Continuing the Conversation

I want to continue sharing other people’s stories or articles from around the internet, so here are three new voices to share.

“Infertility is a silent killer, just like cancer – it eats at your soul, as cancer eats at your body” – Talischa Towsen shares her story on this parent website.  She talks about her miscarriages, failed IUIs, even other family members getting pregnant in the midst of their journey.  And her story is ongoing, which I think is amazing and so important to share.

Zara Tindall Shares How Suffering A Miscarriage Made Her Relationship With Her Husband Stronger – Zara Tindall is a part of the British Royal Family, so her pregnancies are pretty public.  She suffered two miscarriages after her first daughter and then had her second daughter after the miscarriages.  She mentions how helpless her husband felt and that communication helped their relationship grow stronger.

Secondary infertility: When trying for another child is a struggle –  A brief, informative synopsis of secondary infertility.  I didn’t realize that 11% of couples experience this.  It was an interesting read.

If you have never experienced pregnancy loss or infertility, I can guarantee there is someone in your life who has.  While the above stories may not be the same experiences for everyone, they can definitely open that window to more understanding and empathy for what everyone goes through.  And for those of you who are in the midst of these unknowns or losses, you are not alone.  May these words uplift and encourage you today.

Do you have any posts or articles that have touched you or compelled you to share?

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A Visit from the Parents

My parents live in Atlanta, GA, about 14 hours or so away from us.  So, any visit from them is quite a treat.  Last week, they visited for the whole week, and it was wonderful.

We did several things together, but I didn’t get very many pictures because I was either juggling the baby or lost in the moment.  I don’t apologize for that, either.  But I did manage to get a few pictures from the Dallas World Aquarium, one of our major stops during the visit.

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We visited right around feeding time which was really fun.  There were divers in a lot of the tanks, either feeding or cleaning.  Sam was most interested in what they were doing.

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I thought the aquarium would be better than the zoo because of the heat but also I thought that for a four month old, this would be more his speed than big open pens of animals.  The Dallas World Aquarium is somewhat like a zoo, however, because it has a lot of animals in addition to the fish.  There is a huge enclosure with birds and crocodiles and another exhibit of penguins, so it was like a first step to the zoo.

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Also during their visit, I took my parents to IKEA because they have never been to this store.  When I found that out, it was a must for this visit.  IKEA is such an experience.  We had dessert in their restaurant and walked through the entire store.  I took several pictures for ideas for the house.  I’ve really enjoyed our couch from IKEA.  It’s so easy to clean and has held up pretty well over the years (and is so comfortable).  I’m making bucket lists for several rooms in our house, so IKEA trips may become more common in our future.

We also went several other places and did many other things (including a nice date night for Michael and me which was so appreciated).  But my favorite moments were just hanging out and watching my parents love on Sam.  They ooo’d and aww’d at all of Sam’s milestone abilities, laughed and played, even changed a diaper or two.  I’m so thankful for this visit and for my parents being a part of Sam’s life!

The Shield of Honor: A Review

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The Shield of Honor
by Gilbert Morris

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is book three of the Wakefield Dynasty by Gilbert Morris. The synopsis on the back only actually covers part one of the book (the first hundred pages). The historical fiction covers the voyage of the Pilgrims and the English Civil War between the Parliamentarians and the Royalists. It included historical figures like King Charles, Prince Rupert, John Pym, and Oliver Cromwell. Cromwell takes a lead in this story as his history intertwines with the fiction of the Wakefield family.
The writing continues to be flowery. There is a lot of passive verb usage and sometimes it comes off a little pretentious. The plot was interesting. I like learning about how religion and politics continue to affect and shape the history of England. The fictional part of the story was interesting as well. The story follows both Christopher Wakefield and his son Gavin. Each generation has a different journey to God, which I think is the primary point of these stories. The twists were somewhat predictable, especially if you have read the previous two, but it was still enjoyable.
There is, again, no profanity. There was a lot more sexual innuendo in this book compared to the previous ones, but nothing even remotely graphic. There were some almost-rape scenes or sexual assault scenes, and I wasn’t really that impressed with their outcomes. And I seemed to notice some sexist remarks more in this book. One of the major characters remarks that he was “blubbering like a woman” and that took me completely out of the book for a moment. After that, I started to notice just how much the author focused on how attractive everyone was or wasn’t and how that affected their station in life.
Since the focus for half of the book was on the Civil war, there was some violence, but again, nothing really graphic.
While this book series (since this has been a reread so far) has been slightly disappointing, I still recommend it for anyone who would appreciate a light historical fiction with heavy Christian leanings. I am still determined to finish the series and hope that it continues to become more complex and that I learn more about how England was shaped!

