Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Nutrition: Eating to Live

It’s Day 56 of the miscarriage. And, hallelujah, I’ve begun spotting. I started yesterday. And what a difference a day and a week make after losing so much blood in that last push to rid my body of pregnancy tissue. In celebration, today I went to belly dance class. I’ve been thinking a lot about being blessed to be in this age, as far as care and feeding go on this healing journey. We know so much now, and are privy to so much information in regards to health, wellness, and nutrition. Please join me on the ramble through my mind. I know people have been curious about what our athletic family eats as mostly vegetarians (sometimes vegans who every now, okay, once a week crave meat and every day crave cheese). So I’ll share.  

Technically, they did my blood work prior to the additional hours of fast blood loss, and from what I’ve read it takes a while for your body to realize it’s anemic. So, even if you’ve lost a lot of blood at once, the labs don’t reflect reality right away. I was bloated from the IV and my body replacing the lost blood volume with the water and electrolytes I’d been drinking for 2 or 3 days. Then it sort of realized that it’s not quite at homeostasis, and then that’s when I noticed it with feeling weak and having no (not little) energy as well as decreased blood pressure and dizziness a few days later.

I’ve approached my healing and recovery a little like the assessment you take upon exiting the water on a triathlon. In a triathlon you run into the water, swim, and as you’re running to your gear, and slipping your bike shoes on as you run, clip in, and take off for the bike portion of the race you assess how to fuel your body and grab gear to help you through the bike leg of the race. What feels good and what hurts?, am I hungry, do I need gel, water, or tape? And off you go. Except I’m really slow right now, so my situational awareness scan lets me philosophize too, joy of joys.

Maybe it’s from being a cyclist and triathlete at the Naval Academy—and those endurance athlete days…, but my body just isn’t happy unless it’s moving. And the last eight days about did me in emotion-wise. If my body can be worked out 2 hours a day, then I’m in heaven. Veritably I feel as if I’m walking on water. Just kidding, I hope I didn’t offend anyone. I just understand my body best and what I need to eat when I’m fueling for workouts.

Before the miscarriage, belly dance Wednesdays was my active “rest” day for the week. Deciding to go today was big—I know that lifting is still out, so is Zumba, and so is a run. However, my body is craving movement. And, belly dancing is all about the hips, and the unilateral movement…yaddah yaddah. Really, I missed spending time with my friends, and being isolated was really doing a doozy on my emotional well-being.

Before I ramble on about nutrition—I digress. I love literature from the 17- and 1800s. Subsequently, I’ve been devouring the Outlander series since September---the 1000 plus page books (I’m on book 5 I believe) set in the late 1700s, ooh-la-la. There is a lot written in there about women and the complications of pregnancy. And, it’s actually been quite helpful in putting things into perspective for me.

Understanding natural childbirth—of which that’s been a journey for me—has led me to where I am now waiting out this natural miscarriage. Of this I know—both of my two previous miscarriages ended in emergency D&Cs, because I was losing too much blood too fast. In any other time, I most likely would not have survived. That is sobering.

Modern medicine is miraculous, but I think you also have to remember that birthing children is a normal, natural thing that women do—and many medical interventions are out of convenience, not necessity. As consumers of modern medicine we have to be informed and educated—after all we’re the ones that will live with the scars or trauma.

So back we go to last Tuesday. After 7 weeks of continuous bleeding, and careful medical monitoring—when I began filling 3 overnight pads within 2 hours—once my husband got back from the gym—off we went to the ER. And there I did a lot of bleeding, and getting monitored. My CBC was okay, I didn’t have clotting issues, and I wasn’t anemic, but my iron was borderline low. And, the doctor wanted to do a wait and see approach after the lovely internal pelvic exam.
Any visit to the ER can be traumatic, when you see blood splatting everywhere, when you lie there and you’ve soaked through everything and it’s going up your back, yup, a little scary. However, apparently, what I’ve been assimilating—this sudden blood loss is normal, like a mini-birth. It does need to be monitored, but does it need to be intervened? And, as the testing showed…I was still in the normal range. Holy cow, right?

