Ara Wiseman

Month: March 2016

Recurrent Miscarriages – 7 Life Lessons I Took Away From My Experience

Recurrent Miscarriages – 7 Life Lessons I Took Away From My Experience

(Written by Lisa Marie Brennan) I can still recall how nervous I was as I sat in a cramped psychic’s room in Salem, Massachusetts, during the steamy summer of 2008. I don’t typically believe in such things, but thought I’d give it a shot as I had some questions I wanted answered. And we were in Salem, after all – the town of witches, magic potions, and all things supernatural. “Will I have trouble conceiving a child?” I asked him, my voice barely above a whisper. The psychic smiled and looked down at his Tarot cards. “I see four babies,” he said happily. “And your first will be a boy.” I leaned back and breathed a sigh of relief. Four babies was a lot (more than I wanted, truthfully), but at least I was in the clear for when we wanted to start a family. Too bad I didn’t think to ask him whether the babies in his visions were dead or alive. In the next year and a half, my husband and I suffered through three miscarriages, one after another. The fourth pregnancy was finally a miraculous live birth, and I delivered my beautiful baby boy, just as predicted. Historically, the topic of pregnancy and infant loss is something we don’t talk about in society. We wait until that 12-week “safe” mark has passed to share the news with family and friends, so if a loss does occur, the suffering is done in painful silence. But pregnancy loss happens more often than we think. A recent Calgary study determined that a woman has a 30 percent chance of miscarrying if she has a baby at age 30 and a 50 percent chance if she has a baby at age 40. With women having babies later than decades ago, those numbers are pretty alarming. I hope to break the taboo and speak openly about my experiences. Here are some life lessons I wish I could have known before suffering such tremendous losses. Would it have made a difference? Would the hurt have been less? Perhaps not. But at least I would have been armed with better information. 1. It’s Okay to Grieve Whether you suffer a pregnancy loss at 6 weeks along or 20 weeks, the feeling of loss is great. All the hopes and dreams you’ve imagined for your expectant baby are suddenly dashed. Your grief will be real, so allow yourself to wallow in it for a bit until you feel stronger emotionally. Grief is a normal process and includes a shifting of emotions, including shock/denial, guilt, anger, depression, and, finally, acceptance. I felt quite devastated after my first loss. I was close to 12 weeks, and even had an ultrasound picture that was proudly posted on the fridge. As far as my husband and I knew, our little “tadpole” was healthy and growing nicely. When I began spotting and we had a second ultrasound just days later, the technician rather coldly told me she couldn’t find a heartbeat and just left the room. I felt as numb as the cold steel table I was lying on. I wish she had let my husband in the room so we could experience it together. I shakily got up from the table and left, knowing I had to break the news to my family. I cried, but cried mainly in private and did not allow myself to openly grieve. 2. Take Unsolicited Advice with a Grain of Salt This is a tough one. Advice from loved ones is always well-intentioned, but may not be what your grieving mind needs to hear at that moment. Phrases such as “God intended it to be this way” or “don’t worry, you’ll have another baby” are good in theory, but offer no real comfort. All I took from that at the time was that God intended to take my babies from me, over and over again. And that somehow, babies are considered as replaceable as toys. Not only did it rock my faith for several years, but it made me feel worse. The most tactless comment I received was in the ER, after having my third miscarriage. The male nurse taking my blood looked at my chart and realized I was no newcomer to the land of pregnancy loss. He put his paper down and said to me, “Perhaps it’s time you looked at adopting.” Those words stung. Logically, he was absolutely correct, but the timing was horrible.I recall looking at him square in the face and saying, “I’m not ready to give up yet.” Instead…. The best thing is not to offer advice at all. Just let the grieving person know you are there to listen, first and foremost. Not everyone wants you to fix the problem by using age-old sayings that hurt more than they help. More often than not, she is looking for someone to hear her, and when she is ready, she will talk about her feelings. Or, even spending time with the person doing enjoyable activities may be exactly what she needs to get her mind off things. 3. Recognize When You Need to Seek Additional Help People grieve differently, and it’s perfectly natural to need help beyond what your partner/spouse can give you. The bond between a pregnant woman and her unborn baby is great. When that bond is broken, the feelings of despair and helplessness may become overwhelming and start to interfere with work, home life, and friendships. Understanding and mutual experience can be astonishingly relieving. This extra support can come in the way of a face-to face or online support group, where you can meet other mothers who have experienced the same type of loss. Or, one-on-one counseling with a professional may be a better option to help you work through overwhelming feelings of grief. Remember that asking for help is not a sign of weakness. Rather, it takes great courage to recognize you need some extra help. A great part of me wishes I had

