Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Finding a New Normal for the New Year

Going through a miscarriage, the loss of a pregnancy (or infant) or getting the news you won't be able to have a child naturally can turn your life upside down. And if you're anything like me, the grief and every other feeling that comes with this devastating news/experience can hit you intensely in the beginning, then take a backseat where it remains there quietly, but to no less magnitude.  For me it was as if the pain started to seep deeper inside my mind/heart/soul, little by little and unnoticed at first (or maybe I chose to ignore it), until it reared its head and felt like it had consumed me.  It can do this whether you try to work through it or not I've found from my own experience! I remember sometime after our loss when I started seeing a therapist thinking and even saying to the therapist, "I'm ready to tackle this head first, just tell me what to do and how to get better and I'll do it." I figured if I followed a few pieces of her advice I'd be happy and 'normal' again. Little did I know that there is no formula, no shortcuts and no step-by-step instructions to get through loss. I found the only way to get through is just that, to live through it and do the best you can to find your way through each day, while trying to hold onto the positive pieces in your life that still exist. 

I want to stress that I'm not a mental health professional or any sort of proclaimed expert. I'm not trained in grief or loss, but I do speak from the experiences I've been through personally and what I've also learned from others along the way. Looking back on where I was a year ago, here are a a few things that I learned and that I wish I'd figured out sooner: 

