What To Do When the Dreaded, “How Are You?” Text Arrives

*trigger warning: pregnancy loss, death*

“You’re pregnant,” my doctor informed me over the phone, and my heart dropped from my chest and into the pit of my stomach. Typically, this is supposed to be joyous news, but I had been bleeding for about a week by then. Originally I thought I was on my period, which is why I hadn’t considered the possibility that I was miscarrying.

So the elated, wonderful feeling was lost on me because in this case, pregnancy was the worst news.

This wasn’t the first time this had happened. The first time, I knew I was pregnant, and I was at my very first appointment at 8 weeks when the bleeding started. I was terrified and immediately started crying in the bathroom; heaving, horrible sobs that I could barely mask from women in surrounding stalls.

I composed myself and went back to the waiting room where my husband, who had been so excited, waited. I told him about the bleeding, mustering everything within me to keep my face from twisting and the tears from falling.

Thankfully, we were seen immediately, and while the doctors remained positive and upbeat, I had lost all faith. I knew I was losing my baby.  That night, I experienced the worst cramps I’d ever had, and I cried both from pain and loss. The symptoms continued for another week or so, a constant reminder.

Now, two miscarriages later, I am paralyzed by fear and anxiety. I am terrified of doctor’s offices, of both being pregnant and not being pregnant. All I’ve wanted my entire life is to be a mom and have a family. And while I know it’s so early to worry, there’s that thought always nagging: what if it never happens? 

The only thing more anxiety-inducing than talk of pregnancy or hospitals is that “How are you?” text.

“Hey, girl! I’ve missed you! How are you doing?”

Honestly, not great.

But I’m not really supposed to say that right? I’m not supposed to talk about my crippling fears or the fact that I can’t stop thinking about the smell of the hospital or how aimless and broken I feel. Nobody wants to hear about that. They want to hear, “Doing great!” so they can get on with their lives and feel good about checking in on me.

That’s a terrible thing to say. They’re well-intentioned messages and I’m sure they do care. It’s more about opening up the dam that’s keeping all of my feelings at bay. If I say one thing, I’m going to say it all. So really, I’m looking out for them, right?

Or maybe it’s about another fear: the fear of being vulnerable with my friends. Of course they care about me, of course they want to hear how I’ve been doing. I’m making excuses because I don’t want to talk about it. I’m making excuses because if I do talk about it, I’ll fall apart, and I can only afford to do that in the confines of my own home.

I don’t even feel like I can tell my own family the truth, because how pathetic is it to admit that I don’t want to get out of bed in the morning? That I cry about the smallest things now, including car commercials on TV? That I quit my job at the YMCA because I couldn’t be around those kids anymore, thinking about my babies that I’d never get to meet?

It plagues my mind, invading every thought and feeling. My loss occupies every crevice of my brain, but I can’t bring myself to talk about it with even my closest friends because I’m afraid they’re tired of it. I don’t want to unload myself on my mom because she had six miscarriages; surely she doesn’t want to hear my whining when she has more reason to hurt.

I feel lost and lonely and broken, and I don’t know how to fix it. I have tried positive affirmations, trying to trick my brain into feeling good feelings. I have tried counseling, where I was made to feel like I didn’t belong, that I wasn’t depressed enough.

I don’t know what the typical grieving time is for someone you never met, but this feels excessive.

I know things will be okay someday, but right now, I would be having a baby next month. I probably would have had a baby shower and we’d probably know whether it was a boy or girl already. We’d have their little nursery set up, and we’d be so, so excited. I’d be 8 months right now, and my belly would be huge, and I’d be able to feel it kicking.

But I don’t.

My heart goes out to anyone who has experienced any sort of loss, but miscarriage in particular. Because so few understand, and the pain we feel is so sharp. You carried a child inside you, you felt hope at the prospect of new life, and it was dashed. They don’t make cards for stuff like that. So whether it happened last week or 10 years ago, my condolences. Because I know that pain doesn’t just go away.

