The Comeback

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Soooooooo…it’s been a while.

A little too long.

Though, I needed a bit of a break if I’m being honest. I needed to refocus and really truly figure out what I wanted to say. I was starting to feel like every blog was so heavy and serious. Don’t get me wrong…serious is okay, serious is needed at times. I was just starting to feel like I was defining myself as the sad woman who had two miscarriages. While yes, I have had two miscarriages and yes they both made me extremely sad and I was lost in the darkness for quite some time; I have also found my way back into the light and I don’t want to be that sad woman anymore.

So here I am, making my comeback to the blog. Getting ready to continue sharing bits and pieces of my experiences with you including the serious, but also a little levity too. I want this blog to be a space where we, myself and all of you beautiful and wonderful readers, can talk about it all. We can talk about our joys and our sorrows, the good, the bad, and the flat out ridiculous. Let’s share about what it means to be a woman today. What are the challenges we face, the tips we’ve got for navigating this wild ride, and the things we love so very much about our lives. Let’s support each other during the tough stuff and let’s laugh together about that crazy shit you just can’t make up.

I’ll still be sharing about my fertility journey (at present I basically just pee on sticks all month long…LOL). I’ll be sharing about my next steps in healing my eating disordered past (I start with a new therapist soon to tackle these basically life long issues). I will even be talking about turning…37…ugh…aaaaaaaaaand I’m planning on talking about SEX….ooooooooh. Sex is something many feel so uncomfortable talking about…but I, well I have no shame…and let’s be real…I like getting some good old fashioned sexy time in. But I also want to hear from you about topics you’d like to cover, things you want to talk through. I want to make this next phase of Natural Baby Mamas fun and interesting. So join me, my sweet friends!

Marieke xoxo

Mother’s Day

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Mother’s day…

It’s a tough day when you’re a Miscarriage Mama. It’s right up there with the anniversaries of your due date and your miscarriage. It’s a day when you are reminded that your child is not living. When you are a Miscarriage Mama with no living children it’s a day that doesn’t include little footprint bookmarks that were made in your child’s preschool class, or breakfast in bed filled with syrupy kisses and snuggles from your little ones. It’s a day that you are painfully aware of the fact that your child or children live in heaven, and no matter how much you long for those snuggles and kisses you are just not able to get them.

It’s also a day when we often feel forgotten by the rest of the world. It can feel as though they don’t actually consider us mothers. I’ve even seen it said that motherhood begins when you first hold your child in your arms. I don’t accept that. For me motherhood began when I conceived my children and has continued every day since I lost my children. It is important for us to remember and tell the world that yes, we are still mothers!! We carried our children in the womb for as long as we could, and we continue to carry them in our hearts every second of every day.

So how does the Miscarriage Mama make it through this challenging day?

First, make sure to be kind to yourself. Remind yourself what a wonderful woman you are and how much you love your child.

Be gentle with yourself. It’s so easy to let the negative inner voices take over and say all of those nasty things you sometimes believe like you’re a failure, and if only you had done this instead of that your baby might still be here.

Honor yourself, for you are and will always be your little angel’s mother. That is something no one can ever take away from you.

Honor your child. Do something to remember your child, be it having them added to the prayer list at church, or buying a candle to burn in their memory. You could even get yourself a piece of Mother’s Day jewelry. I have a necklace with each of my children’s birthstones with little silver angel wings. I wear it every day. It helps me feel close to them. Talk about your child with your loved ones or trusted friends.

And lastly, let yourself have that moment of sadness. It’s normal. It’s okay. Most importantly, YOU are allowed. Try not to let it consume your day, but let it flow. My first Mother’s Day after my first miscarriage I was a total mess. Snot and tears everywhere. If you need to let yourself go there then do it.

I know nothing will take away the pain, sadness, and emptiness that comes with being an angel mother on Mother’s Day. If you are anything like me, I know you would do anything to just have one moment to hold your child in your arms. I know this is a hard day to get through. But from one Miscarriage Mama to another I want to wish you a very happy Mother’s Day. For my dear sweet beautiful angel mother…you are STILL a mother today and every day.