Ok, so this is normal. It’s okay to be freaked out by the blood, and the OB joked that I was good at listening…, I came in right when I needed to be monitored. Ha ha ha, no. What gets me—as I read Outlander and “rest”—is that in earlier society if a woman was having a miscarriage like the one I’ve been having there’s 3 or 4 things that were different back then, and I think it’s actually for the better:

1—a woman could lie down and rest, if she had family and friends to take up the burden of her family responsibilities. Thank you ladies for the dinners. Thank you sooooo much. I am very grateful.

2—the art of mourning and wearing black; it not only indicates without speaking your period of grief, but allows you to go about your day subdued. You weren’t required to participate. You could listen to conversations and not have to be witty and join in—especially when your mind is miles away on what the heck is going on with your insides…, and as you grieve.

3—the blessing of not knowing. You could chalk it up to a heavy period. Except the continuous bleeding for 7 weeks, I’m sure there would have been leeching and blood-letting somewhere in there; which may have resulted in some complications. However, lots of old wives remedies…, still good today! But, again, you may be put to bed as people guessed at what was going on.

4—women are tough. If you didn’t have the luxury of idleness (very few of us did then, and many of us continue not to have this now…), then up and at ‘em. Think of the amazing women dropping babies in the rice paddies and fields. Hence, deciding to belly dance today, rather than waiting until next Wednesday.

Returning to the little chores and errands slowly over the last few days let me justify why I could begin working out again today. I’d like to think I’ve blended in some common sense by incrementally returning to activity. My body is conditioned to move. Therefore, my recovery will be better if I do what it’s accustomed to rather than staying inert and feeling off.  A lot of fueling your body with nutrient dense food relies on listening carefully to your intuition. It means being very intentional about what I’m doing and eating. And, probably more important during this period is to be at rest when my body says it needs to rest. That’s a hard lesson.

On the days I don’t work out, I’m lost in the sauce. I cannot figure out the caloric intake. All the yummy food friends have been forcing (just kidding—but it really is sooo good) us to eat and no workouts has meant losing muscle tone and weight gain—oh I love being a woman… Right now my life—like yours—is too busy, and I have no inclination to weigh food and count calories.

Bean counting doesn’t work, never has in the past when I’ve tried. And, anyways for me, since I’m still nursing—there really are no accurate calorie-for-calorie counters when you’re nursing—I’ve looked! And the 500 calorie a day increase they tell you to eat, honestly, is for when you’re nursing a newborn up to about 6 months, not nursing a pre-toddler.

No workouts since last Tuesday is huge, and I know from understanding depression, that the best thing is exercise to get your endorphins revved up. However, since I am still nursing and raising 2 little crazies—I need workouts not just to stave off depression, but for my sanity and to feel my soul.  As part of natural bereavement you have foggy thinking and low energy like with clinical depression. Moving your body also allows you to stay in the present moment; which also helps you to emotionally heal as well, because it’s life affirming. And, if I’m going to eat nutrient-dense food, I better start moving again!

I have my eye on 2 a days—and going back to aerial yoga, lots of running through my Zumba choreo, and long runs. I know this will keep me from falling head-first into a depressed puddle. I did that with my first miscarriage, we were devastated. Still are except we know the value of staying connected to our community, humor, and that it really is okay to have the crappy feelings and off days. Looking forward as I grieve, I’m choosing to focus on savoring my for now once a week long work-out days…and to look forward to them again more frequently once the boys are older. They don’t know it yet, but I’ve got big plans involving us and mountain bikes, skis, roller blades, running shoes, and rock climbing gear.
If not for family and friends…

Friends continued to bring dinner over for us over the weekend and the past 2 days, and I will say this—I firmly believe their kind intentions and nutrition-dense meals are what have helped me to bounce back from the blood loss. There is no way I had the energy to cook that way this past week. Sunday I tried a foray to the PX, and got nice and dizzy, fully believing that continued rest was for the birds. Then, Monday and Tuesday this week, I felt like a bag of smashed a$$.

