Two Good Eggs

Two cracked eggs find the sunnyside (and funny side) of trying to conceive

[Article Recc] How not to say the wrong thing

Sharing from the LA Times – and it’s brilliant.  I am going to begin sharing this with people who want to help me, but can’t seem to find an appropriate way to do so.  THIS is a resource for everyone.

How not to say the wrong thing

It works in all kinds of crises – medical, legal, even existential. It’s the ‘Ring Theory’ of kvetching. The first rule is comfort in, dump out.

The rules of kvetching(Illustration by Wes Bausmith / Los Angeles Times)
Susan Silk and Barry Goldman

When Susan had breast cancer, we heard a lot of lame remarks, but our favorite came from one of Susan’s colleagues. She wanted, she needed, to visit Susan after the surgery, but Susan didn’t feel like having visitors, and she said so. Her colleague’s response? “This isn’t just about you.”

“It’s not?” Susan wondered. “My breast cancer is not about me? It’s about you?”

The same theme came up again when our friend Katie had a brain aneurysm. She was in intensive care for a long time and finally got out and into a step-down unit. She was no longer covered with tubes and lines and monitors, but she was still in rough shape. A friend came and saw her and then stepped into the hall with Katie’s husband, Pat. “I wasn’t prepared for this,” she told him. “I don’t know if I can handle it.”

This woman loves Katie, and she said what she did because the sight of Katie in this condition moved her so deeply. But it was the wrong thing to say. And it was wrong in the same way Susan’s colleague’s remark was wrong.

Susan has since developed a simple technique to help people avoid this mistake. It works for all kinds of crises: medical, legal, financial, romantic, even existential. She calls it the Ring Theory.

Draw a circle. This is the center ring. In it, put the name of the person at the center of the current trauma. For Katie’s aneurysm, that’s Katie. Now draw a larger circle around the first one. In that ring put the name of the person next closest to the trauma. In the case of Katie’s aneurysm, that was Katie’s husband, Pat. Repeat the process as many times as you need to. In each larger ring put the next closest people. Parents and children before more distant relatives. Intimate friends in smaller rings, less intimate friends in larger ones. When you are done you have a Kvetching Order. One of Susan’s patients found it useful to tape it to her refrigerator.

Here are the rules. The person in the center ring can say anything she wants to anyone, anywhere. She can kvetch and complain and whine and moan and curse the heavens and say, “Life is unfair” and “Why me?” That’s the one payoff for being in the center ring.

Everyone else can say those things too, but only to people in larger rings.

When you are talking to a person in a ring smaller than yours, someone closer to the center of the crisis, the goal is to help. Listening is often more helpful than talking. But if you’re going to open your mouth, ask yourself if what you are about to say is likely to provide comfort and support. If it isn’t, don’t say it. Don’t, for example, give advice. People who are suffering from trauma don’t need advice. They need comfort and support. So say, “I’m sorry” or “This must really be hard for you” or “Can I bring you a pot roast?” Don’t say, “You should hear what happened to me” or “Here’s what I would do if I were you.” And don’t say, “This is really bringing me down.”

If you want to scream or cry or complain, if you want to tell someone how shocked you are or how icky you feel, or whine about how it reminds you of all the terrible things that have happened to you lately, that’s fine. It’s a perfectly normal response. Just do it to someone in a bigger ring.

Comfort IN, dump OUT.

There was nothing wrong with Katie’s friend saying she was not prepared for how horrible Katie looked, or even that she didn’t think she could handle it. The mistake was that she said those things to Pat. She dumped IN.

Complaining to someone in a smaller ring than yours doesn’t do either of you any good. On the other hand, being supportive to her principal caregiver may be the best thing you can do for the patient.

Most of us know this. Almost nobody would complain to the patient about how rotten she looks. Almost no one would say that looking at her makes them think of the fragility of life and their own closeness to death. In other words, we know enough not to dump into the center ring. Ring Theory merely expands that intuition and makes it more concrete: Don’t just avoid dumping into the center ring, avoid dumping into any ring smaller than your own.

