Friday, March 28, 2014

2 Years Ago (Part Three)

This is the last post on my miscarriage series, you can find part one here and part two here. Thank you all so much who have commented, prayed and read these posts. I don't always comment back because I am not sure what to say other than "thank you" but I do read them. Sharing this much in such a public space has been a bit nerve wracking at times but it is so freeing. I really wanted this post to be about how I am doing after the miscarriage two years out. I have not seen another positive pregnancy test nor have we officially moved on to foster care or adoption and we are not currently doing medical treatment. Do I still grieve? Is it possible to move on from a miscarriage? Do I think about what could've been? Do I think about our child? Well the answer to all these questions is a big fat YES!

I still allow myself to be sad when I need to, I don't hide the fact that our IF and miscarriage still hurt sometimes. I am not always thinking about it but it does come up once in awhile. For example we were at a baby shower in Janurary and everything was going fine until they started opening the presents. It came out of no where really because I had gone to another baby shpwer a couple months before and I was fine plus I was excited to go to this baby shower to see our friends that we hadn't seen in awhile. I guess that is the nature of feelings, they can hit you out of no where. JJ saw that I was about to cry so he decided that it was time for us to leave. We walked to our car and as we were on our way home I cried and talked it out with JJ. My saddness had nothing to do with my friend and her baby, I just needed to grieve in that moment when I realized again that I may never get my own baby shower.  I didn't put any limits on myself like needing to stay and be there for my friend so I can show how happy I am for her, she already knows that I am happy for her. I didn't make myself feel guilty for being sad or not staying the entire time. When we put overwhelming expectations on ourselves to be the perfect Christian and to be happy all the time it can put a person in constant inner turmoil for allowing themselves to feel emotions that would be deemed as "negative." It is OK to feel sad and dare I say angry, these are basic human emotions! It upsets me to know that there are Christians out there who would push someone's grief aside just so that they don't have to see it, that is not a Christian action at all.  

It is absolutely possible to move on from a miscarriage. You never forget your child but you can start to live your life again. I loved the scene in the first episode of Downton Abbey this season where Mary says she has spent too long in the land of the dead and needed to choose to be among the living. That was so powerful for me because I was faced with that same choice after the miscarriage. Was I going to allow our IF and miscarriage to have me constantly thinking about our loss and death? Yes and no. One of the things I have come to realize is that we are all going to die at some point. I know not the most fun thing to think about but since it's true, I had to decide what I wanted my life to be like before that happens. I do think about the fact that my ultimate goal is not earthly pleasure here, it's heaven. IF and miscarriage are traumatic things to deal with but it is possible to live your life despite these traumatic events.  

I do think about our dear sweet little one but I don't allow the loss of her to stop me in my tracks anymore. Since death is eminent for us all and heaven is my ultimate goal, then I must do what I can to get there. The thought of someday being in the same place as Cecilia is a huge motivator for me to keep living the best life I can and serve God. I try my best to unite myself to Christ and his sufferings in that moment of grief, sadness or anger. I don't ask Him to take it away I just go through it, mainly in private or with JJ but always in the presence of Christ. I am very private with my emotions most of the time, which is interesting that I have a blog. 

Some things that have greatly helped me are frequent Penance and the Traditional Latin Mass, the High Mass more specifically. I try and go to confession monthly but it's been more like every 6weeks, I notice that resisting temptation is much harder after I have not gone to confession in awhile I notice the difference in myself at around the six week mark if I haven't gone. I feel like I am stinky when I don't go to confession and do a proper examination of conscience. There is a cool app called Mea Culpa that has a very thorough examination of conscience, I use it to reflect and then I write down what I want to confess or try and remember but I dont keep track on the app, that creeps me out a bit. I think the mindfulness that we are sinners in need of God's mercy helps me to remember that I need His grace in me. Remember there are actual graces that you get from the Sacrament of Penance so why not take advantage, I say this to myself as I want to go to Confession this week.

I know that not everyone likes the Latin Mass or has it closely available to them but I urge you to try it at least a few times. If you only try and go once it will be so different and may be confusing that you may get discouraged, that's why I say try it a few time before you decide whether or not it's for you.  The huge difference that I have found in the Latin Mass is the reverence but also the total focus on the holy sacrifice that is taking place at the alter. There are no trappings, gimmicks, entertainments or special mentions of anyone person or family group, it's just Mass. I am not saying the Novus Ordo isn't reverent because we still go to it when we need to and our priests are very reverent. The Novus Ordo leaves more room for the laity which can leave more room to take the focus off of the Eucharist sometimes, again I am not saying this always happens.