I didn’t feel up to doing anything, and that is not me. I literally laid low. I wheeled our 30 pounder in his push car  to the bus stop so my kindergartener could be waved onto the bus, and then strolled the pre-todd into daycare from the car chuckling at our shuffling, then I climbed back into bed. On Monday it was a HUGE success just to scrub, wash, and cut all our raw veggies for the week. Writing thank you cards and taking containers back—those have been my other “activities,” which make me laugh, because in any other given day it’s not a big deal. That was Monday. Tuesday was a repeat, but I made it to the commissary to shop for groceries with Graysen in tow. He may have pulled out some of my hair, & I’m now officially balding, but we made it!

I may be a pro (definitely tongue in cheek) at this point in telling you what vegetables and legumes have the most iron, B vitamins, and magnesium (zinc, not so much—still learning)… Friends also reminded me to OD on the vitamin C when taking the lovely red iron tablets…to help in the iron absorption. Thanks for the reminder; I’d definitely blanked on that one. However, I started drinking a liver cleanse with blended parsley, chlorophyll, spinach, and black cherry juice…and added  3-5 drops of lemon doTERRA essential oil  to get more Vitamin C. Did you know your body can never get enough of Vitamin C—and in the presence of an abundance of Vitamin C; it’s hard for your body to get sick. If I correctly recall, Vitamin C is one of the only vitamins you can safely overdo without side effects. Which was (is?) a real concern to me in the last few days, because of the sepsis threat and dizziness is one of the first symptoms of sepsis.

Upon deciding to do belly dance this morning based on how whacky my energy was yesterday, I began fueling my body the way I know best—as if I’m getting ready for a workout. This morning I was so excited when I glanced at my Vega protein shake with almond milk’s nutrition information. I knew it made me feel great, but it also has really high levels of both iron and magnesium. A friend had suggested (thanks Christine!) I focus on magnesium intake too—so I had ramped that up in the past day—and that seemed to really make a difference, in addition to increasing my B vitamin intake (hello kombucha and lipovitan!). I did have coffee…(I know—good for you or not?) and a vegetarian “sausage” pattie on a piece of unbromated sourdough so I wouldn’t get shaky. Then, before the class I added Vega pre-workout to my water.

My lunch today (see pic below) was a 15-bean veggie soup (thanks C), doTERRA vitamins  (took other half before breakfast to give my body time to absorb), iron tab, my fav red and yellow beets, hydrating with my liver cleanser and a few sips of kombucha (Bs, antioxidants, and enzymes).
Skinny pop popcorn as a mid-day snack and a malta goya (thanks F)! I’ve taken Fenugreek for nursing, but had never heard of this for energy (and to increase milk production). 

My 20-month old is up!! And 6 year old is home from school. Back to work!! 

And for dinner we had yummy leftovers!  Some more 15 bean veggie soup; lots of raw veggies—beets, carrots, cucumber, avocado, and celery; along with a bowl of Thai noodles, cilantro and veggies (thanks L!); and then some vegetarian “chik’n.” [If you’re curious Alex also had more of the “chik’n,” hummus, and cheese pizza—this guy EATS!)

Reading through this with G on my lap..., I admit he hand fed me his trail mix--so I got in more nuts (protein and fat whoopee!) and raisins (iron!!). Totally unexpected. But I saw without any tagging of keywords almost 400 people have read the previous posts, so I guess someone is interested?

And although our pumpkin from Halloween is staring at me—we didn’t have the chutzpah to carve it earlier I wonder why--I'll have to save harvesting the seeds for magnesium until tomorrow.