  • Take care of yourself. Translation: slow down and listen to what your body is telling you it needs. Sounds simple but for some reason this is one of the most overlooked tasks for all of us, but by far the most important in my opinion. We often get so caught up in our routines, taking care of others or all other aspects of our lives (i.e. work, bills, social functions) that we put ourselves last. This is completely backward! I've always had the habit of convincing myself, I'm fine, I can do it/I can take on more and just power through...neglecting to really stop and process if that's true and instead usually finding myself overwhelmed. But it's OKAY to NOT BE OKAY and okay to admit if you've got more on your plate than you can handle. I'm sure you've heard the saying, "You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others." When is the last time you set time aside for yourself? I bet its been too long.  hat's required to take care of ones' self may be different for each of us. It could be reading a book, writing a journal entry (a.k.a. venting), taking a bath, crying your eyes out, going on a long walk, or indulging with a mani/pedi, massage, etc. Whatever it is your mind and body are longing for, make a habit of setting aside time to tend to it.  Treat yourself to something that feels good; because you deserve it! And I'd recommend taking some time to be in a quiet, peaceful environment, where you can open your mind, and listen to what your heart tells you. There are no wrong answers, thoughts or feelings here.
  •  Confront your feelings, then try to process them or find a way to express them.  Also a difficult thing to do, since acknowledging your feelings will most likely lead to actually feeling them. But I believe that that's the only way to start healing the wound and working your way through this dark cloud you may feel like you're in. If you're comfortable, talk to someone who's a good listener...emphasis on the listening part. Find a counselor, therapist or perhaps a support group of women who have been through similar situations to what you have. To me there’s nothing better than finding someone who understands first hand what you’re going through that you can connect with in ways others just haven’t been able to help or relate to you. And again from experience, I found that many of the people I'm closest to in my life, including my husband, usually couldn't relate to what I was feeling and either had no idea what to say or said things they thought would help that felt more like they were trying to "fix" me or make the pain go away--which they aren't capable of doing. Or, if sharing your feelings is totally out of your comfort zone, find another way to release all the pent up stress and/or sadness you’re carrying around. Maybe exercise or writing down everything going through your head would help. Just don’t keep all your feelings to yourself, where they can get bottled up. 
  • De-stress and de-clutter . Get rid of the negative (people, things, thoughts) and make room to let in more positive ones. Take this as an opportunity to look at what may be working in your life and what really isn't. Have a friend or family member who is more of a hindrance than a help? Take a step back from your relationship and give it some room to breath, a break or if it's really not a healthy one, consider moving on without it. Been miserable at your job for months/years? Why not find a new one? Or better yet, take a brief hiatus from work, either a few days/ a week of vacation or a more permanent step, like putting in your official notice, to give yourself time to rest, recharge and reevaluate what should be next for you. Maybe it's time for you to reinvent your life in ways you can control and find something for work or a hobby that your more passionate about. I realize this can be risky, scary, unfeasible (in some cases) or all of the above, but there has to be something you can change in your life that will alleviate some stress and allow you to focus on improving your quality of life. Life is too short to not keep your health and happiness at the forefront.
  • Keep living your life and doing things you enjoy. I made the mistake of trapping myself into thinking I couldn’t plan a trip (especially anywhere Zika could be) or find a new job because “by then I may be pregnant” or something along those lines. This tendency to stay in the same routine and not go after something better or take that trip I'd been wanting (needing) potentially held me back from making progress. Have you had something on your to do list for months but been putting it off? Make a plan to put that task in action. Try something new or dig deeper into one of your hobbies or passions. Whether photography, yoga/fitness, writing, traveling, etc. As difficult as it is to be at peace with not having your lifelong plans and dreams actualized, there may not be anything you can do to change what's happened or happening--or maybe you've already done everything you can do to try. The circumstances are most likely out of your control, whether you think about it constantly (obsessively in my case) or not. I'm not in any way trying to say "just relax" or "stop thinking about it", because that didn't work for me and I know that's just not how it works. But I do think if you try to redirect some of that energy into something else that's constructive, it can give you some relief...and maybe even some moments of peace, even if it's purely from distraction. Try to  take the focus off of what you don’t have (a baby or pregnancy, YET) And concentrate on what you do have and what you can do to enjoy your life right this moment. For me that meant making a career change and starting a holistic health and wellness regimen that, although challenging, was the best thing I ever did. It wasn't easy and I faced some plenty of weird looks and awkward convo's with people when I told them I was leaving my job without another one lined up, but it was worth every bit of that to feel the healthiest and strongest I've ever felt. **Remember though,  it's okay to have bad days and times when you're not up for doing things you used to. Don't push yourself to do something that doesn't feel right or to take on more than you can handle. If you're hesitant to say yes to something, ask yourself what you think is giving you pause, and decide what's the best decision for you.** 
  • Try to accept what's happened and make peace with your circumstances. This is probably by far the hardest thing to do. No doubt it is easier said than done, and also not something that will happen for most until after a significant of time has passed, and the wounds have begun to heal. It doesn't mean you have to be okay with what happened or give up on your lifelong dream of having a baby, starting a family. But it does mean to  try to accept that you can't change what has happened, you can't go back and undo or redo anything to change the outcome of your situation. And you should try to let go of any feelings it was your fault.  I was so fixated on getting pregnant, I pretty much convinced myself that was the only way I'd ever be happy again. I would stress about whether or not I could even get pregnant again and torture myself over why it wasn’t happening for me while it (seemed it) was for everyone else. For months it was on my mind much of the day, every day. Again, I would never tell anyone to just relax and stop thinking about it, since that's the last thing that will help. But I would say that trying out some of the things I've mentioned, like reflecting on your circumstances and come up with a new plan of action or taking something else off your plate that could be weighing you down, can alleviate a small part of your unhappiness and potentially allow you to feel lighter or fill that space with something else that makes you feel a little more hopeful and life feel more manageable. One thing we did to help make peace with our loss was finding ways to acknowledge Elle Jay and keep her memory alive, such as talking about her and to her in prayers, acknowledging and celebrating times she would be heavy on our mind (like her due date and the day she was born) and looking into planting a tree in her memory.   
  • And lastly, know that things are going to get better...eventually. It can be hard to see your way out of a dark and lonely place while you're in the middle of it. But knowing you are not alone and there is help out there if you need it can bring a lot of comfort and hope to your situation. And while "someday" may seem so far away, every day that passes -makes you a little bit stronger (hey- you survived another day!) and brings you one day closer to feeling like the happier version of yourself you once knew.
I hope you've found at least one thing in this post to be helpful to you. And as I've mentioned before,  feel free to reach out if you're interested in finding support through a group or share this with someone who you feel may find it helpful. Wishing you all a holiday season filled with love, light and laughter and hoping we can all go into a this new year with a positive mindset! 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Fear and Guilt

