Miscarriage support

Holiday Survival: The Perfect Answer to “When Are You Going To Have Kids?”

It’s Thanksgiving Week!  I hope you are looking forward to a little break from work, great food, good drinks and loving company.  But what if you’re not… exactly?  It is possible to look forward to spending time with family and friends and dread it at the same time.  If you’ve recently experienced a miscarriage or pregnancy loss, ended a very much wanted pregnancy, or are having difficulty conceiving, the holidays can sometimes have a way of sparking loneliness, sadness and longing, despite our best efforts.

It can be painful to spend time among families with babies or to hear all about an old friend or family member’s pregnancy or birth.  And I know just how much you’re looking forward to getting the influx of holiday cards with pregnancy announcements or all those new, tiny humans’ faces looking back at you from the inside of a stocking or gift box under the Christmas tree.

Among the worst of triggers is the inevitable question from a well-meaning family member or old friend, “when are you going to have kids?” or “when are you guys going to have number two!?”  The thing is, those who have been out of the fertility game for years or whose journey was different than yours often do not realize how painful these simple questions can be - or how complex the truth really is.

So how do you get through the holidays without drinking a bottle of wine and crying yourself to sleep at night?  There are some tools to get you through:

1. PREPARE. People will ask. The cards will come.  It’s inevitable and uncontrollable.  What you can control is knowing these things are coming your way and deciding ahead of time how you’re going to deal with them, mentally and emotionally.

2. BE COMPASSIONATE WITH YOURSELF. Is it painful?  Yes.  Do you wish things were different?  Wholeheartedly. And the best you can do is talk to and treat yourself as you would anyone else who was experiencing what you are.  Do not beat yourself up.  For every negative thought you have, make sure to think another one of love and acceptance towards yourself. 

3. TRY NOT TO COMPARE. Comparing your journey to someone else’s is the kiss of death. Notice when you find yourself comparing and distract your thoughts with again, self compassion.  Remind yourself that you deserve happiness just as much as anyone else, and while your path may be different, you will get there.

Photo by  sydney zentz  on  Unsplash

As the questions about your intent to have a baby come, you essentially have three options as to how to answer.  Options being the keyword here.  You are in control of and can choose how you want to react, what you want to share, and who you want to share with.  You can either be honest, lie, or throw a bit of a curve ball.  Let’s explore these options:

1. BE HONEST. This can take on whatever form you are comfortable with but you do have the option to share your truth, to whatever extent you want.  You can explain that you’ve actually recently experienced a loss or that you are in fact trying IVF.  Often times when this information is shared, you learn more about the person that you’re sharing with than you would expect.  Fertility issues are so incredibly common that it only takes one person to open up to get others to share what they’ve been through.  You could be that person.  Also, it can feel good to be open about such a big part of your life and not feel like you have to “fake it.”

2. LIE.  Yes, here is permission to lie - but there are stipulations.  You don’t have to share anything at all.  You can easily dodge the conversation with the wave of a hand, say “we’re not ready yet,” and ask a question of the person you’re speaking with that will turn the topic on to them.  If you choose to keep your journey personal, that is your right and completely understandable.  But - do it because it is your right and it is personal, and not because you feel embarrassed, are disappointed in yourself or where you’re at, or are worried others will be uncomfortable.  Here is where the self compassion comes in again.  You are doing the very best you can every day.  You are stronger than you know.  This is your story to own.  How others feel about it is their business.  What matters is doing and saying what will help you.

3. “WHEN (Life/God/the Universe) FEELS WE ARE READY.”  (Use whatever higher power speaks to you.)  

It’s out there, right?  Hear me out.  It’s deep enough to end the conversation with those who can’t understand it, and yet for those who can understand it, it says everything.  In one sentence, it sums up that you do want a baby.  In fact, if you had complete control you’d have one in your arms right now, but it isn’t nearly that simple.

I’ve actually tried this one a few times and I can attest that it does either shut down the conversation, or elicit a knowing and compassionate nod.  In that case, either not much else needs to be said or it leads to support and inspiration from some of the people you’d least expect.  

In the end, your journey is an incredibly personal one and you must do what you are most comfortable with.  However you prepare and decide to handle these tricky interactions - make sure that, above all else, it feels right for you and that you make your choice and go forward with confidence.   

What’s the most awkward question you’ve received and how did you handle it?  

Share your story below!

Three Secrets To Maintaining A Morning Routine

Mornings are undeniably the most challenging time of the day for many.  There is inevitably the inner battle that begins when the alarm goes off - why ever leave that warm, comfortable, safe place called bed?  Yet, studies have proven that the most productive, centered, and successful people are early to rise and make the most of this time by implementing some self-care, both mentally and physically.  

