Outside of Yourself: The Final Step of Healing

nice-to-see-youI received a wonderful email this week. Although it was brief, the kind and sincere words have been with me long after reading the thoughtful message.

The email was from a woman I’ve been corresponding with for years. We’ve shared the pain of her multiple miscarriages and the toll it took on her marriage. We’ve shared the fear of her subsequent pregnancies. And ultimately, we shared the overwhelming joy when her perfectly healthy son was born. She often sends me updates on how he is doing, complete with pictures of his always smiling, angelic face.

Although we’ve never met, we have a connection – a camaraderie and understanding that brought us together at the most human level. And now, she is making that connection with someone else. She’s become the encourager, the advisor, the listener. She wrote to share this with me and to thank me for being there for her.

Reading her words brought me pure joy- I knew that she has reached the final stage of healing. She is now able to reach beyond her personal pain and help others. Her experiences have become a part of her, but they no longer define or “torture” her. She is free.

If you are grieving, may you find peace by reaching out to others who are in pain.

Researchers Say Up to 25% of Miscarriages Preventable

miscarriage researchNew research by scientists in Denmark suggests that it’s possible that about a quarter of miscarriages could be prevented by lifestyle changes. 

The research team looked at data from approximately 90,000 pregnancies that occurred between 1996 and 2002 and were tracked by a national registry in Denmark. They focused on modifiable risk factors including exercise, alcohol consumption, smoking, drinking coffee, work schedule, regular heavy lifting, prepregnancy weight, and maternal age, and concluded that by lowering these risk factors, more than 25 percent of miscarriages could be prevented.

The prepregnancy factors they found that were most associated with lowering miscarriage risk were weight and age. Women who had a healthy body mass index (BMI) and were between 25 and 29 years old at the time of conception had a more than 14 percent lower risk of miscarriage. According to the data, the overall highest risk factors associated with miscarriage were drinking alcohol during pregnancy and a maternal age of 30 or over.

Critics of the study point out that “risk is not the same as cause.” However they agree that miscarriages should be a topic for prevention. See more about the study at: http://shine.yahoo.com/parenting/researchers-25-percent-miscarriages-preventable-192300319.html.

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.

Welcome to the HOPE Community!

Welcome  new and returning readers from our HOPE Newsletter! I know it’s been quiet for a very long time and we apologize for the long silence. We’ve had a lot of work going on “behind the scenes” creating our new blog and migrating some of the HopeXchange website to it’s new home here! There are still changes to come as we continue to make improvements.

We look forward to offering you more up to date information and posts on our new blog. We will continue to offer support to women and their families who are dealing with miscarriage, stillbirth and infant death. And more importantly, we look forward to the chance to interact with you, and allow you to communicate with one another.  This will be a true community and safe place to heal. Let’s make the most of this new opportunity and the support it can offer to each and every one of us.

I read this quote today and thought it fit this new group so well:

 “Grief and sadness knits two hearts in closer bonds than happiness ever can; and common sufferings are far stronger than common joys” ~ Alphonse de Lamartine, French Poet

Let us be strong together.