Category Archives: Volunteer Bloggers

  • 0

The Very Unmerry Month of May

We are certainly living through difficult times, perhaps one of the most challenging in history. Covid-19 is wreaking havoc across the world and our country and shows few signs of letting up. With no therapeutics or a vaccine, venturing outside has become frightening. I limit my excursions to early morning walks with my dog Kovu, given that I am a high-risk individual. For the first time since New York’s lockdown, I ventured out with Keith to take in Albany’s tulip fest, albeit from the car. I actually felt carsick from not having ridden in a vehicle for such a long time.

For many, May has always been a difficult month. Mother’s Day and the surrounding festivities can be extremely hard for those who have lost their moms or for moms who have lost a child. It can also be tough for those who, for any number of reasons, did not have the mother they deserved. Mother’s Day often brings a sense of profound loss.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that May is also Mental Health Awareness Month. We tend to push mental health issues under the rug. Much like certain other illnesses, if you can’t see it, it doesn’t seem to exist. While many experience some depression or feelings of loss during this month, daily life in the face of a pandemic can exacerbate these feelings.

The COVID-19 pandemic has likely brought many changes to how you live your life, and with it, uncertainty, altered daily routines, financial pressures, and social isolation. You may worry about getting sick, how long the pandemic will last, and what the future will bring.

Many are experiencing stress, anxiety, fear, sadness and loneliness. And if you are predisposed to mental health disorders, they can worsen. It’s important to learn self-care strategies and get the care you need to help you cope.

While professional help is certainly available, there are ways you can help lessen stress. Here are some helpful tips recommended by the CDC to managing stress and coping with change in our daily lives:(1).

• Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
• Take care of your body by taking deep breaths, stretching or meditating; by eating healthy, well-balanced meals; by exercising regularly and getting plenty of sleep.
• Make time to unwind. Start with activities you enjoy like painting, knitting, or reading.
• Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.

For me, sticking to a daily routine has helped keep me busy and away from all the “what if” thinking in this uncertain time. I also try to focus what I can do, not what I can’t. While I am unable to hold my newborn grandson Rory, I am able to see him from a safe social distance. I know his brother Liam is watching over him from above. But most of all, try to stay positive and find the beauty in each day.

1 https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html

Category : Deb , Volunteer Bloggers


  • 2

Uncertainty

Going into my last month of pregnancy this month is so different than it was last time. Last time I was more relaxed and my only real worry was about my pregnancy and if/when I would bring my baby home, as I truly didn’t believe that she was coming home with us until after we were actually at home with her. 

This time the world has changed so much in the past few months, and we are at home practicing our social distancing. (By we I mean my daughter, 3 years old, and I as my husband is still working outside the home.) 

Now not only do I have the worries about this pregnancy/baby but I also have worries about our family becoming ill and not being able to have my husband with me during labor and delivery. I know that all these precautions are there for a reason and I completely understand them and honestly I am happy they are in place. (I work in health care and am so happy to not have to be working right now because watching all my coworkers go through the daily struggle is heartbreaking.)

Our hospital is allowing one support person to be with you in the hospital during labor, but other than that no visitors allowed. While I am happy that my husband will be able to be there with me, I am also mourning the absence of our daughter coming to the hospital and visiting her new sibling.

I’m also mourning the absence of our families coming to the hospital and meeting our new little one. We have such great memories of both families coming and visiting us the evening when our older daughter was born. It was an extra special Christmas Eve for everyone. Hopefully we will be able to start visiting family soon and we will be able to have people over at our place to visit and share in the joys of our new baby. 

Although all of these things have changed and we have no choice but to continue forward on this path, we are choosing to try and be as positive as possible and we are planning for my daughter to be watched by family members while I am at the hospital giving birth. My husband will be with me during the birth, but most likely my hospital stay will be just baby and I spending time together. One day this will all be a distant memory and maybe we will look back at it and smile with joy of my baby’s birth. 

 

Category : Amanda , Volunteer Bloggers


  • 0

Truth is Revealed in the Unknown

I just completed 4 weeks in quarantine with two small boys under 5 while working full time from home. This past Thursday my eldest and I were butting heads all day that by mid afternoon we both needed a time out and I logged off and went to sleep during quiet time. When I woke up I felt like the worst mom for not being able to stay calm and collected while my son had a meltdown. And who can blame him? I think we are all on edge.

Later that night, while video chatting with my sister, she said my hair looked like the Mad Hatter from Alice and Wonderland and I replied, “It surely does feel like I am in a rabbit hole, going deeper and deeper with no end in sight.” There are many rabbit holes that we find ourselves in at different points in our life. In most cases, we are alone in the darkness, but this global COVID-19 pandemic has swallowed us whole and we are all trying to navigate this “new” landscape together. But for some of us, the struggle is ongoing and the pandemic just heightened or resurfaced many of the inequalities and social injustices that are felt and experienced on a regular basis, especially in healthcare.

