Tag Archives: Miscarriage

Project Dreamcatcher: A RANT and Motivation


Before I get started with this week, I want to address a criticism one of my Project Dreamcatchers received on her blog. It made me REALLY mad. Like, hopping stinging angry.

One of the biggest reasons I started this project was because of what I was seeing in our culture. So many of us put ourselves dead last, whether because of the demands of caregiving, our careers or whatever the case may be. It seems to be what is expected of us, as mothers, as wives, as professionals. But: this is not good for our relationships, our professional lives, our marriages or our families. When we are more balanced and more fulfilled, we are more productive, happier and refreshed. But don’t take my word for this: many have found this to be true.

What drives me nuts is when women finally decide to pursue an activity or hobby or goal and they get feedback about how this activity is preventing them from spending time with their child or marriage or whatever. THIS IS BS! These women are not running off and chasing a band or whatever self-destructive behavior we can imagine. They are simply taking a little time out of their day, whether it is a few minutes or a few hours, to pursue something that makes them happy. They then return, refreshed and recharged, to their duties and responsibilities. Chances are, they return to these activities with renewed vigor and increased productivity as well.


Onto the Ted Talk for this week. It’s by Greg McEvilly and it’s about motivation. Greg has done something I think we all think about doing from time to time. He started his own business doing something he is passionate about, in this case trying to create products that will end Malaria-related deaths in Africa and create sustainable products throughout the world. He used Kickstarter to raise money for his company and way exceeded his fundraising expectations. His talk is really inspirational and moving, because he talks about how each of us are worked on by two motivators: fear and love.

Fear is that we won’t be able to keep up with the Jones, that we are afraid of the “other,” that we need to stay in our own world with our blinders on. Love allows us to connect with others, open our minds to the possibilities of helping others and helps us combine our lives with service for others.

I could really relate to this, because my book is a way to make others dealing with infertility feel less alone, less marginalized, less, well, “other.” It seems just when I lose motivation, someone or something comes through to help me keep going. Last night, as I was feeling kind of not very motivated, I received an email from someone whose acquaintance was going through a third miscarriage. Her acquaintance found “Faces of ALI” through a Google search.

The email said:

“She was so thankful for the message because no one in her life has understood what it’s like…and she has felt so alone. It wasn’t until she read Courtney’s profile and blog that she felt like someone else knew what it was like. So even though you know these profiles are helping women everywhere I thought I’d tell you of yet another instance where – because of your choice to create this amazing thing and feature these profiles on your blog – you just helped another woman to not feel alone.”

I want to clarify that it is the words of the women I am profiling that have led to this project. All of you have made this change, this difference.

And every goal on the Project Dreamcatcher list is making a change for good in this world, whether through a better life-balance, creating a better family and professional environment, creating better health through improved physical fitness, etc.

Rock on, ladies. Rock on.

Does it chap your hide when people accuse women with hobbies or goals of not being engaged enough in their family life? Are you motivated by fear or love, or a combination of both?

{What’s Project Dreamcatcher? Click here to find out.



Filed under getting published, Miscarriage, Project Dreamcatcher, writing



Some blog posts provoke me, some make me think, some I remember for years, some make me laugh.

No post I’ve ever read since I started blogging in 2010 has ever gotten under my skin like “Submerged” has. I think it’s the single most powerful piece I have ever read about infertility.

PLEASE, go here and read this extraordinary essay. I will wait.

Esperanza alerted me to “Submerged” earlier today. We have both been marveling at its power. Obviously Tutti, the writer, is in a really sad and tough place, and expresses her story so eloquently and empathetically. But it’s more than that. Much, much more.

I think “Submerged” touches upon a universal truth that so rarely comes across. This truth is obvious but often obscured by the secrecy inherent in the disease and it is simply this: infertility is completely fucking tragic. It’s so tragic that the greatest romantic love might not be enough to withstand the heavy burden of loss and devastation that accompanies it. It’s so tragic that people so full of promise and life and beauty and love become invisible, caught beneath the surface of life.

Part of the power of “Submerged” certainly comes from the image of the author and her husband underneath the water. They look incandescent, not of this earth, timeless, eternal. It’s a haunting picture I will never forget.

