JENNIFER'S STORY


The infertility road can be hard, lonely, and heart-breaking. After eight years of trying for a baby, numerous Clomid cycles and IUIs, our prayers were answered when our first IVF attempt resulted in our first pregnancy. We were amazed and thrilled and overjoyed, because finally, our dreams were coming true. When we cruised past the end of the first trimester and everything looked great, we were ecstatic. We started planning. I started showing. The baby started moving. And then, in a cruel heartbeat, everything changed. We went in for a sonogram at 19 weeks and were shocked to learn our baby, a precious little girl, had died sometime the week before. We were devastated.

The ensuing weeks were a period of intense grief. Numbness gave way to desolation. The world had been yanked from beneath my feet, and it was all I could do to get out of bed each day. "You'll have other children," people would say, but these words offered no comfort to a 35-year old woman who, after eight years of trying to have a baby, had lost my first child at 19 weeks, when the chance of doing so is less than 1%.

During that dark time, I realized I needed help. For all those years I'd tried to be brave and tough and strong, but with the loss of my daughter, I crashed hard. To stand again, to look to the future with hope and optimism again, I knew something had to change.

Fortunately, I discovered that when you're open to change, when you're looking for hope, the answers are there. First I found a marvelous book by Dr. Alice Domar, Healing Mind, Healthy Woman. In this book, Dr. Domar frankly discusses the link between the mind and the body, something I'd not seen addressed much by the medical community. She offers several tools, skills, and lifestyle changes that she has successfully demonstrated can help improve health. I was so intrigued by what I read, I began investigating whether anyone locally taught this Mind/Body connection. And like a gift, I found a class starting in just a few weeks and, better still, there were openings.

The mind/body wellness class quickly became the highlight of my week. I met seven other women who shared my struggles and my grief, and we instantly and immediately connected like sisters. We could cry together, and together, we also healed. The instructor and guest speakers provided invaluable and insightful information about the critical relationship between our minds and our bodies. Together, my new friends and I learned that too often, women treat ourselves much like we would treat an enemy. We push ourselves. We're critical of ourselves. We punish ourselves.

No more. Through this course we learned to nurture ourselves. To reward ourselves. And most importantly, to love ourselves. By the end of the 7-week period, I felt alive again for the first time in months. I found I could breathe, and I could look to the future and not see the despair I'd seen following the loss of my daughter, but a bright ray of hope and optimism. The tools and techniques I learned (breath focus, meditation, cognitive restructuring, nutrition, yoga) have become an integral part of my life, and the friends I met are my sisters. I can't see exactly what the future holds, but I have hope again, and the confidence that something good is waiting. I consider the course the best gift I've ever given to myself and to the children who will someday call me mom.