“A flower bloomed already wilting.

Beginning its life with an early ending.”

-RJ Gonzales

 

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Well, Hello There…

My bad.

I haven’t updated my blog in quite some time. To most people, this hasn’t made a single difference to them, so go about your business! Don’t mind me! I’m just gonna live in my bubble and pretend y’all missed me.

There’s been a lot going on in my personal life. Well, a lot and a little. You know how it is, when life just feels overwhelming enough to crush you, so you do nothing and just watched everything crumble around you.

That’s been me for the last few months. I’ve just sort of… let life happen, while I sit in bed, watching Netflix thinking, “Huh, everything sucks.”

I’m trying to fight it, but it sucks. Maybe it’s depression, maybe it’s laziness, maybe it’s crippling self-doubt, maybe it’s all three combined, but for whatever reason, I’ve stagnated as a person. I see things in myself that I hate, that I want to change, that I wish for all that is good I could change, but to no avail. At least not yet.

I’m trying to fight the voices in my head telling me I’m not good enough. I want to be better. I want to be healthy, mentally and physically.

Hah, you thought this blog post was gonna be about books.

If you came here disappointed to find another post about mental health, I’m sorry! It’s just that this is the thing that I’m struggling with the most at this point in my life. Reading does help though, so I’ll also continue to post and talk about books.

So this is me, promising to try and be better, and not just about posting on my blog. I want to be a better wife, sister, daughter, friend, person.

Mental Health Update

Good morning, readers! It’s been a little while since I’ve updated my blog, so I thought I’d follow up with some real talk for a bit.

The diagnosis is in: I’m depressed. This diagnosis has actually been in for a while now, but I ignored it the first time. It went a little something like this:

Doctor: “Miss, you’re depressed.”

Me on the outside: “Oh, okay.”

Me on the inside: “Psh, yeah alright, are we done here?” 

I’ve always been scared of it. Depression. If I’m being honest, I knew I was depressed. I had known for a few years, but hearing the words spoken out loud was daunting. I never believed that I had a problem because my issues were nowhere near as bad as other people’s. I never believed that I had a problem because I had a great life: family and friends that love me, a comfortable life, endless opportunities. There was no reason for me to be depressed; how dare I?

What I’m slowly realizing is that it’s not necessarily depression based on circumstances, although things have been rough lately (see; recent miscarriage + life just sucks sometimes?). I finally decided after these recent events that I wanted to find out what was wrong with me once and for all. I decided to seek help.

It took a lot. Months, actually. I decided I was going to talk to my doctor about it back in October, and guess when I finally made the appointment? December. It took me 3 months to make a stupid phone call.

Anyway, I’m set to have my first counseling session soon, and I am not excited. Talking about my feelings with a stranger does not sound appealing to me in the slightest. There’s a 99% chance I’m going to cry in front of said stranger. This is not going to be an easy journey.

However, I owe this to myself. I deserve to feel good and healthy in all ways. I deserve to resolve my mental health, no matter what I’ve been conditioned to believe about depression. My depression has effected my marriage, my physical health, my friendships, my schooling, my energy, my motivation. It has made it difficult to get out of bed, leave the house, lose weight. If I want the other aspects of my life to flourish again, I have to make my mental health a priority.

Like I said, I have a difficult road ahead, but I’ve taken the first steps toward recovery; and those are the most important. It took me about 4 years too long, but better late than never, right? I’ll try to share updates on my journey as this new year progresses and I hopefully begin to see improvements. I have high hopes for 2019 and the things I will accomplish, so look out world!

Happy Thanksgiving!

chicken close up dish food

Photo by Public Domain Pictures on Pexels.com

Just wanted to take a moment to wish my lovely American followers a wonderful day!

For those of you that aren’t close to family this holiday, I want to send special warm wishes your way. My husband and I are spending our second Thanksgiving in a row away from family, but we are having a joint holiday with one other couple and a few of my husband’s single friends, all of whom are far from their families.

