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pregnancy

Pregnancy after miscarriage

Pregnancy after miscarriage

The loss of a child, regardless of age, is at the top of the list of the most painful of life experiences for most people.

We can tell it’s painful for us as a society based on how tough it is for us to discuss it. Our physicians sometimes even describe the loss as though it’s non-emotional and non-relational: chemical pregnancy, blighted ovum, etc. 

But miscarriages are far from non-emotional or non-relational. The moment a woman gets a positive pregnancy test result, she’s already envisioned her newborn baby grown through school and graduating college as an adult. It’s no wonder a miscarriage feels much more emotional and intense than simply a “chemical pregnancy." 

It’s also why previous a miscarriage (or several as is sometimes the case) make the next positive pregnancy test tough to trust or enjoy. Often women with previous losses have trouble accepting and settling into allowing themselves to be hopeful that this pregnancy will be different. As a therapist, I’ve worked with many women in just this situation. So how do we handle such a vulnerable moment? How do we make it through another pregnancy unsure of what will occur?

I believe the answer starts with a general good rule of thumb - allow yourself to authentically feel your way through your emotions.

Anxiety and fear are normal responses to pregnancy after miscarriage, but you don’t have to remain anxious and fearful throughout your pregnancy. Since anxiety and fear often come from not allowing ourselves to feel our emotions, the solution is to explore how we feel and work through the pain. Thankfully, you don’t have to do this alone.

Professional counselors are trained to provide the space and support you need in ways that help you process your pain so that you can feel relief and ultimately happiness and fulfillment. Friends and family play a large role in support, but they can’t replace the training, experience, and nature of working with a licensed counselor.

There is relief and freedom on the other side of fear and pain. Miscarriages are extremely emotional and painful. Processing this pain with a professional counselor can be very helpful in aiding this grieving process along.

If you or someone you know has experienced miscarriages and is having difficulty moving forward with hope, please have them reach out to me at www.kristencounsels.com

 

Kristen Machado, MA, LPC, NCC in New Orleans, LA

Kristen Machado is a life coach and licensed professional counselor living in New Orleans, LA. She earned a Masters in Clinical Psychology and is a Nationally Certified Counselor. Over the last 7 years, she’s worked with hundreds of clients, helping them go from ugly cry to transformation one session at a time. You can learn more about Kristen by following her on Instagram (@kristencoaches) and checking out her website (www.kristencoaches.com).

FAQ Series Part 4: Can Hypnobabies Help me with Anxiety?

FAQ Series Part 4: Can Hypnobabies Help me with Anxiety?

I am often asked about how to deal with anxiety during pregnancy. Sometimes, the person has already been dealing with anxiety when she becomes pregnant, and is wondering how to manage it. Other times, the person has never really had anxiety, but it presents itself for the first time as perinatal anxiety (anxiety occurring during pregnancy or the first year postpartum). Even planned pregnancy is considered a stressful life event and can trigger negative emotions, especially when paired with other stressful life events like changing jobs, moving, remodeling, and changing lifestyle habits. (Or a flood.)

Some first-time moms are anxious about the unknowns of birth. They may wonder, "Will I get gestational diabetes? Will I tear while pushing? How can I avoid an episiotomy? Will I poop while I'm pushing? Will I have to be induced? How can I avoid a Cesarean?"

Mothers who have already experienced birth may have anxiety based on their past birth experiences, especially if they were particularly challenging or didn't go as planned. They might think, "That was too hard; I can't go through labor again." Or, "I'm scared that my birth will not turn out like I planned...again." Or even, "My first birth went so well, there's no way I'll be lucky enough to have another birth exactly the way I want." Sometimes mothers experience new anxieties and fears about birth that they didn't know they needed to process through until they become pregnant again.

One of the best-kept secrets about my Hypnobabies classes in Baton Rouge is that they teach lifelong skills that are applicable even after pregnancy. In Hypnobabies, you will learn SO many helpful tools for dealing with anxiety and fear about pregnancy and birth, including:

Joyful pregnancy affirmations

This is a unique and wonderful asset to your pregnancy. You can listen to this track throughout the day, as often as you like. It keeps you in a positive frame of mind and helps you to enjoy your pregnancy. You don't even have to "consciously" listen to it; you can play it in the background while you go about your day, and just watch how your anxieties melt away!

