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A Lost Leave: When Postpartum Anxiety Takes Over

When you return to work, everyone asks you if it is tough to leave your baby. I have perfected my answer to this question. I say that it is bittersweet. Which it is. As much as I miss Max, my three-month-old son, I also am excited to be back at work, and gaining back a little bit of the “me” I used to be.

My answers start to be less perfected when people ask me how my maternity leave was. How do I answer this question without fully disclosing the experience I had? Does anyone really want to hear that I struggled with what seemed like debilitating Postpartum Anxiety—a sibling to Postpartum Depression? Do people really care that my body was in a state of constant panic, and that I suffered through weeks of insomnia? Can I actually tell people that I felt nervous all the time … or that it seemed like a stranger was trapped in my body? Would people look at me funny if I said I barely made it through each day and sometimes had to count the hours or minutes until my husband came home?

That is the reality of at least half of my maternity leave. I existed in a state of panic. I felt like I had adrenaline pulsing through my veins. I had a pit in my stomach at all times. I had to sleep with an icepack at night to soothe my burning chest. My arms and legs tingled relentlessly. I spent most of my days worrying. Would I be able to sleep tonight? If I didn’t sleep, would I be able to take care of Max tomorrow? What would happen if I couldn’t take care of […]

Healing through Action: Walking to Prevent Baby Loss

My least favorite question is “How many children do you have?” If you’ve lost a child, then you know how such a simple question—just a pleasantry in day-to-day conversations—causes a flash of grief, anxiety and guilt. This is typically how it goes:

Well-meaning person: “So, how many children do you have?”

Me: Internal movie montage cycles through the pain and frustration of: trying to get pregnant and not; of all the shots, blood draws of fertility treatments; the joy on my husband’s face when we saw two babies on the ultrasound; the joy on our parents’ faces to hear we were having twins; believing the worst was behind us; marveling at my changing body; quizzically looking at the doctor when he sent me to the hospital; disbelief when, at 20 weeks, I was told my cervix wouldn’t hold and we’d likely lose the babies; bottomless grief when, just shy of 23 weeks, we did.

Feeling like I’d never be happy again, that having my future stolen was unbearable, that I’d break my body with the crying.

Slowly letting time work on the worst imaginable wound.

Then I think of the medical intervention and healing that led to our daughter—5 months old as I write this—and how she has a brother and sister she’ll never know. That our family has to forge a new future that honors who we lost and treasures who we have.

Me: Blink. And remember that this well-meaning person would probably share my grief if I shared my story, but that it’s okay to just say, “This one for now.”

March of Dimes—March for Babies

On Sunday, April 26, March of Dimes is holding a fundraising walk downtown Chicago. With their mission to improve the health of babies by […]

When a Dream Turns Into a Nightmare: Coping with Stillbirth

At the Blossom Method, we believe that strength comes from sharing our experiences with one another and that being able to relate to one another is an important step in the healing process. Today on the blog, read one woman’s story about her own loss—stillborn twins. If you’re coping with a stillbirth, contact the Blossom Method—we offer personalized, compassionate therapy and counseling options for fertility, complex medical diagnoses, stillbirth and pregnancy loss, and more.
Pregnancy and Full-term Baby Loss
My first pregnancy was a dream—until it turned into a nightmare. My husband and I had been trying to get pregnant for about a year and a half, and anyone who has been through the roller coaster that is infertility can understand the toll that it takes—on you, your partner, your friendships, etc. We married in September of 2011, but I went off the pill months before. By the summer of 2012, we began all the fertility tests, and by the fall we had our answer: a structural problem. IVF would hopefully be the solution, and we were incredibly lucky to get pregnant on our first try in early 2013. We felt even luckier when we found out that we were pregnant with twins.

But I was an informed consumer, I read all the literature—twins were higher risk, and we still had a lot of hurdles to clear. When we passed our 20-week ultrasound the first week of June with flying colors I finally let myself start to believe that we would be taking home two babies. We found out we were pregnant with a boy and a girl. My husband said, “This is an embarrassment of riches.” I couldn’t agree more—I felt like the luckiest girl in […]

Dealing with SIDS and Finding Support for Grief

It’s hard to know where to start when talking about SIDS and grieving from such a loss. It’s an awful tragedy, and because there are so few concrete answers regarding how it’s caused, how to prevent it, and what you can do to ensure it doesn’t happen to your baby, it’s all the more troubling. SIDS is the leading cause of death for infants ranging one month to one year old, and claims the lives of about 2,500 babies each year. Despite years of research, it remains unpredictable, which can cause a great deal of stress and anxiety on new parents.
Risk Factors for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
Despite the fact that SIDS is unpredictable and, as far as we know, mostly unpreventable, there are some things to know and some risk factors to watch out for. That’s not to say that you should make yourself sick with worry, but it is obviously helpful to know before pregnancy that smoking, drinking and drug use can be potential risk factors for SIDS. No single risk factor is likely to be enough to cause SIDS, though, which can make its occurrence even more jarring.
SIDS Grief Support to Begin the Healing Process
If your infant has passed away from SIDS, it can feel impossible to begin the healing process because you can’t get any answers about why it happened. Getting the help you need can be difficult if you don’t know where to start or who to talk to. Your usual support system—family and friends—may not know how to offer you the comfort and help you need.
Grief Counseling and Support Groups
It can feel very defeating to need outside help, but the truth is that you’re not alone in this matter. […]

Rebuilding After Loss: Find Hope After Losing Multiple Pregnancies

At the Blossom Method, one of our areas of care revolves around helping women and couples who experience the loss of a pregnancy or multiple pregnancies. In this story, read about one of our patients’ experiences and how she was able to find comfort in support groups and renew her hope for starting a family.
A Mother’s Journey Through Pregnancy and Loss
My life is marked by a series of dates. I am a numbers person and dates always stick out in my head. On March 3, 2012 I went off birth control. It was my husband’s 29th birthday, and we wanted to have a family. We tried month after month, and on September 30th, we found out we were pregnant. We were so excited, but we knew anything could happen. I was well aware I could miscarry—my mother had two miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy so I knew it could happen to me. On October 31, 2012, my baby was nine weeks and we heard the heartbeat. Three weeks later, Thanksgiving weekend, I was the magical 12 weeks and the grandparents were finally able to shout it from the rooftops. On January 18, 2013, we found out our baby was a boy—we named him Jack.
The Tragedy of an Unexpected Loss
On February 17th, at 24 weeks and 2 days, I started having contractions and experiencing heavy bleeding in the middle of the night. I turned to my husband and said, “We need to go to the hospital, something is not right.” In triage, my water broke. I will never forget the look on the RN’s face and the resident on call saying, “I’m sorry.” We didn’t get it. Jack still had a heartbeat, though. We […]