We know it can be difficult, which is why we figure that we may as well spend the day with friends and all share a nice, nostalgic, home-cooked meal together.

Stay safe today and tomorrow during your Black Friday shopping! XOXO

Writing Update

person using green typewriter

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

First of all, announcement: I’m writing a book! I know, you totally didn’t see that coming.

I’ve tried to write so many stories these last few years, but you could say I have commitment issues. I tend to work on a project for a little bit, take a break, and when I read it back a few days later, I realize it sucks and I trash it.

In my head, I know that writing the entire first draft in one go and editing later is the best course of action. Getting your entire book and all of your ideas out is essential; I just have a hard time making it past that stage of the writing process.

When NaNoWriMo started up this year, I felt inspired to really begin my writing journey. Of course, I haven’t really been keeping up and I think I’ve written about 1000 words total, but it is progress. This is the most motivated I’ve ever been to write, and I’m going to take advantage of it.

It’s a little early for me to decide what’s going to happen once I complete this book. There are so many options where publishing is concerned, so I’m really trying to do my research and take my time deciding which direction I want to take. If any of my followers have suggestions or advice on first-time publishing, I would appreciate anything you could give me!

It’s also too early for me to reveal much about my book, but at this moment in time, my project is shaping up to be an adult contemporary novel. It’s going to be full of tears, laughs, strong female friendships, and of course lurrrve. If that sounds interesting to you, great! I expect you to buy my book. I’ll be watching.

Anyway, more details on that to come! I’m very excited to take these next steps on this new journey and I can’t wait to share my experiences with my lovely followers. You all are so incredibly supportive in the bookish community, both on WordPress and on Instagram, that my heart is just overflowing with encouragement. I don’t know what I would do without you guys.

Let’s Get Real – A Serious Talk from a Washed-Up Blogger

*waves nervously* Hello.

So, as many of you probably didn’t notice because it’s not like I was a fixture of the blogging community anyway, I’ve been absent for several months. There’s no excuse other than that life got busy and I simply lost my motivation for bookish-related things. Sure, I kept reading, but I didn’t really keep up with the bookstagramming or the reviewing of books. I’ve let all that slide for a long time, and I was almost ready to give it up.

But then something happened.

It’s not something you would expect, and my motivation for returning to the book world may seem strange and possibly morbid. But I’m about to get super serious with you guys and dig way down deep, because this isn’t something that’s easy to talk about.

To my husband and I’s delight, we found out that I was pregnant about 3-4 weeks ago and I’ve been in this bubble of bliss ever since. We were impatient and told all our friends and family the good news and posted the cutest announcement. Even though it was early on, we were making plans and arrangements for our new Baby Guerra to arrive.

And then last week, at my very first OB appointment no less, I started bleeding heavily. I was taken to have an ultrasound immediately, where we found that our baby hadn’t been developing like it should and that it was too small to be 8 weeks along like it was supposed to be. We’re pretty sure that I miscarried later that night.

We were devastated of course, and it’s been my own personal Hell, having to tell people what happened. I know that I shouldn’t, but I feel so embarrassed for the display that I made, only to have to now announce that we won’t be parents after all.

So this week has been full of repression and denying, trying to avoid and ignore and not think about what happened. Which is obviously super unhealthy but if there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s torturing myself.

These events have made me pause and evaluate my life now. I’m at a job that’s making me want to bang my head repeatedly against a wall, I’m overweight, I’m unhealthy, and I don’t have time to do the things that make me happy anymore. That’s why I’ve decided to revive the blog, the bookstagram, all of it, and focus on my health, both physical and mental.

I’m not in a state to start trying to get pregnant again, but I can work on myself so that when we are ready, I am a healthy vessel for my future child. I am grateful for so many things in my life: a God who encourages me to find the good in all circumstances, a husband who is my rock when I am weak, family and friends that support me, and the solace of good books written by good people.

I’m not going to allow this keep me down. Instead, I will use this to help me grow and hopefully, I’ll come out the other end stronger than before.

