Monday, January 24, 2011

Genders Grieve Differently

I realized really quickly after our first miscarriage how differently Ferrari and I grieved. Men most definitely grieve faster and quieter. I often kept thinking to myself, did this affect him at all. The important thing to realize is that losing a baby does affect men. They hurt like us women hurt, but they just show it differently.
I am so glad I understand this now, because it definitely hurt my feelings while we were going through it the first time. I know other women who have lost babies know exactly what I'm talking about. After our first miscarriage, I think it scared Ferrari how upset I was on a daily basis. I literally cried all day every day for a few weeks. It was a terrible way to live for those few weeks, and I honestly think it scared Ferrari. He didn't know what to do or say to fix my problems. Now, knowing men like to fix our problems, this must have driven him crazy. Of course I didn't understand this is how we was feeling back then, instead it offended me when he would beg me to stop crying and put some make-up on. He wanted nothing more than for me to be healed and move on. However, that is not what I felt like doing. I wanted to cry, I needed to cry.
Today, I am aware that there should be a time limit on how much I cry in one day. Otherwise, I will end up spiraling out of control and too depressed to move forward. As a mommy who has now lost four babies, I can honestly say that there are just going to be those days for the rest of my life in which I just feel like crying. God gave us the ability to cry for a reason, and I believe crying is therapeutic. A good cry can help me get through what feelings I'm having that day. Have you ever noticed, that once you are done crying your eyes out; aside from the splitting headache, emotionally you feel better!
I also want to encourage anyone that is going through their first loss. Your hubby may not completely understand how you're feeling and why you are grieving the way you are. However, the best thing to do is communicate with your spouse. Explain to him why you don't move on as fast as he does. A healthy grieving process is going to take a while for us women. We have a lot to process. If you don't deal with your grief up front, it will come up again in the future. As long as you keep communicating with your spouse and understanding where he is coming from; your grief processes can work together. Having the ability to lean on your spouse on your bad days and be his sounding board when he needs someone to listen- is the best equation to healthy grieving as a couple. Understanding each other is a necessity! Don't worry if he is moving faster than you in his grief, chances are he is trying to be strong for you and is just grieving silently. For anyone who is grieving without a spouse for support, I urge to find someone or a support group to lean on. No one should have to grieve alone! I meet with a great support group for women here in AZ, and if you want the information I would be delighted to pass it on to you!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Tale of Consideration

I have been asked on more than one occasion how you should tell your friend that has lost a baby that you're pregnant. From past experiences, I have learned there are some ways that hurt more than others. So, I hope I can help. Keep in mind that everyone is different too, so what works for me may not be the best for everyone else.
I always prefer to hear that someone is pregnant from the horse's mouth. It may be extremely difficult to tell someone that has lost a baby that you are pregnant because you don't want to upset them. However, it is way more upsetting when you run into this pregnant friend months down the road when she has a huge belly and you had no idea she was even pregnant. This has happened to me on more than one occasion and each time I have had a complete breakdown. It definitely hurts more when you are slapped in the face with it!
I also encourage you to tell this friend of yours in a not so public place. There is a big chance that she will shed a few tears, and not everyone likes crying in public. I love being told when I am in the comfort of my own home. I totally respect a phone call that is solely meant to let me in on their news. It is easier to take in the news while I'm at home with Ferrari and I can cry for a few minutes then lay in his arms in the quiet of our home just the two of us. This is a more therapeutic way to get through the news, I can cry, talk to my hubby, and then we move forward together.
It is important to allow your friend time to take in the news and let you know when she is ready to move forward. For some, they may not be ready to move forward for months. As hard as that may be for you, just know that she will come around but it has to be on her time. There is a time and season for friends, and for the duration of your pregnancy she may not be emotionally available to be your best friend. If you two truly have a strong relationship, a small break will not ruin your relationship forever.
I often find that I pull back from my friends while they are pregnant, than once their child is born I am completely fine. For me, it is extremely hard to see women who are 7,8,9 months pregnant. This is something I haven't been able to achieve yet, and it is difficult to not become too envious. Therefore, I respect what I'm feeling and to try and not become some crazed envious friend and end up ruining our friendship; I just need to take a step back. Once, their child is born I am some what back to normal :) Who can be mad at a beautiful baby. They are such miracles, and the fact that God has brought them into this world is something to treasure and give Him thanks for!
I also don't advise having a friend of yours tell the news for you. There is something insincere about this. I would rather you tell me yourself. That way I can connect with you and really see and feel your consideration. It is much better for our future relationship for me to know that you understand that the news you told me is hard to hear, but that you care and don't want to upset me. When someone tells me with this huge smile on their face in front of a huge group of friends, and I am the only one that doesn't know; it feels like a stab to the heart. I can't help but feel that you don't care about my feelings at all. I know you are excited about your news, and honestly i'm happy for you too. Just don't count on me to jump up and down and scream with joy.
I said it before, but its true- we just need TIME. Time to process, and time to move forward. I encourage anyone who is struggling with this to just take a moment and consider how your friend is going to feel. Maybe you shouldn't tell her at lunch in front of everyone, or while she is on vacation. Yes, I pulled those from my past experiences and both were tremendously hard. A personal message, phone call, or conversation may be way more appropriate. I hope this helps and doesn't scare anyone off from telling me when they are pregnant. I am just trying to be honest here. At least you now know how I would prefer to be told when you are pregnant! :)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Scarlet Number