Sustaining: Trust

Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.  – Psalm 62:8

God honors the people who trust him.  Abraham trusted God enough to travel to unknown places.  David trusted God to defeat a giant.  Mary trusted God enough to carry a baby.

None of these people were perfect.  But they had faith in their relationship with the one who is perfect.

It’s a small reminder to take a deep breath.  No matter the mistakes I make, I can trust that Christ is enough.  And because Christ is enough and I put my faith in him, it makes me enough as well.  I am not called to be perfect.  I am called to trust in the one who is.

Continuing the Conversation

I want to continue sharing other people’s stories or articles from around the internet, so here are three new voices to share.

5 things I always tell new loss Mom’s – I’ve been following Crystal for a while.  She shares the stories of many loss moms, but I really liked this particular post.  It’s a great reminder about the realities of recovery and grief.

James Van Der Beek On Miscarriage: ‘Let’s Wipe All Blame Off The Table’ – Apparently, Van Der Beek and his wife have endured three miscarriages.  He writes a touching post on his Instagram which is shared in this post.

This Is What It’s Like Before The Rainbow – This was hard for me to read because I have felt a lot of these feelings, had a lot of these experiences.  I didn’t have this exact experience because my OB clinic was a lot more supportive.  I think that some people, in a hope to lift up a loss mom will remind them of the possibility of a rainbow baby, but that isn’t always the outcome for every woman.  It’s important to recognize the reality of the present loss when it’s happening and the grief that the mom and dad will go through.

If you have never experienced pregnancy loss or infertility, I can guarantee there is someone in your life who has.  While the above stories may not be the same experiences for everyone, they can definitely open that window to more understanding and empathy for what everyone goes through.  And for those of you who are in the midst of these unknowns or losses, you are not alone.  May these words uplift and encourage you today.

Do you have any posts or articles that have touched you or compelled you to share?

Postpartum Anxiety Update

It’s been a couple months since I talked about being diagnosed with Post Partum Anxiety, so I thought I would give a little update and reflection on how I’m doing now.

In two words, much better.  But it was definitely a journey to get to this point.  I was already in therapy at the time, but that continues on a regular basis.  I was also put on medication, which I continue to take.  And I incorporated meditation and regular exercise (either walking or yoga or both some days) into my routine.

While I think the conversation around mental health is getting better, there is also a stigma still surrounding the topic.  But mental health is just as important as our physical health.  I find it interesting that if I was diagnosed with diabetes or cancer, taking medication, adjusting lifestyle, and going to doctors on a regular basis doesn’t seem out of the ordinary.  But if I’m dealing with depression or anxiety, it’s a different story.

In fact, something I still feel weird talking about is the fact I was diagnosed with PTSD while I was pregnant with my son.  I always thought PTSD was reserved for “real trauma” – war veterans, physical or sexual abuse, things like that.  But I did go through real trauma with my daughters.

Anne Bogel, a blogger on modernmrsdarcy.com, shared a post she wrote last year about her experiences on 9/11 and the panic attacks she had following those events.  And how she didn’t get help right away because she felt like her situation wasn’t as bad as others.  In the infertility and pregnancy loss world, a comparison can be just as detrimental.

Even now, when I’m asked if Sam is my first, I say that I had two stillborn daughters before him.  If I say I had miscarriages or pregnancy loss, they ask how far along was I in the pregnancy.  As if to say that if it wasn’t far enough along, then I’m not entitled to my grief or to even talk about them. In fact, I still struggle to talk about my first miscarriage, before my two daughters, because it wasn’t “as bad.”

I know that it’s hard to talk about what’s going on inside our heads and our hearts.  Sometimes even we aren’t able to process everything fully and with clarity.  And it’s easy to compare our situation with others and write it off as nothing.  But it’s not.  If you found a lump in your breast, even if it wasn’t as big as someone else’s lump, you would still go to the doctor to get it checked out, right?  In the same way, going to a professional therapist to talk about the things you are experiencing is just as normal.

No matter where you are in life, and what you are feeling, you are not alone.  To be honest, I think everyone should include mental checkups in their annual routines.  So if you are experiencing anxiety or depression, or even just think a mental checkup would do you good, I highly encourage you to seek out a good therapist or talk to your doctor.