The Latin Mass has given me an opportunity to worship God as my introverted self, althought there are many who go to Latin mass that are extroverts, I find that it fits my temperament well. There is no giving each other the "sign of peace" or giving a special mother's/father's day blessing at Latin Mass which really helped me when I was grieving most to just be in Mass and focus on Jesus. If you don't go to Latin Mass you can still pray the Novus Ordo in a deeper way and follow along with the priest in the Magnificat booklet or a missal. The big thing was just to give of myself more fully in the Mass and remember the 4 intentions of Mass; adoration, praise/thanksgiving, penance and impetration/petition. When I really started to give of myself in Mass and unite myself to what was happening on the alter, I started to get healing graces from it.

Knowing my temperament and personality has really helped me to take pressure off of myself to grieve or heal in a certain way. Each person and personality type is different and there is no one size fits all to healing a broken heart. Knowing how I process things is not an excuse for actions but it does explain them as well as my thoughts. I have been able to work on my major weaknesses as a melancholic as well as draw strength from my natural inclination to draw inward. I think the more we know who we are and how we process things helps us to be more proactive in the healing process. The book that I read about temperaments is called The Temperament God Gave You. For the longest time I thought I was melancholic-choleric but I was wrong I am melancholic-phlegmatic. I have choleric tendencies because I believe that my mom is choleric and pushed me to take charge even though my natural inclination is to want to be left alone and not take charge. I also found out I am an INFJ on the Myers-Briggs types. Again, I think its improtant to know about ourselves to know why we have certain reactions to things. A book that helped me to allow myself to feel my emotions and not push them away because of shame or they are seen as negative is a book by Conrad Baars called Born Only Once, its not in print anymore but you can find it on audiobook I think.    

There are times where I know I am wallowing too much so instead of closing myself off I open myself up to God and to the appropriate people who I trust to share these kinds of thoughts and feelings with. I have learned to know my audience as far as sharing with people in person, this is where discernment comes in. You can't share some of the deep thoughts and feelings about miscarriage with everyone, well unless you have a blog ;) but in your everyday life you have to discern who may be more compassionate. 

Sometimes I just need to be alone or with just JJ and have a good cry and feel how much we miss our little one and wish we got to hold her or I need to just feel the pain that infertility brings about. I have to admit I haven't had as many of these crying or deep sadness episodes in awhile, other than the one after the baby shower. I feel stronger than I was before the miscarriage. Now when I face something that is difficult even if its so small like pushing myself harder in my workouts, I think to myself "I have gotten through a miscarriage, countless negative pregnancy tests, two surgeries and many painful periods. I can certainly do this!"  The miscarriage made me face infertility in a deeper way and allow myself to grieve about it all. I still have my little fits and times where I am sad about our situation but for the most part I don't feel like it is suffocating me anymore. I don't feel like I am punched in the gut and can't breath because of infertility or our miscarriage. This is not to give me a bunch of credit but I know it is God's grace and the nature that He created me with to get through the miscarriage. To Him be the Glory! I pray for women/couples going through infertility and miscarriage on a regular basis, that they may feel the healing comfort and graces of God. 

Gloria in excelsis Deo et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis. Laudamus te. Benedicimus te. Adoramus te. Glorificamus te. Gratias agimus tibi propter magnam gloriam tuam. Domine Deus, Rex caelestis, Deus Pater omnipotens. Domine Fili unigenite, Jesu Christe. Domine Deus, Agnus Dei, Filius Patri. Qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis. Qui tollis peccata mundi, suscipe deprecationem nostram. Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris, miserere nobis. Quoniam to solus Sanctus. Tu solus Dominus. Tu solus Altissimus, Jesu Christe, cum Sancto Spiritu in gloria Dei Patris. Amen.      

Monday, March 17, 2014

Little Happies (Vol. 1)


Linking up with Blessed to Be today for her Little Happies series :) 

This jam is oh I don't know, nothing short of amazing! I got it at TJ's a couple weeks ago for a tea party I had for an engaged friend. It was good on a scone with some cream, it was good on pancakes, it was good with some sunflower seed butter and it was amazing as a coconut milk ice cream! Yup I went there, I made blackberry coconut milk ice cream with it and it was This stuff is great :) 


This small book case we got for our entry way on Saturday makes me smile. For awhile we have been needing some kind of table/bookcase to keep our bible study and RCIA materials readily available as well as a place to dump my CrMS bag and purse. I had been putting it on the couch and coffee table which made our living room look messy but now its all nice and tidy. Yes, clean and organized spaces definitely are one of life's little pleasures.



These quotes from Verily Magazine that they put up on almost daily. I had been enjoying every single one of them before I went off of for Lent. They have some really great quotes and articles, it's a really good magazine. 



