I was recently asked the question, how do you cope with 1 miscarriage, let alone 4?
This question has been ringing in my mind constantly over the last few days. I think there are 3 key elements to a healthier emotional recovery.
- My amazing husband. I would not be able to get through this on my own, he’s been awesome.
- My amazing psychologist. I’d be lost without her. You can see my earlier posts on this subject.
- Keeping myself distracted and busy to not let myself just focus on the pain and sadness of the losses. The sadness will never go away, but focusing on it 24/7 isn’t healthy either.
So, how do I keep myself busy? What do I do with myself?
My go to way to keep myself busy has been work. With miscarriage 1, 2, and 3 I threw myself into my work. I work in a very high stress industry, and I work a lot. After 3 miscarriages, and a lot of procrastination (nearly a year), we are taking a very different approach to our coping strategies with miscarriage 4. I am now on a medical leave of absence from work and am not working at all! So, no work to distract myself. This of course means, I have more time to fill.
So, what do I do now that I am a stay at home non-mom to keep myself busy?
Walking my dog. This is both a healthy and fun activity. We usually go for 45-60 minutes a day.
Painting. I am currently painting most of my house – the main floor and upstairs. I have plans to do the basement, assuming I don’t get bored first. This is a short term-activity. But, I’m having fun doing it. The rooms that are done, look awesome! Of course the rooms that are prepped, but not done, look horrible and our house is a disaster zone right now. But it’s a work in progress, and in another week, hopefully it will all look great.
Cooking. I do not enjoy cooking, but when I try, I can make a pretty decent meal. So, I’m putting effort into making fresh, healthy meals. This includes shopping and preparing the meals. So, it can take a bit of time to do it right. As an added bonus, this helps free up more of my husband’s time, as he used to do most of the cooking.
Lunch/Coffee with Friends. This one doesn’t happen as much during the week, as everyone I know is working. But, even with a reduced budget, I’m still making an effort to see friends and get out of the house. That said, I am being very selective about which “friends” I will spend my time with – only those that are supportive make the cut (you may be surprised that we have lost some of our best friends once we told them about our situation).
Medical Appointments. I have less of them now that we are done with miscarriage 4, but I still have a few and they all seem to be on the other side of the city. So, I make sure to get to them on time.
Yard Work. Spring is here – well sort of here. With spring arriving, soon I will be enjoying mowing the lawn and planting the gardens.
Biking. I love biking. And as an added bonus, now that spring is trying to arrive, I can move from the indoor trainer to outside! I’m very excited about being outside!
Travel. We love to travel. We’ve done a few big trips (i.e. Peru and Hawaii) in the last year to distract us. However, we have no big trips planned right now. But, we do have weekend camping trips and day trips planned throughout the spring and summer. This will keep us busy and ensure we are enjoying the beautiful mountains and fresh air.
Writing. I love to write. I always have. I’m not necessarily great at it, but I do enjoy it. One of the things on my bucket list, is to write a book (I just need to find a topic that I’m interested in). But, I spend a bit of time almost every day in from of my computer typing away. It’s fun and seems to be a very good release for me.
Organizing. I love organization (although, not my office for some reason). I’m slowly working through the house and organizing things. This includes things like going through boxes in the storage room, to cleaning up closets.
Photo Albums. I enjoy making photo albums. I used to be part of the scrapbooking craze, but I’ve moved into electronic software for my photo albums now. I love making them. They are the only way we actually look at the thousands of photos we take. And, I figure in 10, 20 or 30 years, we will really enjoy having them.
Golfing. We cannot be out golfing just yet in our part of the world, but as soon as the courses open, I’ll be out there. I am really bad at golfing, like really bad, but anyone who golfs with me is assured a good time!
Reading. I always appreciate a good book. When I’m working, I don’t read anything outside of work. But, when I’m on vacation or my current medical leave, I am constantly reading. Once I get into a good book, I’m known to stay up into the wee hours of the night with my eyes glued to the book.