I’m sure like great art, “Submerged” will mean different things to different people. Some will take away the metaphor of infertility being like you are underwater, suffocating, removed from life on the land. It reminds me of the great Hans Christian Andersen (not the Disney) story about The Little Mermaid, destined to watch her dreams and desires but always from a great distance, under water or at the surface.

For that is how infertility felt (and still feels) to me. I guess as an infertile, I am like a mermaid. It’s not possible for me to walk on land and do things that come naturally to the mortals who are earthbound. Bargains needed to be made, lessons learned, relationships tested in the most severe of ways for me to achieve my one dream of happiness. Infertility is a curse. And worse, so often it is a silent curse, one that cannot be revealed to those around us. So those who suffer from it are doubly afflicted.

I wish that the mortals happily walking the land could read this story and comprehend its truth. For infertiles are so often at the mercy of fate, of sea witches.

And so often, no one knows.


Filed under Blogging, Infertility

A Glimpse of What Was

Our basement is finally being rebuilt after our recent plumbing catastrophe. Today was, as our contractor gleefully informed me via email, “Jackhammer Day!” I was instructed to be gone from 9-5.

I picked up the twins from pre-school and took them to The Cheesecake Factory to kill some time. There wasn’t much parking, so we walked quite a distance to reach the restaurant.

It was raining, and we all had on our galoshes and raincoats, and we were all merry in spite of the grey of the day. I held each child’s hand, as there was some traffic. We rushed towards several puddles together and splashed in each one, laughing each time. I had listened to an interview with Temple Grandin in the car and she noted an urge lately for people to “prettify life.” Which I think is probably true, given the beautiful photos I’m drawn to on Pinterest. Sometimes though, a moment doesn’t need prettifying. It’s movie-ready, primed for a greatest moment montage of your life. I imagine I would remember this puddle moment if “my life flashes before me again” like it did during the world’s sketchiest take-off.

Aside: When many planes don’t fly into an airport because of “too many issues” (cough*Innsbruck*cough) and you hate flying, please oh please take a train from a nearby city. Before departure from Innsbruck, our pilot quite calmly stated that due to the fact that physics dictated our plane must be as light as possible to clear the Alps with the current wind-shear, they would be loading off all of our luggage onto another plane. That made me extremely nervous. Then we hit so much turbulance on take-off that the engines actually whined then rattled (like in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom when all the engines died) on my side of the plane. Darcy looked earnestly at me and said: “You know, I really love you.” Which he NEVER says. And then I was watching my life in fast-forward: I saw quick glimpses of my childhood backyard, my beloved metal slide, our Christmas Trees, holding my brother after he was born, a report card with straight As, my parent’s faces when I graduated college, holding the key to the first car I ever bought myself, the moment I met Darcy, and his face when he was on his knee asking me to marry him, the Eiffel Tower glistening in the background. All that in a few seconds.

And because life never lets one forget, as we were still frolicking in the last puddle, I suddenly stopped cold. My spine tingled with dread and then I spotted them. A young couple was walking towards us, she was wiping away tears and they were clinging to one another as if they were drowning in the heaviest gravity. The very gravitational force they were inhabiting was not the same as the one the children and I were in just yards away. And I just knew: she had had a miscarriage. I tried to quiet down the rowdiness of the kids, to respect the heavy sorrow, so weighty it could anchor a battleship, that had so thoroughly pervaded the whole parking lot. As children are wont to do, they ignored me. I nodded to the couple, and while they didn’t even seem to see me, the woman turned as she walked and shot my daughter a glance so full of sadness, envy, disappointment and anger I was visibly shaken.

Tears formed in my eyes, and I was transported back to those awful days immediately following my losses. Part of me wanted to follow her and say: “Have hope: I went through what you did and these children were fought for with all the power I could muster.” But I know I can’t predict her journey. There are so many ways her life could play out and all the paths could be fulfilling to her. I wouldn’t be of comfort in any case. There was nothing I could do.

All I could do was hope that tonight she is writing about her experience, maybe even telling about the salt in the wound of seeing scampering happy kids. And somewhere, whether it is on a forum, Twitter, or a blog, I really hope she is being comforted by those many kind souls in our community who band behind one another during these awful moments.

I wish her to know she is not alone. I too, was once there, in that gravitational force of doom. I will always have my hand out for her and you all.

I was once drowning in grey while all around me, people created the memories that will flash before their eyes before they die.


Filed under Infertility, Miscarriage, Parenting After IF


Today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

I only know what it is like to lose a pregnancy. I’ve lost two.

The only evidence of a child who was much wanted and lost. RIP Babies Jaffe, 3/12/2006 and 3/6/2010.

How to put into words what it’s like to lose a pregnancy? It laid waste to my world. Twice.

In February of 2010, I found out Darcy and I had conceived a child on our own.

The discovery was so specifically wonderful: I loved being a mother so, so, so much. I was thrilled. But I was scared. I knew how easily pregnancy could be snatched away from me: I’d had a miscarriage in 2006 before the twins were born. A “chemical pregnancy,” whatever that is.

It didn’t feel like a chemical pregnancy to me. It felt like the very ruin of my life, the ruin of hope, success, my very lifeblood. We visited Rhodes shortly after, and I was struck by the stark, crumbling, ancient city battlements. They looked like how my soul felt.

The best moment of that trip was when I discovered beautiful flowers blossoming in the cracks of the ancient, war-torn, forlorn walls of that citadel. Somehow, joy finds a way. A way to survive.

I remember. I remember our lost children. I remember the blossoming of the love we both had for the world, for the future. I remember how much I loved Darcy: how much I wanted our love to endure. I remember hope.

I remember, because if I don’t, no one else will. I remember, because I want to tell you all, the 1 in 4, you are NOT alone. We all remember. I remember, because these brave women have inspired me to remember.

I remember, because love is never wasted. It will endure. I will love those children for as long as I am here, on this earth.

I love them. And I always will.


Filed under Miscarriage

Just When You Think You’re In The Clear…

…you realize you are not.

I really clicked into the groove of loving our life this summer. I mean, really enjoying every moment of it. I’ve been making things pretty: our walkway is now lined with Gerber daisies and a brand-new gorgeous flag is flying. I’ve been taking pride in doing the dishes and laundry, cooking (mostly), decorating the kids’ rooms, designing the basement, and mostly just enjoying my children: hugging them and laughing at their stories, being dazzled by their talents (my son built a helicopter meant for a 7 year old all by himself, my daughter’s beautiful and capricious dancing is making her a star in her ballet class) and best of all: clowning around with them to Psy’s silly horse dance. Darcy and I have had a really nice time together this summer, whether working in the kitchen (I’m the sous chef) or just really focusing on appreciating each other. He’s as much of a romantic hero as ever: he has planned a BIG adventure coming up to commemorate our 10th wedding anniversary. More to come…

So, I was surprised by a few developments lately.

1) The round of third pregnancy announcements. The preschool is a bit of a land mine-littered road: everywhere I look are the emails announcing the birth to a school family of a third child, or the pregnant bellies of women expecting their third. For some reason, this triggers the ache, the pain of remembering we lost our dream of a third child when I miscarried two years ago. It’s the reminders. I would hardly think of that loss except for the reminders. But sometimes, there’s just a strong ache for a baby: I just want a soft and sweet and downy-headed little one to snuggle and feed and hold. My SIL is due to give birth any moment, so I’m hoping being an aunt (for the first time!) might be a consolation prize.

2) The relics. I was putting clean socks into my sock drawer when I unexpectedly touched the rough grain of paper. It was an envelope with our ultrasound photos in it, from that last pregnancy. I started crying, even though I thought I had let go of that loss. I’m hoping Saying Goodbye comes to the US. I think I could really benefit from one of their services.

I guess these reminders never leave us completely. What I can hope is that they affect me less as time goes on. And I really do believe that the more beauty I can see in my own life, the more wonderful it will become.

That’s what I’m banking on, anyway.

Do you find focusing on the positives help you sustain a happier existence?


Filed under Parenting After IF