Thursday, September 18, 2014

Fifteen Stories

You guys have to read this article from New York Magazine. They spoke with fifteen women regarding their own miscarriages, and it is as heartbreaking as it is eye opening. I think all of us here are very well aware that this is a topic not discussed nearly enough, so hats off to the writer for bringing these incredible stories to the public. I am sure it was not easy for these women to share their experiences, but as we all know, sharing sometimes helps bring healing.

Jennifer


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Revisiting an Oldie but Goodie

It appears to be shower season, and due to that I have received a lot of emails and notes about what a frustrating experience it can be for someone still grieving from a loss. I thought perhaps it was a good time to revisit a post on just that topic from several months ago. And to all you having to suffer through another "celebrity baby name" game- may the force be with you.


Baby Shower Anxiety

Over the last week or so we have received a few emails from fellow readers all on the same topic: baby showers. Some have expressed anxiety over shopping for a baby gift after their own miscarriage, and some have found it difficult to imagine sitting next to a heavily pregnant friend "oohing" and "ahhing" over burp cloths and breast pumps. I feel your pain. Since my first miscarriage four years ago I have been invited to my fair share of baby showers, baptisms and "meet the baby" parties. Before I met Kira I went to all of them (even if the end result was me hysterically crying in the back of a cab, shoving pacifier shaped cookies in my mouth). I remember the dread I felt after receiving numerous baby shower invitations, which somehow always arrived after my own pregnancy loss. One day I mentioned to Kira I had a friend's shower to attend, and I was feeling particularly anxious about it. I remember exactly what happened next.  She looked me in the eye and confidently said, "Don't go! Give yourself permission to not go!" I looked at her as if she was some sort of heretic. Of course I had to go! It was so-and-so's shower; I couldn't NOT go. So I kept RSVP'ing "Yes", put on a happy face and showed up. But after I experienced an 18 week miscarriage everything changed. I couldn't keep up the facade any longer and let's face it; it would have been a thinly veiled attempt that everyone would have seen right through.  I realized Kira was on to something, I didn't have to go. More than that my true friends would not only understand, but wouldn't want me to experience any more emotional discomfort or sadness than I already experienced. So I started to RSVP "No" with a kind note and then I would send a baby blanket. FYI: I have found these gifts to be pretty benign in the emotional heart strings department. Baby blankets aren't adorable little booties. They aren't sweet little outfits from Crewcuts. Catch my drift? Baby blankets- that's where it's at. Better yet, have a friend send it for you.
I'm sure some people rolled their eyes and found my absence to be "melodramatic". But for the first time in my life I didn't care.  I started making decisions based on what felt best for me, not on what I "should" do and what was "expected".
The takeaway here? Listen to yourself. If the idea of playing "celebrity baby name" games and passing around baby food processors make you want to put a hot poker in your eye, stay home. But if you do choose to go, at least snag a few cookies on your way out the door. Those might come in handy.

- Jennifer 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

October 15th

Yesterday I was on Twitter and noticed someone posted a note on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, which this year falls on October 15th. I must admit my ignorance as I never heard of this particular day of observance. I was intrigued and did a little research; I went on to learn that this was a movement designated by President Ronald Reagan all the way back in 1988. In addition, the month of October was also designated as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. The day itself became one of remembrance and observance in 2002 and has spread throughout not only the United States but also the UK, Canada, Australia and Italy. The day is observed with ceremonies and candle-lighting and a worldwide lighting of candles occurs at 7pm.
I was really touched when I read more about this particular day and thought it would be of interest to some of you. Throughout the year certain "anniversaries" pop up and memories of a pregnancy loss and the subsequent grief that followed, can cast a pall over the day or even an entire season. I know for me, after a late and devastating miscarriage in November of 2010, autumn (which used to be my favorite time of year) is one I have started to hate. For me it just feels eerie and there are one too many awful memories associated with the fall season. In the past I never really knew how to channel all of that sadness, perhaps this year I will turn it around and light a candle on October 15th, not just for the soul that didn't make it, but for all the others.
Everyone handles grief and mourning in their own way, and some don't recognize it at all (ahem). But perhaps this year it will be comforting to know that on one special day there will be millions of other women lighting candles and taking a moment to recognize their losses and the pain they have triumphed over. Maybe it will give all of you not only a little bit of inspiration, but peace as well.

- Jennifer

Sunday, August 31, 2014

End of Summer Hiatus

Hi everyone!

We are on holiday for the long Labor Day weekend, but will be back next week.

Hope all of you enjoy the end of the summer!

- Jennifer and Kira

Friday, August 22, 2014

Motherlode

The New York Times has a great column called "Motherlode" which focuses on topics such as parenting, fertility issues, maternal struggles and a whole host of other subjects. Last Sunday, an incredibly thoughtful piece on one woman's experience with pregnancy loss and grieving was published. I thought the author accurately explained the conflicting emotions a woman and her partner can experience while trying to climb the mountain of sadness and grief.  I thought it was the perfect thing to share with all of you, and I hope it provides some comfort while you heal...

