How To Support During Infertility Struggles

I always see these lists, 10 things not to say to _____.  Fill in the blank “a person with anxiety”, “a preemie parent”, “a cancer patient”, etc. etc.

While these lists may usually be good advice we might want to remember, we are human and most times things are said simply out of ignorance with no intention to harm.  They were simply living their life and not being aware of those around them.  I am sure there are so many things we say on a daily basis that carry no weight and have little meaning to us at all, yet with the right audience it could trigger a major reaction.

With that said, here is my own "list".  If you have somebody you know going through IVF or infertility problems and you want to be sensitive to what they are going through, here are a few things you might want to know.  Obviously you want to keep living your own life as it is best for you but if you want to be more aware of what your loved one or friend is going through please read on.

Every person is different so some things may or may not apply of course.

First thing to know is that unless you have been in their exact shoes, not even another infertility patient can truly know how another is feeling or coping.  Granted somebody who has been through it might be better equipped to help or relate to their feelings but everyone’s journey is different.  Depending on how long they have been on their journey to having children, how bad they want children, what method they would like to get them with and how their body handles the drugs can vary their tolerance and sensitivity level greatly and by the hour.  I know for me my first round seemed easy compared to the 2nd and by the 4th I had a whole new level of crazy going on. 

This does not mean you ignore their struggles and expect them to just be the way they always were.  This journey can change a person forever.  Maintaining a “normal” day to day life and hiding emotions to not be a burden on others while being beaten by motherly hormones and synthetic drugs is not the easiest task.  Give them space and let them express what they feel if they choose to and try not to judge.  Leaving it all to be the big elephant in the room nobody is talking about can leave them feeling very alone.

Understand when they might not be emotionally able to attend a baby shower, baptism or child birthday party.  Although the developing life coach in me knows that learning to embrace these things can be a key development in manifesting a child into your life and that actually embracing children rather than avoiding them might be life changing but this is just not something for us to expect of them.  This is a step they can take on their own terms and when they want to.  Faking it is not helpful.  Being around others rejoicing their children can sometimes stir up emotions of jealousy and disappointment which is not good for them to be feeling.  Trust me they want to be happy for you, they just don’t know how to stop being unhappy for themselves at the moment and it’s not their fault.

Know that most infertility patients feel broken in some way.  Something within them isn’t working and they can develop body hatred pretty quick.  Hating their bodies does not make the process work any easier.  It has quite the opposite effect.  When they can’t produce a child on their own their inner bully will give them lots of reasons why they are being punished or unworthy.  Be kind with them, what is happening in their minds is probably way harder than what is happening in their bodies.

Don’t tell them to “just relax”.  Although there is really some truth in having better results when you are relaxed and not stressing about it, it’s just not what needs to be said.  They know this already, but it’s just not an option they can see at this point.  What I might suggest instead is to help them find things that make them happy.  Not things to “take their mind off it”, things that make them enjoy life despite what they are going through.  Help them find their happy places.  Mine were to be in nature and to play with puppies. 

Don’t tell them “It will happen one day” because we don’t know that.  I have seen it happen for some and not ever happen for others.  Yes, they will need bouts of encouragement and help finding faith but there is no promise it will happen.  Just let them know you support them no matter what happens and whatever path they end up taking.

If you can think of it (you are human and allowed to forget) try not to tell them or carry on a conversation in front of them about other pregnant people, how you got pregnant on accident, your child’s birth, how long you breast fed, etc.  They really don’t care to hear that.  Save those stories for another time.  If you need to announce your own pregnancy, do so with them privately and sensitively. 

Don’t question them if they are not drinking alcohol, change eating habits or have a change in weight.  These are all things people jump on and ask “oh is there a reason? Are you pregnant?” But these are also things you do when you are struggling with infertility.  When they have to face yet another negative pregnancy test the last thing they want to do is have to repeat it over and over for others that they are not pregnant.  They will let you know when they are….trust me.

For goodness sakes please refrain from suggesting “JUST adopt” or “JUST use a surrogate”.  While these are valid options and you can inquire kindly, please don’t suggest they are easier options.  The road to adoption can be very expensive and just as emotionally straining.  Surrogates, can have massive emotional and legal matters attached as well as a very high price tag.  These paths are sometimes ones that might come with better results for some people but they are not anything anyone "JUST" does.

If you find yourself face to face with somebody having a fertility meltdown at something you said or did please do not take it personal or get defensive.  Try to understand their emotional battle and help them through the meltdown.  They will beat themselves up enough on their own, you don’t need to assist.

Don’t be upset if they don’t choose you to talk to about their journey.  Odds are they will want to talk with somebody who can relate to their situation.  Help them find a support group, therapist or life coach to work with if they need it.  There is no shame if they need to seek outside help.  Their inside work is vital to what they are going through.

As I said, we are all human but being aware of things we say and do are important.  Not just for infertility patients but for our own souls.  You can’t and you won’t be perfect and you will mess up, but when you do, become aware and be forgiving of yourself and those who were hurt.  

If you or somebody you care about it going through infertility problems always remember the most important things to do are to find happiness and joy whenever you can and forgive yourself whenever you can’t. 

Just my thoughts....