When my husband and I decided to start our family and realized that after a year of trying unsuccessfully we needed to consult with a professional, his insurance provided infertility coverage. Throughout our seven years of seeking medical help to conceive, I was one of the lucky ones not to have to add the burden of finances to the pile of disappointment, embarrassment, anxiety and loss, just to name a few. But there are many families who do not have the health insurance coverage or finances to pursue this option. I wonder how many started on this path last month just to be laid off and lose the very medical coverage that would help them possibly get close to their dream of conceiving? Or the couple that finally made the decision to pursue fertility treatment just to be faced with another obstacle, COVID-19. Or the woman who after grieving a loss decided to get back up and try again only to lose coverage. It is concerning that just a month in quarantine wiped out 3 years of national employment growth and crippled many health systems. When we live in silos, we cannot see that our pain is shared among millions day to day and this crisis has lifted the curtains exposing a broken system.

For many of us who have experienced a pregnancy loss, it is a silent grieving process even among couples. When there was no heartbeat, I asked how long ago did it stop. The doctor told us maybe a week or more. There was very little growth from the last visit. I chose to take the pills and induce my body to remove my lifeless pregnancy. This was a Friday. And I took the pills that weekend and by Monday I was back at work. Life did not stop. There was no pause. There was no reset button. Plus my eldest son’s birthday was in a week and we decided to move forward with plans for a small get together and a trip to the aquarium.

I look back now and I think I wanted to stay distracted to not focus on what just happened. In our society, we live in the fast lane, working 60+ hours, trying to make that money to enjoy a better life. But when will that ever happen if we cannot slow down and just breathe? On his birthday we went to the aquarium and we were rushing to get back home to be there when the first guest arrived, but we needed to pick up the pizza and the cake. By the time we got to the house, I was completely overstimulated and exhausted and my husband exploded and I went upstairs and just started to cry. Our family and friends were downstairs, unaware of the hurt I was hiding and my husband found me and through the tears I told him how I felt in that moment. We held each other and in our pain we found strength to go back downstairs and celebrate my son’s 2nd birthday.

During this quarantine I realized that we cannot go back to the old normal. We must be able to redefine and modify our existence to address the everyday human realities that we encounter like pregnancy loss. We should be able to grieve. We should be able to take bereavement. We should be able to afford fertility treatment. It is important that we reveal our truths during this time. All the energy it takes to “hide” parts of our lives are now exposed. Our vulnerabilities are uniting us. Our creativity is moving us forward. For me writing and drawing are wonderful outlets to give a voice to an experience or emotion. Taking pictures and videos capture the now and can speak to me differently at each viewing. During this time, it is a challenge to grieve without physical touch, but let’s use our other senses to express our feelings and capture the hearts of many and stay connected. For positive change to happen, we must be accountable for each other. We must take care of each other. We must embrace our joys and heartache together and recognize that when we bind together, our collective strength can move mountains.

 

 

 

Category : Tracy , Volunteer Bloggers


  • 0

Pregnancy After Loss: A Letter from Quarantine 

Dear Baby,

Today is my 30th consecutive day of self-quarantine. With the exception of OB appointments and socially distant walks around the neighborhood, both of your parents have spent the last month inside and away from anyone who could potentially spread Coronavirus to our family. It is boring and hard and isolating, but it is imminently worth it.

With our last four pregnancies, we lost our babies not due to anything we did or didn’t do. There was nothing to be done, no action that could keep them safe and sound. With COVID-19, there is something we can do. We can follow social distancing rules – or the extreme version of them necessary for those at increased risk – and do our best to keep you safe in the midst of a global pandemic. It isn’t pleasant, but we are lucky enough to be able to avoid exposure and the potential for complications, no matter how small.  We are taking our first actions as parents in your best interest and putting your needs over our own wants.

This might not be enough. We know of course that regardless of these precautions that we might lose this pregnancy – lose you. The thought is terrifying. But if we do, we will know that we did everything we could to ensure your safety. It is the very least we can do for you.

Pregnancy after loss is hard enough in the best of times. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t hold any resentment about the circumstances and timing of my pregnancy with you. Why now, after nearly 4 years of trying, does our successful pregnancy have to fall during such a challenging and fraught time? In my less graceful moments it feels like a set-up, a personal attack designed to rob me of any joy. We may miss out on a lot of milestones I have dreamed about for far too long: a baby shower surrounded by loving family and friends, professional infant photos, and family visiting us in the hospital to meet you for the first time. But regardless, I am determined to do what I can.

