Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Be well

Be well after stillbirth

In the days, weeks, and months following Quinn’s stillbirth, I held feelings of jealousy and hurt toward pregnant women and their successful birth stories.  Two examples were the anxiety I had over meeting my neighbor’s newborn and a panic attack during meditation.  However recently, I had the most ordinary, fulfilling day with my living daughter Riley, and I thought, “Motherhood is truly a gift.”  It hit me like a ton of bricks to let go of these jealous feelings, and to be kind to these women instead.  Motherhood is a gift – and I am happy that they will be able to experience this great gift, even though my journey to becoming a mother of two children ended differently.

Dr. Amit Sood has helped me let go of these feelings of jealousy and hurt.  He conducts an interesting talk (below) about the “Happy Brain: How to overcome our neural predispositions to suffering.”  He talks about the 5 – 3 – 2 method: 

5: Think of five people you are grateful for.  He, like BrenĂ© Brown, makes an argument that gratitude is a key component to happiness. 

3: For 3 minutes when you return home, greet and be with your family like you haven’t seen them in 30 days.  Put aside distractions, fully be present, and walk in excited to see everyone.

2: For 2 seconds, send “I wish you well” energy to people you encounter.  Sood makes an argument that the way we encounter others changes our lives. 

All of these tips have helped me make meaning along my new road and have helped me in healing after stillbirth.  However, the last point has liberated me.  At first, it was a little forced: see pregnant person…try not to cry…say “I wish you well” in my head.  Repeat. 

Then, after this wonderfully ordinary day with Riley, it clicked.  Of course I wish you well.  Motherhood is terrific!  Why wouldn’t I want you to have the gift of motherhood?  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! 

After 6 months since Quinn’s arrival, I think I’ve been able to separate the stillbirth of my daughter from the birth stories of other women.  As I've been executing the 2 second rule, “I wish you well” has turned into a simple and genuine “be well.”  I also send this energy: “My one request, however, is that you have a consciousness about the miracle of creating and nurturing life.  Motherhood is a gift that cannot be taken for granted."

Be well.
I recommend Sood’s website to anyone looking to bring more healing and happiness to their lives.  He has great video clips about happiness and resilience.  He makes an argument that research shows there are three contributors to happiness:
  • Genetic makeup – 50%
  • Life situations – 10%
  • Chosen thoughts and actions – 40%
To some degree, we have control over 50% of our happiness.  Sood gives you many tools and ideas to shape your 50% of happiness.  I have found great insight and encouragement by participating in his Happiness: A One Week Journey program.

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