There is a very interesting post making the rounds on Facebook right now that seems to be bringing up a lot of interesting conversations if you read a lot of the comments on various shares.  In the post by Keanu Reeves Online , a Facebook fan page, it states that one person who ate well and exercised got ill and has lots of health problems, while another person ate terrible and lived a long healthy life.  I absolutely love this message and agree whole heartedly.  However, I can see the message may be being lost on some.  So here is just my personal take on it.  The way I read it, the message is to live life to the fullest and to live it the way you see is best.

To me, the message isn't saying that eating healthy is wrong or that it's OK to sit in gluttony.  What I hear in the message is that we can't live in fear.  We can not expect to live a long healthy life if we fear death chasing us or deny what our souls require.  What it doesn't explain is that it isn't really about her exercise and his lack of it.  It isn't about what she didn't eat and what he did.  Did genetics play the real roll? Is genetics just a limiting belief? I don't know and think the genetics argument was not the point of his tale.  The message to take away from this is that it's more likely about how they felt that made the difference in their health.

I've written about my thoughts on diets and health before in my blog "Eat for the Health of it".  What we put in our mouths, on our skin and how we exercise our bodies is only a small part of over all health and self care.  If you don't take care of what is going on inside your own head, whatever you do on the outside won't amount to much.  What kills us faster than any food or product, is our own inner bully.  The one that beats us up for eating too much sugar.  The one that tells us we should be thinner.  The one that causes us to stress over a menu finding the healthiest choice.  The one that worries what people think of what they are eating, wearing or how they look.  The one that thinks it doesn't matter because we don't matter. 

Society and media has filled our minds with so much doubt and fear.  We feel shame over how we look and act.   We are told confusing things about what is healthy and how everything around us can kill us.  We compare and we compete.  Most of us have forgotten how to listen to our own inner wisdom.  I believe if we are true to ourselves and listen to our own intuition and listen to our bodies, that is the healthiest thing we can do. 

The key is to stop beating ourselves up.  I am not going to even pretend to be the master of this key.  I have many fears and insecurities that have been rooted in my brain that I am still working out.  But the more I work on them and the more I try wielding this key the better and healthier I feel.  My goal is to find what I enjoy...not what others think I should enjoy.  To eat what I think is best for me...and not worry who thinks I am crazy.  To be the qualities I am or need to be and not let others decide for me if they are bad, weird or strange.

So No, don't use this as an excuse to eat like crap if you can't own eating like crap without beating yourself up.  If you can own it...then you go be your badass self.  I always say....if you are going to eat the cookie make sure you enjoy the cookie.  No guilt.  Guilt will add more to your thighs than any cookie ever will.

So yes, please do like the post implies.....Enjoy YOUR life the way YOU want to live it.  Be you and own who you are.

Changing Focus

I remember being scared to ever speak my dreams out loud.  I was scared of what people would think and say.  My dreams became more important then may fears and I began sharing my ideas with people.  I was pleasantly surprised to find out that people loved my ideas and supported my way of thinking.  I was very encouraged at the people who cheered on my dream.

When I decided to make the leap and put my dreams and journey out into the world I had so much confidence, knowing I had so many great cheerleaders on my side.  I knew so many like minded people, it was going to be great!  I knew there would be some who would be against my ideas or just never get on board but I was OK with that.  I was ready and feeling brave.

I knew I could and would reach the right people.  All my friends would share my content and pages.  They would love the messages I was putting out.  My cheerleaders would like every motivational photo I made and spread them around.  I was so happy to get started even if I didn't know where it would head.

But I did not get what I expected.  Don't get me wrong I had a few awesome cheerleaders doing their thing and helping me along, but most of my cheerleaders sat on the sidelines and just watched or went home completely. 

So what happens when we get less than what we expected?  Do we find somebody to blame?  Is that person usually ourselves?  Do we give up or move on?  Do we get angry and bitter?  Do we forgive?  Push on?

Well I will tell you I think I did all of them.  I did blame myself. I put too much expectation on people.  Maybe my content was not good and I was silly for thinking it was.  I debated ditching it all.  I tried to be understanding and pushed on.

But when I dig in deep and really look at it, I realize the key to all of this is my need to feel supported.  This isn't really about who shares what and who likes what.  It's about my feelings of not feeling supported.  So as I relook and open my eyes I can see that I am.  It may not be by the people I expected or thought "should" support me, but there are people out there supporting me.  You might not be doing it in the ways I expected either but you are there.

All I really needed to do was change my focus.  To change what I was looking at.  I don't need to rely on the people I thought would support me, I simply need to be patient as I reach the people who do.  I am seeing that I am finding you one by one, slowly but surely.  I was focused on all the people who weren't cheering me on, I lost sight of those who are.  So I am changing the lens and sending you all gratitude.

It is true that all to often we put on our focus on what we don't have and what people aren't doing.  You have heard it time and time again to focus on the positive.  Now, I don't believe we can live in la la land thinking everything is rainbows and unicorns all the time it is important to be aware of what we are focusing on and why.  Often we get so focused we don't even recognize we even have another lens as an option.  Being aware is a key first step. 

Very often when we realize we were looking through a lens that doesn't bring us closer to our goals it is easy to beat ourselves up about it.  Beating ourselves up is a huge disservice to ourselves. We need to become our own cheerleaders and congratulate ourselves on simply becoming aware.  What good cheerleader would beat you up?

People may let us down and we might lose focus, but as long as we can remember there is always more than one way to see things, we can make that choice to change lenses if we wish to.  So here I am putting on a new lens and thanking all of you for your support.