All my love,

Marieke xo

My Eating Disorder

 

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Trigger warning: The following blog post talks about my experiences with eating disorder behavior. If you are in recovery or are currently in the midst of the disorder this could trigger thoughts or behaviors. Proceed with caution, dear friend. 

My eating disorder…

It’s something I haven’t really discussed on the blog just yet. It’s one of those things that I either blurt out or take my time with it. In this instance I’ve been taking my time. Sure so far on the blog I’ve been talking about my journey as a Miscarriage Mama. I’ve been healing that area of my life. I’m feeling stronger with that portion these days. I’m feeling called to share more about my journey through this life with you, and what I’m working on right now is my eating disorder.

At the age of ten I was 5’2”, had developed some rather grown up curves, and was struggling with the fact that all of my friends were still in undershirts with spindly legs, meanwhile I was in a full B nearly C cup bra. I looked more like a teenager than a ten year old. But what I was seeing was someone who had a teenager body that was still coated in a thick layer of baby fat. I hated my body. I hated that everyone noticed my body was different. I hated that the mean boys would comment on my curves and comment on my fat. I hated that I felt like I just didn’t fit in. Now, as an adult, I can look back and acknowledge that really that’s how most ten year olds are feeling. Tweens feel all kinds of awkward nearly 100% of the time.

For me feeling this level of awkward sent me looking for control. But I was ten years old…what on earth does a ten year old have control over!?!? My body. I could control what I ate. I could lose this layer of baby fat. If I tried hard enough I could make my body skinny and small like my friends. It started slowly. I simply stopped eating lunch at school. Instead of bringing bag lunch I’d ask for lunch money. Telling my parents I was just getting hot lunch. Then I stopped eating breakfast in the morning. I wasn’t much of a breakfast person anyhow, I wasn’t much of a morning person. I’m still not. I’d eat enough dinner to make it look like I was eating. I started losing weight. People started noticing. People started saying how good I looked. I was winning. I had control. I was miserable. I was anxious. I was starving. When you’re starving you feel sick.

I was sick. I had always struggled with migraines…even as a little kid…I actually have a migraine right now as I am writing this…, but my migraines got worse the more I starved myself. With some migraines a symptom can be craving certain foods, feeling like eating will help the migraine go away. I was finding with each migraine I was craving food and lots of it (in retrospect I was craving food also because I was starving myself). This began my binge/purge cycles. I would starve all day at school, come home with a terrible migraine, crave food, binge, and then throw up. As long as the food wasn’t in me all that long the calories wouldn’t’ stick right? The disordered mind will tell itself some really creative lies.

This behavior continued all the way through high school only by then I was also taking diet pills, doing cleanses, and exercising obsessively…often to the point of injury. It wasn’t until college that I started trying to get a handle on it…and even then I had a very unhealthy relationship with food, exercise, and my body. In all honesty I still do. I’ve fallen on and off the wagon more times than I can count. I’m currently in a phase of wrestling with disordered thoughts and through sheer will of not wanting to spin out of control again and my literal earth angel therapists I’m managing those thoughts. It’s not easy though and I’m walking a very fine line.

Every day I hear the disorder talking. Every day I have to tell it to shut up. Every day I’m taking a baby step towards a healthier relationship with my body, mind, and self. Every day I say to myself “You are 36 years old. It’s time to love yourself. 26 years of this disordered thinking is 26 years too many”. I’m learning to treat my body with kindness. I’m learning to engage in joyful movement instead of punishing exercise. I’m learning to nourish myself in a balanced way. I’m eating breakfast…and I regularly talk about it in therapy, because man…it totally freaks me out! But I’m doing it, little by little.

If you too have struggled with your body, struggled with an eating disorder, struggled with simply loving yourself, please know that my heart is with you. I may not know what your exact experience has felt like, but I can sympathize through my own experience. If you need a shoulder to lean on, mine are here.