Holy cow. It's like I blinked and another two months have gone by. I'm now headed into week 26 of my pregnancy, with my eye on the third trimester, just around the corner.  As I get further into my pregnancy I feel myself settling in and enjoying it more and more but I have still noticed feelings of fear and worry come and go. The fears range from telling people the news (STILL), to buying a crib, or anything associated with going all in with the pregnancy, planning and preparing for it to go all the way to term. 
A few weeks ago we made the official announcement that we're expecting on social media; a step that my husband and I were hesitant to even take at all this time around. In the end I felt strongly that this baby deserves as much praise and excitement as any other, and I wouldn't want to look back later with regret.  But still, I sat there with the post typed and photo ready to go, with my finger lingering over the share button, while several things crossed my mind.  Crazy thoughts like if we put it out there that may somehow jinx it or make something go wrong; not-so-crazy thoughts like maybe we were just better keeping things the way they were...everyone close to us knew, and that was all that mattered to us. I had sort of enjoyed that the news had mostly stayed within our inner circle, and I was feeling as if putting it out there for everyone would make any potential wound hit deeper since we wouldn't be able to hide from it.
 Then there have been the times I've gotten nervous and worried to myself over things happening in the present. Like the time I was doing exercises with weights and I started to feel a couple weird sensations in my abdomen...or another day I freaked out when a large dog jumped up on me and pounced right on my belly with all its weight. I felt the baby push back and I worried the next several days the dog may have hurt her. Just last night I woke up in the middle of the night to find the right side of my upper body (which I had been sleeping on )felt numb, with that feeling like it had fallen asleep. My mind quickly raced to an headline article I remember skimming past about "the one thing to watch out for when sleeping on your right side", that I now was cursing myself for not reading so I could know if I should be worried.  All these things I fear because I'm worried at any time of the worst happening--losing the baby again. A loss I'm not sure I could endure.
Fear can be a crippling thing. It can weaken our ability to enjoy and appreciate the happy moments, especially if you let it grab hold and take over. These feelings of fear often make me feel guilty for not being more excited and more present in the moment. An old habit I'm all too familiar with. 
I can remember feeling this same way back when Jason and I were in our first few months of dating. I was so incredibly happy that I feared something was bound to go wrong. I thought 'How could I possibly deserve to have so much going for me?' Surely it would be taken away or it was only a matter of time before it came to an end. But that's not a healthy way to live. I've had to accept that just because I've worried something bad can happen doesn't mean it will, and even if something does, there likely isn't anything worrying can do to stop it from happening. Instead it takes away from the happy moments. And those are the ones you should let linger as long as you can, and appreciation them.

Guilt has also played a different role in this pregnancy at times. There's guilt that stems from the loss of our first, feeling as though she's being overlooked or forgotten when sharing news of this current pregnancy. I often get the question, "Is this your first?" from many acquaintances and strangers who engage me in conversation. My first thought is always of Elle Jay, since she'll always be my firstborn, but since she's not with us and to avoid making things uncomfortable or get into detail with people I don't know well, I'm quick to respond "Yes, our first." 
Until we found out the sex, I had hoped for a boy this time around; mostly because I felt like it would make more of a distinction between this pregnancy and my last. That way I wouldn't feel as guilty being excited, as if I was still honoring our girl we lost and this wouldn't overshadow her place in our hearts. Guilt also creeps up when I'm thinking about the many women I know who are trying to conceive or have been for so many months, even years, without success. I can relate to those feelings of despair from wanting nothing more than to be pregnant and become a mom and feeling as though everyone else around you, except you, is. I'll always feel for those struggling and wish with all my being that they'll find the way to getting their bundle of joy.

What I've come to conclude is it's only natural to have these feelings, especially after experiencing a pregnancy loss. Maybe part of it comes from the maternal instinct we don't even realize starts forming the moment we realize there's another life growing inside our wombs. By acknowledging how I'm feeling, I'm able to process and usually dismiss the fear, guilt, worry, etc. I still wish there was an easier way to overcome the hard parts but as with most things in life, there's no shortcut or detour that will get you to any place worth going. Only lessons to be learned and work to be done. And never let a bad day stop you from getting to where you want to be.

Love to all on this cold and rainy day...hope you enjoy the approaching Thanksgiving holiday with your loved ones!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Summertime Gladness

It's been quite a while since my last blog post, and what first started out as guilt for not writing eventually turned into straight up avoiding it. What can I say? In part, I've been a little busy enjoying the heck out of summer in Michigan. But alas, I finally felt it was time to flip the switch back on and start writing, especially after reading an article that gave me the motivation to do so.  I decided it was time to push myself a little harder to get back to writing and I'll get to the reason why in a bit.

First, let's briefly cover the past couple months. Summer sped by as usual, and I continued my pledge of making a conscious effort to take advantage of having time off, and appreciating every day. I spent a lot of my time exploring different parts of Northern and Western Michigan with family and friends; places like Pentwater, Ludington, Grand Haven, my family's cottage in South Branch. And I've also found fun nearby, trying paddle boarding on Walled Lake and visiting Detroit's Eastern Market. We've also gotten the chance to take trips to the Pittsburgh area, where Jason has family, and I most recently made a trip to Chicago to see old friends and explore the city as if I were a tourist. It's been a blessing to have this time for myself, to travel, to visit with loved ones, to focus on being present in the moment and totally recharge my health.