Household Chores. I don’t love these, but at least I finally have time to get them done without feeling frantic about it. This means laundry can get done before either one of us is running around looking for just one more clean pair of socks. And our house is just generally tidier.
This is a question that my husband and I have been considering for months now. Once we hit the critical 3rd consecutive miscarriage, we knew our chances of having biological children was greatly reduced. So, we started thinking about alternative ways to have children:
- Surrogacy (not recommended as a solution for us at this point)
- IVF with genetic testing (not recommended as a solution for us at this point)
- Donor egg / sperm (not recommended as a solution for us at this point)
- Foster Parenting
Right now, I’m focusing on our early thoughts on adoption. I am not going to debate the wonderful concepts of raising a child in need or providing a safe, loving family for a child that would otherwise go without.
We are seriously considering the possibility of adoption. But what we have started to learn is more complex and at times more overwhelming then miscarriage and recurrent pregnancy loss.
So, where do you begin when you start researching adoption? The most logical place in this day and age is the internet – obviously. Then you read a few websites, have a small panic attack, turn the computer off for a few hours/days, watch the Friends episode where Monica and Chandler begin researching adoption, then try to re-focus and dig into the information a bit more. Well, maybe that was just our experience.
Okay, seriously, we began by discovering there are multiple options available to adoption in our Country (Canada): Government Adoption, Direct Placement Adoption, International Adoption or Open Adoption. We would have to choose the one that best fits our desires. Then, we discovered that there are multiple agencies that manage the adoption process within our Province, so we will need to choose one. Once with an agency, there is rigorous processes that a family must go through to adopt (as there should be to weed out the crazies). The processes can take years and may include letters to potential birth parents, home study/inspection, pre-placement workshops, letters of reference, fees, etc. We are still a bit fuzzy on the process details, but we know we’d learn them all once we choose an agency and the process isn’t really a big factor in our decision. Really, once we did a bit of research on the process, we learned that the process itself really isn’t that complicated.
After we started to learn the very basics of adoption types and process, we then began to read everything we could on each type of adoption (of course we are cognizant of the fact that not everything that is posted on the internet is true, but it is still the best place to get the most information so internet reading is where we started). As two professionals, trained in data analysis and complex decision making, we love data and statistics! It might be considered by some to be a bit weird to have a love affair with data, but it’s just the way we are. So, for most major decisions (i.e. what mortgage value we are comfortable with; what dog breed fits our lifestyle, what bicycle to purchase, what car to buy, and what tent to buy for camping – you know, all the major decisions) we go through an analysis. We want to know the facts, so that we can determine the risks before we sign on the dotted line. So, we read all the statistics and data we could get our hands on. And statistics on adoption are pretty easy to find. We have read statistics on everything about the health of the children; the medical needs; the risks associated with children with special needs; the long term comparables to biological children; the statistics for different countries to adopt from; the fees; the wait times; etc. The list of facts just goes on and on and on.
Next on our investigative approach to adoption is meeting with friends of friends who have adopted. We have a tonne of questions to ask: What agency did they go through? Do you recommend that agency? What type of adoption did you use? Why did decide on that type of adoption? How did you manage telling your family about your decision? How did your family react? I’m sure before we actually meet with anyone, we will have a list of 50+ questions. (This of course means, we will likely scare these people away and they will be running to the hills before we even finish our appetizers).
Then, if we continue down the adoption route, we will begin meeting with adoption agencies to potentially initiate the process.
All I can say, in our opinion at this stage, the adoption process isn’t that bad, just takes time and money. However, the data is scary and paints a high risk picture regarding the children. But of course, this isn’t just a logical decision based solely on data and statistics. Emotion will play a substantial role and must be factored into the decision making. Lots to think about…
So, where are we today on the question of to adopt or not to adopt? For us, right now, we have no answer. Nothing about this decision is easy. It both logical and emotional. It is complicated and messy with no simple answer. We are thoroughly perplexed.