Feeling Lucky?

As I continue on my journey of learning to love and accept all aspects of myself I am finding missing pieces and things I have disconnected from.  I recently realized my luck is one of them.

I would think that most people would be happy to called lucky....not me.  The word causes me to cringe.  Somewhere in my life I must have learned to view luck as a bad thing.  The easy way out.  The cheaters way. 

That by being lucky I was somehow cheating life.  That by being lucky I was doing wrong to others who weren't lucky.

Crazy, right?  Well let's think about it.  If people see me as lucky they don't see that I deserve what I have gotten.  That I haven't paid my dues.   By being lucky others might be jealous or envy my luck.  I know I envy other people who have luck.  I think those same thoughts about "lucky" people. 

Why wouldn't I want to be lucky?  Lucky is easy.  It's quick.  Requires little work.  But that's just why I have pushed it away.  I want to show my worth, my efforts and know that I have earned it.

Many times in my life people have thrown that word at me and I cringe like that just cursed at me.  Oh...LUCK YOURSELF, I think. 

I will never forget, when I landed a good job many years ago somebody commented "Wow, you lucked into that job didn't you?" This angered me.  I didn't luck into it.  I deserved it.  I had a great interview and they liked me.  I earned my position and luck had nothing to do with it.

I can see it all over my life now that I am aware of it.  I have shunned and pushed luck away like an icky thing that diminished my worth.  All because I don't want people to think I am unworthy or to have them jealous of me.

Even in the times that I have been "lucky" I deny or use a different language to describe it.  Never lucky.

Well to hell with all that!!  I am taking my luck back!  I have earned it and I do deserve it.  So have all of you.  So has every person I envy for getting a lucky break.  We all deserve to be lucky and not feel guilt for having luck. 

From this moment on I am reclaiming luck into my life.  I will teach myself to admire those who are lucky and feel joy in my own lucky moments.

Here's to finding and reclaiming another piece of myself.

It might take some work but I am ready!!! Are you??  What pieces of yourself have you lost or pushed out of your life?

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Ice Cream and Poop

I want to talk about some of the things I am learning in my classes.  These classes are perfect for me and what I aim to later teach.  They are great things I still need to work on in my own life as well as being the exact area I like to focus on.  The classes are very much about accepting all the parts of yourself.  To see yourself whole, with every trait you have.  As I have many times said or quoted it's about loving your imperfections.  

But one thing came up that I would really like to focus on for a moment.  In one of the books I have to read for the course, Debbie Ford mentions affirmations.  She says that we are taught affirmations to change the way we feel.  That if we feel a certain way we say the affirmations we can stop feeling a certain way.  She describes this by saying "You can't put ice cream on top of poop, because after a few bites your bound to taste poop"  In one moment I felt sad that she would dis a valuable tool such as affirmations but very quickly I saw what she was saying.  However, although I do agree with that statement I do see things a little differently.

She is speaking of people who use affirmations to try and bury their negative feelings.  To pretend they don't exist.   I want to be clear on something here, I do not think affirmations are to be used to bury emotions.  I always say they are just a tool, they are not the end all, be all.  You still have to do the inner work.  

In our teachings right now we are exploring the negative traits we have and how to embrace them and see their gifts.  This is a wonderful process, but I do find that although embracing them is hard for me, I have little trouble actually seeing my negative traits.  I sometimes have a harder time seeing the positive ones.  As much as certain negative traits make me uncomfortable there are many positive ones that make me feel uncomfortable too.

So for me, affirmations are reminders.  They are reminders that there IS ice cream.  I don't want to change my poop into ice cream, I just want to remember where the ice cream is and dig it out of the freezer.

If you are using affirmations remember they are not meant to bury or mask a feeling, only to remind you that there are good things to be had as well.  Don't try to hide your poop with them.

What is that one children's book called? Everybody poops.  Yep, we are human and we all have our own poop....but as I like to say....You aren't meant to be perfect and you need to own your shit.  There is beauty when you can own it and even more when you remember all the good things you are as well (the ice cream).

I have a friend who has often said "the bad stuff is easier to believe"  So if you think she has a point you really need more ice cream in your life and if a little affirmation helps you remember that I think it's OK....but don't get so lost in the ice cream that the poop comes back to haunt you later on..... if you know what I mean!


Monday was a significant day.  Not only was it my son's 6th birthday, which in itself is pretty great to me, but it was the day before our book proposals were due for the Hay House Writer's Workshop contest.  It was the day I sent my very first book proposal.

I attended a Writer's Workshop earlier this year with Hay House Publishing.  They are a leader in publishing self help books.  This workshop was a huge stepping stone for me on making my dreams reality.  I was very inspired and also very discouraged when I left the workshop.  They gave it to us straight on how hard it is to actually make it as a writer and what publishers expect.  I also learned how expensive it was to self publish a book.  But I wasn't going to let that stop me.  I was inspired more than I was discouraged.  The whole time the motivational speakers were talking I was hanging on the edge of my seat thinking is it my turn to tell my story yet?  I almost couldn't wait to get out of there so I could run home and start a website and a Facebook page.  I did exactly that!  As soon as I got home I wasted no time putting Ruud Awakenings together.  I wanted to do this.

One of the things they offer with the workshop is a contest for the attendees to send in their book proposals.  Only 3 winners will be chosen for a prize.  This contest is great because it gives new writers such as myself a chance in the industry.  You see, writers need to show publishers that they have an audience and although I have an audience it's no where near as big as a publisher would want to see.  They want to see followers in the tens of thousands. During this contest, it is the one time they will not be using your following to determine the outcome.  We get a fair shot with even just a few followers.  

It was also at this writer's conference that I got put more firmly on another dream of mine.  A dream of being a life coach.  Teaching people to love who they are.  I happened to sit down next to somebody already living that dream and she gave me the information to get me started.  I don't think I sat next to her on accident.

Anyhow, one of the things they gave to us straight at the workshop was that even though there were 500 people at the workshop only about 150 or less would probably actually submit a proposal into the contest.  That was a mouth dropping moment for a lot of people.  I am sure many made the same vow I did at that very moment.  I will be one of the 150.  I will not be the person who doesn't do it.  I made a promise to myself to not let me down.

I almost did though.  Many times over and over.  I almost let myself down.  I got busy and I got doubtful.  I already work two jobs, I'm a mom and in addition to all that I have to run this page.  I will also be starting life coaching classes next week!  When was I going to find the quiet time I needed to write.  I couldn't do it late at night, I needed to sleep.  My doubt fairy was also making visits to me.  Why bother? Who am I to think anyone wants to hear my story?  There are better stories out there.  I'm not an educated writer.  I never wrote anything before now.

Well somehow, someway, I squashed that doubt (even if just for a little while) and I found the time.  One night I actually almost fell asleep sitting up typing.  Anybody who knows me well enough knows that is something I never do.  I do not fall asleep sitting up.  I felt rushed and didn't know what I was doing.  I stressed over what they would want to see and what words sounded good.  Then I realized all I had to do was be myself.  I had to write in the format I knew and that was rushed and unplanned.  I write in the moment and on the fly.  I might have typos and stray thoughts but it's me and how I work.  So stopped thinking and just wrote.  

I submitted that book proposal and did not let myself down.  That doubt fairy was with me all day giving me an upset stomach but I knew I had to do it for me and I did.  I submitted the proposal on my son's birthday.  A very important date on my journey.  It couldn't be any more perfect than that.

Now I let it go and see what happens.  I don't want to worry and stress over what is happening over at the publishing company.  It's out of my hands now and all I can do is keep on going about my life.  I don't know what could happen or if anything even will happen.  It could be a moment that changes my life completely or just another stepping stone towards where I am meant to be.  I just have to trust in life.  I am proud of myself.  Proud that I have the courage to walk this unknown path following an unknown future and trusting that it will lead me to on an awesome journey and maybe, just maybe to making my dreams come true.

On this day....

Facebook has this wonderful app called "on this day" that shows us memories of what we did on this exact day however many years ago.  On this exact day 5 years I wrote this blog.  It is definitely not my best writing but it was very interesting to look at today.

This blog reminded me of several things.

First it reminded me that all of us going through stuff could do well to find people who can truly support and build us up.  These friendships I spoke of were not the misery loves company type of friendships that are all too common.  These friendship were really based on understanding, support and lifting each other up.   That is what makes them so special and why they are still strong today.  We may only get to see each other a few times a year but I know space and time will never diminish the bonds we built.  I see this saying a lot and it's very true "Surround yourself with cheerleaders not fear leaders."

Second, this reminds me to see things in a different light sometimes.  Just as I talk about my husbands outgoing personality and knack for getting into things and doing things I would never consider, sometimes (SOMETIMES ;)) it is truly a gift and blessing to us.  As I have started my homework for my life coaching, the book I am reading, reminds us to love every part of who we are and see the blessing in each thing.  Even the things we deem as bad. 

With out sadness we would not know happiness.

Here is the link.....  http://www.preemiebabies101.com/2010/08/friends-in-the-nicu/



Limited Beliefs

What are limited beliefs? They are exactly what they sound like.  They are beliefs that have limits.  We are full of them.  Somewhere along the way we picked up several limiting beliefs and they really do limit us.  I think most limiting beliefs stem from fear.  They were put into place to keep us safe.  Safe from being hurt physically, mentally and emotionally.  But being too safe closes us off from unlimited possibilities.  Limiting beliefs are things such as "I'm not smart enough.", "It's too hard", "It will take a lot of work" and "it's impossible" 

I have many limiting beliefs of my own.  I work on removing them one belief at a time.  But one limiting belief I don't have is that last one, "It's impossible".  I believe possibilities exist beyond my comprehension.  I believe in miracles.  Just because I can't see or understand what the possibility is or how something might become possible, doesn't mean it can't.  I will not pretend to have the world figured out and will keep myself open to its many mysteries. 

When my son, who was born early and much too small, had brain bleeding the doctors believed he might not talk or see and my beliefs were put to a test.  I just knew deep in me that there was a way it could all heal and that medical miracles happen all the time.  The doctors beliefs were limited due to their facts and figures but mine were not.  I didn't know how or why or if it for sure would, but I knew it was possible. 

Life rewarded us for believing in miracles and gave us exactly that.  We got our miracles and I still don't know how or why but I am deeply grateful.

Although it came naturally that time to be open and insist healing was possible, it isn't always so easy for me.  I catch myself on a daily basis limiting my life with my own beliefs. 

