MISCARRIAGE: 6 MONTHS ON

Lifestyle

The 18th of May will mark 6 months – 181 days since we lost our first baby. I thought I’d write a little update post on how we’re feeling and how we’ve coped so far. Also – I wanted to share the things we’ve done, and steps we’ve taken that have helped us the most.

A real turning point was when I wrote my first blog post, sharing our story about the losses we’ve experienced after trying to conceive for almost two years. Prior to that, even though I’d spoken to close family and friends, I’d been in a really dark place. I was up and down like a yo-yo, some days I felt I could have conquered anything and the others were just a complete battle. It felt like everybody around me was getting pregnant, having healthy babies, and I started to feel resentful. Whilst this is somewhat normal whilst you’re dealing with this kind of grief, it’s not a healthy mindset to have by any stretch… and something has to give in order to begin the healing process. Not everybody agreed with me sharing my story. Some people believe that it should be kept ‘private’ but my response to that quite literally is fuck what anybody else thinks. You should do whatever helps YOU. Miscarriage is something that unless people have been through it themselves, as much as they like to think that they understand it, they really don’t. It is a loss, and loss causes grief and pain. Think about what you need as a person. Counselling is a great option if you do want to keep it private – I didn’t go down this route myself but I would absolutely recommend if you are feeling alone and don’t have the confidence to share something so upsetting with the world. For me, sharing our story, and getting the response that it did… and all of the women (and men actually) that I connected with who shared their stories with me was absolutely incredible and really helped me feel that 1) I had helped others in the process and 2) I wasn’t alone.

The biggest thing I’ve learned is that grief and healing does not have a timescale, and everybody will handle miscarriage differently. I’ve been lucky enough to connect with a lot of different women who have similar feelings to what I have (and some days, still do!) but they all have their own little way of coping on the tough days. It’s very easy to get sucked into thinking things like ‘why am I still upset? I should be over this by now’ ABSOLUTELY not true. The problem is, this is not spoken about enough, so as a women when this happens to you, you really have no idea what to do. Don’t tell yourself that you ‘should’ be better. You’re human, and you know you better than anybody else. Give yourself time.. and be kind to yourself.

When we experienced our two back to back losses, I was working from home and running my own business… and found that being alone with my thoughts, without an office environment and having to pull myself together to go to ‘work’ each day made it even harder. Some days, I couldn’t even get out of bed because I was so depressed. I took the decision to apply for normal full time jobs, and secured myself a Recruitment Resourcing job only 20 minutes from home. I was actually a Resourcer prior to starting my own business so I knew that it was a role I enjoyed. This was by far one of the best decisions I could have made. Whilst it can feel like a back step after being your own boss, having a 9-5 style routine, and having to put your makeup on and show up for something 5 days a week really has pushed me out of the depressive, demotivated phase that I was stuck in. Luckily, I have an amazing employer, and an absolutely fantastic team. Everybody is so kind, and just being around them has played a massive part in my healing over the past few months… and they probably don’t even know it! To the Amiqus guys, if you do read this, I owe you so much for the support you’ve given to me! You’re all hilarious, and laughter is definitely the best medicine for this sort of thing.

Another thing that I had to do was really focus on my relationship with my partner. Whilst he was unbelievably supportive, I think it’s easy to forget that men grieve too, and they do it in a very different way to us. Gaz’s positive attitude and outlook on this whole situation has been the light at the end of the tunnel for me – he is amazing. We decided to really enjoy and appreciate the time we have left together as a two, and this has been so powerful. We’ve connected in an even deeper way than we had before, and did little things like buy a pack of date night cards – they’re so cute! There’s 52, so a date night idea for every week of the year, both going out and staying in. The link is here for anybody who wants to have a look at them. Having a date night to look forward to each week has been a great distraction, plus… its quality time too!

https://www.notonthehighstreet.com/thispaperbook/product/52-date-night-cards

Keeping a diary. This isn’t for everybody, but on the more down days, I really like to write. Writing your feelings on paper or on a blog is another thing that can be really empowering – and it’s amazing to be able to look back on how far you’ve come mentally every now and again. I also decided that I was going to remember the babies each year on the date that we lost them, but in a loving and positive way rather than a sad way. Despite only being pregnant for a short time, I still loved being pregnant! Regardless of the sickness and the tiredness. It was so special, and we should be able to hold onto that feeling of happiness no matter what. An idea is to have a little keepsake box with any special items that you can look through when you’re feeling a little sad. I haven’t done this, but I know I’ve spoken to ladies who have and it’s helped them a great deal.