So for the foreseeable future here I am, in our home, alone with my wife and our little family. Hunkering down away from our loved ones in order to keep you as safe as possible. While we can’t know what the future holds, we are hoping to welcome you joyfully in October into a changed but healing world.

Love always,

Mama

Category : Meredith , Volunteer Bloggers


  • 0

Life is Still Happening

This month marks the one year anniversary of the loss of Baby Addis #3. In the midst of COVID-19 and the rocky state of the world, I wondered if I had any place to mourn or grieve our baby. To be honest, my heart felt a little guilty for being sad and that guilt turned into anger…… why can’t I remember and mourn the loss of our precious one? Why must my heart stop loving?

As I prayed this morning and listened to worship music from online church services – I realized….. the enemy wants life to stop, worship to stop, praying to stop, gathering to stop…..but life doesn’t stop. Our hearts aren’t going to stop loving, grieving and holding on to HOPE. We aren’t going to stop gathering and uniting together for Christ’s name! And God doesn’t stop meeting us where we are.

This isn’t going to be a long blog. I just wanted to encourage you to keep loving. Keep hoping. And yes, keep grieving and healing. YOU have permission to think of your loss. You have permission to grieve your loss. You have permission to love. You have permission to desire human contact when we’re asked to avoid it. Don’t allow the enemy to make you feel guilty for these things. THIS is how God created you – to love, desire, grieve, need, hope, and gather. The truth of the matter is that LIFE is still happening. We can’t get so focused on the state of the world that we ignore LIFE or ignore how God is moving and working.

The flowers are still blooming. The birds are still singing. The earth is still shaking at the sound of His voice.

Stay safe. Lean into God during these uncertain times. And know that He is right there with you.

“I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:2

Category : Cryssie , Volunteer Bloggers


  • 0

Standing Tall Through it All

For the last 5 years, I have worked from home and in the beginning it was a big shift from office life, but as I gradually adjusted to this new norm, I used this opportunity to review my work habits. I finally came to terms that I am bad at time management and I cannot multitask. I also realized that after 15 years, I need to really think about what the next 10 to 20 years in my professional life will look like and its time for me to take control. For a long time, I have regretted some life choices and felt disappointed that I did not stay true to my childhood dreams. But I don’t believe in coincidences so how can I align my life’s past, present and future?

I believe that I must be proactive in my blessings. So last October, I finally made the decision to enroll in a Master’s in Health Administration online program. With the support of my husband, I juggle being a mom, a student and a full time employee (oh yes, and wife). After the first quarter, I learned a lot about myself as an adult student like I cannot study late at night because I am dead tired with a lingering headache in the mornings (how did I stay up for days during finals week in college???). But I fell rejuvenated in my passions. And I am starting to feel confident in my knowledge and submitted work. I still need to develop a better study routine and habit, but I do give myself a few days to write a few drafts before I submit my assessments. One step at a time.

With all this on my plate, having another child does cross my mind. It’s now or never. At 40 I am only adding more anxiety and risks to my plate. My mother told me the other day I should just relax and enjoy watching the boys grow up. And I thought, she is right. Life threw me a curve ball when I started my own family and I would never do anything different because it strengthened my relationship with my husband and gave us a testimony despite our miscarriage, so I believe that where I am in my life is exactly where I need to be so I will make the best, tastiest lemonade out of these lemons. My oldest son is a few months away from graduating from pre-kindergarten. My youngest son is growing into his own little person. God has truly found favor over my life and I will continue to believe in Him. I can breathe and be still in this calm.

Where I am today took a lot of detours. Before I met my husband, I attended a bible study on Experiencing God and it revealed to me that the most important relationship is my relationship with God because it mirrors my relationship with myself and others. This crushed me because I was not taking care of myself and the relationships around me were in turmoil. I could no longer be aloof but actively present in my own destiny and instead of fear, have faith that I can morph into God’s adorned purpose for my life. Time is not against us, but works with us. Use it to your advantage and do what you have always wanted to do. Make that career change. Trust your inner talents and pick up a paintbrush and start creating your masterpiece. Share with the world your passions. Share your story. Your rebirth can help someone desperately waiting on proof that strength, patience and endurance can change the course of one’s life.

In tragedy and loss, I have learned that there are so many emotions that can either fuel us to action or paralyze us in place. Every emotion is important and as painful as it may be we need to embrace them all. We need to grieve and keeping moving. We need to cry and still console a friend. We need to laugh when watching our favorite sitcom. We need to listen when a loved one has a hard day. We need to pick up the phone and make connections. We need to breathe through the heartache. We need to keep moving to get to a brighter day and believe me they are there waiting for you.

