I remember uncomfortably lying there, silently praying for a miracle.
They were probing around looking for the heartbeat. I looked on the monitor waiting to see some sign of life, anything. I had been to the emergency room a few days prior for spotting, but now it was worse, the spotting turned into cramping and heavy bleeding, which usually is a detrimental warning sign in early pregnancy. These were signs that they told me to look out for on my initial discharge papers. I stopped looking at the monitor because I couldn't take it anymore. When deep down I knew I had lost the baby. The silence and continuous search for a sign of life went on for what seemed like forever…
Finally, the doctor took off the monitor, washed his hands, his face grew solemn as he looked at us and then confirmed that we had lost the baby. At the time, I didn't realize it but he said some of the things that I needed to hear. He sat on the bed and told us that it wasn't our fault. He stated the medical jargon about the statistics but went on to say that it didn't happen because I fell, it didn't happen because we were stressed about money, and it didn't happen if I went out with friends and had drinks prior to finding out that I was pregnant. He just held my hand, passed me tissues, and said that he is sorry and repeated it's not your fault.
I didn't realize how common miscarriages were until I started to experience them. It's a topic that people usually don't speak publically about, but now they are starting to be somewhat normalized (as they should be) with celebrities like Gabrielle Union and more recently Ludacris' wife Eudoxie sharing their experiences going through them. Even men like Lance Gross and Omari Hardwick have come out to discuss the pain of losing a child.
It's really hard to comfort anyone when they experience a loss, but how do you comfort a friend or family member when they feel like they lost it all through a miscarriage? I quickly learned that those ideal comforting words were not so comforting, they were unsettling actually. Here are 4 common words of comfort that you should think twice about saying to someone who has just experienced a miscarriage:
1. "It wasn't meant to be."
Right after our loss, the tension grew in my relationship. We lashed out at one another over the unknown. My boyfriend one day got frustrated with me and told me that God didn't want it to happen and the baby wasn't meant to be.
When those words came out of my then boyfriend's mouth, I honestly didn't know whether to slap him or leave him. It hurt so bad, I thought I was ready to end the relationship. For one, how could he even think that, much less say it? And two, though I do not consider myself to be churchy, I do believe in God and I felt at the time that there was no way that God would want this for anyone. I didn't feel that this was the work of God. My boyfriend expected me to snap out of it and just move on with my life. He wanted his girlfriend back.
You can't tell a woman that has been yearning to have children that the pregnancy wasn't meant to be and expect it to sit well.
Those that desire to be moms yearn to become pregnant and birth babies. Some of us feel that motherhood was what we were put here to do so how dare someone tell us that it wasn't meant to be.
2. "That's normal."
Save the statistics. Please don't play the probability game when someone is going through this. Yes, 1 in 4 women experience a miscarriage. I remember reading that statistic over and over again in the very limited child loss section of the What to Expect When Expecting book as my symptoms started to get worse. Yes, many women go on to have normal pregnancies and healthy babies after their first miscarriage. Hearing these words don't make things better at the moment though.
What many fail to realize is that nothing about a miscarriage feels normal. It actually feels the opposite.
The fact that one day you go into a doctor's office with a life inside of you and on another random day you leave after just finding out that the life that was supposed to be growing inside of you has perished.You leave feeling an unexplainable emptiness. The reason why this is so insensitive is that what we are going through at the time doesn't seem real- it's a nightmare. It's hard to comprehend. Furthermore, we are not just numbers. We are actually people with feelings and it takes time to even try to normalize it especially since no one really talks about what is so "normal."
3. "Try again."
When I decided to share my loss with certain people, they would instantly tell me to try again. This felt like I was being brushed off. This saying is more gratifying to the person saying it because they deem it as an instant solution to the problem. I literally just lost a baby, so trying again was the last thing on my mind. I was mourning this baby. Telling me to try again is like telling me to buy another pet fish. As if the newly conceived baby could replace the one that was lost.
When a woman has a miscarriage, she has the right to grieve that child.
Though she may worry about being able to conceive in the future, please be empathetic to the fact that she did just lose her unborn child and that child cannot be replaced with another one. I am not saying not to later encourage her to try again if that's what she expresses she wants, but be cognizant of the time period. If she just lost a baby, you need to be there for her instead of pushing her to do something that she cannot mentally or physically fathom. Also, be aware of her specific situation, some women have tried numerous times and have experienced repeated miscarriages Some women are told that their chance of conception is unlikely so your definition of trying is not only insensitive it may be unrealistic. Lastly, be mindful that the miscarried mom is grieving what could have been.
4. "The baby's in a better place."
This one baffles me and maybe it's a bit selfish, but what better place is there to be for a baby than with its mother in her loving arms? This saying is hurtful period and I admit after having my first miscarriage, I stopped saying this to people that experienced any loss cause I realized how insensitive it can be. If you want to get biblical, you can let the person know that you are praying for them and really pray for them as opposed to just saying it cause it sounds nice.
Pray for their healing, pray for their well-being, and pray that their prayers are answered.
