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?

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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.

The Archived: A Review

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The Archived by Victoria Schwab

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was my first V.E. Schwab book, and I really enjoyed her writing. This particular story is about a girl named Mackenzie who inherits this job from her grandfather as a Keeper. Apparently, when someone dies, a record of them is created in the Archive in the form of a body that looks like what they did before they died. Sometimes these records, or Histories, “wake up” and get lost in the space between the Archive and the Outer (the real world) called the Narrows. So, it’s up to the Keepers to get them back to the Archive. But something is going wrong and a lot of the Histories are mysteriously waking up. So, it’s up to Mackenzie to figure out what’s going on before it’s too late.
There are a few triggers. Of course, the story is about people dying, and it opens with Mac’s family moving into a renovated hotel to an apartment complex after her brother dies. It also addresses grief and loss.
The plot is fast moving, and the world is built pretty well. There were definite twists and reveals that I enjoyed. I wasn’t ever sure just where the author would take the story. The chapters are short and the writing enabled it to keep a fast pace.
I really enjoyed Mac’s transformation throughout the book. She goes from an isolated loner to learning how to trust herself and others. Also, her grief transformation is good as well.
There wasn’t any profanity, which was a nice change from the other recent YA novels that I’ve read. I’m not sure if this is normal for her, but it was nice to see.
There are violent components, mentions of blood and several fight scenes in the book since the Histories don’t always go back to the Archive willingly.
There is romance in the book, but it’s mostly kissing. There is a scene with touching, but touch is a theme in the book. Keepers can see the thoughts and memories of a person they touch unless it is a History which gives off nothing but silence.
I’ve already picked up the second book in this series, and I’m excited to get back into the world. I highly recommend this book.

Sustaining: A Little Laugh for Today

Last week was heavy, so when I came across this verse that made me chuckle, I felt I had to share.

The more the words, the less the meaning, and how does that profit anyone?  – Ecclesiastes 6:11

As I’ve gotten older, I realize that the less I talk, the pickier I am with the words I share, the more meaningful it can be.

So, with that said, have a great weekend!

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.

A Viral Photo Shows the Struggle of Infertility – A gorgeous picture that went viral.  It depicts the honest journey one couple had to experience to get their daughter.  Four years, 7 IVF attempts, and 3 miscarriages culminated in 1,616 shots.

After Infertility, Isolation, and Displacement, a refugee in Iraq finds a place to heal – The story of Rawa (her name changed for safety and privacy) who finds out she can’t conceive after she marries her husband.  It’s a heartwrenching story of emotional abuse, war, leaving her home, and finding healing as a refugee.  A must read.

‘Just a game-changer’: Regina woman channels infertility anxiety into monthly challenges – I really related to this woman’s path of trying to conceive.  You get to a point where you need distractions to keep sane.  I think these challenges are an excellent and creative way to cope.

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?

Anticipating September

I remarked to Michael this past weekend how quickly this year is coming to an end.  Only four more months!  Still, there is so much left to anticipate.  But first, a look back.

The month ended with a week of contemplation over my second daughter.  I attended a memorial for another little girl who passed away.  The memorial was close to my own anniversary which only emphasized the reality of it all.  Losing babies is painful and overwhelmingly so, but I do have hope and take comfort in the fact that there is more beyond this life, and our family will be together again one day.

Sam is now four months old.  I’m completely blown away that I get to watch this little boy grow and learn every day.  We had our first small fever/cold this month.  As much as I didn’t like the fact that he felt crummy, I did slightly enjoy the extra snuggles (I was also a little under the weather so it was a lot of nursing and napping those days).  He has gotten quite a bit more talkative, though only in his own babble language, and Michael and I expect he will be scooting/crawling or sitting up on his own any day now.

Again, I didn’t get very far with the blog organization.  Between Sam and being sick and just life in general, I actually didn’t spend a whole lot of time in front of the computer.  So, I think I’m going to put it on the back burner for a while, maybe try again in a few months or the beginning of next year.

I have, however, been doing a lot of purging, especially in my kitchen.  I’m getting rid of any gadget or item that I haven’t used in 5+ years.  It really feels good to declutter.

anticipation

  • Books, books and more books.  September is National Literacy Month, but it’s also the time when quite a few of my preorders are coming in.  Plus, I have a few other books on order as well.  And I have a challenging TBR (To Be Read) list this month, but last month I completed five books (the most in a long time), so I’m hoping to continue the momentum.
  • Purging and Moving Into Fall.  While I continue my book binge, I also want to continue purging other areas of my home (maybe finish the kitchen!).  One way I do that is I will be packing up my summer clothes and pulling out the fall clothes.  This is the perfect time to go through both sets of clothes and get rid of things that don’t fit or flatter.  I also plan to purge home and holiday decor as well.
  • Walking for Alzheimer’s.  This month, we also plan to fundraise for our Walk to End Alzheimers.  We have been doing this for over 10 years now in honor of my great grandmother and Michael’s dad.  I have a personal goal of $300, but I don’t know if I will actually reach that since I’ve started so late on the fundraising.  We shall see!  I will probably write more about that later this month.

Even though I didn’t get to accomplish everything I anticipated this month, I still feel like I came out alright.  My number one priority that I anticipate each month is to be a mama to my son, so anything extra is just icing.