preconception

How I'm Healing After Miscarriage–Physically & Mentally

This miscarriage has been very different from our first, now over 3 years ago. My heart is still aching from the emotional aspect and my body is weary from the physical trauma, but my faith is stronger and I know without a doubt that the Lord is using it to encourage other women who’ve experienced this same loss, to connect us. It’s an odd feeling and even hard to explain, how I can go through such a rough season yet still see the joy and the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s been a rollercoaster, but I’m OK with His plan.  

Miscarriage is odd in that you can grieve and mourn so hard over a little one you’ve never met. I like the way Emily from the Tethering Place explains the loss you experience with miscarriage, “The wave is coming again. A wave of tears and sadness and loss. An odd loss though, for can you lose something you never had? You never held? It is odd because nothing has changed and everything has changed.”

It’s so true. Like, painfully, heart-wrenchingly true. And that wave has hit me over and over the past few weeks.

But for my husband and I, this unexpected pregnancy (and loss) has allowed us to see that we DO want to grow our family. We thought we were happy with just our sweet little Elle, but out of this hardship, we know there’s more to come and I’m grateful, even in it’s yuckiness, that we had the opportunity to feel the realness of expecting again, making plans, dreaming of four.

So, in true Justine fashion, I am putting my best foot forward, seeking out the help and support I need to heal my body–physically and mentally–and get ready for conception in the future!

And in my last post sharing our story and my heart on miscarriage, I told you that I would keep you in the loop on my own health journey––the good, the bad and the ugly.

My greatest health goal at the moment is to heal my body because miscarriage is messy and hard and bloody. Gross, but true. There’s inflammation, internal stress (physically and emotionally), battle wounds of the heart, blood loss, hormonal chaos and all that good stuff that needs to be addressed and supported so that I am left in an even better place than before.

The flip side to this–avoiding the physical and emotional aftermath of miscarriage–is a body who’s left to fend for itself, scars that aren’t tended to that build up fear, resentment and pain, nutrients lost, hormones a mess, inflammation and lots of other imbalances that can affect my future attempts to create life from within. That, I am not going to allow.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned over the years being in the holistic and alternative world of health is how important it is to be self aware and practice mindfulness in every area of your life...not just in what you put in your mouth. Being able to take a step back and look at myself–my emotional, physical and spiritual wellness–allowing myself to see, touch, feel and experience the hurt, the joy, the trauma...all of it...and know that I can make a difference with my own two hands, that I don’t have to sit in fear or whatever the negative emotion is forever, but that I can take action to move forward, to grow, to be better, to love well, to experience more joy and contentment is foundational to a healthy life.

This experience is no different. As hard and awful as it is, there is so much I can do to heal my body with my own two hands, with the help and support of gifted practitioners and the endless love of God. That’s so empowering and so so encouraging to me.

So here’s what I’m up to currently…

Building blood.

Last week, I had my first real acupuncture experience with a super cool friend of mine, Kerry Carlos. He’s a Licensed Acupuncturist and all about holistic wellness and is well loved by his patients. I have been reading a lot about acupuncture and the benefits on fertility health so when I ran into Kerry at the wellness center he practices in after a massage I enjoyed last week, we got to talking about what I was going through and he quickly talked me into how he could help along my preconception journey.

During my initial appointment with Kerry, he found that I am lacking blood post-miscarriage, my adrenals are very weak, my body is holding on to a lot of stress and anxiety, something about grief in my lungs aaaaaand I can’t remember what else because there was a lot going on (and I don’t quite understand all the chi stuff and energy flow and organ connections quite yet). He worked on my main concerns and we joked and laughed about it all, but I kid you not, when I got off that table, I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders. Seriously. I can’t wait to go back!

So in focusing on building blood specifically, I am taking some herbs that Kerry recommended to help with this as well as some other problem areas and I am focusing on getting in certain foods, specifically iron-rich foods to help generate new, healthy and strong blood.

That sounds weird...strong blood? But blood does a lot of important things like transport nutrients, oxygenate your entire body, fight off invaders, remove toxins, transport hormones and sooooooo so so much more. It’s important that it’s healthy...and strong.

Over the next few weeks (and I guess throughout my preconception, pregnancy and nursing journey because these foods nourish these phases as well) I'll be focusing on eating plenty of beets, beef, liver from pastured animals, and pastured, organic egg yolks. I’m also focusing on getting plenty of vitamin C along with these foods since vitamin C helps with iron absorption (think broccoli, bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and strawberries...vitamin C superfoods!).

Overall, it’s important to nourish with a variety of vitamins and minerals so until I see my Nutritionist (yes, this Nutritionist has her own Nutritionist!) for more specific nutrient support, I’ll continue my prenatal and a few other supportive supplements.

Tonifying and draining my uterus.

This is an interesting one, huh? But it’s an important element of healing your future babe’s home. I am currently taking a Gemmotherapy that helps to tonify and drain the uterus (I also used this in my third trimester and totally credit it to my speedy labor and birth) and bovine uterine tissue (via supplement form people!) to nourish my own uterine tissue.

I understand this point may sound odd to some, especially if you’re new to the holistic world, but this is a big piece of my healing protocol and I’ll take both therapies morning and night for 6 weeks.

Addressing stress and giving my adrenals all the love.

Oh this is a big one. When I first started miscarrying, I had a lot of peace about everything and I still do, BUT there was a lot of physical and emotional stress that was goin’ down that I didn’t really realize. About a week after the initial news, it was like it all came to a head and I began feeling the acute symptoms of stress–chest tightness, a super short fuse, overwhelm, sugar cravings, etc.

I know my body well enough to understand what was going on and I immediately had to hit the pause button and take a chill pill. Massage, asking for help, all the essential oils and magnesium before bed to help me relax and sleep, adrenal support supplements, acupuncture, etc..