So...last I left things, we had honored and celebrated the life of our Elle Jay on her anniversary of becoming an angel, and we experienced something extra special that night. After a nice dinner at home we said a few words about her,  released 17 balloons into the sky (1 for each week of my pregnancy) and sat on our front porch, listening to music and enjoying the moment, waiting for the sun to set. Less than a half hour later some dark clouds rolled in and it started to lightly rain, but in the distance there were patches of blue sky and I could see the sun peaking through. We got up from our seats to look up at the sky and sure enough, we saw a rainbow had formed over our house. It was a truly special moment for us. We both felt as if our angel Elle Jay was sending us a sign that she was okay and we'd be okay, too. Little did we know it may have even more meaning than that...

During this time I had been in the middle of my 'official' 28 day detox as part of the holistic program I was apart of. I was eating cleaner than ever and feeling amazing as a result. I had always figured eating clean and wholesome foods would have an impact on how my body looked and how much I weighed, but I didn't realize until I experienced it how much of an impact what you put in your body can have on the way you feel, both physically and mentally as well. All the symptoms that had been ailing me for years had faded away. I had lots of energy, my heartburn and indigestion had almost  completely vanished and in combination with all the exercise I'd been doing, I felt stronger and better than ever! I was feeling great about myself and the choices I made to get me to that point.

That month ended up being significant in many ways. Three weeks in to the detox, and a few days after celebrating Elle Jay's anniversary we were overjoyed to find out via an at-home test I was pregnant again! It was the most pleasant news we could have received or expected. Within two weeks though, everything I had been so focused on during the detox started to change. I started feeling a difference in my body while exercising, like I wasn't able to do as much as easily as I had before, and I started to get sick when thinking about eating all the foods I had relied so heavily on during the detox. So much for avoiding gluten and bread!! My diet flipped to bagels and crackers everyday!

Since confirming we were pregnant back in June,  there were many weeks I was feeling disconnected from my writing. If I had to guess why I'd say it could be that my mind felt scattered and all over the place. As many women know and can relate, the first trimester can often feel like a four to six week hangover (without the fun parts of drinking included), and between feeling much less than my ordinary self and trying to cope with all the emotions I was experiencing, it was a lot like living in a fog.
But here I am, marking 17 weeks in my pregnancy today and feeling better and thinking clearer than I have in several weeks (besides those moments of extreme hormonal mood swings ;) ).  17 weeks is also a significant marker for me for obvious reasons. I won't deny that our previous loss has been heavy on my mind the past few days and especially last night. I found myself waking up throughout the night, feeling some discomfort in my abdomen and worry of what could happen, praying for the best, and trying to hold onto something positive. Every day that I wake up feeling good I'm thankful and I'm sure that will continue every day I have ahead in this pregnancy. Whenever my thoughts start to wander down worrywart lane, I do my best to stop and change direction, focusing on the positive. And I often remind myself how lucky I am to be experiencing this miraculous process of growing a little person inside me. We have so much to be thankful for and we are so looking forward to holding this baby in our arms, come February!


Thursday, June 15, 2017

In memory of Elle Jay ~ 6.15.16

Grief is a tricky thing. It often has a mind of its own and works mysteriously, appearing to be more mischievous than anything at times. It can hit you hard and all at once; it can fester just below the surface, close enough to creep up and rear its ugly head in moments you let your guard down; or it can be stuffed down deep, hidden from anyone to see, tucked away in a place almost as though you've locked it up with a key. I thought I was ready to take on this significant day in good stride. But once again grief showed me who's boss. I woke up this morning feeling like a heavy weight had been dropped on my chest. Right over my heart. I literally felt like my heart hurt and I was not ready to get up and start the day. I would never choose to start the day cranky and angry, but I've learned I must accept these feelings and let them wash over me in order to get passed them, and in hopes to find peace once again. Today it's been one year since we lost our baby girl, Elle Jay, and this is the story surrounding her short-lived but largely-loved life. 