Notice your own dialog and that of the people around you.  How many limiting beliefs do you hear?

"You have to work hard to be successful."

"It will take too long."

"I'm not pretty enough."

"It won't work."

I could make a list a mile long with limiting beliefs that I myself have.  Some people will tell you "That's just reality!" But that in itself is a limiting belief.  I believe our reality is what we make of it.  To certain degree we can create our own reality.  Our beliefs shape and guide our lives.  The more rigid we are in our thinking the more limited our life will be. 

Be open to possibilities, believe in miracles and know that nothing is impossible.

Your world just might change.



Complaining

When I first started seeking to find ways to bring myself out of some dark places my mind and spirit had wandered into, I first heard about positive thinking.  It's basically trying to focus on the positive rather than the negative. Thinking happy thoughts and doing happy things to drown out the bad. I've heard some refer to it as "fake it, until you make it".

Later I would hear positive thinking isn't really healthy because you are burying the bad feelings rather than being your authentic self and that letting the bad feelings flow through and out is the best thing to do.

Me?....I would have to say I agree with the later. However, I do think positive thinking has it's place and can be used as a tool for those who are lost get to a place where they can be able to let feelings flow out. Too many of us, when we are lost, hold onto those feelings and feel them over and over again. There is guilt if we let them go to soon. But a full discussion on that might be better for a future blog.

When I first heard of positive thinking, one of the first things I started to become aware of was how we all talk to each other in our day to day small talk. When I would arrive to work, my coworkers would grudgingly acknowledge each other and maybe comment on how unpleased we were to be at work. Then one of us might complain "It took me over an hour to get here, traffic was terrible. I was so angry.  Can you believe it's supposed to snow today? Right at rush hour too." The automatic response would be something like this "Ugh, I know...it sucks. My commute was pretty awful too. They probably won't even let us out early with the snow coming. Yeah, it sucks." Further conversations would all be similar. "I have so much work to do." "Me too. I probably have more. Want to trade jobs?"  Then as I'd arrive home the question would be asked. "How was your day?" and the reply would be "It sucked, traffic was terrible, work was busy." It was almost like we automatically had to complain as if saying something uplifting or positive was a bad thing. Or we had to compete who had things worse. So I started to experiment when somebody would complain how their morning commute was, I would say "Sorry to hear that." or "Oh yeah?" They would always look at me waiting for more.  Then I started changing my replies to things like "I didn't mind my commute, I was listening to a really good audiobook." That was not always well received. Lot's a sneers.

It was interesting because it wasn't easy for me to do. My mind had been so used to just jumping into joining the complaining I had to really think about my responses. The reactions were interesting too because whoever you were talking to would seem a little put off that you didn't join the complaining fest with them.  It was also interesting how sometimes I would break if my "faking" was believed. I recall a few times when my husband asked how my day was I would say "It was good" and he'd respond "oh great what happened" I would clarify right away "actually it totally sucked, I was just faking it until I make it." I had the hardest time changing my words because part of me needed him to know I wasn't really happy. I even have asked him many times to stop asking "How was your day?" so I wouldn't have to lie or say it was bad. I asked him to change the question to "Did anything of interest happen today?" Then I could tell him about events without labeling them good or bad.

My coworker (a very dear friend) and I talked openly about this and both became very aware and started catching each other when we would get sucked into complaining. We wondered why we all did it because half the time we weren't even bothered by the weather or the commute until somebody else complained. So we both started changing our words and became those happy people that seems to annoy complaining people (I know I used to be one of them).

One day I decided I was going to try going on a complaining detox. I was going to watch all my words and do my best not to complain about anything for a full week.  It was hard but I did very well until the last day. My husband and I were driving somewhere, running late and faced with traffic (my worst triggers) and I went a complaining tangent! I looked at him and said "Well I guess I blew that one, didn't I?"

In the end what I learned from all of this was that there are times we just want to complain and get our feelings heard but somewhere along the line we as a society decided it was better or safer to complain back with people who complained to us. Maybe we feel more accepted or in agreement? But how many times have you caught yourself complaining about something that never really bothered you until somebody else brought it up? It seems to be something we have learned to do. We started compromising our authentic selves to fit in or make others comfortable. It's really OK if you are one of those annoying happy people. :)

So while I think "fake it until you make it" is an awesome tool to use to help retrain your brain, at the end of the day you are going to have bad days and expressing them is just fine. Be your authentic self and break out of what society has trained us to be. If you're happy don't let angry people stop that happiness. If you're having a bad day, it's ok....just don't expect others to join your bad day with you. It's OK to be you and it's OK to be me....no matter what that means.

Listen and see what you notice.  The next time somebody asks you how your day was, remember it's OK to admit it was pretty good.  When you are faced with somebody complaining, be aware of your responses...are they really how you feel or an automatic reply to relate with them?

Be true....be you!

Do it for the health

I have become a pretty clean eater and I also take a pretty intense exercise class 2 times a week. Lately, several people have commented that I lost weight. I let them know the scale hasn't moved. Then they say you have changed shape then. I then explain all my pants still fit the same. No saggy drawers here. I admit I would love to lose some weight and change my shape. I also admit there are many days I struggle with my inner bully that tells me I'm not small enough or that I look old and gross. I then have to catch myself and remember why I am doing it all in the first place and just simply say "Thank you" to the person.