After writing everything I ate..., that's a lot! Now you know why I like working out, especially lifting weights...shoot! In all honesty though when i don't workout it's either just the Vega shake in place of chewing food breakfast, or no Vega that day--which is where the superb nutrition comes in to place. On the days I do heavier cardio & lifting for 1-2 hours I also have energy gels, electrolytes, post-recovery drink,. and either a bar or shake (all Vega) as well. Complicated? 

After A's hockey, we're in the home stretch for bedtime routines. whew! Peace, love, & blessings to you.

Friday, November 14, 2014

On Being Comfortable with Grief

Despite grief I choose to find joy and marvel in the beauty every day  that I've been given another day to celebrate a life well lived.
Our 6th baby in my belly~last night together

Thank you dear friends for all of the warm meals, tokens left on our porch, emails, text messages, private messages throughout the last couple of weeks, and upon reading my post yesterday. Sharing something so hidden and private any time you do it is hard. I was terrified. However, I've learned that whenever I've been vulnerable to others in the past it has allowed that sacred space for others to do two things: (1) to help (because we all want to be needed) and (2) to be open too. There is great risk, but to me it is worth it, because I really believe we all need each other. Heaven knows I'm not a talker (thank you introversion...), but being able to express myself through dance and the written word helps me to stay connected and contribute to the common good. From the heartfelt notes, I know the right people are reading my ramblings and finding some kind of peace with their hurts as well.

Self-care is always important with mothers with children of any age (fathers--this goes for you too, but sometimes as women who like nurturing everyone else before they attend to their own needs...this is targeted even more so at you to give yourself permission to have alone time to repair your spirit!!). And, ladies with angel babies and no warm bundles in your arms yet, you are STILL a momma. In times of stress--whether it's brought on by external or internal factors--self-care is critical to our well-being & how easy it will be to weather the storm. Every baby we've lost the time it's taken to grieve has been different. And, throughout the next few weeks I'll write more about what did an didn't work for us, especially because I know some friends are experiencing the freshness of their miscarriages at the same time I'm going through it myself.  

In the weeks of utter despair belly dancing has been one of my saving graces. Despite the daily bleeding, anytime I handle my veils or belly scarves--it brings a delighted smile to my face, because I know what awaits once I get to put my bells on and let go.

Every time I'm able to come together with these other strong women--we celebrate what it is to be a woman. We've learned how to bare our bellies riddled with the battle scars of childbirth together. We've marveled together at how it has healed the trauma of c-sections, of being ashamed of our belly poofs, and becoming comfortable in our new skins again. A very astute teacher told us--bellydancing is not for the pleasure of men. It is for women. It helps us bond and it helps us appreciate the miracle of life our bodies are capable of nurturing for 9 months in the womb. And then for however long we breastfeed our babies--it helps us be comfortable with our now even droopier mammaries. We've learned to toss them to and fro; to shimmy them, and make them go in circles & you can't do that with perky double A's or B's now can you from 10 years ago? It lets us laugh, blow off steam, and come back to our selves.

The picture above my husband took as I tried out my new blue belly dance skirt--I was hoping to use it this Wednesday in bellydance. One of the things I've done each day of this miscarriage is to take moments throughout the day to seek and imprint a thing of beauty in my mind that doesn't have to do with my bambinos--because face it they do some very cute things 10-20 times a day. Things I've focused on to make it a good day are: savoring a sunset with friends talking outside up at the park, admiring a friend's henna hair color, the flags waving smartly outside, a warm cup of coffee with my best friend sitting right next to me (we're finally back in the same time zone!!). Sadly, on Veteran's Day there were other plans in store for our family. I'm still trying to come to terms with the trauma of so much blood lost all at once, and with it our sixth baby.