Right now I am content and anxious about what upcoming opportunities are developing as I take control of my destiny’s narrative. I reflect on my pregnancy loss and how my recovery has led me here. I try to repurpose my pain into sharing my story and helping others around me to gain back a piece of my humanity. There will always be curve balls you will need to watch out for in life but how are you prepared to get through them? Are you going to panic and hide? Are you going to be selfish and hoard all the toilet paper? In times of hardship, our true selves will either shine or flicker. Right now is the time to show strength, compassion, integrity, and hope. We can no longer live with our heads down, but embrace our collective selves and build up our communities that are broken with poverty, homelessness, and hunger. We need to band together and promote women’s and reproductive health. We need to find our voice as citizens and demand better from our leaders. We cannot go back. We must move forward. Let’s take care of each other.

 

 

Category : Tracy , Volunteer Bloggers


  • 0

When Perfection Falls Short

For me, the worst part of miscarrying is feeling misunderstood. It goes without saying that my husband and I, like most couples, had no idea how to handle a miscarriage, especially how to grieve it. We weren’t sure who to tell, how to tell, or even how to talk about it with each other. It was kind of like the day after trying a new exercise activity and you discover “new” muscles from how sore they are. Each day we discovered new feelings because of how unfamiliar we were with exercising them.

Of course I felt tremendously sad and disappointed the moment we learned we had miscarried. I went on to pass our baby at home, which lasted about 5 days. It was horribly painful and every twinge compounded the sense of loss and hopelessness. But every so often, and intensifying with each day, resentment and indignation joined me.

Saying “I’m a planner” is an understatement. I’ve been characterized as Type A, anal retentive, high strung, perfectionist – you name it. And I’d have to agree. What people don’t see, though, is how those tendencies come from a deeply genuine, and well-meaning place. And how they can be just as, if not, more, painful for me than anyone else.

When I was a kid we didn’t get a regular allowance. We occasionally got $1 or $2 for doing extra little chores. Maybe $5 or $10 for doing big projects like cleaning out the entire refrigerator or washing our parents’ cars. Hey, that’s a really big project for an 8 year old. Any time we had money, my mom would get out my plastic accordion file organizer. The kind people use to store receipts or coupons. Each of us four girls had one of our own. She had labeled the divider tabs with budgeting categories: Saving, Giving, and Spending. When I exchanged my dollar bill with dimes from her change purse, I put one dime in saving, one dime in giving, and the last eight in spending. All I had to do, then, was wait.

My sisters and I responded four very different ways to this budgeting practice instilled upon us. I just happened to be the one who wholly and emphatically subscribed to it. I believed this to have a black and white, right or wrong, good or bad way of being done. I decided that if I budgeted this way forever I would be a good and right person. And because I would be such a responsible person who always had money saved, I would never be found unprepared. I thought if I followed every rule perfectly, I would not only be able to handle anything but life would have no choice but to deal fairly with me in return. I transcribed this belief into almost every other aspect of my life. It’s unfortunate how severely I interpreted a wise practice meant only to be a guide.

Fast forward to 2017 and my husband and I have been married 2 and a half years. Marriage had been (and still is) such a gift. We had fun together and loved learning about each other. We were energized by the challenge to merge our lives and create a new rhythm. And we were, finally, both personally emotionally and mentally ready to be parents. To top it off, even though we don’t rake in the big bucks, my compulsive saving habits had their first true moment of glory. I had saved three months of my salary for maternity leave and my insurance’s out-of-pocket maximum.

In December of 2017 we decided to stop preventing pregnancy. That small step was equally beautiful as it was scary. Nothing made us feel more like a real team. And all we had to do, then, was wait.

I found out and told my husband I was pregnant on June 28, 2018. We miscarried on August 4th. We were advised to wait a few months before trying again but, in the very few words we could handle to hear out loud, we both said we’d need more than a few months to try again.

Grieving the loss of our first child was, and is, hard because we lost the 3rd member of our team. It was the first being we both loved with all the intensity and joy in ours. It was intensely physically painful and brought emotional pain I never could have fathomed beforehand.

And along with all of that, it exposed and shattered and upended my understanding of me. Everything I thought I knew about life and myself was up in the air now.

Some people do feel 100% ready to be a parent. They waited and prepared in every way they knew how. And sometimes they’re more upset that their trusted traditions and belief systems seem to have crashed and burned. Sometimes hearing condolences for the child who is lost is lacking because life itself has forsaken them.

Category : Angela , Volunteer Bloggers


Welcome!

If you’ve come to this blog, it likely means you have suffered a pregnancy loss of some type. We are so sorry you have found yourself here, but hope the stories of life after loss can help you on your road to healing and recovery. Remember, we are all in this together!

This site contains affiliate links & TTH may receive commission for purchases made through these links.

Recent Comments

Archives

Categories