Having a morning routine can help establish your mindset for the day by grounding and centering you so you are ready for whatever the day brings. It can also help tremendously in beating the morning blues - those days you wake up feeling melancholy, which can be especially common when recovering a pregnancy loss or when you’re battling fertility issues.

The secrets to maintaining a morning routine are:

  1. Make the decision to implement and stick to a morning routine that works for you. Commit.

  2. Keep it simple.

  3. Above all else - Eliminate Thinking.

Finding a series of activities that meet your needs and doing them on autopilot daily is the best way to ensure that you will stick to the routine and get the most out of it.  

First, decide how you want to feel during and after your morning routine.  Do you need to ease into your day in a comforting and nourishing way? Or do you jump out of bed with energy, ready to go?  The idea is to start you off in the best way possible so you are armed and ready for whatever the day brings.

When I created my morning routine, my primary goal was to fit in a daily meditation practice.  My secondary goal was to incorporate a warm lemon water ritual to support my digestion, balance my pH, and give me a daily vitamin C boost.  

Years ago, after much trial and error, I established that I need to get my exercise done in the morning. Power yoga is my ideal form of regular physical activity. I had a loose routine - wake up, drink water, put on clothes, go to class. Shower, dress, commute.  Not bad, but rushed and lacking a couple of things I knew deep down I needed.

When I made the decision to implement a morning routine that involved as little thinking as possible,, I broke it down to six activities I felt would meet my personal needs.

After the alarm, just about every morning goes like this:

  1. Hydrate:  I drink the glass of water I put at my bedside each night.  Our bodies dehydrate overnight and it’s important to get hydration in right way.

  2. Make my bed: Because I feel calmer when things are visually in their place and it gets my body moving around.

  3. Warm water with lemon: I go downstairs, heat up water + a few shakes of turmeric on the stove, and squeeze half of a lemon into a mug. (I add the turmeric because it is an incredible anti-inflammatory tool as well as an immune booster.)

  4. Smoothie: While I wait for the water to heat, I make my husband and I a smoothie.  This involves me sleepily throwing a combination of handfuls of leafy greens, frozen fruit, and almond milk in a blender, pushing the “liquify” button, and pouring the result into travel cups that go in the refrigerator for us to grab & go on our way. Sometimes they are great.  Sometimes they taste weird.  Either way, they are mood boosting coffee alternatives and are a great way to get in servings of vegetables and fruit on the go for fiber and nutrients.  Fruit is also easiest to digest on an empty stomach.

  5. Meditate: My lemon water and I go back upstairs and I do a 5 - 10 minute meditation, usually using one of the many guided meditation apps available, such as Insight Timer, Calm, Simple Habit, Headspace, or the website Fragrantheart.com.

  6. Move: Go to a yoga or barre class or practice yoga at home.

This may seem like a lot but the first five activities require only 25 or so minutes more added to my morning.  I do not think much as I do any of it, in fact, I couldn’t if I wanted to because my brain doesn’t start working until about an hour and a half after I wake up.

Sleep is critical but 25 minutes of snoozing the alarm has never resulted in the calmness I feel when I stick to the routine.

The few things I do the night before are:

  • Occasionally think about the smoothie I want to make or look up recipes to get ideas.

  • Always, always, bring that glass of water to bed with me so I can hydrate upon waking up.

  • Sign up for the yoga or barre class to commit myself to going.

What would you like to start treating yourself to in the morning, before the world needs you?  

How can you implement it in a simple way that requires little to no thinking at all?

Cranberry Mimosas & Pumpkin Pie, Oh My!

Local and Seasonal Food Series Part 5

Photo by  Bekir Dönmez  on  Unsplash

This is quite a week on the calendar as we celebrate Halloween, welcome November, and turn the clocks back on Sunday.  While the holiday season is gearing up, it’s easy to start feeling a mixture of excitement, wistfulness, and overwhelm all at the same time.  I encourage you to remember to prioritize your wellbeing and make sure you’re giving yourself plenty of time to rest and recharge throughout this highly social season.  

Food plays an integral role in festivities over the next few months, which is equally part of the joy and the stress of the season for many.  There are still plenty of nutritious, local and seasonal options to take advantage of even as the colder temperatures settle in.  Some of the most beloved and traditional flavors of the holidays come from right here in our New England backyard!  

This week we join pumpkin mania as we look at the incredible benefits real pumpkin has to offer us, as well as the amazing antioxidant benefits cranberries have to offer.  Both of these seasonal favorites are great for keeping up your energy and warding off colds.  These two flavors also go great together in a variety of recipes!

Pumpkin

Available September, October, and November in the Northeast.  

WE LOVE PUMPKINS BECAUSE THEY ARE:

  • Loaded with beta-carotene - Vitamin A - which helps keep skin and eyes healthy, supports the immune system and neutralizes free radicals.

  • A great source of fiber and digestion support.

  • High in immune boosting vitamin C.

  • Rich in potassium, which is helpful with fluid & electrolyte balance.

  • High in iron, calcium and protein.

Almost better than the pumpkin’s meat are the seeds (aka pepitas)!  They are super high in iron, manganese and a number of other key minerals; they also contain large amounts of Vitamin K and protein.  Remember, iron is necessary for cell production and growth, and circulating oxygen throughout the body.  This is important for us and even more important for fertility.  

You can feel very good about snacking away on pumpkin seeds and adding them to your favorite salads for an appetite controlling, nutrient dense, energizing crunch.

WAYS TO ENJOY PUMPKIN AND PUMPKIN SEEDS:

Tip: When it comes to cooking, the heavier the pumpkin the better.  Avoid broken skin and black or mushy spots.

ROASTED PUMPKIN, KALE, AND QUINOA SALAD BY FRAICHE NUTRITION

ROASTED PUMPKIN, KALE, AND QUINOA SALAD BY FRAICHE NUTRITION

How To Roast A Pumpkin and Its Seeds by Greatist.com

Check out this handy pumpkin seed recipe resource from Delish that provides 16 different ways to mix them up.

Thanks to this chia seed pudding recipe from Greatist, you can combine the hottest flavor of the season with your omega-rich chia seed pudding to enjoy for breakfast or a snack!  It calls for canned pumpkin, which is certainly easier than roasting your own and necessary when pumpkins are not in season.  Just be sure you’re buying organic canned pumpkin and look for it in a BPA free can.

This beautiful Roasted Pumpkin, Kale, and Quinoa Salad by Fraiche Nutrition is not only flavorful, but is also packed with nutrients, uses both the seeds and the pumpkin meat, and includes another local and seasonal favorite - cranberries.

It wouldn’t be November without a Pumpkin Pie recipe, would it?!  This flavor-rich, low sugar, dairy and gluten free pumpkin pie recipe from the Roasted Root will satisfy any Thanksgiving tradition.

Cranberries

Available September - December in the Northeast.  

Cranberries are a bit of a big deal and have a rich history here in New England, their home of origin.  The Cape Cod Cranberry Growers' Association reports that Native Americans “have enjoyed the annual harvest of sasumuneash - wild cranberries - for 12,000 years.”  

If you’re in the Massachusetts area, you can make a day of visiting a cranberry bog this time of year!

WE LOVE CRANBERRIES BECAUSE THEY ARE:

  • One of the highest sources of antioxidants over any other fruit, which protects us from cancer causing free-radical damage, inflammation and are great for heart health.

  • High in immune boosting vitamin C.

  • A good source of dietary fiber, vitamin E, vitamin K, copper and pantothenic acid.

  • An internal cleanser due to their anti-septic and diuretic effect.

WAYS TO ENJOY CRANBERRIES:

Tip: The more red in color, the higher the antioxidant content

Let’s get right to the good stuff.  If you’re going to be celebrating the holidays, you may as well get your antioxidants while you do it!  Use fresh, organic, no sugar added cranberry juice in this Cranberry Mimosa recipe from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen:

Photo by  Brooke Lark  on  Unsplash

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Ingredients:

Sparkling wine

½ cup of fresh cranberry juice (no added sugars!)

3 pieces of fresh cranberries

Directions:

First, add cranberry juice in a wine glass. Then, pour sparkling wine to top. Finish with cranberry garnishing.

 

 

 

If you’re looking for a good hors d'oeuvre to bring to a party, this Cranberry Salsa from Dr. Axe is a creative alternative to your typical tomato salsa.  It also combines pumpkin seeds and cranberries for a super-food double punch.  

Try this incredibly easy Healthy Paleo Cranberry Coffee Cake from Paleo Gluten Free Eats for a sweet brunch treat!

Start your day off right by working cranberries into your smoothie rotation with this Festive Spice Holiday Smoothie recipe from Kimberly Snyder.

~

How do you feel about the approaching holiday season?  Does it trigger any emotions for you or perhaps provide a welcome distraction?  Let me know in the comments section below!

Feel Good Smoothie Recipe

When you’re feeling low, it’s no secret that cravings for comfort foods can be strong.  I created the Feel Good Smoothie by following my cravings while trying to give my body what it needs. Also, it was morning, I was trying to kick caffeine, feeling melancholy, and I wanted chocolate, badly. ;)