- Jennifer

Friday, August 15, 2014

New Moms Gone Wild

Yesterday we received a lovely and hilarious note from a reader we shall call Barbara, thanking us for the blog and sharing a pet peeve that has, well, peeved her. She explained how during her morning run in her local park she has been confronted with the "annoying mob of new mom workout groups".  I laughed and then thought, Barbara are you following me?  I am not sure if our loyal reader is a fellow New Yorker, but this is a phenomenon that has puzzled me, to say the least. Is this a thing? Most mornings you will find me in Central Park doing what I like to call my "old lady" walk around the Great Lawn. It is a time for me to get the blood flowing and feel as though I actually worked out.  Lately my walks have been disturbed by what I can only describe as a roving gang of new moms, usually lead by a squealing and obnoxious man yelling at them to "suck in their bellies and their tush's!" In fact, it was just this morning that I suddenly felt as though I was being followed during my "workout".  I turned my head and realized there were 10-12 women barreling down behind me doing, well, I don't know exactly what they were doing. It was sort of a half- run, half -lunge, half -skipping, half -leaning thing- all bat shit crazy in my opinion. They did this while pushing strollers of screaming babies and listening to orders being yelled out by the most insufferable little man I have ever seen or heard. Ticked off, I turned on my heel in a huff and walked the other way, annoyed that this mass of people just ruined the one thing I enjoy every day. I was fuming and started to wonder if this is something that would bother me if I had an army of children of my own. I quickly realized yes, yes it would. Though perhaps I would feel a little more sympathy for the new moms and their much deserved need to squeeze in a workout, all while attempting to foster relationships with women in the same boat. That I can get behind. What bothers me most is having to endure all these conflicting emotions and resentment while I try to carve a little bit of peace for myself. That and having to listen to a barking man yell at a bunch of new moms to "pick up the pace and shush those babies!" So Barbara, you are not alone my friend. And if you are a New Yorker, look out for me in the mornings, maybe we can trip that little guy and watch him fall on his own tush!


-Jennifer



Wednesday, August 6, 2014

How to Not Have a Breakdown

Let me clarify, as we actually encourage breakdowns- they kind of get you back to neutral don't you think? The breakdown I am speaking of is the one that barrels down on you after your close friend announces she is pregnant. Maybe you know the feeling? You just had a miscarriage, or several, and during what is supposed to be a fun night out you notice your dear friend doesn't order a glass of wine. And she always orders a glass of wine. Immediately your mind starts to go haywire because you know exactly what this means. So you start to rehearse your escape route- if you can make a dash for the door now perhaps you won't have to hear the words coming out of her mouth. But all of the sudden it's happening and you can't stop it. You force a smile, gulp your tears down and give her a hug- while reaching for your wine as quickly as possible. If she isn't drinking someone should, and that someone should be you! You make it through your dinner, trying to ask thoughtful questions and carry on as though you aren't bothered in the least, but you are counting down the minutes when you can sprint out of the restaurant, jump in a cab and start crying. I have been there so many times I can't even count at this point. And I'm not the only one, as I have seen my husband try to maneuver his way around this situation (with a bit more grace then me) on several occasions. Let's face it, it's not easy. Hopefully your friend is gentle in her delivery and understands how awkward this is for you. But, there is a change in dynamic that neither of you can deny. So how do you get through this, besides avoiding your friend for nine months (which by the way I have done- not the best strategy). Below is an attempt to help all of you avoid the mistakes I made in the past:
  • Let it All Out. Jump into that cab and cry, then go home and throw a few things. You have to process these feelings- just make sure your blinds are closed.
  • Be Honest. Once you have "processed your feelings", perhaps it is time for a little heart to heart with your friend. When you are ready, start off by saying how happy you are for her, but then explain that this is going to be a bit of a learning curve for both of you. You will try your best to be the good friend you are, but help her understand that there may be some difficult moments along the way.
  • Be Honest: Part Two. Acknowledge you are going to have a few moments where some unpleasant characters are going to rear their ugly head (namely jealousy and anger). It's bound to happen, just be gentle with yourself.
  • Know Thyself. If you know attending certain baby-to-be events are going to upset you, be up front with your friend and tell her it might not be the best venue for you. Believe me, she will understand. Also, no one wants someone crying in the corner eating all the cake.
  •  Find an Outlet: Your friend is soon going to be sporting a baby bump and experiencing moments that you imagined for yourself; which makes this experience that much more heart-wrenching for you. It will stir up emotions that you thought you were long over and bring up new ones you didn't know you had. Find a neutral friend, a really good therapist, or your own partner to work through those feelings with. Believe it or not, this is all going to help you heal. The universe has a funny way of letting you know when you haven't fully gotten over something by getting right in your face.

In the end, remember you are both human and this is a tricky situation. You have been through hell and back and most likely your expecting friend was by your side along the way. If you both come from a place of honesty and love (for one another and yourself) it can end up strengthening your friendship. And if all else fails, a few glasses of wine never hurt anyone.

- Jennifer