Remember, you can say whatever you want if you just wait until you’re talking to someone in a larger ring than yours.

And don’t worry. You’ll get your turn in the center ring. You can count on that.

Susan Silk is a clinical psychologist. Barry Goldman is an arbitrator and mediator and the author of “The Science of Settlement: Ideas for Negotiators.”

Sharing via the LA Times.

Advertisements
2 Comments »

How do you know when to stop?

Recognizing personal limitations is one of the hardest things to do.

My husband’s grandmother is elderly and sickly.  She lives alone in a home that needs repair.  She forgets to eat.  She forgets to take her meds.  Yet, she wants to remain in her home.  How can she tell herself it’s time to stop?  Time to stop caring for herself, and let someone else help?

My uncle has been diagnosed with early Alzheimer’s Disease.  He’s cognizant of most things, but has momentary lapses in memory or presence.  His favorite thing to do is drive his old truck.   It’s too dangerous for him to do this at all, much less alone.   Yet, he feels capable.  How can he make the decision to stop doing the one thing he loves?  To give up his independence?

It’s easy for other people to see when it’s time.  When loved ones have had enough.  When they’ve reached the limits of their capabilities.  When they need to move on, walk away, let go.

It’s not so easy for the person holding on.

This weekend was tough for me.  It was the one year anniversary of my miscarriage.  Last year, on Good Friday, I found myself in the ER at almost 6 weeks pregnant, in excruciating pain.  Last Good Friday I was released from the hospital and told there was nothing to do but wait out the inevitable.  Last Easter, through a painted on smile, I soldiered through Easter celebrations at my home as my uterus shed all evidence of a pregnancy no one knew about.

A year later, the wound has healed, but the emotional scar remains.  A year later, we celebrated Easter with the same family members again.  A year later, on Easter Sunday, I got my period.  A painful, bloody reminder of what I haven’t been able to achieve over the past year; of what I lost a year ago.

A painful reminder of the past 16 months of unsuccessful attempts at having another baby.  Of giving my sweet boy the sibling for which he continues to ask.

How much more can I take?  How many more months do I try, and fail?  How do I know when it’s time to stop?  Every time I think I can let it go, to settle in to the life we have and accept the cards I’ve been dealt, I find that I’m wrong.  I see the signs of ovulation, and think “maybe, maybe this is the month.”

I think it would be easier to let go and move on if I was just harboring the pain.   But, I’m harboring pain mixed with hope.  That’s a strange cocktail to imbibe.  When the bitter pill is wrapped in the sweet coating of hope, you keep swallowing the pill.

How do you know when to stop?

hope3

8 Comments »

My Scarlet Letter

As you may have picked up, I’ve been all over the place lately, bouncing around like a ping-pong ball in a dryer.  Up, down.  Happy, sad.  Rational, irrational.  Gracious, jealousContent, Angry.  I’m the yin to my own yang these days.

So, I’ve spent the past few weeks re-evaluating things — the TTC process, my relationships (marital, family and friendships), my goals, my dreams, my emotions.  Just trying to get a grip on myself and find some semblance of the person I once knew.  Because this ticking time bomb of a blubbering mess ain’t it.  I used to be so strong, so optimistic, so determined.

Now, I’m just broken.

We’ve previously talked about the Silent Struggle, and questioned why it has to be such a secret; why it’s ok to publicly mourn the death of a loved one, but not the loss of an unborn baby.   So, I recently decided to stop being so silent about it.  I’m not screaming it from the rooftops, or writing, “Hi, My Name is Infertile” on my conference badges, but I’m opening uhello-my-name-is_infertilep to more friends and family about my struggle.

I thought it would help.  I was wrong.

The good news is, these people don’t look at me like I’m a total bitch anymore.  And they don’t look at me and wonder when I became so emotionally unhinged.   Now, they just give me that look.  You know the one.  The pity eyes.  The “I don’t know what to say” look.

And now, I’m a marked woman.  I walk the halls at work with a Scarlett M on my chest.  M for the miscarriages branded in scarlet red – how apropos.

