When I first think about psychologist and psychology, the first thing to pop into my mind is Frasier and Niles Crane from the old sitcom Frasier (during our third miscarriage, we watched the entire series for the first time). I like to believe my psychologist is nothing like the quirky and pretentious Crane brothers.
But, on a more serious note, having a psychologist has been an incredibly important part of my journey. I initially asked my family doctor for a referral as I was not coping well enough with work stress – back before or at least around the time of the first miscarriage (I cannot remember exactly when). I have always been an over-achiever and a perfectionist, and I thought it was starting to catch up with me as I was working 60-70+ hours a week and feeling the angst that goes along with that lifestyle. So, I thought, talking to someone about learning techniques to deal with stress might be a good use of my time. Little did I know, my life was about to get a lot more stressful as we started down the path of repeat pregnancy loss.
I cannot even remember the conversation topic at our first meeting. All I remember was sitting down in her office and breaking into to tears. And when I say tears, I don’t mean 1 or 2 glistening tears rolling down my cheek. I mean, balling like a toddler who just had their lollipop stolen by their big brother. I should point out, that I don’t cry. Or at least I didn’t. Or maybe, the better way to say it is that I don’t cry in public and I don’t show strong personal emotions in 98% of circumstances (i.e. work, large social gatherings, etc.). I save the personal emotions for my husband and on the rare occasion with a few very close personal friends – for good or bad, he’s one of the few people who get to see that side of me.
So, why do I like having a psychologist? Or more specifically, why do I love having her as my psychologist (as opposed to someone else)? She has provided a safe place to talk about anything, a supportive response, a friendly hug (but she always asks first, which makes me laugh a little inside), and critical recommendations. Part of what makes her so great is that she has had a miscarriage, she has lost a child, and she also has a living child. This makes her perspective especially valuable. She gets it, or at least she gets most of it. Our stories are not the exact same, but there are enough similarities that I can take comfort in the fact that she is not just reading from a textbook, but she is also speaking from the heart.
We don’t always agree. There have been times when she provides recommendations that we don’t agree with. For example, she wanted us to tell our families and friends when we were going through miscarriage number 2. We were adamant that we couldn’t, that they wouldn’t be supportive enough. I think as she’s gotten to know us better, she’s has started to understand more about our families and now understands why we haven’t told everyone. In another circumstances, she has encouraged me to stop working full time for a high stress employer, to focus on my health and my recovery (both physical and emotional). She has been encouraging this for over a year now. She’s right on every level, but up until now I have refused (another topic for another post).
She has been a very important part of our journey, and I wish everyone could find someone as great as her when they are facing such a difficult situation.