Sunday, June 24, 2007


I had a busy weekend, and I'm trying to catch up on all of you now, I'm almost there. Reality asked how many blogs I read. That's kind of complicated because I also read adoptee blogs and political blogs and personal bloggers of various kinds & get news feeds from different sources. Total feeds are 171, but excluding news feeds, abandoned blogs, lurking only, I'd say 140ish, then take out the non-if/pg/mommy blogs, I'm down to 90 or so.

So my weekend? Friday, I went to a political fundraiser and met an executive from a hospital here in the big city. She was very kind and inquired about a certain article she had read in the newspaper recently. We discussed implementing some changes in the way women are treated after they lose pregnancies. And maybe spreading those policies around to some more hospitals. So, I went home, and had to write up a summary and links & research from my support group and send it off. Crossing my fingers it works out...

Unfortunately I was required to drop one kid off at a birthday party and ended up staying to help the poor mother because she was so utterly overwhelmed, and had not a soul to help her with 20 7yo kids all trying to make professional pottery. (Hint: smaller number of kids, more adults, less messy activity, sigh...)

It just got crazier from then on. I went to a goodbye lunch for one of the mom's at my kids school, (she's moving to England) and ended up in this heavy duty conversation about pregnancy loss and another woman at the table ended up crying because she was treated so badly after her 13 week loss, and I seriously don't think she had ever told anyone the whole story before. So my lighthearted-hope-we-see-you-soon brunch became very very emotional for all of us at the table. Ironically, I was NOT the person who brought all this up, but I seem to have become a lightning rod for the subject. We picked ourselves up eventually, but I think I'm going to phone the crying woman later and ask her if she wants to go out alone sometime and talk more.

The woman moving to England I'm going to miss a lot actually. She's one of the few people IRL who came right up and talked to me straight out about all the media and government things I'm trying to do about loss and IF. Incredibly kind and supportive, although she's doesn't understand medically necessary terminations, so I felt a bit self-conscious and edited myself a lot. I find the average member of the public just doesn't get the concept of fatal birth defects, so I can't assume she will either, but it pointed out to me the lack of education people have when we talk about what can go wrong in pregnancy. I hate to scare people, but I'm starting to wonder if we shouldn't have great big terrifying graphic pictures out there? Stop fudging it, and just get Doctors to admit publicly there is a big list of fatal things they can't fix. I'm not sure what the solution is....

I do know I feel better when I get things off my chest. This weekend the Globe had an article all about Happiness and whether it matters. Hmmm, I can think of a few bloggers who would agree with this writer. Some fave quotes...

"While positive psychology points to rising levels of depression as a legitimate problem in our society (Prof. Ben-Shahar warns of a great “emotional bankruptcy”), its solutions are inward-looking and facile. Imagine, for a moment, where we'd be if Martin Luther King Jr. had decided to purge his negative emotions by keeping a gratitude journal?"

"She (Dr.Held) cites a study by a University of Texas psychologist, who found that depressed people who vented their pain in journals healed much more quickly than those who steamrolled it over with a mantra of pep.
“When people put their pain into words it's not merely venting, it's healing,” says Prof. Held, who has treated hundreds of patients in private practice. “It helps you to reconstrue and reformulate. It can also lead to new ways of solving a problem.”

Does anyone think that sounds like blogging?

"James Coyne, a scientist at University of Pennsylvania who studies patient adaptation to chronic illness and treatment, recently disproved claims that an upbeat attitude slowed the progression of the disease. He believes the clinical insistence on a hopeful attitude and “the will to live” in cancer wards can often make sick patients feel worse. “People start to see it in terms of blame and if the cancer spreads it's somehow their fault.”
Even worse, by insisting that the sick, poor and downright miserable among us must simply buck up to get better, Prof. Coyne (who works out of the same university where the positive psychology movement is headquartered) echoes Ms. Ehrenreich's notion that we absolve ourselves of all need to be tolerant and patient.
“The expectation that people think positive and adopt a fighting spirit becomes a strategy of the people around them not to have to manage the burden of stress,” he says."

Yes, bad me for copying this much text, but geez, can anyone reading this blog remember how many times we've all been told to "just relax" and we'll get pregnant, or that stress and anxiety caused our miscarriages? Yes, I've talked about trying to be happier and more glass half full in general in my life, but only because it helps me get up in the morning and do stuff instead of hiding under my bed. I'm under no illusions that it will fix my infertility or make a baby live.

