Remembering Each of My Miscarriages
Dates mean remembering. Even when our cognitive brains don’t remember an important anniversary, our hearts do the remembering. Feeling sad and looking to see why.
Birthday? Anniversary of a death? A loss of a relationship? Our feelings show us the way, remind us that there is a cycle. A year brings reminders as well as relief.
I remember each of my miscarriages. They were a long time ago. Loss and grief are not resolved by time, I’ve found that out the hard way. I am generally a happy person, I enjoy my life. My days are filled with fulfilling activities and purpose. The world invites me to notice and so I do. Birds, flowers, clouds, dewdrops. The big things in my life are foundationally correct, happy and secure. There is joy and there is contentment. The little things in life, I take notice of; every single day.
I am not a morbid person. I am not a pessimist. I am not one who wallows in self-pity. (Okay, I have my moments.) Still, autumn is a hard season for me. I love it. Perfect weather, not too hot or too cool yet. Lingering sun, colors and sweet moments. It could be my favorite season of all.
Except it holds memories that become reactivated, that cloud even sunny days. At least some days. Every fall is tinged with sadness that I fight valiantly against. Every fall I remember that a baby was to have been born in mid-September. I remember that there was another baby conceived in early October, also never born.
Those babies are my company on a walk sometimes. Present in how the sun hits the stems of the Black-eyed Susans. I struggle with the dilemma of pushing away these thoughts and honoring these little lives that never came to be. Do I just let myself feel how I feel? Do I look at the beauty and know that it reflects out how my babies might have lived their lives?
There are certain awarenesses that I cannot push away. How old these babies would now be. How tall they might have become. What their sense of humor might have been like. These questions and thoughts come unbidden, unasked for, when I see a person who might have looked like them. Or when I see a first star in the earlier evening sky.
Memories of Fertile Hopes and Joys
I remember when the leaves start to change, what my dreams were all those years ago. I remember myself, as a younger person, so happy to be expecting these lovelies. The fertile hopes and dreams. I feel the pain less and the echo of the joy much more now.
I honor these babies that never arrived on the earth. I honor myself as that younger person, full of pain and sorrow. I remember that I am that person still. That time has continued to spiral around, cycle around so that we are experiencing autumn once more.
I honor you, going through your losses and experiencing your pain.
I honor your strength.
Your ability to continue.
As I honor my own ability to continue.
May we all feel peace, shanti.
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Struggling to See Fall Beauty During Fertility Treatment
It’s sometimes difficult to see the beauty in the month of November in New England. The flaming trees of fall have released their leaves, the white covering of snow has yet to arrive and the green of the summer has faded into memory.
November is stark, stripped down and bare. Even desolate.
The skeletons of the trees are apparent in their nakedness. Without the adornment of their leaves, they seem more vulnerable and yet sturdier.
In the last year of my struggles with fertility treatment, had I drawn a self portrait, I would have drawn a maple tree in November. No leaves, trunk and branches transparent and obvious to all. It was a year that balance felt most accessible. My roots went deep into the earth; my relationships were steady, reliable and loving.
And without apology or excess explanation, I lived within my own life, even as I expanded. I neither shouted from the rooftops about my fertility treatment nor did I spend many moments finding ways to hide it, apologize for it or explain it.
Infertility: Part of My Life But Not All Of It
Infertility became part of my life and ceased to become my entire life. I went to concerts. I played racquetball. I ran 5K’s. I made plans and visited friends and family across the country. I addressed my food challenges and made changes that benefitted me. I laughed more and cried less.
Sometimes it’s harder to look outside in November and see the beauty of the day. It’s more subtle than other times of year. Looking closely though, you will be rewarded with the tiny bits of intense blues, reds, oranges and yellows. Of berries. Of grasses. Or trunk and branch colors. Nothing hides at this time of year.
You see the curvature of the earth, with the different angles and slopes, the rocks jutting out, the dips down to ponds and other bodies of water.
Everything down to its bare bones.
Living with Infertilty and Recognizing Choices
What I learned in my sixth year of living with infertility was that I had a life. It was my choice how fully I lived into it. It was my choice to take breaks or not. It was my choice to go on or stop.
Down to basics.
When to stop treatment.
I didn’t always like my choices. Sometimes it was one detestable choice or another. Still I had a choice. I always have a choice. My choices lie in how I see things.
I chose to look outside and glory in the starkness of November. I choose to see the beauty in everything stripped down to its basics; its skeleton.
It’s my choice in seeing beauty. Or not.
I choose to see the beauty.
Lisa Rosenthal's Google+
Infertility Support Heading Into Fall: Seasonal Musings
Labor Day is past. Technically, it's still summer, I know.
But although our seasons don't change until September 22, we see signs of autumn. Leaves turning, cooler mornings, green fading to khaki.
And school starting. The world starts its movements towards hibernating from the cold.