And while I may fight this bully or want to change my shape, that truly is not my main goal. The reason I eat cleaner and exercise is for the health of it. I am not "dieting" as much as changing my diet.  I want to be the healthiest I can be. I want to live a long time and be energetic as I age. I want to be happy!

I started learning more about my diet while going through IVF, cutting out caffeine and aspartame. Later during my pregnancy I learned a lot about glucose levels and healthier food options. Later I would learn even more about organic vegetables, eating locally grown and the wonders of probiotics. I would very slowly change one thing at a time.

Six years later my eating habits are much different and although I lost some weight in the beginning I have been holding steady for the last couple years. But what has changed to me is my health. I have a huge history of getting colds, sinus infections, swollen glands and headaches. I was sick pretty much every other month. My colds started decreasing in severity and length first. Then as time went on I suddenly realized it had been a year since I had been sick. Of course the moment I thought about that I got slammed with illness. But it's been another 5 month of no illness. For me this feels like a miracle.  Something I couldn't have imagined happening for me before. Such a blessing I am grateful for. I feel absolutely amazing after my workouts and can do exercises I never imagined I could do.

I have also learned that I don't want to change my lifestyle or my eating habits out of fear. I don't want to feel fearful that if I eat this or that I might get sick. Stressing over that is not healthy.  I don't want to change any of that out of hatred either. I don't want to change my body because I hate it or the way it looks. I have my days of struggle with this last one, trust me, but in my heart of hearts I really want to change for the health of it. I want to do it because I love my body and I want to support it as it supports me through life.

On the days I struggle and my inner bully runs rampant in my head I work on my affirmations for self love and guidance. I remind myself of how good it feels to be healthy and not worry about the other stuff.

So if you are looking to make some lifestyle changes make sure your decisions are not based from fear or self loathing. Make your decisions from love and wanting the best life for yourself and your body. Do it for the health of it!!

Intuition, Manifestation or Something Else?

I hear what the doctors are saying. I know I should be fearful, worried or wrecked with grief. He could be blind, maybe deaf, have major speech problems, learning disabilities, emotional problems and perhaps even cerebral palsy. His brain has been bleeding. He has brain damage. The parts of his brain affected are most commonly used for speech, vision and emotions. I knew I should be scared to death. I have come so far to be a Mom. Seven rounds of IVF, a difficult pregnancy that ended too early…It was hard and I overcame so many things to get here. I should be crying and grieving for my son who may never have a "normal" life. I feel the anxiety creeping in, all the things I should be thinking or feeling knocking…but there is something stronger telling me "He can heal….things are going to be OK". I ask the doctors "But is there a chance this can resolve itself, the blood can be absorbed and he can be OK?" With grim faces one replies "We leave the optimism to the parents." "But it’s possible?" I ask. "We can’t say that" he replies. My next words aren’t a question, they are a statement "But it IS possible, it CAN resolve and he will be OK." I’m not listening to the doctors, I’m listening to the voice in my head and the knowing in my gut.

This is just one of many times during my journey to becoming a Mom that I had this feeling or knowing that things were going to be OK, when there was little reason to think so. Things did turn out OK but there were many times during that journey I sat crying, worrying, or screaming over what may or may not happen. I would let my worst fears take over and course through me.  Every time I did this and let all those feelings flow out they were always followed by this voice....although it was more of thought or knowing than a voice....and I would be left sitting there feeling almost silly and think why did you just do all that to yourself, you know it's going to be OK in the end. But was it? Did I really know this? Was I just hoping it would be? I don't really know the answers.

I have thought hard on this and all I can say is I somehow knew or just believed through all the doubt to my  very core that things would be ok. Some might say I had intuition. That my gut knew or that spirit was talking to me. Others might say I manifested it. That by continually thinking those thoughts of things being OK it actually made it true. Did I foresee a miracle or did I create one? Maybe it just happened for no reason at all and I just got lucky?

Learning about intuition and manifestation it has created many interesting questions for me. The biggest question is "How do I tell the difference between the two?" When setting an intention into the world am I just creating something or did that intention come from my intuition telling me what to create?

When I was around 20 years old, my Mom and I went to a local renaissance faire that had fortune tellers of all kinds. Intrigued we chose a woman who was casting bones to do a reading. Immediately after we went to a palm reader in a different area to compare readings. To test what they each said. Strangely enough both readers said very similar things for each of us. One thing that stuck with me is they both said that I would have a son and there would be some kind of trouble with the pregnancy. They both weren't sure exactly what kind of trouble but both told it would turn out OK.

I would tell this story of my reading many times over the years to people and that was always the main part I remembered from those readings. That I would have a son and have some sort of problem during my pregnancy that would turn out OK.  So as I sit now pondering over intuition and manifestation when it comes to my son not having any lasting affects from his brain bleeding or any of the numerous other challenges he faced, I have to wonder did all of these problems get manifested into reality because I thought about what that one woman said for years? Did retelling it over and over make all this happen?  OR did that woman just use her intuition and see what was to come? Did she tell me my future that day?

I honestly think it could have been either....or even a bit of both. I don't think our path is set for us but I do think we are here with a purpose and life will keep trying to direct you to that purpose. We have free will so we can always ignore or deny our path or purpose but I do think there is a lot of divine guidance happening that keeps us learning what we must to get us where we need to be. However, with this free will I think we were also given our own abilities to co-create our world and direct our path with intentions. Sometimes our intentions get put out into the world through our fears.

