence of this very tiny soul.

For this week, think about if there is a way you can keep your lost baby in your heart and still move on with your current life. Is there something special you can do on a yearly/monthly basis that will help you remember the life that was lost to you? How can remembering your lost baby or babies help you free yourself to love this new baby that you are carrying? There are many ways that one can symbolically remember their lost child. One grief website had an option to post your miscarriage date and it becomes "the day my angel got its wings." That may feel comforting. One could plant a tree or flowers, donate to a children's charity, write a poem for the lost child, say a prayer at night, or support miscarriage or women's health research. Think about what ways of remembering might hold meaning for you--they may help you to continue to heal and allow you to keep moving forward in your own pregnancy. If you aren't comfortable remembering, why not?

Help me to connect with the little soul or souls that I have lost along this path to motherhood. If it comforting to me, help me to find a way to remember that unborn child in a special way. If it is more comforting to me to let the baby or babies go, then please help me to release him/her to the heavens. Help me to hold a stillness in my heart for the losses, as well as an openness in my heart for this new and healthy life inside of me.