I think this article is on to something. Any opinions?


  1. Well, the quotes you cited definitely make me want to read the whole thing. I am in complete agreement with what I read so far. I especially liked the part that said that expecting someone with cancer to adopt a fighting, "positive" spirit can simply be another way of people not wanting to face up to the very real fear and stress of their illness and experience. So much easier to be around those positive people than the ones who admit to how scared and angry they are.

  2. Heavy weekend. Hope you make good progress on the pregnancy loss front.

    In response to your musings on feelings, and acknowledging them, may I add this article. It may be a slight tangent, but still very much related.

    Down with pep!


  3. Good article.

    My husband often said he was trying to keep positive and strong to help me but I suspect that it inhibited his own emotions, that quite clearly needed some fresh air.

    Blogging has certainly helped me with my pain when I've really let my emotions out, it certainly hasn't done me any harm!

  4. Reminds of a book review of "The Secret" (another Oprah 'book') that I read this weekend. Not only does positive thinking "fix that which ails you," but negative thinking causes bad things to happen to you. Can anyone say "blame the victim?" Which is a truly fascinating concept to me, since we live in a society that has only recently fully embraced the idea that we are all victims of something or fault for anything.

    I guess it was my bad attitude that caused a bacteria to multiply in my system and kill my perfectly healthy 35 week old baby boy. Yep. That must be it. No medical reason at all. It was all in my head! (/sarcasm)

  5. Heavy weekend, indeed. But, a positive one in that you were able to help someone who really needed it. HUGE thumb's up to you!

    By the way, could you e-mail me about the political stuff you are working on about IF and PG loss? I would be very interested in seeing if I could help you out. I have become quite the activist in my old-er age...

    Blogging has helped me more than I could ever imagine...and, through that, I have apparently helped a few other women through their losses as well. It has really brought so much healing - I am glad I stuck with it for over a year! Thanks for those articles... MUST GO READ!

  6. Yeah, I certainly know people who think we are making ourselves feel worse by remembering A and acknowledging our pain. In their opinion, we should just buck up and look forward. Right. Now it makes more sense-- they feel uncomfortable dealing with other people's pain, and it would make them feel better if we appear to adapt a positive attitude. Blah.
    I will definitely read the whole thing later on today.
    This was a heavy weekend, emotionally taxing. Hope you get a light, relaxing day today to replenish yourself. I hope the hospital admin moves on your suggestions-- that would be enormous.
    About people not understanding fetal defects, that in fact is a big problem. Julia Uncommon had a big post about the judgement that is implicit in "I would never terminate, so I am not testing" that was very good. I think it's still in her sidebar. This is partly like infant loss-- people should know about it, but it shouldn't be our job to educate them. The doctors should educate their patients, and society at large. IMHO, of course :).

  7. The last quote in there is fascinating - the notion that I tell you to buck up and feel better to pass the guilt/blame/burden off of me - I think there is definitely something in that.

  8. I love it. I've said in so many more words what Prof. Coyne said so succinctly. Now if we could only get the asses in our lives to read and understand. I so often feel like the people my non-cyberspace world that I can honestly talk to are those that would never judge anyway.

  9. I love the parts your quoted. I will read the rest asap.

    You read a LOT of blogs, girl! Good for you!

  10. You do read a lot of blogs. I have over a hundred feeds in my bloglines and can hardly keep up with them all.

    I think the article is on to something. I read a big study on this kind of thing when I was in university. It basically was about people getting trapped in a bad place because they tried too hard for perfection and constant happiness. The pressure became too much and caused many people to be miserable because they viewed their lack of happiness and success as failure. It was interesting and reminds me a lot of this article.

  11. Great article find.
    I've been told countless times to just get over my issues. (attached to my adoptee self)
    I'm a little over those comments frankly.
    Poss. xx

  12. I certainly hope the article is right. I sometimes worry that I'm reinforcing and prolonging my pain by writing about it and dwelling on it. It would be nice to think that I was actually doing something to help myself.

  13. you read HOW MANY blogs?!?!?!? sheesh...i do admire you! when i'm in good shape i've got about 20 i regularly visit...whew...thanks for the food for thought, all of your support and also the offer of a drink...hope i can hook up with you and reality this weekend!