When I was about to give birth to my son, 8 weeks early, they gave me a choice to do a C-section or vaginal delivery. I said "I am worried if we do vaginal, I will get to a point of pushing and he will go into distress and I will get knocked out for emergency C-section and not be awake when he is born." They assured me they would know long before the pushing stage if he could tolerate delivery and could simply switch to an awake C-section. Guess what happened?  Intuition or did I manifest that to happen as well?

I don't know if it was intuition that told me everything was going to be OK. I don't know if I manifested my son into being OK. I don't really know anything expect that whatever happened, it blessed me with a miracle and led me onto this amazing journey of self discovery. It changed my life. I marvel over these questions and it brings me joy to know there are so many mysteries in the world to ponder over. I believe that our minds and our universe are way more powerful and amazing than we give them credit for. 

What do you think it was? Intuition, manifestation or something else entirely? 

 

Affirmations

Many already know what an affirmation is; a statement affirming something to be true or a belief. Some even know how to use them. But there are plenty of people who have no idea what an affirmation even is, let alone how to use one.  In 2008 I was one of those people. 

I was in the midst of undergoing IVF in an effort to get pregnant and trying every technique I came across that might help. I had a friend who told me she could do Reiki for me. I had already heard a little about Reiki being a type of energy healing but knew very little at the time. I was open to the idea and desperate for something to work so I jumped on it. 

For those new to what Reiki is it might be hard to explain but I'll try a brief summery.  We all have energy flowing through our bodies and sometimes those energies can get stuck and become troublesome for our health and mind.  A Reiki practitioner is trained to assist in helping you get your energy flowing better by means of channeling good energy through you.  By having good energy flowing it opens the body up to better healing and peace of mind. 

Anyhow, one of the first things my beautiful and very gifted friend did was hand me a piece of paper and said "Here is your affirmation."  I had zero clue what an affirmation was.  I looked at the paper and it said "I am able to create and sustain a life in my body".  I could have easily just asked her what one was but I didn't want to look foolish. Luckily I sort of figured it out, that I should be thinking or saying this to myself.  I had already worked a little on some visualization work so I figured it was similar, which it is. I laugh a little when I think back on my visualization work because I kept trying to picture my stomach big and all I accomplished with that was getting fat.  Later, I actually made sure I visualized a baby inside.

So armed with my affirmation I repeated it to myself and even altered it to say "I am able to create and sustain lives in my body" so that I wasn't limiting myself to just one life. 

I still can't tell you which technique or what belief in me changed things or why I finally got pregnant but I can say that on my last round my frame of mind was much different and in a better space then previous attempts.

Later, after all the many complications I had with my pregnancy and birth of my son I would find myself in place of loathing and self punishment (I'll save those details for a future blog) but I would start looking for ways to get out of my funk and stumble upon that word affirmations again.  I remember affirmations, I used them during Reiki.  Well, if you google the word affirmations one of the first things that comes up is Louise Hay.  "Who is this Louise Hay?" I thought.  She has books on affirmations and loving yourself...sounds like what I might need.  Even better she had Audiobooks.  As a working Mom with a new born who required so many extra doctors appointments there was no time for reading, but I had a long commute. 

I started listening to her audio tapes that explained how affirmations can help the body heal from many diseases and emotional problems. One of the biggest things I learned was that I was not really doing my affirmations correctly before. The thing with Affirmations is you need to get yourself to a place where you believe what you are saying. Saying them with feeling and conviction sure give them more power. I felt awfully silly saying positive things about myself out loud and would shake my head at how untrue what I was saying was. I stuck with it though, determined to feel better about myself. Eventually I felt less silly and started to agree with some of the affirmations. Now when I listen I get filled with love and really remind myself of how worthy of love I am. I learned affirmations can have a very powerful affect on your life if done correctly, consistently and with the belief that they will work.

Many people think affirmations work like a magic spell. You say them and then poof it happens. So when they attempt affirmations and what they say didn't happen or change right away they stop using them thinking they don't work. Affirmations are a bit of magic but they take time and belief. You have to do the inner work. When saying an affirmation you have to feel what you are saying. Feel it as if it is already true. You may feel like I did and think it's foolish to think saying something out loud to yourself will change your own thinking or make something true but if you keep your heart open to the possibility that you can change your own life by changing what you believe and using affirmations to help change those beliefs...you will be amazed.

So let's see how one might work.  Let's say you don't like your eyes. You're not happy with the color or the little wrinkles at the corner. Saying an affirmation like "I have beautiful eyes, my eyes show me the beauty of the world." Saying this isn't going to change your eye color or get rid of any wrinkles. What it will do over time is show you the beauty in those wrinkles or in that color. You might find yourself thinking, I do have some interesting flecks of color in there or my eyelashes do have a nice curl to them and the shape is pretty nice. Oh and at this angle I look really sassy. Hey, my eyes are kind of nice and beautiful in their own unique way. My eyes ARE beautiful.

I still work on my affirmations all the time and I see a big difference in my life when I do or don't use them; When I let my mind slip back into old beliefs, bad habits and start beating myself up (I am only human after all) versus the days I truly love who I am and see beauty all around me. 

Here are five affirmations that I use most often....