No picture for this one because that would be kind of weird, Confession is my 4th Little Happy. I got to go on Saturday after weeks of wanting to go but not taking the time to go. JJ and I went as we had almost the whole day to do what we wanted, it was so glorious! I love the graces that are available through receiving the Sacraments. 


No picture for the last one either, womp womp. I am not great at taking pictures while having fun, I either forget to bring my camera or to use it. Number five is hanging out with friends! We hung out with some friends we hadn't spent time with in awhile and it was nice to catch up and share that delicious ice cream I made. You know those friends who are the real deal and you feel like spending time with them makes you an all around better person, yeah those are the friends that we hung out with for a couple hours on Sunday evening. 

{6} Bonus!
Gluten free home made waffles! I made them on Sunday morning as we had an unexpected cancellation of our RCIA class we teach. I took the time to make them instead of making plain old pancakes. We used our new waffle maker and they were so good. I haven't had really good gfree waffles and these have been the best. I didn't take a picture because by the time I thought about it they were all gobbled up! 

     {7} Another Bonus!

These Polish dishes my mother in law picked up for me at a yard sale. They also match her wedding set from Japan that my father in law bought when he was stationed there while in the Navy. I have always loved her wedding dishes that she brings out for special occasions so when she saw these matched hers she asked if I wanted them, of course I said yes. If there is anything I have learned from being married it's that you don't refuse gifts from your MIL ;) Aren't they just gorgeous! I love them and I was happy to use them when I had the tea party for my friend. They really stole the show for me and I felt so fancy using them.


I hope you all are enjoying Little Happies of your own! 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

LENT 2014: Let's Do This!

I think it was so appropriate that on Ash Wednesday I got my period. I almost knew it was going to happen because of course this IF gal would get her period at the start of Lent, it only makes sense. The good thing is that God gave me a huge consolation on Shrove Tuesday, which actually made me excited for Lent. For awhile I was racking my brain as to what I should give up and what I should start doing for Lent this year. I am usually at a loss because these last 5 years of dealing with infertility has made me feel like I am constantly reminded of my imperfections and need for God's mercy and grace. I think the year we lost Cecilia I didn't give anything up because I was just not strong enough for that, I prayed and meditated on some of the Stations of the Cross each day but that is all I could handle at the time.

This year I am really seeking to push myself but not put too much on myself so I won't get overwhelmed and give up. I have discovered because of the hypoglycemia that I really can't give up meat on Fridays because I need a lot of protein and need to have some meat or else I get headaches that last for a couple days. I have tried to give up meat on Fridays, we do it all year long not just during Lent, and it has not been good. I thought of an alternative food/drink item to give up on Fridays that is a difficult sacrifice for me, tea. I know I know, you don't think its big enough. Well to me it is, I love tea and I sometimes have it 3x a day. I usually have it with breakfast, tea time in the afternoon and sometimes a little while before going to bed. It is always decaf or caffeine free and sometimes with coconut milk. So that is my Friday fast from now on.

Something I felt called to give up for Lent this year was I know that I was spending too much time on it and not devoting myself to prayer as much as I could so out it went. I even took the app off the ipad because I know the temptation is too strong just to be able to click on one button and be on it. I did not give up blogging because I haven't really been on it much lately. My goal is really to get my prayer life in better order. I want to challenge myself in the little ways that would be out of my comfort zone I want to be more perceptive to how I can use the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit. I want to battle and conquer those ways or areas of my life where I have told God that I can handle it on my own or where I have shut Him out and given into fear.
When you go through suffering and realize that you are carrying a cross that you can't really get rid of there comes a time where you have to choose between self-pity and self-sacrifice. I think there have been times where I have fallen short and chosen self-pity and felt like there was not much to gain from giving up something or sacrificing more than I was comfortable with. This year I want to make sure I am choosing self sacrifice. I don't want to just look at my cross, I want to look at The Cross and draw my strength and love from that ultimate sacrifice, the highest act of Love. So if you are going through a tough time this year and just want to get through Lent to get to Easter, I know it hurts but you can dig deeper this Lent. Even an infertile woman or a miscarrying momma can use that suffering to deepen her union with Christ who understands the suffering and says "come as you are" and "come follow me." There is no room for growth in self-pity. I am not saying to ignore the sorrow, sadness or anger. I am actually saying to feel them and explore them more deeply than you ever have. When we actually allow ourselves to feel these feelings we would rather ignore without bringing guilt or judgement upon ourselves in the presence of Christ who is Love, then we can grow in ways we never thought possible. We can get to Easter through our self-sacrifice and generously giving Christ all that we are, broken or whole.  

Happy Lent Y'all!