Miscarrying is a sad process. However, I'm comfortable with miscarrying naturally (even though it's been ridiculously long--I've had the support of the OB, and constant monitoring--so I can trust this journey too to heal from our earlier emergency D&Cs from our first baby, and our twins) as well as this grieving process. I know that in times of great sadness beauty still exists. And, that I have the choice of how long I want to feel the despair. Bottling it up is no good. That will come back and bite you in the butt. We've got to feel this vast array of hurt and pain to move through it to the other side. Finding a thing of beauty and enJOYing it each day during the miscarriage helps me see the big picture that the dark cloud hanging over us right now--it will go away, and it is not permanent. This is just a time in our life where we can reach out for help, we can hunker down and cuddle, and we can appreciate the abundance we do have in a new light.

I'm thankful friends understand I'm writing from a place of strength and comfort--not from a place of fear or wanting pity. That's not part of my make-up, although I could really use some good under-eye cover up right now--I'm looking like I'm carrying too many dark bags...

My husband asked me why I couldn't just write through this grief for myself. It's not about me. Miscarriage affects 1 in 3 women. It's a part of our life. It has made me an even stronger, more empathetic, and compassionate person. I agree with friends who've commented that for the people uncomfortable with anything other than positive feel-good emotions--it may be because they are hurting themselves--and they don't know how to face it, let alone express it, or talk about it.

The real reason I shared this fresh loss was to let others know it's going to be okay. That we need to open up dialogue so we can be there for one another to take care of each other's hearts that are hurting. This too shall pass.

A few friends privately wrote that they are going through miscarriages right now, that they've just had a D&C, that they had a miscarriage long ago.I was happy also to see some of my male friends say that now they understand better what their wives went through. Even if you've never had a miscarriage, I'm almost positive you have some friends (and family) that have experienced miscarriage, they've just never told you. So please feel free to share these posts with friends and family--on facebook, through email, etc.

Our youngest is calling for nummies and and hugs!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Chronicles of My Miscarriages

The question is when do I get to finish grieving for the life that would have been that just died inside of me? I've been bleeding for 51 days from this miscarriage--and it hasn't stopped yet.

In our society telling anybody except your close family and friends that you are having a miscarriage is still considered to be ill advised. By whom though? Mostly by unsympathetic people who do not want to be bothered by actual introspection about how our hearts really feel as we go about our day to day activities. A miscarriage is considered no big deal. It is not a big deal, except by maybe the woman still with pregnancy hormones circulating through her body as it tries to rid itself of what doctor's term unwanted tissue.

Very vividly at the beginning of my marriage during our first pregnancy I recall a close family member being horrified that we were telling family we were pregnant before we’d gotten past the magic 12 week, first trimester, race ribbon. Oh to be young and na├»ve again. When I pick up those early pregnancy pictures hidden away in my jewelry box with my treasures, a shy smile still comes to my lips as I recall how excited we were to have a new life inside of me. We were in the military and moving from the East Coast back to my home state of Alaska when we decided to tell family as we visited them on our cross-country drive. Isn’t this joy something we should be able to share with those we love? (I’ll get into the trauma of this miscarriage later—because it involved several middle-of-the-night emergency room visits and ended in an emergency D&C , because I was bleeding too much, too fast.  And the grieving from this miscarriage at a new post, far removed from any close friends or family?) My husband and I heavily leaned on one another as we strived daily to make it appear that everything was just fine in our lives. Five pregnancies later what we've found is that we share our early pregnancy joy with the people in our lives who care.

If you’ve never lived on a military post in housing, then I’m not sure how to explain being surrounded by new babies and pregnant women. It feels a little Stepfordish at times, especially when you don’t have a close heart friend yet, because all of the “how are you doings?” are out of nicety, not real concern. And, God forbid, if you answer, “I feel like shit,” will you get someone to stop and choose to listen to why you're heart is aching. Instead, so often you see a smile pasted on their face, as they nod their head and turn back to the conversation with their “friend” about how tired they are of the cold and shoveling snow. Unfortunately, now with our third miscarriage—and the loss of our fourth angel baby—it’s no better living on post now. We are blessed this time to have been at this post for a half a year, and I've found my heart friends to share the burden of this mess. They've been here to help with my kids and bring us meals as we struggle through these up and down days. But I still have to interact with all of the other people whom we know on post, and I'd be lying if I didn't admit that it's difficult to even carry-on mundane conversations. 