I'm sure you all read the book in school called "The Scarlet Letter." You know the book about the women who commit adultery having to wear a scarlet letter "A" around their neck to let society know what they have done. Throughout this whole infertility process I often feel like I should have a scarlet number hanging around my neck, and each time I lose a child the number changes. Imagine if I had something hanging around my neck that let people know that I have now lost 4 babies! I can remember buying groceries a couple weeks after miscarrying, and crying when the check out girl was rude. Ya, it could have been the hormones that made me extra emotional, but had the check out girl known what I had just gone through she probably would have treated me differently. Honestly, after I lost the twins this changed the way I now treat people I come across in public. Just as those people don't know what I have been through, I don't know what they have been through either. Therefore, it is only fair for me to treat everyone as if they have had the worst day ever and hopefully make them smile instead of want to cry.
The doctors office is another place where these pink and blue number necklaces would come in handy! I can not tell you how many times some nurse has taken me back to my room and asked me how my children are. SERIOUSLY! Do they even open the file and read just the first line. Shouldn't the fact that I'm 24 and my file is 8 inches thick be any sort of indicator that I'm not the average patient! FYI- I asked my doctor why I kept being asked about my children and why they didn't have more sympathy. They informed me of a routine they have in place in which a stamp of a flower is put on the outside of my file to inform any nurses/doctors that I have lost children and it would be wise not to ask me personal questions. They apologized for their staff not paying enough attention to the stamp. So if you have to endure this same kind of treatment, be sure to ask your doctor if they have some form of routine in place to spare you some grief too!
Did you know that doctors won't send you to a specialist until you have lost 3 babies. Apparently losing one baby or two isn't quite enough. I practically had to beg to see a specialist, because I was tired of hearing how my losses were rare coincidences. Not to mention they call it "habitual aborting" not quite sure why they have to call it that, definitely doesn't sit well in my stomach.
If you are struggling with infertility this next comment might jog your memory of an early conversation you might have had with your hubby. I came across a lot of blogs and forums for infertility and read stories of mommies that lost 7 babies before having their first healthy baby in their arms. I can remember specifically thinking these women were crazy and telling Ferrari there is no way I could go through that! Now look at me, I've lost 4 and want to keep trying.
Am I insane?!? No, I just know I'm supposed to be a mom and no matter how high the number is that hangs around my neck, I will be a mommy to children here on earth! It will happen in God's timing, definitely not mine; if it were my timing we would have had a honeymoon baby! :) haha! My time will come, I have faith in that!
Sorry if my post today seemed more like a rant. I forget how much pent up anger I have against infertility and loss! This post did start out as a reminder to be a positive encouragement to those around me! I wanted to share how we should be more aware of those around us. Without letters and numbers hanging around our necks, we have no idea what is going on in someone's life. Therefore, your kind actions could be the only positive thing that happens to someone in their day. I most definitely strive for my actions and words to be nothing but positive, kind, and Christ like!