The infertility road can be hard, lonely, and heart-breaking.
After eight years of trying for a baby, numerous Clomid
cycles and IUIs, our prayers were answered when our first
IVF attempt resulted in our first pregnancy. We were amazed
and thrilled and overjoyed, because finally, our dreams
were coming true. When we cruised past the end of the first
trimester and everything looked great, we were ecstatic.
We started planning. I started showing. The baby started
moving. And then, in a cruel heartbeat, everything changed.
We went in for a sonogram at 19 weeks and were shocked to
learn our baby, a precious little girl, had died sometime
the week before. We were devastated.
The ensuing weeks were a period of intense grief. Numbness
gave way to desolation. The world had been yanked from beneath
my feet, and it was all I could do to get out of bed each
day. "You'll have other children," people would
say, but these words offered no comfort to a 35-year old
woman who, after eight years of trying to have a baby, had
lost my first child at 19 weeks, when the chance of doing
so is less than 1%.
During that dark time, I realized I needed help. For all
those years I'd tried to be brave and tough and strong,
but with the loss of my daughter, I crashed hard. To stand
again, to look to the future with hope and optimism again,
I knew something had to change.
Fortunately, I discovered that when you're open to change,
when you're looking for hope, the answers are there. First
I found a marvelous book by Dr. Alice Domar, Healing
Mind, Healthy Woman. In this book, Dr. Domar frankly
discusses the link between the mind and the body, something
I'd not seen addressed much by the medical community. She
offers several tools, skills, and lifestyle changes that
she has successfully demonstrated can help improve health.
I was so intrigued by what I read, I began investigating
whether anyone locally taught this Mind/Body connection.
And like a gift, I found a class starting in just a few
weeks and, better still, there were openings.
The mind/body wellness class quickly became the highlight
of my week. I met seven other women who shared my struggles
and my grief, and we instantly and immediately connected
like sisters. We could cry together, and together, we also
healed. The instructor and guest speakers provided invaluable
and insightful information about the critical relationship
between our minds and our bodies. Together, my new friends
and I learned that too often, women treat ourselves much
like we would treat an enemy. We push ourselves. We're critical
of ourselves. We punish ourselves.
No more. Through this course we learned to nurture ourselves.
To reward ourselves. And most importantly, to love ourselves.
By the end of the 7-week period, I felt alive again for
the first time in months. I found I could breathe, and I
could look to the future and not see the despair I'd seen
following the loss of my daughter, but a bright ray of hope
and optimism. The tools and techniques I learned (breath
focus, meditation, cognitive restructuring, nutrition, yoga)
have become an integral part of my life, and the friends
I met are my sisters. I can't see exactly what the future
holds, but I have hope again, and the confidence that something
good is waiting. I consider the course the best gift I've
ever given to myself and to the children who will someday
call me mom.