A Letter About Life and Loss to the Old Me

On the advice of my support group leader AND my therapist, I’ve been tasked to write a letter to the “old” me. I’ve been struggling A LOT lately with my emotions. I’m easily angered and frustrated these days. I had a meltdown the other day when I couldn’t figure out how to get the allergen protector back on the mattress after I washed it. It was ugly.

My therapist thinks this will help me process all of the emotions that I’ve been feeling lately and that I won’t be as hard on myself as I tend to be. I’ve been super procrastinating on this assignment because I know it’s going to cause the waterworks. I’ve decided to write the letter to the “me” on my wedding day, back on Feb. 15, 2008. Here goes…

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Dear Christina,

Today is going to be one of the happiest days of your lives. You’re going to be surrounded by people who love and care for you. People who will do anything for you and just want you to be happy.

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“The Child in Time’s” Benedict Cumberbatch Talks About Grief

Benedict Cumberbatch is my favorite actor out there right now. He’s starring in the BBC/PBS adaptation of Ian McEwan’s book “The Child in Time”, about a couple who loses their young daughter and the subsequent aftermath on their relationship. While it isn’t about pregnancy or infant loss, the film’s main themes, including grief and relationships after loss, transcend any loss of a child.

Take a look:

P.S. Just fore-warning everyone now, get me a box of Kleenex and leave me alone during this one.

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I Have a Confession

I have a confession to make. I haven’t been honest with you and I’ve struggled with coming clean. I feel like I’ve been living a horrible lie since we haven’t shared this with anyone.

Most of you know Emmett’s story. You know that doctor’s suspected our baby had developed Turner’s Syndrome, and that was the reason for many of the complications during our pregnancy. Babies with Turner’s Syndrome only have one X chromosome so it only affects females. Because of that diagnosis, we picked the name “Emma” shortly after the ultrasound for our baby but we only told a few family members.

After I delivered, the nurses and doctors took the baby away for measurements. I asked to hold “Emma”. They came back in asking, “What makes you think your baby is a girl?” We replied, “The doctors told us our baby had Turner’s Syndrome and that she’s a girl after our ultrasounds.”

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How Does a Moment Last Forever

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If you’ve been following this blog or my Instagram for any amount of time, you’ll know that we’re a crazy, fanatical Disney family. As I write this, Brett and I are listening to the retired “Wishes” fireworks score from Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.

So, of course, when Disney announced they were doing a live-action version of “Beauty and the Beast”, I was hesitant. It is such a classic movie that defined Disney animation during my childhood, along with “Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin,” and “The Lion King.” How could they bring these iconic films to life without sacrificing any of the magic?

Then, they announced Emma Watson (“Harry Potter”) as Belle and Dan Stevens (“Downton Abbey”) as Beast, I started to get more excited. More and more news began to come out, including cast additions like Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts, Ian McKellan as Cogsworth, Luke Evans as Gaston and Josh Gad as LeFou.

In March, Brett and I had a date day to go see it in the theater. Immediately, we were both mesmerized by the pure magic that Disney had created. I instantly fell in love with this new incarnation of Belle and the Beast, including the music from their world that can be credited to Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman.

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Giving Up Control

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I’ve still been seeing my therapist every two weeks or so for the past year. Earlier this week, I had my regular session and it was one of those moments that made me go, “hmm.”

Let me step back for a second.

My brother, John, has been staying with Brett and I for almost a month. He recently won his disability claim after nearly four years of waiting and appeals, and living in a several different homeless shelters in Wisconsin. It’s been a stressful and emotional time for him so his therapist recommended that he come out to visit us for a month or two so he can figure out what he wants to do with his life. He recently said to us as we were sitting on the back porch, “This is the first time I’ve felt safe in a long time.”

We moved to Massachusetts from Wisconsin almost seven years ago now. This is the first time he’s been able to see where we live. It’s nice having him here and to catch up with him again, but it’s been anxiety-ridden for me and a definite shift in our regular routine.

Particularly, it’s bringing to light a lot of “hidden” anxieties that I have. I’ve always felt safe with my older brother. We would go on amazing road trips every summer to Disney World from the time I was in sixth grade through my junior year of high school.  But, after my adopted mom passed away when I was a sophomore in college, life changed drastically for both of us.

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Big Bang Theory Star Candidly Discusses Miscarriage

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Melissa Rauch, who plays Bernadette on CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory, announced her pregnancy in a story for Glamour magazine that’s going viral this week. In the piece, she also reveals candid reflections about her own miscarriage and all of the grief emotions that have been taking place and the anxiety during her current pregnancy.

I’m so proud of her honesty and openness about such a sensitive subject because it’s something that needs to be discussed. In today’s society where everyone seems to idolize people on the TV and movie screens, sometimes it takes a celebrity’s story for the hard issues to come into the forefront and start a meaningful dialogue.

I hope more people out there read her story and understand how commonplace miscarriage and pregnancy loss is, even in the United States with all of our modern technology and breakthroughs of Western medicine. No one is immune to the heartache and pain. Miscarriage doesn’t discriminate and it can happen to anyone — your sister, your cousin, your college roommate, your idol from TV.

Congratulations Melissa (and husband Winston) on your pregnancy. I wish you all the best. But, Melissa, you’re already a mommy. Don’t sell yourself short. You became a mommy once you became pregnant, and no one can take that title away from you.

P.S. I sincerely feel really awful about tweeting my letter for TBBT production team to you months and months ago in my own grief. I still fall prey to the illusions that even in Hollywood miscarriage can’t happen.