I am strong - I am loved - I am healthy - I am safe - I am divinely guided and protected

For me affirmations are a tool.  A very important tool to remind myself that I have a lot of love for the world and for myself. That this life is too amazing to remain asleep.

I invite you to use some affirmations in your own life and see what it awakens in you.

A Look Back

Today I am going to share another old blog I wrote.  It's another look at the history of how I got started on this journey.  My next few blogs will center around this bit of history and some things I learned from it.  Things about your intuition, listening to your gut, how your thoughts can mold your life and what the word Faith means to me.  In case you missed my first blog (which you may want to go back and read) this site that I wrote for many years ago changed hands and all the pictures were lost so I will include some here.  Hope you enjoy....

http://www.preemiebabies101.com/2010/06/having-faith-is-a-special-need/

As an update....my son is now 5 and doing great. ;)




My Stress is Not Your Stress

Stress....For as long as I can recall I have always heard how bad stress is for you. I have heard when people have high blood pressure or ulcers they should try to limit their stress levels. Maybe, I'm crazy (the jury is still out on that one) but it makes me think if stress affects so many health issues maybe it affects all of them. Apparently one of the doctors I had during my IVF procedures did not seem to agree.

During a meeting to discuss my most recent failed attempt at producing embryos that wanted to stick around, I asked him "Do you think I might be having troubles because of all the stress?" His answer was an immediate "No!" I was a little surprised and explained some of what I was going through. You see, as if waking up at the crack of dawn to get to the doctor by 6am to get your blood drawn, get poked and proded by the nurse in places you didn't know could be poked and proded, rush off to work your full time job fueled on all the hormones you just injected yourself with and pretending like nothing crazy is happening in your life to your clients and coworkers, explaining to all your friends that your not pregnant even though your starting to look like you are from the weight gain, to the disappointing news over and over that you failed at getting pregnant once again wasn't already stressful enough! Well let me tell you the universe didn't seem to think so, 3 of my 6 pets were extremely ill and I would lose 4 of them within a year. In the midst of all that I would also lose my beloved brand new father in law to a very unexpected infection. Well, I couldn't imagine anybody who wouldn't feel stressed after all that.

But my not so wonderful doctor looked at me and proclaimed this... "Women in third world countries surrounded by war get pregnant all the time."

This is where my jaw hits the floor. I have no comment for that and I leave a little stunned. I call my husband and my sister and I cry and cry. Then it hits me and suddenly I am angry. Wait a minute. How can he compare how I feel to some random person who got pregnant in a country surrounded by war? I am sure there are also plenty of woman in that country who didn't get pregnant. I am then thinking maybe a person who has lived around war their whole lives might not really feel the stress every day. Maybe they have learned to deal with it. Maybe for that woman living in a quiet country cabin would freak her out. Who are we to say what causes one person stress? Some people find taking a ride on a ferris wheel to be relaxing, some find it thrilling or like me some find it terrifying. I am so stressed on what is meant to be a joyful ride that I physically can't move. No, there are no guns going off, people aren't dying, bombs aren't being dropped but I am paralyzed regardless.

Needless to say, I did change doctors and tell him a thing or two about how I felt. My new doctor agreed completely. Everyone is wired differently and what creates stress in one person may never create it in another. Let's say there are three people who have to give a public speech at school. One is thrilled and excited to talk. They love the being the center of attention and having people listen to them. Another is bored and doesn't feel much more then getting this done because they have to. The third one is sweating and ends up stumbling all over their words, running out of the class room in tears thinking this is the most stressful thing he has ever done.

I believe only we can determine our own stress level and what causes it. I believe that stress does affect our health in crazy ways. I think stress is something caused internally and not externally. I believe we can say this or that caused me stress but the truth is we ourselves created the stress inside. I believe the power of the mind can make the most peaceful of things be stressful if we let it.

I think stress usually comes when we don't allow ourselves to feel what we want to or express things in the way we need to. It also comes when we are fearful.

So allow yourself to feel the feelings you need to feel and let go of that stress whenever you can. Finding ways to remove the stress from inside ourselves really is important to our health.....our mental health.....and our mental health is key to our physical health.

Be you, be well.

Where it began...

One day I saw a posting that a website that I was following, that offered support for preemie parents, was looking for bloggers.  They wanted writers for their page that could share their own stories of surviving the NICU and being a preemie parent.  I knew I had to reply to the call.  I had a story in me and I needed to get it out.  I have never consider myself a writer by nature so I had no idea if I could pull it off.  I'm great at actually telling stories....really long ones, if you ask my friends. But could I write them?  I just knew I had to try.  I submitted a summary of why I might be qualified to write and they accepted me in as one of their bloggers.  I had no idea where to start, I had so much to say (I think I am reliving that feeling even now).  So I wrote an introductory piece on my son since he was who I would be writing about.  Now, I don't intend to only write about my son or that experience but I think it's important to share my beginnings since it really is what launched me into learning more and my own awakening.  I have so much more to say and share since my earlier blogs but I hope to share some of the earlier ones from time to time as well.  So if you would like to see my very first attempt at writing and learn a little bit more about me, follow the link below

This website changed hands at one point, and although it's still a wonderful resource for preemie parents, I stopped writing for them when it did.  The original photos are no longer with the story unfortunately so I'll post them here.

http://www.preemiebabies101.com/20…/…/introduction-of-drake/