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




    Monday, July 28, 2014

    Pet Peeve

    For some reason my husband and I find it incredibly irritating when we spot a woman rubbing her huge pregnant stomach. I kind of want to go up to her and say, "I get it, you are about to pop. It's obvious, now stop rubbing it in." I know this sounds mean, and I actually can't believe I am writing about it, but I am taking one for the team here because something tells me I am not the only one who feels this way. Maybe someone can explain this phenomenon to me? Is there a reason why pregnant women do this? Is there a biological need to rub and pat all day long?  Or is the rubbing just a way to help with digestion after a rather large meal?  Please explain!


    - Jennifer

    Monday, July 21, 2014

    Reading Yourself Back to Health



    About two years ago, after suffering through another miscarriage, I was feeling incredibly low. All the usual suspects were around- grief, anger, bitterness, depression- and nothing could pull me out of the abyss. One day I ran into a friend who told me about the book, "You Can Heal Your Life" by Louise Hay. I was totally turned off by the hokey title and I kept telling her I would buy it, even though the promise was completely hollow and I had no intention of reading something that sounded so hippy dippy. Lo and behold, later that day I found myself downloading the book and reading it immediately. I was secretly ashamed, I kept thinking that I had sunk to a new low by immersing myself in what I referred to as "self-help crap", but once I let my guard down and allowed the book to work its magic I quickly realized that perhaps I was a bit too quick to judge. The book centers around how our thoughts (negative or positive) can have a direct impact on our physical well-being and how old emotional pain and unchecked emotions can really do a number on your health. I was amazed with the way Louise Hay explained the mind-body connection and her own story, which is remarkable. At the back of the book is an incredible reference guide of every physical ailment known to man and the possible underlying emotional issue that could be causing it, along with a corresponding meditation/ affirmation that can help you along your way. That book is still one of the best purchases I have made, and not only do I find myself going back to it time and time again, I have recommended it to others who all end up in agreement that it really is a life changer. When you are at your lowest point perhaps you are more open to things you never thought you would be. Whatever the reason, I am thankful for this little gem- it got me through some really dark days and perhaps it can be a helpful friend to some of you.

    - Jennifer

    Thursday, July 17, 2014

    Thank You



    For the last seven months we have been humbled by the support for our blog and we are so thankful to all of you who continue to read our site. What is even more amazing is the fact that our readers are found literally all around the world (hello to our newest readers in Russia and Ukraine!) This means so much to us and is also indicative of the fact that pregnancy loss and the complicated emotions that surround it is a topic that hits home for women from every country, language, background and socioeconomic status. We hope that our musings and stories continue to help all of you through your healing process and allow you to find a little laughter along the way...


    -Jennifer & Kira

    Monday, July 14, 2014

    Finding Calm



    I have an old friend, who, after experiencing her fair share of losses and difficulties conceiving, is now comfortably at the end of her third trimester.  If anyone understands what it is like to try again after disappointment after disappointment it is her. So the other day when we were chatting on the phone I asked what it is like to finally be in a place where she can breathe a sigh of relief. My friend laughed uncontrollably at the sentiment. She said while getting to where she is now has been a bit like almost finishing a marathon, it has not been an easy road staying calm. During her first trimester she spent an inordinate amount of time constantly checking in on the state of her pregnancy symptoms. I laughed because I knew exactly what she was talking about as I have found myself in the past doing the same thing. You inconspicuously (hopefully) check your breasts to make sure they still hurt, you track whether you really are tired- were you as tired today as you were yesterday? What if I am less tired? And how come I am not nauseous? I want to be nauseous! Those pregnancy symptoms are the glue that keeps you and your sanity together. She also laughed when she talked about the hours she spent waiting for "the phone call", the weekly calls from her nurse giving her the HCG update, and how she would cover her eyes during every sonogram appointment, scared of what might be revealed. Every minute of everyday was pure paranoia, not exactly a great way to spend nine months. So in the end, how the hell did she get through it?  My amazing friend finally realized that she already suffered the worst kind of pain and sadness and was ready to experience hope and joy. It was simple as that. There was no option to zero in on the "what if's", because she had already been there. Worrying about the worst case scenario was a silly waste of time since it had been something she lived through and knew all too well. What she didn't know was the best case scenario, the happy ending- which is where she put all her focus and energy. There were moments of anxiety along the way, but during those small breakdowns she found a way to summon her energy and bring her attention back to the good stuff. Such a better way to live!

    - Jennifer