How I Learned Happiness

How I Learned Happiness

(Written by Breanna Pegg) The story of how I discovered the way to live a truly happy and joy-filled life began on December 30, 2013. I was driving towards a bridge in my hometown of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan when I lost control of my vehicle. My car began to fishtail out of control and I crashed into the left side of a barricade, which sent my car to the opposite side. It took just a few seconds to go from one side of the road to the other, but these were the longest and hardest seconds of my life. The snow piled up against the barricade created a ramp and I knew my car was about to go off the bridge and crash into the river below. I thought my life was about to end and there was nothing I could do about it. My car dropped 40 feet down, into the river below. I blacked out during the plunge but I came to and remember feeling relieved and happy to be alive. I noticed that my windshield had a small hole in it, so I knew I could escape the vehicle before it sank. I tried to punch the hole bigger but I was not strong enough, so I kicked the hole until it was large enough to crawl through. I pulled myself out of my car and sat on the hood of my floating vehicle until it sank into the river. I then lowered myself into the freezing water and swam to the edge of the ice. My hands were bleeding from attempting to break the windshield. I swam despite my fractured clavicle from the impact of the seatbelt. I swam despite the fact that it was minus forty degrees Celsius that day. I swam despite the fact that I was wearing full winter gear. I managed to swim to the edge of the ice and pull myself up out of the water. I crawled along the ice to the edge of the riverbank as the emergency personnel arrived. The first aid on the side of the river was the beginning of my physical healing journey with Western medicine, but more extensive treatments soon followed. Surgery, chiropractic, massage, and physical therapy became a large part of my life. These were all aimed at fixing my broken bone and combating the effects of the whiplash I experienced from the impact. Unfortunately, my injuries encompassed so much more than my physical self. After a few months, it was clear to me that my healing was not going according to plan. I was still in constant pain and my team of health care providers had no answers for what was going on. Structurally and mechanically everything seemed just fine, but they were unable to diagnose where the sudden sharp pains shooting down my arm were coming from. They didn’t know why I was unable to complete my back-to-work program. I was failing physically and my body wasn’t giving answers as to why this was. The chronic pain and not knowing where it was coming from had me spiral down into a depression. How could I be only 24, yet be so incredibly broken? I wished so badly that my life could simply go back to normal; that I had never been involved in that accident. I made a commitment to myself that I would do whatever was necessary to become pain free. I made a secondary commitment to myself as well, deciding that if the pain didn’t go away, that I would learn how to live a happy life with the pain. In the beginning, I had no idea how to do this. These commitments were the spark that sent me on a complete and total healing journey of my mind, body, and soul. Over the months that followed I changed many things and made discoveries about myself and about life in general. I began by changing my diet and becoming as healthy as possible. I quit my casual smoking habit. I started practicing yoga every morning and evening to ease the stiffness in my body. I began Tapping (EFT) for pain relief and started using essential oils. In one of the yoga videos I practiced, the instructor said, “when we love ourselves, we heal ourselves,” so I dedicated myself to a self-love practice. This made me shift from thinking thoughts such as, “I hate my left shoulder. It causes me so much pain and doesn’t work the way it is supposed to” to thoughts such as, “I love you left shoulder. I know you’re just trying your best to be a shoulder. It’s not your fault you’re injured.” I realized that there was no need to be hard on myself because I was constantly trying my best. All anyone does is try their best. This allowed me to let go of judgment. I no longer judged myself for not being perfect. I no longer judged others for not being who or what I thought they should be. I also learned what it truly means to live in the moment; to not worry and stress about what may or may not come to be and to let go of that which I cannot change. I realized that everything happens for a reason and the car accident I was involved in went from being perceived as the worst thing to happen to the best thing that has happened. It truly is amazing how when we change the things we look at, the things we look at change. I discovered what it is that genuinely makes me happy and I was able to connect to my life’s purpose and start following my path, rather than the path that I thought I should be on. I started listening to my intuition rather than trying to use my mind to build a life that society deems as successful. I realized that I matter, that my happiness matters, and I can choose to be my own best

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