If you are struggling currently with an eating disorder I encourage you to find a therapist or program that specializes in eating disorders and allow them to help you navigate these, at times quite challenging waters. If you aren’t sure who to call contact The National Eating Disorder Association at (800) 931-2237 or visit their website at nationaleatingdisorders.org they will be able to help you find the resources you need.

All my love,
Marieke xo

Anniversaries

 

 

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Anniversaries…

I have an anniversary coming up this week, myself.  April 22nd is the second anniversary of my first miscarriage. I can’t believe it’s been two years. Some days it honestly feels like it just happened. These anniversaries, these markers of time…they suck.

Yes, I can say that I can look back and see how far I’ve come. I can acknowledge how strong I am. I can acknowledge that in this challenge life threw our way my fella and I have grown stronger as a couple. Good things have come out of this, but it still sucks. It still hurts. I still think of my child every day. Sometimes I still think about the trauma of the miscarriage itself. I’m brought back to all of the feelings I experienced when I started spotting…that shockingly red blood. I’m brought back to the back ache, the contractions, and the sorrow I felt from the depths of my soul. And when I say that anniversaries like this suck it’s because on these days we are reminded of it all in a far more acute way than on a typical day.

I was recently speaking with a fellow Miscarriage Mama. She was coming up on what would have been the due date. She asked how I got through my due dates, as she was anxious about getting through hers. I told her with complete honesty…I was a HOT MESS with my first due date. I mean, ugly crying, snot rivers, mountains of tissues, unwashed, greasy, snarling, sobbing, unable to participate in life, level of hot mess. This was all before I went to therapy. I was a disaster before therapy. When I met my literal earth angel of a therapist we created a game plan for the due date of my second miscarriage…a game plan that I am using to navigate this upcoming anniversary of my first miscarriage.

So what is my game plan, you might be asking. First, I map out the day. I write an outline of what I am going to do. The structure takes the anxiety out of not knowing what to do with myself. It lets me know what the next step is should I start to feel overwhelmed or like I’m floundering.

My outline consists of letting myself sleep for as long as I please…I wake up when I wake up. Then once I’m awake I give myself permission to eat whatever I want. On the anniversary of my due date this past October, I literally ate an entire box of donuts…an entire dozen…just one after the other. I felt no shame. In this moment an obscene amount of donuts was completely acceptable. I gave myself permission to be the most major hot mess, but the catch was that by 3pm that day I had to take a shower and I had to participate in life. I could be the messiest mess ever up to 3pm, but then I had to get a grip. It sounds a bit harsh, but it really helped me not let the sorrow take me over. I allowed myself to sob. I allowed myself to not talk to anyone. I allowed myself space to hurt. Then I took a super hot shower, did my hair, and went outside. I like to buy things to remember my children on their anniversaries. Sometimes it’s a new bracelet or a candle that I light in memory of them. I journaled. I journaled hard. I journaled all the pain filled not nice things I want to say, but can’t say out loud. I journal until the words stop coming. That’s when I know I’ve said all I need to say. I talked to my fella about how I was feeling. I talked to my best friend. I talked to my mom. I got something really yummy for dinner…take out is the way to go. Before I knew it the day was over. I had made it through. I had honored my feelings, honored my child, and survived the difficult day.

So yes, these anniversaries are hard. These anniversaries can be traumatic. These anniversaries plain old suuuuuuck. But, we can make it through. I like to think my children are proud of me when I make it through these tough days. They wouldn’t want me to be sorrowful the entire day. They would want me to take care of myself and remember how much love I have for them and how much love the still have for me.

 

If you are facing an anniversary, a holiday, a marker of time since you lost your child know that my heart is with you. My shoulders are here. My ears are ready to listen. This is a not so fun club to be in, but together we can make it through the difficult days.

XO Marieke

Do you have kids?

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So, I’m feeling called to continue talking about my journey through two miscarriages. Not because I’m in a feel bad for me kind of place, but because I’ve been connecting with a lot of women lately and they are overwhelmingly asking for my story and asking how I got through the initial dark days. When you ask I deliver, dear friends.