Coming from a woman who has experienced miscarriages, I've learned the best thing that you can do is tell someone that you are sorry for them, be compassionate and listen to them, give them as much time as they need to grieve and try to be there for them. Other helpful advice that was given to me during this difficult time was to remember that the dad is hurting too and to try not to ostracize him during this difficult time.
Most importantly, for my miscarried mamas, don't let others tell you how you should feel or move forward, you do what you feel you have to do to heal.
And for everyone else, save those common phrases and speak compassionately from the heart.
Featured image by Shutterstock
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Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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Have you ever been in a relationship with someone and felt so deeply connected to them? Everything about the relationship was intense – good or bad? Then you might be in a part of a soul tie.
The concept of a soul tie binds individuals on a level beyond a relationship's physical and emotional aspects; it’s more than a mere connection. You can form a soul tie with anyone – lover, friend, colleague, etc.- but we are discussing romantic partners for this article. Think of you and your partner as an intensely burning flame. The flame can burn passionately to light the relationship’s way or chaotically burn everything in its path. Either way, it leaves an indelible mark on the souls involved.
A soul tie should not be confused with the term “soulmate.” The main difference is that a soul tie can be positive or negative, while a soulmate is a mutual, harmonious connection. Unlike a soul tie, a soulmate relationship is generally characterized by mutual understanding, support, and shared values.
However, the more we learn about soul ties, the more it becomes evident that they are not monolithic; they vary in nature and intensity. As someone who has experienced a negative soul tie, it is crucial to discern whether they contribute positively to personal growth or hinder you from flourishing.
If Your Soul Tie Is Positive
A positive soul tie creates a deep and affirming connection between individuals. One key indicator of a positive soul tie is effective communication. If you’re experiencing a positive soul tie, a shared understanding fosters open and honest dialogue, contributing to a sense of connection and support.
Mutual growth is another hallmark of a positive soul tie. When individuals in a relationship encourage each other's personal development and evolution, it signifies a positive and uplifting connection. This mutual support leads to an environment where both parties can thrive individually and together, contributing to the overall health of the soul tie.
Emotional security is a crucial element in identifying a positive soul tie. In such connections, individuals feel a deep sense of trust and comfort with each other. This emotional security forms a stable foundation for the relationship, allowing both parties to express vulnerability and foster a strong, positive bond. These three indicators—effective communication, mutual growth, and emotional security—underscore the positivity inherent in a healthy and affirming soul tie.
If Your Soul Tie Is Negative
A negative soul tie manifests as a detrimental and draining connection between individuals. One clear sign of a negative soul tie is the presence of emotional turmoilwithin the relationship. When the connection becomes a source of constant distress, causing emotional upheaval and hindering personal development, it indicates a negative soul tie.
Codependency is another red flag for a negative soul tie. In such connections, individuals may become overly reliant on each other, impeding their ability to thrive independently. Codependency often leads to unhealthy dependencies and can result in a toxic dynamic that hinders both individuals' growth and well-being.
A lack of effective communication is a third indicator of a negative soul tie. When there is a breakdown in communication, misunderstandings and unresolved issues can fester, contributing to a strained and unhealthy connection. In negative soul ties, the absence of open and honest dialogue can perpetuate a cycle of negativity and prevent the resolution of underlying issues. These three indicators—emotional turmoil, codependency, and poor communication—point to the negativity associated with an unhealthy soul tie.
Putting Out The Fires And Breaking Your Soul Tie
Unfortunately, my deep, intense connection only caused destruction. And despite the obvious red flags, it took a minute before I broke the connection. Why? Because I was addicted to the relationship, we both were. But it is possible to break a soul tie if and when you are ready because if you are not, pretending you are when you are not is a waste of your time.
Breaking a soul tie requires intentional and purposeful actions. Establishing clear and firm boundaries is a fundamental step in severing the connection. By limiting contact and emotional engagement with the person involved, individuals can gradually weaken the tie and create space for personal growth.
Seeking professional support is another effective strategy to break a soul tie. Guidance from therapists or counselors provides valuable insights and coping strategies. Professional assistance can help individuals navigate the emotional challenges associated with breaking a soul tie, offering a structured and supportive environment for healing.
Redirecting energy toward personal growth is important in breaking free from a soul tie. Engaging in activities that promote individual well-being and create a sense of independence allows individuals to refocus their attention on their own growth and development. This redirection of energy is essential for breaking the emotional bonds of a soul tie and moving towards a healthier, more fulfilling life.
The last step I advise everyone to go through is the mourning period. My partner and I did our song and dance for years before I walked away. And I would be lying if I didn’t say that I mourned our relationship while I healed.
Recognizing the presence and nature of a soul tie in your relationship is crucial to understanding its impact on your well-being. Whether positive or negative, the intensity of a soul tie can shape the course of your personal growth and happiness. Breaking free from a negative soul tie demands intentional efforts, from setting clear boundaries to seeking professional support. Redirecting energy toward personal growth and allowing oneself a necessary mourning period are vital steps toward healing and liberation from the intricate ties that bind.
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Feature image by JD Mason/ Unsplash