My husband Jason and I got married in August of 2015. We both wanted kids and being that he’s a few years older than me, we had a “we’re not getting any younger” mentality about it; so we stopped using forms of birth control the month we were married and decided ‘let’s just see what happens.’ Life got busy, six months flew by, and without making calculated attempts, I found myself “late” and then pregnant, much to my surprise. I really couldn’t believe it at first. I remember thinking I didn’t “feel” pregnant, not that I even knew any specific feelings you’re supposed to have that soon. Not completely trusting the at-home tests, I even made an appointment with my primary doctor to get tested and hear the official words from her that yes, I was pregnant.  
So here I am pregnant, a little bit shocked and very excited, of course, but also nervous of what could happen. I was always trying to keep myself in check until we reached what I called the “safe zone”, also known as the second trimester. I didn’t know as much then how truly common miscarriages are, but I had an inkling that it could happen early on and I wanted to prepare myself for the possibility of it, as if somehow knowing it could happen would it make it less hard if it did happen (which I realize now is so NOT the case).
I started telling immediate family and a couple of my closest friends when I was only about 6 weeks along, knowing I wouldn’t be able to hide it—I’m a horrible liar—plus we were excited! I also made them all swear they wouldn’t tell anyone until I made an announcement, and I knew it was too early for that. By the 9-10 week mark it was becoming harder and harder to keep it a secret though, between morning (all-day, really) sickness, two upcoming bachelorette party trips I’d committed to in Florida and Nashville, and even my quickly-approaching 30th birthday. It was getting difficult to pretend to drink at parties and apparently I wasn’t doing a very good job of disguising it. So usually when it became awkward or obvious that I was totally sober in instances everyone else was drinking, I told those around me the truth and everyone was always so sweet and excited for me.  

By mid-May, I was 3 months in; I’d had 2 ultrasounds that were perfectly normal, and I’d been tested for chromosomal disorders that came back normal as well—which had also allowed us to find out the sex of our baby…a GIRL!! It was finally starting to become more real that this was really happening and I was starting to feel more safe and secure. By this point I had bought the book What to Expect When You’re Expecting and started filling out a pregnancy book, tracking everything happening to me and our growing baby girl.
Once I passed the 14-week mark, I felt it was safe we put out an announcement we were expecting via social media, relieved to finally share the news with extended family and friends.  The news was well received of course, and things were looking up. The morning sickness had subsided once I got into the second trimester and I was feeling like a pretty normal human being again.
Fast forward 3 weeks. Jason and I have a stupid fight one night about something I can’t even remember now, and he leaves for his weekly soccer game; we’re both not in a great place. Something I regret to this day. I went and grabbed crappy Mediterranean food from down the street and met up with an old friend who needed help for a bit. Later that night we worked out our little quarrel and went to bed.

The next morning I’m woken up extra early to abdominal pain and an upset stomach. At first I’m thinking it’s gas cramps and/or something I ate making me sick (like that crappy Mediterranean), so I let my work know I’ll be coming in late and I get back in bed to rest. Every hour that passed that morning, though, the pain became worse and soon I notice a spot of blood when I’m in the bathroom. The blood concerns me but at this point I’m convinced I’m just really sick with some sort of flu or maybe food poisoning. By this point, my husband had already left for work and I’ve tried calling the OBGYN’s office, only to get their machine, because they aren’t open yet. Two hours in, the cramps and pain have continued becoming more intense. The next trip to the bathroom I see a lot more blood and I become immediately alarmed. So I call the emergency number at the office and they page the OBGYN on call. A quick conversation on the phone with him and he tells me not to panic, that this could be normal but I should come in to get checked out, so I set up an appointment. Within the next hour, the pain has gotten so unbearable that I can barely move from the bathroom and I’ve started throwing up on top of it all. I’m pretty much terrified now, sick with worry, and my husband rushes home because I’m not in any shape to drive myself to the doctor.