I recently met a new friend and like most women do when meeting for the first time we share a little bit about ourselves. What do you do? Massage therapist, office manager…and now blogger. Are you married? Not yet, but our love is strong…I’m not the most traditional of women anyways. Do you have any children? The question that strikes fear in the heart of most miscarriage mamas.

I used to get terribly awkward when people would ask this question. In the beginning I would full on burst into tears. I struggled with how on earth I could possible explain that I’ve been pregnant twice and miscarried both times. I struggled because I felt like it was an admission of failure. I struggled because I was embarrassed that my body couldn’t do what it was designed to do. I struggled because talking about the death of a loved one, and miscarriage is a death of a loved one, is incredibly hard regardless of what stage of life the person who died was.

Then I went to therapy (I love therapy. I love my therapist. My love letter to my therapist is coming soon) and learned how to say what I needed to say. I learned that it’s not my responsibility to make the person asking the question comfortable. I learned to simply state the facts. To simply state I had miscarried twice. To simply state I had no living children. To simply state that my children live in heaven. And then just release it. I learned to accept that stating these facts was no different than stating that I had blonde hair and a bachelors degree in child development.

I also learned that my children will always be my children. Their short lives in my womb don’t change that. I gave them life. I carried them every second of their lives and unfortunately for whatever reason, my body couldn’t hold them any longer and I birthed them far too soon.

But the fact is, they will forever be my children.

You know what else I learned…it’s okay for me to get all kinds of awkward. It’s okay for me to burst into tears. It’s okay for me to feel emotional when asked about my babies. And it’s also okay for you, the person asking me, to get all kinds of awkward in response to what I said. I can accept that. I can accept it, because talking about death is hard. Talking about the death of a mother’s child is even harder. Talking about miscarriage is really hard, because up until recently nobody talked about it at all.

That’s where I come in. I’m talking about it. I’m letting you know it’s okay. I’m letting you know that even in your darkest of days there is still hope. I’m letting you know that when you feel like all of the color has left your world and it feels like the pain will consume you, there is hope. The color will return. The pain will not be successful in consuming you completely. You will find your smile again. And you will continue to love and honor your child for the rest of your life, for they will always have a piece of your heart and that is where they will live on.

As always if you are hurting, if you have miscarried yourself, know that I am here for you. Reach out. I’ve got some great shoulders for leaning on and some great ears for listening.

I’m sending you so much love.
Marieke xo

I’m finding my way

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It’s my two month “blogaverserie”!!!! I know I’m still finding my way, and I’m still super new at this, but I’m so thrilled that I took the leap and just did it. Over the course of the past two months I’ve shared some of my story with you, I’ve allowed myself to get real, raw, and honest. I’ve been nervous, I’ve wondered if I’m over sharing, if I’m talking about the right things, if you find me even remotely interesting. I’ve asked my self time and again if I’m talking about the miscarriages too much. I’ve over thought a lot!

Yet, at every point along the way I’ve tried to turn it over to God and ask that he use me as a tool to share the parts of my life that will connect with another person, to use the parts of my story that will help someone out that might be experiencing or feeling what I am or what I once did. Each time I’ve surrendered to this process I’ve ultimately connected with some pretty amazing and beautiful women. Women who have miscarried in the past and felt alone in that experience, women who were in the process of miscarrying and needed a shoulder to lean on, women who were just like me trying to make sense of it all.

I feel like through the worst experience of my life I have managed to stumble upon my strength…when I felt like I had truly lost it. I have managed to find hope and something good in it all. I don’t know if part of God’s plan was so I could share my personal story to help other women, but it makes my heart full knowing that I am. I promise that I will always be here, with shoulders to lean on, and ears to listen. Miscarriage is awful. Let’s be real it’s worse than awful. There really isn’t an adequate word to describe just how incredibly awful it is. But there are so many of us Miscarriage Mamas out there, and together we can bear this often times overwhelming load.