I’m a Terrible Reader, Please Help Me

I seriously suck.

Here we are, basically halfway through November, and I have read one book. ONE BOOK. And get this: it wasn’t even a book on my November TBR. Get this, there’s not a single book on my TBR that looks appealing to me.

So, yeah, I hereby ban monthly TBR lists for me. I can’t do them. I picked out a bunch of books, and I’m not in the mood to read a single one. Yet I feel guilty picking up anything that’s not on my TBR, so now I haven’t read anything. What a vicious cycle this is.

As of today, this monthly TBR has been disbanded and I am free to read anything I want. What a freeing, liberating feeling! *looks at my mile-high forever TBR pile* *cries* *hides in shame* *plays Skyrim instead*

I am in the worst reading slump, guys, and I need help. I can’t afford to be in a slump, so what are some all-natural remedies for a book-hangover? I thought that reading Geekerella would do it, and I really enjoyed it, but I still look at my pile of books and cower in fear. I still pick up a book, read three pages, then turn on Netflix.

In an attempt to pull myself out of this, I’m going to read another mystery/thriller type book, which was what seemed to have put me in a slump to begin with. The last book I completed last month was Little Monsters by Kara Thomas, which I loved. It was everything I wanted in a mystery/thriller and checked all of my boxes and was just so satisfying. Maybe if I read another book like this, I will cure myself; so Genuine Fraud by E Lockhart should hopefully do the trick.

In all seriousness, what are some tips and tricks from my fellow booklovers for pulling yourself out of a reading slump? How do you do it?

24-Hour Read-A-Thon and Certain Death

Hello, book people! I feel terribly because for a few weeks, I was posting so regularly and then I hit a dry spell. My excuse is that my husband and I started a keto diet, which is high fat, low carb. Incidentally, less than 48 hours into it, the carb withdrawals began, and boy, my body was not happy. I had major headaches, stomach aches, and several not-so-fun trips to the restroom. To say that I wasn’t in the mood to read or blog is an understatement.

However, I started feeling better Thursday, and it just so happened that my husband, a soldier in the Army, had a 24-hour duty scheduled. He basically has to go and stand watch at one of the singles barracks and tell people to settle down if they’re being too rowdy, but mostly the job consists of sitting in a chair and trying not to fall asleep from 9 o’clock one morning until 9 o’clock the next.

So I thought, “Hey, my husband’s going to be up all night, and I feel absolutely horrible when he comes home exhausted the morning after a duty.” So I decided to stay up for 24 hours also, and use that time to catch up on the week of reading that I missed. In addition, Alex (the husband) told me I was welcome to come to the barracks he was watching and sit in with him.

That night, I packed a bunch of books, some snacks, and I did just that. We settled in for the night around 7 p.m. By then, I had already finished my first book of the day, Slasher Girls and Monster Boys, and I was ready to knock out at least two more books. I even packed a book for my husband, The Lightning Thief, the first book from the Percy Jackson series, although he didn’t read it for long. He’s not much of a reader.

The next book I read was This Savage Song by V.E. Schwab, which I finished around midnight. I’m estimating here because the night was a total blur. I documented my all-nighter on my Instagram story, but that has long since disappeared unfortunately, so I can’t refer to it for times. However, I do know that I very much enjoyed the book. It was unique and interesting and dark; but I feel like it took me forever to get through it! Maybe it was because the first half was so slow, or maybe it was because fatigue was starting to set in. (What can I say? I’m a grandma. I’m in bed by 10.)

Even though I had the second book in the duology with me, Our Dark Duet, I wanted a break from that world and decided to read Little Monsters by Kara Thomas next.

That book was a ride. I had picked it up at the library a few days before and I was so excited. I had heard it was good, and I was so freaking ready to read a mystery/thriller that I hadn’t guessed the ending to. Maybe that sounds braggy, but it feels like lately, all the mysteries I’ve been reading have been predictable for me, and so I was never surprised and ended up being pretty unimpressed.