The whole way to the doctor I'm crippled over in pain, and while stepping into the elevator, I feel a rush of fluid start running down my legs. My husband and I see blood and he runs ahead to the doctor's office to alert them of what’s happening while I slowly make my way there. They rush me into a room and check the baby and tell me she's still alive but I need to go right to the hospital, which is luckily connected to their building. After being wheeled into the delivery wing and poked and prodded by a number of doctors/nurses/attending physicians, I find out all morning the pain I was having were contractions and that the rush of fluid was my water breaking. This meant my body was preparing to go into labor...way too soon. And since my water broke, there was no longer anything protecting our baby, and no way to reverse that. They gave us a few horrible options of how to proceed, none of which I wanted to hear. Since it was a Catholic Hospital, they couldn't do anything to move the process along because that could potentially harm the baby, even though they told me there was no way she could survive outside the womb at this stage.  The only way they could act was if my own health became in danger. She was still alive, but it was only a matter of time. So we waited.  At this point I don’t think I was ready to face the hard facts of what this all meant. It was as if my mind went into cruise control, not ready to let my heart accept we were going to lose her.
They monitored me and our baby closely and checked on us all throughout the night. The last time I remember the nurse coming in to check, our sweet little girl  still had a heartbeat.
Early the next morning I delivered her on my own. Jason called the nurses in, but by the time they cut the cord and got ahold of her she no longer had a heartbeat. We decided to name her Elle Jay, since “LJ” had been her nickname when she was in my belly. The nurses cleaned her up so we could hold her and say our goodbyes. Shortly after they put me under for a D&C procedure to retrieve the placenta. And a bit later a gentleman from a funeral home nearby came in to discuss end of life options and services for Elle Jay. 
Needless to say, it was an awful, traumatic experience. Running back through it now I still can't believe all of that actually happened to us, and that it’s been a whole year since it did.  
In the beginning, I was in shock. I don’t think my brain was ready to process what happened. It felt like it had been an out-of-body experience; it couldn’t have really happened to me. I tried my best to get back to life as usual. To find a new normal. I think I got so focused on moving forward for a while that I was subconsciously trying to block all my feelings out. But, living as if it didn't happen could only keep the pain at bay for so long. Eventually it caught up with me.
And then for some time the pain was unavoidable and overwhelming. At that point I tried to face the grief head on, the best I could and decided I needed to start seeing a counselor. I was lucky to find a lady with a lot of experience with this kind of loss. She helped guide me through the storm of emotions and armed me with tools to better handle the hard days.  I learned it’s okay to feel anger and sadness, to accept how I am feeling on any given day, without having shame for it. And also not to worry about making others uncomfortable by talking or not talking about my loss. I am the one who should take control of the situation and tell others how they can support me or what I need from them. Most of all she helped me learn to communicate better with Jason; to acknowledge Elle Jay with him and find ways to honor or celebrate her. Leading me to be in a much better, stronger place. In fact I'm planning to plant a tree in her memory later this year, so we'll have a place to visit that we can acknowledge and celebrate her. 

As far as wanting another baby, I've been back and forth between trying and not trying to get pregnant again ever since. I know people are always wondering, what’s next, and when. I tried to take a little time off right after, per the doctor's orders, but it's always been hard to avoid trying when I sense there could be some chance--right? And I often get trapped in the endless cycle of trying then waiting and hoping, then being let down when my period arrives. I realized months ago though that getting pregnant and having another baby wouldn’t replace Elle Jay or make up for what happened. And that the important thing is giving myself time to heal from losing her.
Looking on the bright side, this experience has strengthened my marriage and myself. It’s also connected me with a lot of other women who have had similar experiences or losses.  Connecting with others who can relate to what you’ve been through has got to be one of the most powerful ways of making you feel comforted and less alone.

For anyone who’s had a miscarriage or is struggling to get pregnant, I wish there were words of comfort I could give to take away your pain, help you heal faster or make your struggle go away, but I know from first hand experience that there isn’t an easy way, there aren’t always the right words to say and there is no time limit on how long it takes to heal. It breaks my heart to know the pain others like me are feeling, and know that there may not be a way to give everyone a happy ending to their stories.  I feel like saying “I’m sorry” just isn’t enough, and I don’t know what is the right thing to say, especially since we all handle grief, loss and struggle differently.
I guess if there’s anything I could offer someone going through a tough situation tied to pregnancy loss or the struggle to get pregnant it’d be a big hug, a reminder that you are so strong and amazing for enduring everything you have (GIRL POWER!), and to lend an ear for you to share however it is you’re feeling about your situation, good or bad or AWFUL. You are totally allowed to feel however it is you are feeling. Whether that’s frustrated, hopeless, depressed, exhausted, anxiety-ridden, etc. etc. I’ve found for myself that a lot of the time I just need to hear what I’m feeling is normal and justified. Sometimes I need someone to tell me what I went through was awful or traumatic and that I should be angry/mad/sad before I can let myself feel the sadness that’s been lingering there for awhile.  I shouldn’t be looking for validation from others, but it’s something I’m working on.

Every day is different but my faith is strong things will be okay and we'll be able to grow our family some day. Until then, I try to stay focused on living in the present as much as possible. Not worrying about what's to come, and finding peace with what's already past. So today I keep her memory alive by sharing her story. Love you Elle Jay!

If you are reading this and can relate or are feeling that you could benefit from connecting with other women who can relate to what you’re going through or have gone through, I’d love to tell you more about support groups that are out there, and put you in touch with someone that could help. Leave a comment or email me at mcnama65@gmail.com.