Trying to think about the loss in a spiritual way has been quite comforting too. I like to think that the babies that we lost are always watching down on us, and are saving an extra special one for when the time is just right… and this is such a lovely thought to have. Trusting your body is important. As difficult as it is to swallow, especially when all of this is so raw, our bodies know best, and it’s very, very good at dispelling a pregnancy that isn’t viable. It’s taken me a long time to come to accept this, but when you can… it really is a weight lifted off your shoulders. It’s so easy to blame yourself for the loss, or feel that there is something wrong with you… and there’s not! Mother Nature is amazing, and she’ll always do her thing to protect you.

Taking time off the hospital appointments. This may not apply to everybody, but I was offered quite a few different tests, scans, and investigations into why we had miscarried twice in a row… particularly as it had taken a while for us to conceive. At first, I didn’t feel mentally strong enough to face a hospital, a scan, a blood test… or an examination. And that’s perfectly ok! There is no rush, this is a process… and you have to take those steps when you feel strong and ready. Holding off on these tests gave me time to really build up the strength, courage and positive mindset that I needed to face it all again. I’ve now had an ultrasound, and internal scans and everything looks to be as it should be, which is a huge positive. They also took blood on day 2, and 21 of my cycle this month to monitor hormone levels… so every single step is a step in the right direction right now. Rather than dreading the hospital like I did last time, now, I feel ready… and every appointment is just another tick off our list. And that’s really important. We shouldn’t put ourselves through this stuff if it’s only going to cause more pain. Take some time off!

Lastly – if you can, try and get away somewhere together, whether that’s a spa day, or a short break, or even a full blown holiday. I’m currently sat writing this on the plane to Tenerife for a rare few days away with Gaz (he’s snoozing next to me, no surprise there). It’s been a whirlwind six months, and I think it’s very easy for people to forget how much these sorts of things can affect you at work, and at home. Down time, and removing any pressure can do incredible things for your body and your mind.

Lmao… told you…

Try to remember that negative thoughts don’t and will never serve you. Gratitude for the here and now will be the most important part of your healing process. You’ll never forget, but you can find a loving way to remember your little ones. Somebody said to me ‘the day that you conceived, you became a mother and nobody can take that away from you’. I think that’s a beautiful thing.

Every day, you’re getting stronger – even if you don’t feel like it.

Love Chloé x

Helpful websites

https://www.miscarriageassociation.org.uk

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/miscarriage/afterwards/

https://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/after-miscarriage/

TIPS THAT HAVE HELPED ME MANAGE MY ANXIETY

Lifestyle, Positive Mindset

“The best use of imagination is creativity. The worst use of imagination is anxiety”

I know what brought my anxiety on, and can pinpoint exactly when it started. Worrying about money, burying my head in the sand instead of facing my debt, and little by little the doubts and negative thoughts started to creep in. I’d lay in bed at night unable to sleep thinking “What will I do if something bad happens?” and play out situations in my head. People getting hurt, or me losing somebody I love. Trying to work out how I would cope with any sort of emotional trauma. Before I knew it, these thoughts had turned into episodes during the day where I felt like I just could not take a deep breath. It was almost like something was crushing my chest.  A concrete block, or a bloody elephant. Then, I’d have dizzy spells and feel as if I was in a dream… or just that I was going faint/to stop breathing all together!

Next came the panic attacks. I remember collapsing on our bathroom floor once, feeling like I was going to be sick. I couldn’t see or breathe, my head was fuzzy. The fear was so intense, but I just couldn’t tell you what I was scared of. It’s crazy how one life experience can turn into an array of negative thoughts, and how much those thoughts can spiral out of control and morph into the monster that we know commonly as ‘anxiety.’

I’m writing this post because over the last couple of years I’ve worked hard on finding coping methods that don’t involve taking any medication. That’s not to say that medication is wrong – everybody is different and needs to focus on what works for them… and you can only figure that out by trying. However, there are natural methods out there and I thought I’d share my experience of what has helped me, in the hope that it can help somebody else. I don’t believe that you can ever really cure anxiety – but what you can do (with practice and lots of trial and error) is manage it.

Lavender Oil

In a hot bath, on your pillow before bed, or even a dab on your neck and wrist. When I was travelling a lot last year, the crushing feeling in my chest was back with a vengeance. Sometimes, I’d even unscrew the cap of the bottle and just smell it. You do get some funny looks, but I found the smell of lavender really calmed me. Using it on my pillow helped me drop off to sleep, and left the negative thoughts less time to worm their way into my head!