Now, the pregnant women on my hall look at me apologetically, and ask a drawn out, soft spoken “How are you?”

Now, my mother doesn’t ask me how my week has been.  She asks me, “How are you?”

Now, my friends monitor my drink order at dinner and when I order wine or a cocktail, their faces drop. “So, how are you?”

I’m marked.

I’ve decided that being open about it isn’t the answer.  It’s being open about it to the right audience.  Talking to people who will say more than “I’m sorry” or “Just keep trying” or “It’ll get better in time.”  Talking to people who understand the complexity of this; the confusion; the burden.  That it’s more than just not being able to have another baby.  Or a matter of time til I can try again.  It’s so much bigger than that.

My heart has been wound too tightly, trying to suppress my emotions so as not to appear marked, to protect others from their discomfort in talking to me about this.  The pressure has built, and I’m about to explode.

In the words of the oh-so-insightful Britney Spears,  I need to scream and shout and let it all out.

Last week, I met with a counselor at work.

She assessed that my emotional fuse isn’t detonated because of just the inability to get pregnant, or the disappointment of getting my period; rather, it is the grief I never truly dealt with during my miscarriage(s).  She told me to stop differentiating between my “real” miscarriage and the two “chemical pregnancies.”  She told me to stop downplaying it, and to call them what they are – 3 miscarriages – because I downplay it only to make other people feel more comfortable at the risk of my own healing.  She assessed that I never truly grieved for them, and when I get my period every month it’s like revisiting the miscarriage every month.  She also told me that grief has the same symptoms as clinical depression, and if the grief remains untreated it’s like being clinically depressed without getting treatment, which is why I become unhinged.

The best part?  She reminded me that this is temporary.  It’s not Scrambled 2.0.

So, this week, I’m visiting a counselor who specializes in infertility and miscarriage.  And I’m going to talk to someone who won’t give me the look.  Someone who will give me an action plan other than “keep trying” – and maybe, just maybe, help me rip this letter off my shirt.scarlet-m

8 Comments »

Photo: Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day

Here’s Sunnywide’s Wave of Light:

And Scrambled’s Wave of Light:

She lit one for each of us. How sweet is she?! XO

Email us your Wave of Light photos and we will post them 🙂

toogoodeggs@gmail.com (watch the spelling)

And just because: 

Leave a comment »

And the winner is…

We thank you all for following our blog and for sharing with us your touching stories of hurt and hope. We hope that you continue to share your experiences with us and that our blog is as helpful to you as it is cathartic to us.  We very much appreciate all of your words of support and your humorous anecdotes.

We randomly numbered all of the posts on our site and re-tweets about the giveaway since Oct. 5 and had an unaffiliated party pick the number.

The winner of the beautiful pregnancy loss remembrance necklace from La Belle Dame jewelry is

IVFmale

(Disclaimer – we realize this is ironic since he just guest-blogged for us last week, but we assure you the drawing was completely random.)

We will contact you with instructions on how to receive  your necklace

Please keep following and posting comments.  We will be doing another giveaway very soon!!

Leave a comment »

Wave of Light TONIGHT!

Don’t forget to light a candle tonight at 7pm in all time zones in loving memory of babies lost in infancy, miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, and still birth.

Keep the candle burning for at least an hour. Please join us as we light the world in honor of our sweet angels.

For more information, visit http://www.october15th.com

Leave a comment »

Wish I Saw This Sooner!

Capture Your Grief Project

http://carlymarieprojectheal.com/2012/09/capture-your-grief-this-october-2012-for-pregnancy-infant-loss-awareness-month.html

Check out this website! I’m going to start right away 🙂

Leave a comment »

Coping with miscarriage [article recommendation]

The folks over at What to Expect published a great article about coping with miscarriage.  One thing that really stood out to me was this simple observation:

Why am I so upset? The grief you’re feeling is real — no matter how early in pregnancy you experienced the loss of a baby, you’ll feel that loss deeply. Even if you never saw your baby, you knew that he or she was growing inside of you, and you formed a bond; however abstract the attachment, you felt it. The baby was responsible for your emotions during pregnancy.From the moment you found out you were pregnant, you imagined yourself a mother — and then, all the excitement of forthcoming months (and years, and decades) abruptly came to a halt.