I know I haven’t been posting as frequently as I was initially. I could list all the reasons why…there’s a bunch of them. But I was ultimately having a hard time finding my words. I was trying to follow the rules of what kind of content I should post. I was trying to fit into the blogging box that all those “so you think you can blog” posts on Pinterest make you believe you need to fit into. Not anymore. Check ya laterrr box! On my two month blogaverserie I am reminding myself and declaring to you that from this point forward I’m letting Jesus take the wheel. Lord knows where this will take us…literally. I might not follow all the rules. I might not always say what I’m “supposed” to say. But I will always say what’s in my heart. I will always be real, raw, and honest with you.

Thank you all so much for joining me on the journey. I appreciate all of the kind words, the open and honest sharing, and getting to know you all. I’m excited to see where this all leads us next.

As always remember if you are hurting right now, if you’ve experienced miscarriage or a loss or trauma of any kind, my heart is with you and I am sending you so much love.

xoxo -Marieke

Simple Joys

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I’m gonna be honest…I feel bad about slacking on the blog this week, but I also feel like I have to let myself off the hook because it’s okay to slack sometimes too. Last week was a really tough one. The anniversary of my second miscarriage. The anniversaries are always hard. While I was giving myself space to process it, while I was allowing myself to feel sad, angry, confused, numb, life just wasn’t allowing me the space to process and feel all the feelings. Last week was a shit show, plain and simple. But that’s how life goes isn’t it. Some weeks, even the weeks when we are needing space to deal with our internal stuff, just don’t allow the time and space you need to do that. So you end up stuffing it down a bit. When I stuff it down, when I don’t get the chance to go there it comes out in other ways. I avoid things. I feel unmotivated. I get damn cranky.

THAT was me last week…and it carried over a lot into this week. Thus, the super late blog. I just couldn’t find my words. I just didn’t want to talk about how shitty having had a miscarriage was…again. But I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to talk about. At a certain point in the week, as I was posting on my Instagram…that you should totally be following by the way…I realized a theme, I realized what I kept coming back to in my posts…  Finding the simple joys.

When life is feeling overwhelming, when you are in a funk and you can’t get out, when you’re in a funk and you don’t even know it, when you find yourself tallying up all the crap from the day, find your simple joys. Find those little things that make you smile. Find those little things that you feel grateful for. Things as small as having puffs plus with lotion tissues because you are getting over a cold and your nose is still a bit of a snot faucet and thank god for those lotioned up tissues otherwise you would have a raw, sad, and painful nose.

There is actually an exercise that my therapist encourages me to do, something that I was doing daily and have since slacked off a bit, keeping a G.L.A.D. Journal. In my G.L.A.D. Journal I write one thing that I’m Grateful for, one thing that I Learned, one thing I Accomplished, and one thing that Delighted me for the day. My therapist says it helps to reformat your brain so that it sees the good…even on the most challenging of days, and then when you have a real whopper of a bad day you can reflect on all of the small things that make up a great life. I’ll be busting out my journal tonight. I’ll be reminding myself of the good parts of the day and reminding my brain to focus on those parts and not the parts that make me sad or anxious. It’s important to acknowledge the things that make us sad and anxious, but we can’t unpack and live there. Remember to be G.L.A.D. about this beautiful life. Find those simple joys!

If you are experiencing anxiety or depression, I want to encourage you to find a mental health counselor. At some point I will be sharing my love letter to my therapist. She has truly been an angel in my life. Following both of my miscarriages I was in a dark place and I tried really hard to find the light on my own, but I couldn’t get there by myself. When I finally asked my OB/GYN for a referral because I was having such a hard time, that’s when the light came back. I still have tough days…we all do, but I’m living in the light again and it is a wonderful place to be. It might take a few tries to find a therapist that you click with but when you find the one you’ll know. It’s a lot like dating…sometimes you have to go on a few first dates until you find the person you want to keep dating.

 And if you are hurting right now, know that my heart is with you and I am sending you so much love. xoxo