The Secret

I read ‘The Secret’ for the first time in October 2017. If you haven’t read this book, I urge you to. Whether you believe in the law of attraction or not, the message behind every page of Rhonda Byrne’s book is pretty powerful. Thoughts multiply faster than we can possibly imagine. How often have you got out of bed feeling like crap, and everything just goes wrong for you that day. It gets progressively worse the more you think about how rubbish you’re feeling. You might spill your tea, or stub your toe… then you’ll hit a huge traffic jam on the way to work. Coincidence? Or are you so focused on how awful you’re feeling that you’re subconsciously attracting even more negativity? If you’re thinking about how anxious you are, or how worried you are… you are only attracting more anxiety and more worry. Believe me. In the book, she talks about having frequency shifters ready in your mind for when a bad thought rolls up. Something that can instantly make you happy, like a funny memory, or your favourite song. Have these ready and use it to bat off thought by thought.

Positive Affirmations

There’s no phrase more empowering than ‘I am’. Grab a notepad and write down a counter to all of your fears and worries. If you constantly think “I’m in so much debt, and I never have any money” write “I am making progress with clearing my debt every day, and money flows into my life easily”

If you constantly think “I’m never going to be happy, or get rid of these feelings” write down “I have a choice to be happy. Today, I choose to be happy”. Even if you don’t feel like it at the time, writing this down and reading it back to yourself when you need to only reinforces the statement in your head.

Gratitude

Gratitude is another important tool to have handy when the anxious thoughts and feelings rear their ugly head. Writing down 3 things you’re grateful for in that moment, on a piece of paper, in your phone… or even just thinking of them in your head. This helped me tonnes, and I made a habit of turning every worry into me thinking about how grateful I am for that person, or that situation.

Like I said before, these tips won’t work for everyone, but I think it’s important to give them a chance. Listening to one positive audio book, or reading one book isn’t going to make your negative thoughts miraculously disappear. Helping yourself is a commitment, and sometimes it feels like it would be easier to just wallow in the worry instead. It takes a lot of effort and energy.

But do you know what else takes a lot of effort and energy? Feeling bad!

We’re blessed with choices, so choose yourself, your health and your happiness.

30 REASONS TO STOP CARING SO MUCH ABOUT WHAT PEOPLE THINK

Lifestyle, Positive Mindset

Hands up if you’ve ever let a negative comment from somebody ruin your day?

Or your week? Maybe you’ve been trolled on social media, or made decisions in your life based on not wanting to upset someone, or for being fearful of how they may judge you.

Here’s 30 reasons to stop thinking this way. Next time you’re fearful of what other people think of you, read this. You’ll find a reason that applies!

1. You’ll never change their mind

2. You’ll never please absolutely everybody

3. You’ll never be everyone’s ‘cup of tea’

4. Think about it. It doesn’t really affect you

5. It doesn’t affect what you can achieve

6. It doesn’t earn you any more money

7. It doesn’t make you any happier

8. It doesn’t make you look or feel any younger

9. It doesn’t make you any wiser

10. You’ll always find somebody who doesn’t agree with you

11. It wastes valuable energy that could be used elsewhere

12. It makes you feel deflated and drained

13. It puts you in a negative state of mind

14. If they’re your friend, or family, they should support you no matter what. If not, their opinion is irrelevant

15. That person isn’t you, and doesn’t see life through the same lens that you do

16. That person probably isn’t happy themselves

17. That person is projecting their insecurity, self doubt and disbelief onto you

18. That person doesn’t understand or want to understand what you do, or the situation you’re in

19. That person may be missing something in their life that you’ve got

20. That person is probably jealous of you

21. Everybody has an opinion, even if you don’t agree

22. Will you care about this person’s opinion in 5 years time? If the answer is no, don’t spend any longer than 5 minutes feeling upset about it

23. This person probably isn’t interested in what’s best for you

24. People who are nasty to others are not happy people, so pity their state of mind rather than letting them affect yours

25. You’ll sleep better at night

26. You’ll feel lighter, and more positive as each day goes on

27. You don’t have to carry the weight of other peoples opinions on your shoulders, so don’t!

28. Nothing bad will happen to you if you stop caring about these opinions

29. You deserve to be happy, and healthy, mentally and physically. Focusing on negativity does not help

30. You are you… and that won’t change. So, you should embrace that be unapologetically you! People love you!

If you know somebody who needs to read this today, share this post with them!