This is something I never thought about when I had my two chemical pregnancies and the one miscarriage.  The baby was responsible for the emotions I was feeling.  That is why the only people who “get this” are people who have experienced it themselves.  This is why no one else knows the right thing to say to comfort you.  They’ve never FELT it.

This helps me understand that it’s REAL.  The emotions are REAL.  The disappointment is REAL.  THE LOSS WAS REAL.

For more words of wisdom and encouragement, healing and hope, check out the full article.

Leave a comment »

Breaking the loss silence

In a previous post, Sunnyside talked about the silent struggle of trying to conceive – when month after month you are consumed with details and symptoms; tracking and charting; testing and analyzing.  It’s exhausting to wonder and research and deal with it in silence.

As October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, I reflect on the silent struggle of pregnancy loss.  It’s hard enough keeping inside all the BFNs we receive, all the wishful thinking and two week wait anticipation.  But when you’re faced with a miscarriage, as I was, before you’ve even been able to celebrate your pregnancy with friends and family, it’s devastating.

It’s so unnatural – grieving alone.  When we lose parents, grandparents, friends we grieve publicly.  We take time off from work.  We are surrounded by comforting arms and words of those who love us, and we grieve.  We allow others to comfort us, heal us.

But with early miscarriages, we grieve alone.  Why?

Perhaps it is because of all of the well-meaning cliches we receive from those who don’t know what else to say.

At least it was early.

At least you already have one healthy child.

It’s natural.

You can try again.

Would any of those responses be acceptable in any other loss?

I’m sorry your lost your father.  At least your mother is still alive.

At least he was old. 

Death happens.

No one in their right mind would think to say such a thing.  Why is it ok in reference to an embryo?

I suffered a miscarriage at almost 6 weeks on Good Friday 2012.  I spent half a day in the ER alone due to excruciating pain and vomiting, only to be sent home to “wait it out”.  I went home and cried alone in my bed for the evening.  And then I woke up, and prepared for Easter lunch.  Because I was hosting, and I couldn’t let anyone know what I was enduring.  I put on a happy face, I cooked lunch, and I entertained 10 people in my house for Easter – through the cramping, through the spotting.  And life went on.

I’m still not over it.  I think about that loss and wonder what kind of child he or she would have been.  What magic he or she would have created in this world.  What kind of sibling he or she would have been for our son.

It may have “been early”, but it was real.

Sunnyside sent me the most amazing gift following my loss – it was small and precious, and has helped me cope “publicly” without having to talk about it. She’ll tell you about that next week, and give you a chance to receive one for yourself.

This doesn’t mean I now feel comfortable talking about it openly.  I’m not sure what will make that easier.  For now, this blog is my microphone and you all are my therapy.  I invite you to talk about it.  Here, if no where else.  Talk about it.  Get it out.  FEEL IT.

7 Comments »

Remembering: October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

In October 1988, President Reagan proclaimed October as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month.

He said:

“When a child loses a parent, they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses her or his partner, they are called a widow or widower. When parents lose their child, there isn’t a word to describe them. This month recognizes the loss so many parents experiences across the US and around the world.  It is also meant to inform and provide resources for parents who have lost children due to miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar  pregnancy, stillbirths, birth defects, SIDS and other causes”

Specifically, October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. The founders of www.october15th.com are asking everyone, in all time zones worldwide, to join in a candle lighting ceremony at 7pm on Oct. 15 in honor of these losses.

We (Scrambled and Sunnyside) will be sharing with you stories of loss, hope and love throughout the month, and specifically during the week of October 15.  The silent struggle of TTC is hard enough; but feeling muted and alone during these losses can be unbearable.  We hope to provide a forum in which you can relate and respond to people just like you, who need to hear your voice, and want to share theirs.

Love to  you all.

4 Comments »

%d bloggers like this: