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I'm a professional family photographer and I have one beautiful son. But I've been pregnant three times. Last year I endured two miscarriages in the span of 10 months. My weariness was palpable. It lay on me like a thick heavy blanket. So many questions arose. So much soul-searching. It felt like a crisis of my spirit.
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I am an elite athlete, and I'm known for running insanely long distances, and for brushing up against the limits of human endurance. But over the past 4 years, I've quite literally run myself into the...
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We often think of resilience as a manifestation of the human spirit's ability to survive the unfathomable -- those grand disasters and tragedies that populate news headlines and our social media feeds. It's as though we don't believe resilience could possible be at play in the midst of our own "mundane" life.
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This is the perfect time for pure, unadulterated optimism. In order to hone in on the power of collective hope, we gotta get intentional. Not only dream big, but pull up those gumboots and get ready to get dirty, cuz creating change requires creating some mess. Oh yes.
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As a therapist, I help people to recognize their patterns of defense, their habitual ways of responding: their default mode. We all developed ways of adapting and protecting ourselves in our early years when our brains and nervous systems were developing. These ways of coping can become hard-wired.
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I suppose it takes some kids a while to acknowledge they are afraid of change. They will lash out, be more challenging, while living in the unknown. And then they will learn in time that change can be new and scary but it doesn't mean it's always bad.
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I am terrified that tens of millions of Americans came out in spades to support a man who is endorsed by the KKK, a known terrorist group. Trump is an admitted sexist, a liar, cheat and alleged rapist. A man(child) with zero political background -- completely and entirely unqualified for any position of stature. He is Hitler 2.0, and he now represents the most powerful country in the world. It is, in a word, devastating.
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It seems like everyone else is scoring and you can't even find the end zone. How can you work so hard to get embarrassed and beaten down in this manner? We have to keep teaching ourselves how to deal with losing. How to be disappointed that it didn't work out how we expected.
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Guilt and regret are the ugly Hyde to the Jekyll of sobriety, even years in. With new awareness, we relive past experiences---or in many cases bemoan what might have been. Pain and sorrow previously numbed by a drug or drink of choice is glaringly present, and strikes unpredictably---in the midst of a family gathering; alone, late at night; smack in the middle of an important work presentation, or during a particularly deep yoga class.
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It's very hard to explain the feeling of shock and emptiness that accompanies losing a loved one. There's a certain awkwardness that accompanies loss that is difficult to navigate. After my mom passed, Alex's mere presence was a comfort to me and my family. She knew what that awkwardness was like.
For anyone who's lost a pet, the heartache is significant and can last a long time. Feelings of grief can cause mental distraction, loss of appetite, bouts of extreme sadness and even lasting depression. Why, then, are we expected to get back to work after the loss of a pet without being allowed to take time off?
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Last week, Canadians came together to celebrate their country's 149th birthday. This week, South Sudan marks five years as an independent nation. Yet for many there is little to celebrate. For half of its brief life, the world's youngest nation has been ripped apart by war, leaving tens of thousands dead.
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Parenting a child after the loss of a child is a daily struggle. You do your best to cherish every second, because who knows better than you how fleeting it can be? While your head is cherishing away, your heart is heavy with the feeling of abandoning your lost child's memory by being happy.
The emotional distress started to make me feel sick all the time and it came to the point that I just couldn't continue like this anymore. I decided that my first step to healing was to talk to people who have experienced the same type of loss, and by doing this it helped me realize that everything I was feeling was normal.
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Who knew that grand-parenting would be so much fun? Who knew I'd be a solo grandma? It was understood in my marriage that somewhere in the future we would be very proud grandparents together. However, like many baby boomers, our marriage didn't make it. I've been single for 20 years and since 2009 I have been a solo grandma.
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I could see my four-year-old son playing on the slide, but my two-year-old son was out of sight -- not unusual as we had a very large, gated yard. I didn't even have time to cover myself before a woman came around the corner, a look of fury on her face and my two-year-old on her hip. "DO YOU KNOW WHERE I JUST FOUND YOUR CHILD?" she screeched.
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Coach passed away last Friday, having fought the good fight against cancer, the scourge of our times. You may not know Coach, but I hope you know someone like him -- a person who pours water on you when you are about to flame out, who picks you up by the scruff of your neck and puts you back on track, who shows you that there is indeed a big, wide world out there.
How much, or how little, does it take for things to go awry as we age? Deteriorating physical and mental health, loss of loved ones, social isolation, and the progressive inability to cope with daily tasks and challenges can make people dread the so-called "golden years" rather than embrace them.
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I think we do all women a disservice when we don't challenge the "Disneyfication" of our reproductive experience. Pregnancy is glorified as transcendent despite its many dark elements. Birth is similarly idealized. But miscarriages resist beatification; at best, they are an extremely efficient expulsion of expired reproductive material by one's own body.
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The first time I carried a child, I suddenly had this intense urge to be closer to my mom. It was hard going through a pregnancy and a stressful birth experience without my mother's guidance and support (cancer can quit now, OK?), and I keep coming up against questions I really wish I could ask my mama, but that must be left unanswered.
In 2013, my mother died. The moment when the doctors asked me to "pull the plug," I knew my life would never again be the same. Her death hasn't addressed any questions or fears I had about dying, but it's given me new insights on how to move forward with life.
One year ago today I experienced my second miscarriage; almost a year prior to that I had the first. Looking back these last two years, I often feel disconnected as if what I went through didn't really happen.
I've learned that when you want to support someone who's critically ill, loving them isn't enough; you have to meet them where they are. That means letting go of your wishful thinking, your denial, or your selfish need to put a positive spin on things and allowing the other person -- the one who's dying -- to set the tone.
Women often feel guilt, thinking a stressful event or something like their previous use of oral contraceptives caused the miscarriage. The majority of time, miscarriage is a random, isolated event and a cause can't be determined.
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It has been 29 days since Matthew physically left us. 29 days since I held Matthew in my arms as he took his last breath. Since I lost a part of myself. Not a day goes by that I don't miss him. In these 29 days I have experienced many firsts, some easier than others.
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As an overweight kid who discovered the transformational power of fitness as a teenager, training to improve my fitness and my physique has always been a huge motivator. For many years it was why I trained. But it was not until my father became ill that I truly realized the insurmountable power of fitness.
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Recently, a friend asked me if I could help a neighbor whose life had fallen apart. I have the bittersweet reputation of being someone who's lived through some soul-shattering events and has managed to stay vertical, so she thought I might be able to offer some comfort and advice.
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Life is for the living. In the years to come you will wake thinking about your son and not his suicide. In accepting loss, your mind will search for memories of life before depression and suicide became part of your lexicon. There will be much work to do in your son's name and in support of youth suicide prevention.
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When I was 25-years-old and early on in my medical training, I got a phone call from my mom one day. With no preamble, she blurted out, "She's gone!" At first, I didn't know who mom was talking about. Then she said the name. It was Esther, my infant niece.
I love the subtlety and ambiguity of words, and that no doubt had a lot to do with why I taught English for 23 years, and why I am now pursuing a career as a writer. I was reading an article in today'...
The truth is I don't feel 44 and I don't feel like a widow. I feel married and 80-years-old. In the past four years, I have aged tremendously, both physically, emotionally and mentally. And in my mind, I am still married. Mike has just been gone a little more than a month.
While Mother's Day is a celebration of love for many, it is a day of pain and grief for so many more. There are many faces of motherhood, some less obvious then others. There are mothers whose arms are empty; suffering from infertility, miscarriages or the death of a child. The world doesn't recognize them as mothers but they are and always will be.