At first I had the insulation of caring for our then 18month old (he just turned 20 months last week), our six year old, and my daily effort of hour and a half workouts. In the 48 days of continuous bleeding after that long night of initial heavy bleeding when we thought I'd passed all the tissue, every morning I'd wake up hoping this was the last day of bleeding. Throughout this time I've strived while I bled daily to be as I usually am: strong and in love with the complexities of daily life. I've went about mothering, working out, and day-to-day activities with a smile pasted on my face. Only my husband, close friends, mom, and mother-in-law knew what was really going on beneath this false facade. After the ER trip on day 49 of miscarrying though--my physcial weakness has led me to this point. There really is something going on and it hurts. I need to write and paint in the spare time when my kids are not here to grieve and acknowledge that the life that was inside of me was real. And, that it is a big deal to us.

I’ve now been bleeding for a continuous 51 days. 

In terms of understanding exactly what this means lets extrapolate these abstract numbers to help drive home the point—that’s going on 8 weeks of bleeding. Post-partum after a live birth is 40 days when you should take it easy. However, this is a miscarriage. This miscarriage was the earliest yet—at 6.5 weeks. No big deal, right? With the birth of my two boys, I recall bleeding for much of the 40 days. But that’s a good bleeding, and a return of your womb to its former small, compact state. Want more numbers? I’ve been changing pads 4 to 6 times a day for 51 days. This means I’ve went through between 204-306 pads. What size pads? Both regular and overnight pads. Regular sized hold about 5mL and overnight’s hold 10mLs. Here’s a secret that I’d never tell my doctor—sometimes I had to wear tampons too with pads just because of the heaviness of the flow. And this doesn't account for the night of sitting on the toilet on September 24th. Nor for the previous bleeding on September 21st. That's a lot of waddling about in pads.

I think I’ve decided to start writing about this latest experience, because not enough is written about natural miscarriage. Both of my previous miscarriages ended in emergency (i.e., not scheduled) D&C’s. They were emergency, because I was gushing blood and clots filling an overnight pad in less than an hour for a few hours in a row. I thought I was going to avoid the trauma of the emergency room this go round. I felt more prepared to handle all of the blood, because I am secure in the knowledge of my body's strength to birth naturally without medication or interventions.

Sunday, September 21st, during my son’s sixth birthday party I began bleeding. I was six weeks pregnant, and my two close friends at his party already knew of the pregnancy. In the last 8 weeks I have been to the hospital 2 to 3 times a week for HCG blood titers and ultra-sounds. That’s about 20 visits to the hospital, because of the chaos inside my body for this baby—when in the last two years the only time I’ve been in was for my children’s vaccinations, well-baby, and well-child exams. We’re a very healthy family and rarely get sick. I don’t count those first few hours as part of this miscarriage, because they weren’t. I saw and heard our baby’s heartbeat after that second blood draw during that first ultrasound. My HCG count was continuing to go up, 51,000 to be exact, and the only thing of concern was the subchorionic hematoma.

During my youngest son’s pregnancy I taught and did Zumba 6 days a week (yoga on the 7th day) up until the week before his birth when I had switched to water running and swimming 4 days a week with 1 day of Zumba, 1 of yoga, and 1 rest day that week. Before realizing I was pregnant with this last pregnancy my workouts consisted each week of: 1-2 hours of heavy resistance training 6 days a week, along with 2-3 Zumba workouts, and bellydance on my rest day. All I was told after seeing our baby’s heart beating when they discovered the subchorionic hematoma was I needed to back down a little on the heavy lifting. No more 35 lb single bicep curls, or 115 lb decline bench presses. So I backed off the really heavy lifting, and threw in some aerial yoga and a massage to help with stress management. I attribute my mostly vegetarian (I eat meat maybe 1x/week) diet, daily exercise, use of doTERRA essential oils, and Vega workout products as the reason why I'm not anemic throughout this ordeal.

