A New Year is Coming…What Will it Bring You?

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

As a new year approaches, it can make us look back over the year that has passed and consider what lies ahead. 2013 has been a very difficult year for me and my family. This year has been filled with tremendous loss and serious challenges of all kinds. Oddly enough, I have heard similar comments from friends and family as well. This year has seemed to be “unlucky 13.”

These past months of difficulty have made me especially hopeful and excited for the coming year. It can only get better from here! I can already feel a bit of the tides turning to better days. Honestly, my husband and I have been counting down the days to the New Year and now it almost here.

If you have had a difficult time of sorrow or pain, embrace the coming year! Look at the calendar changing as a blank slate, a new beginning and anticipate better days ahead. In certain customs, New Year’s Day is spent cleaning your house to start the new year off right. So I’m planning to clear away the cobwebs of the past year, literally! Join me in organizing our thoughts, emotions and expectations as well as our closets! Happy 2014 everyone!

When Should We Try Again: Am I Ready?

Have you thought about trying again in the New Year? There are many different schools of thought on how soon you should try again. It is important to consider your physical and emotional readiness.

Physical Readiness

Most experts and doctors agree that a woman who has suffered a miscarriage should wait at least one normal menstrual cycle before attempting to become pregnant. There is some evidence to suggest that failing to wait for one normal cycle increases the risk of miscarriage in the next pregnancy. Some doctors will suggest waiting for two to three normal cycles to ensure that your body has fully recovered.

It is important that you consult with your doctor to determine the proper wait time for you and your body. Together you can decide when you are healthy and ready to try again.

If you will require any additional medical attention, such as genetic counseling, be sure to seek that out before trying again. Having all the information you need is vital in helping you to make the choices and decisions ahead.

Emotional Readiness

Emotional readiness is much more difficult to determine, and in many ways, even more critical than physical readiness.

If you find yourself hurriedly trying to become pregnant again, you may not be taking the time to properly address your grief. During a time when emotions are running high, this can be dangerous. Many women find themselves grieving (over a pregnancy loss) long after the birth of their babies.

If your focus becomes trying again, it could delay the grief and healing process and put that part of your life on hold. Also, if you fail to become pregnant right away, it can cause a feeling of failure and add to the emotions you are dealing with.

Even if you believe that you ‘feel fine,’ and you do not feel overwhelming effects from your loss, there is still grief. Many parents find that their pain intensifies in the months that follow their miscarriage. Most doctors agree that dealing with grief is important before trying again.

On the other hand, if you find the months stretching on and you are still afraid to try again, it may be time to face the music. You will not be able to move forward without feeling fear. Becoming pregnant again can help you to feel that you are ‘moving on’ and progressing toward your dream of starting or adding to your family.

The important thing is that you take the time you need to become emotionally ready. That does not mean that you will awake one day without any fears or reservations. It simply means that you have allowed yourself to grieve and begin healing from the loss you suffered. This will open the way to try again when you are emotionally and physically ready.

This information was adapted from the book Hope is Like the Sun.

Sweet Dreams: Tips for a Good Nights Sleep

Sweet dreams...

Sweet dreams…

Your sleep patterns may become disrupted during grief, especially in the beginning stages. You may have trouble sleeping, or you may find yourself sleeping more than usual to avoid the pain of your loss.

If you are having trouble sleeping try these suggestions:

  • Avoid caffeine or reduce your intake of coffee, colas, tea, and even chocolate.
  • Stick to a routine. Get up and go to bed at the same time every day.
  • Read a book before bedtime. If a novel keeps you up, find a boring book.
  • Be sure the room temperature is comfortable-not too hot or too cold.
  • Stick to quiet activities the last hour before bed.
  • Avoid heavy meals before bed that can disrupt sleep.
  • Turn off radios, TV, etc. The noise can affect the quality of your sleep.
  • Exercise for 20-30 minutes at least 4 hours before bedtime. Be sure not to  exercise close to bedtime- your body will still be ‘hyped up.’
  • Drink warm milk– yes it really does work. Plain milk is a natural sedative.
  • Take a warm shower or relaxing bath before bed.
  • Try deep breathing and relaxation techniques while lying in bed.
  • Visualize a quiet and peaceful place.
  • Avoid alcohol and sleeping pills. These are only temporary fixes that can lead to dependency and other issues later on.

The above information was adapted from the book Hope is Like the Sun: Finding Hope and Healing After Miscarriage, Stillbirth, or Infant Death.

What’s Eating You: Eating Right During Grief

Your eating habits can become very unstable during grief. You may have little appetite, depleting your body of the vitamins and nutrients it needs.
On the other hand, you may find yourself eating more to comfort yourself. This can lead to unwanted weight gain, which can make you feel sluggish or even angry with yourself. You may also find yourself eating sugar and fatty foods that can drain your body of energy.
While dealing with my loss, food was my consolation and drug of choice. Although I tried to make healthy eating choices, I struggled to lose the weight I had gained during my pregnancy. The unwanted pounds seemed to remind me of my loss.
Maintaining healthy eating habits will help your mind and body feel better and give you the energy you need to heal.
Here are some simple suggestions:
·         Eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and grains.
·         Cut down on sweets and junk foods.
·         Add vitamins and minerals if your diet is not well balanced.
·         Find healthy foods you like that are easy to fix.
·         Try eating smaller meals several times a day rather than three big ones.
·         Drink lots of water. Try to drink eight 8-ounce glasses every day.
Grief inhibits the trigger for thirst, so you may forget to drink, which can lead to dehydration. You will need to focus on drinking the water your body needs, even when you do not feel thirsty.
Adapted from the book Hope is Like the Sun: Finding Hope and Healing After Miscarriage, Stillbirth, or Infant Death.