Mindfulness

This practice is lauded by positive psychologists, neuroscientists, spiritual leaders, and yoga instructors as one of the most effective ways to change your thinking. In Hypnobabies, we learn how to apply the benefits of mindfulness to pregnancy and birthing. Mindfulness has been life-changing for many of my students!

Hypnosis practice for deep relaxation

The core of Hypnobabies is the hypnosis techniques. Practicing the hypnosis techniques is relaxing and extremely enjoyable. It helps students to fall into a restful sleep, and can help them get back to sleep after middle-of-the-night bathroom trips. It also includes many, many post-hypnotic suggestions for an easy and comfortable pregnancy and birth experience.

I'm not a mental health professional or therapist, but I have first-hand experience with anxiety, and I have taught a good number of Hypnobabies students who have anxiety, with amazing results! Of course, please speak with your doctor, midwife, or mental health care provider and seek further treatment if necessary.

FAQ Series Part 1: When Should I Take Hypnobabies?

FAQ Series Part 2: Does My Partner Need to Come to Class?

FAQ Series Part 3: Is Hypnosis Compatible with my Faith?

 

 

 

 

I Talk to my Son about my Postpartum Body for the Future of Humanity

I Talk to my Son about my Postpartum Body for the Future of Humanity

After I recently gave birth to our third boy, my oldest son was observant enough to notice and talk about my changing body shape in ways he hadn’t before. When he saw my empty belly, with its leftover fat stores and sagging skin, he would excitedly say things like “Mommy! Your belly is like a flat tire!!” and “Your belly looks like a deflated balloon!"

As he snuggled with me on the couch, hugging and kissing my arm, he commented, “Momma, your arm is VERY squishy! SOOOOO squishy and soft. How squishy is my arm?" *squishes his own arm* “My arm isn’t as squishy as your arm.” 

When he would hug me goodnight, he would say, “Mommy, your belly is so soft and comfortable. It’s like a snuggly pillow. I love how warm and soft it is."

It occurred to me that my responses to his observations are of utmost importance. They have the potential to permanently shape his view of women’s bodies, and possibly even his own body image. 

What message would it send if I were to react with hurt, fear, or, even worse, anger when he made such observations about my body? If I were to say, “That’s so mean of you to say my tummy is like a flat tire. Don’t say things like that! It’s hurtful!” 

It would convey that there is something wrong with the way my body looks and feels right now.

What message would it send if I were to react by shutting him down, saying something like, “You should never comment on a woman’s body. Keep your thoughts to yourself.”

While this may be good advice for an adult (seriously folks, let’s stop reducing a woman to what her body looks like, good or bad, especially during pregnancy and postpartum), it sends a message to my 5 year old that there is something shameful about our bodies. It also would discourage any further questions he has about bodies. That safe dialogue between parent and child is SO vital.

What message would it send if I were to answer with, “I know….but my tummy will get smaller soon. I’ll be dieting and exercising to lose the weight.”

Again, I believe this sends a message that it is undesirable for a woman’s body to be larger in size.

So what am I telling him instead?

I’m telling him about the amazing way my body used food to store up energy and grow the baby during pregnancy. And how it holds onto some of those nutrients afterwards so that my body can feed our growing baby. I talk to him about how the womb takes some time to return to its normal shape and size after being the home for our baby. I tell him about how a mother’s pelvis must expand to fit the baby. Through all of this, I control the expression on my face, so that my nonverbal communication doesn’t convey unintentional messages. 

I tell him that I exercise so that my body can be healthy and strong.

I tell him that I eat foods that nourish me, give me energy, and make my body feel healthy and strong.

I tell him that I wear clothes that make me feel confident and lovely.

So maybe I’m not influencing the future of humanity by talking to my son about my postpartum body. But maybe I am. 

this essay was featured on

Scary Mommy