After heading to the emergency room two days ago and losing over a liter of blood within a few hours, I am writing about this miscarriage. It is a big deal. I’m still bleeding. My miscarriage is not over, even though I started miscarrying 51 days ago. However, I do believe as the nurse was cleaning up the blood that was spattered on the floor, the rivulets of blood that had run down my legs, and changed the bedding and hospital gown twice because of bleeding through it—despite hospital grade granny panties and pregnancy pads…that amidst all those quarter and golf-ball sized clots—I saw what they call, “tissue.” That was our baby in its embryonic sac. After nursing our 20 month old at about 3am this morning, I sat up in bed wide-eyed realizing without a doubt, that gray globby human tissue amongst the dark maroon and black hunks of clots--that was the beginning of a life that we can now start grieving. 

How do I know for sure? Every wipe and every dark blob that settles down in the pot everytime I'm in the bathroom I've had to look at---for 51 days. I know the difference between a clot and tissue now. And, most likely, it's why I'd bled for so long. Once the baby's heartbeat stopped, my uterus began the work of sloughing off to get the "other" tissue out. All my HCG counts each week, ultra-sounds & cervix checks (I'm so over internal ultra-sounds and uterus checks by the OB) have shown that my body is doing what it's designed to do in a miscarriage. Lucky for me instead of taking less than 2 weeks or so...I'm one of those "other" cases where it just takes a lot longer.

I’m writing today, because my husband has had to take off work these last two days to help get my son ready to get on the bus for school. I’m writing, because my now 20 month old is in daycare for a few hours and my husband took him, because I’m too weak to lift him. I can't lift my kids, my dog, or clean the house, or workout. Normally I'd power through the pain. However, today I'm taking the time to sit and write through the physical pain. So I can continue healing. Even though I haven't stopped bleeding yet. 

I’m writing, because of my weakness. My weakness in not being able to go about my normal daily activities of taking care of my men by feeding, cleaning, and loving them. I’m writing, because it hurts too much to go to the bus stop in the morning and stand with indifferent moms—some pregnant, some with newborns, some not. I’m writing, because I hope in my weakness of wanting to be able to share my heart and be transparent with the pain I’ve been keeping bottled up it will help others grieve their own losses, or help others who’ve never had to go through the tragedy of a miscarriage to understand that it is a big deal. The loss of life and of dreams to come, it matters. 

Now do you understand that when I ask you how you are doing today, I really do want to know? I want you to know I understand loss. It can cripple you at first, but breathing through it and being okay with the pain, even though it hurts--that weakness--I am here with you to help you be strong. It is a beautiful life, mess and complications included. 

The Basic Ways We Change

There are three ways in which we can actively monitor ourselves so that we may change how we interact with our surroundings:

(1) Thoughts (cognitions)
(2) Feelings (emotions)
(3) Actions (behaviors)

When you are in traditional counseling sessions--the counselor uses a variety of theories that typically focus on one of these areas to help you make changes in your life. In the best case scenario the theory that the counselor is using is based on their training background/when they received their masters degree, as well as what the current trend is based upon research on the effectiveness of the theories in actual practice. However, we won't delve too deeply into theories and understanding methodology, because this site is educational and for you to understand more of how you work.

The activities that are posted and linked on this blog are to help give you immediate tools to begin actively reorganizing how you interact with your thoughts, feelings, and actions.

People that are aware that they can use their feelings and thoughts to influence their actions are able to control what happens to them. Novel idea? This is because they recognize that they can influence their outcomes based on identifying the emotions they are feeling, then choosing what thoughts they would like to focus on, and then putting it in to action.

Latest Research on the Impact of Marriage on Family Life

This week check out your skills on how much you know about how marriage impacts family life.

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