Little Monsters ended up surprising me, which is all I could have asked for, so I was very, very pleased. The book kept me guessing the entire time, and while I did try to predict the ending throughout, all of my theories ended up being wrong. Which made me happy?

By this time, it was 3 a.m. and I was beat. I wanted to keep reading, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to retain any of it. So I just sat there for the rest of the night, or at least until 7 when I gave up and went to the car to sleep. I slept until 9, when my husband got to the car, and then I crashed when we got home and slept until noon.

Suffice it to say, I am not good at all-nighters, and I didn’t do as well during my read-a-thon as I had hope. I had wanted to read at least two more books but I am a wimp. Still, the books I read were all pretty good-sized books. I’ll definitely be doing more read-a-thons in the future, but preferably one where I’m lounging on a couch instead of sitting in uncomfortable chairs outside where there are frat boy-like soldiers acting stupid and a chilly wind.

25 Facts About Me

Seeing as I have some new followers, I thought now would be a really good time to tell you guys a little bit about me, aside from the obvious. You know like, “I like books,” and “I have a blog.” So here are a few more personal tid-bits and things to know about me.

1.) My favorite TV shows are Doctor Who, Sherlock, Parks & Recreation, The Walking Dead, and Jane the Virgin.

2.) I love candles.

3.) I currently live in Hawaii and love it.

4.) I’m a newlywed Army wife.

5.) I have two cats, Rowena and Ruby, and a guinea pig named Dwight.

6.) My favorite snacks are Chester’s Flamin’ Hot Fries and edamame.

7.) I was born in South Carolina, but I consider Texas my home.

8.) I didn’t date anyone before my husband; he was my first date, boyfriend, kiss, everything.

9.) Some of my favorite movies are Treasure Planet, Atlantis, Pitch Perfect, How to Train Your Dragon, and Pirates of the Caribbean.

10.) My favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

11.) I’ve taken the Pottermore House test twice and got two different results: Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff. So I’m a Ravenpuff.

12.) I’m a coffee person. I wish I liked tea but I don’t. I guess it’s an acquired taste.

13.) I have one sibling, a younger brother named Sawyer.

14.) Fuzzy blankets and other comfy things are my favorite.

15.) My favorite soda is Dr. Pepper.

16.) I don’t celebrate Halloween; my family has had a tradition for years of blocking off all the doors and windows and hiding in the very back of the house with a movie and some junk food so that trick-or-treaters won’t know we’re home. Surprisingly, this is probably the only tradition that my family has, and it’s for a holiday we don’t even celebrate. My husband and I intend to carry it on this year.

17.) ^ Actually, we have one other tradition: we open presents on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas morning. We’ve done this ever since I can remember and it used to make all our friends jealous.

18.) I used to have an imaginary friend; he was a mouse named Mousey, and he lived in the car vent.

19.) Some of my favorite artists/groups are Mumford & Sons, Twenty One Pilots, Taylor Swift, Owl City, and Imagine Dragons.

20.) I let someone borrow my copy of The Princess Bride a long time ago and I’m still bitter that they haven’t returned it.

21.) My perfect day is rainy, curled up in bed under warm blankets, cuddling with my husband, reading a good book or watching a good movie, eating pasta and ice cream.

22.) I don’t hate Twilight.

23.) When I was little, I was obsessed with Anastasia Romanov and I watched the movie all the time. I used to think that I was related to her and Anastasia was my great grandmother or something. As I got older, I did tons of research on her and did papers and reports about her, her life, and theories about her death. To this day I still think that the topic of Anastasia and conspiracy theories about her are incredibly interesting.

24.) I like to bake, but only during the fall and winter seasons, when it’s cold outside.

25.) I’m a pretty fun, outgoing person, but I’m also awkward and it might take me a while to warm up to you. If people give me the chance though, they typically find that I’m entertaining and they keep me around.

And there you have it! I’m a typical fangirl/geek and I like books. And I have a blog. The end.