What does fall signal to you? A brief description of the equinox is below. The amount of daylight and night are approximately the same as we go through these seasonal changes.
The Autumnal Equinox: Easing Back Into Fertility Treatment
The Autumnal Equinox: The word equinox comes from the Latin words for "equal night." The fall and spring equinoxes are the only days of the year in which the Sun crosses the celestial equator.
Some of us take the summer off from fertility treatment. Give ourselves the break, enjoy the warmth and the freedom that comes from no coats and being outside easily, playfully.
I used to dream that the fall would bring a pregnancy. I looked forward to it. For even as I was taking my summer break, infertility was there. Peering over my shoulder in the guise of pregnant bellies and newborns being snuggled. The fertile world did not stop while I took a break from fertility treatment.
If I could have had a summer dream, that would have been it.
That the world stopped, in just that way.
That I could have lived in a fertile free zone.
No baby showers.
No birth announcements.
Wouldn’t that be cool?
Restaurants that were pregnancy free, where you could go to eat and relax and know that you would not have to see a belly?
I would have liked that.
I’ve always loved fall and struggled with the heat of the summer.
The lushness, the green, astounding fertility of the summer though, I got that. There were moments that I felt it mocked me, in its lushness and full, unbridled exuberant growth.
Where I live, it’s green. Green everywhere. Almost claustrophobic green; growing up trees and across phone wires. Growing in every crack, from every speck of dirt.
Perhaps I felt comforted in the waning of the summer. It certainly felt like work time for me. Time to buckle down and get serious. There’s something very unserious about summer.
Fall, on the other hand, invites musings, such as these.
And long walks. And apple cider. And crisp mornings. And yes, gorgeous, glorious colors on the trees. Birds migrating.
Time for bringing focus back to fertility treatment.
Lots of ways we can help. Look at the calendar of our CT fertility events and attend a meeting, a seminar, a peer support group.
If it’s back to treatment, we are here for you.
Lisa Rosenthal's Google+
Infertility Support: Breathing Exercises
Getting back into the swing of things with the summer rolling along. With or without children, it seems that we gravitate to the fall as the start of the new year. The summer is a time of relaxation, vacation, time off. And as the weather turns cooler, often we have a renewed determination to move forward.
Moving forward looks different depending on who you are, what your goals are and the feeling of the moment. Our feelings do come and go. Our hormones do help drive those feelings. One moment we feel hopeful, the next tearful. One moment we can take on the world, the next we can feel exhausted.
Here’s my only advice. Take it one breath at a time, which loosely translates into one moment at a time. Yes, I am a yoga teacher, so I think in terms of breath. Moments work too, but I find the idea of breath sustaining, nourishing and gratifying. We all rely on our breath, just sometimes we are more aware of it than other times.
How to Access Optimal Breathing
Read below for a few other opinions on optimal breathing from a holistic health coach:
Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) Function and the Breath
The ANS has the job to perceive the internal environment and - after processing the information in the Central Nervous System - regulating the functions of the internal environment . . . Autonomic implies “independent” of the conscious mind. The ANS is likened to a team of horses. It will follow the leader. The breath is the only part of the ANS that is consciously controllable so we put the breath as lead horse and the rest of the team will follow.
WHO IS IN YOUR DRIVER’S SEAT?
Due to breathing’s potential dominance of the autonomic nervous system anything you do 5,000 to 30,000 times a day or two to five hundred million times per life time will influence you positively or negatively in many ways.
Your breathing can be out of control like a blind three year old child trying to drive an automobile down a straight road. Or it can be a balanced combination of skillful and spontaneous action that propels, and guides you towards the directions in life that you most care to go. Life seems to be varying degrees of the two extremes. Which end of the spectrum most resembles YOUR life?
Stress Relief Tips with Deep Breathing
Psychology Today has these stress relief tips in their article about how to remain calm during uneasy times with breathing, deep breathing.
Deep-breathing. It's remarkable how we can use this basic life function to keep our minds clear in a crisis. There's no excuse not to learn deep breathing, ever. It costs nothing. It requires no special equipment. And you can do it anywhere, any time. Deep breathing has a direct calming effect on the nervous system, so much so that it relaxes the muscles of artery walls and measurably lowers blood pressure.
Here's one very simple way of deep-breathing. Put your tongue on the roof of your mouth just behind your front teeth. Breathe in slowly through you nose to the count of five. Hold your breath to the count of seven. Then exhale slowly and audibly through pursed lips to the count of eight. If you put you hands to your abdomen you can feel it rise as you inhale. By the fourth exhale, you should feel noticeably relaxed. By the tenth, renewed.
Maybe try it this weekend. Start, really, from the beginning, even if you are an experienced yogi. Being conscious of our breath. After all, ever wonder how many breaths does a person average each day? We breathe, on average, over 17,000 times a day. Most of those breaths we do not notice, nor do we need to. But a few times a day, especially when in need of calming or soothing, perhaps take note of your breath.
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