But this doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes time to heal emotionally and to nourish the adrenal glands.  

This is one of the most important pieces of a healthy life, but it’s also one of the most challenging so this is always an ongoing focus. Stressors like miscarriage aren’t a chosen stress (like putting your kids in too many sports or taking on too much at work), they just come, without warning or invite. And they’re inevitable in life.

Stress management is at the top of my list because it sneaks in everywhere. Especially during this time of year. So each day I wake up and choose to take one thing at a time, to eat well and keep my blood sugar stable, to take my adrenal support (supplements), to say “no” when I need to, to create much needed quiet, alone time (#onlychildproblems), and to nourish my soul with God’s word.

It’s a process, but when you’re able to strengthen your body’s ability to deal with stress (and give it the rest to be able to do so), you kind of kick ass at life. It adds to your patience, your energy, your drive (in life and sexually!) and creates a new will to rock out life. No joke, having strong adrenal function is down right amazing.

So there you have it, a little inside look into my healing process. I am working on getting in with my Nutritionist in San Diego and I know we will be looking at thyroid function and sex hormones as these can cause issues with fertility and miscarriage. I have a pretty long cycle so I am looking forward to getting that in check and creating more balance from within.

If you have experienced a miscarriage this year, I am praying for your heart and your healing friend. I know it's awful and heartbreaking. I hope that sharing my journey of mourning and healing will help encourage you. 

Before I go–I just wanted to thank everyone who has been lifting Matt and I up in prayer, for all your kind and supportive words and your outpouring of love. We are more grateful than you know!

xoxo

Justine

 

For more information on how to get your body ready for baby makin' and create a stress-less conception story, join our brand-new email list for posts on healthy eating + living, upcoming events and programs and more!

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3 Simple Steps to a Creating a Non-Toxic Cleaning Routine for Better Health & Fertility

Cleaning your home seems innocent enough, right?

Sadly, not so much.

Keeping your home all spic and span has the potential to be one of the most toxic things you do in your day to day life. Crazy, right?

More and more studies are showing the nasty chemicals companies are using in these everyday, household products are linked to different cancers, endocrine disruption (causing issues with sex hormone and fertility, birth defects and developmental delays, etc.), allergies, respiratory issues and so much more.

And these aren't uncommon issues. In fact, they're all too familiar to far too many of us.

Yah, that scared me too. Enough to make some serious changes in the products I purchase, the companies I stand behind and the way I protect my family.

These are simple, yet powerful choices we are able to make for ourselves. For our families. For our health.

Especially if you are a woman (or man for that matter) who is looking to bring littles into the world–or are pregnant, nursing or raising little humans. The damage these powerful chemicals have on our delicate systems, both male and female, can play a major role in our ability to conceive with ease, get and stay pregnant and as you'll read below, provide a safe and nurturing environment for our growing babe.

In a study spearheaded by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) in collaboration with Commonweal, researchers at two major laboratories found an average of 200 industrial chemicals and pollutants in umbilical cord blood from 10 babies born in August and September of 2004 in U.S. hospitals. Tests revealed a total of 287 chemicals in the group. The umbilical cord blood of these 10 children, collected by Red Cross after the cord was cut, harbored pesticides, consumer product ingredients, and wastes from burning coal, gasoline, and garbage.

"Of the 287 chemicals we detected in umbilical cord blood, we know that 180 cause cancer in humans or animals, 217 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 208 cause birth defects or abnormal development in animal tests. The dangers of pre- or post-natal exposure to this complex mixture of carcinogens, developmental toxins and neurotoxins have never been studied." –EWG.org

ARE. YOU. KIDDING. ME.

That's a hard pill to swallow.

This information makes me cringe, well up with tears and push harder to educate the women and couples around me to make some serious changes in the way we do life. 

The amazing thing is that we have the power to change the way we live our lives and the choices we make day to day to change that reality for ourselves. 

Ridding your home of harsh cleaning products can be a big step forward on your health journey and can have a huge impact on your fertility, pregnancy and your littles one's wellbeing.

And it's easier than you may think my friend!

I know there are always a lot of questions when it comes to this topic so I'm always looking for ways to simplify the process of cleaning up your environment. Today I want to share a few simple steps that have really helped our family and I know can help you as well!

1. Take a look at what you’ve got.

Pull out all your cleaning products and take a good look. Literally, put them all out on your countertop. What have you got? Common products like Windex, Clorox, Mr. Clean and the like are rich in chemicals linked to different health issues and should be thrown out. Like, STAT.

I used to say, “Why don’t you just finish up what you’ve got and work toward a less toxic option when you run out,” but the more I learn the easier it is to say to clients, “Just toss it and start fresh. Your bod will thank you!” If you don’t want to waste, I’m sure you can donate your cleaners to someone in need.  

2. Look up your current product's safety rank.

The Environmental Working Group has a huge database of information on the ingredients used in common cleaning and beauty products and how they rank in terms of physical and environmental safety. You can look up just about any product you’ve got under your kitchen or bathroom sink and learn how the ingredients within can affect your family’s health and even the health of your future offspring! (Keep in mind that companies are not required to send the EWG their data or even disclose all ingredients used so you may not be able to find data on some of your products. Honestly, that makes me trust them even less.)

I plugged in a couple of common products I’ve seen used in friend’s homes and what I found was absolutely astonishing. Pledge Wipes, in Lemon scent, commonly used to disinfect surfaces, is rated an “F” on EWG’s A-F rating scale. The product was given such a poor review because of ingredients linked to developmental and reproductive toxicity as well as skin and respiratory irritation, but the scariest part was what was ranked as “High Concern”- cancer risk. That is serious my friend.

Now some of you may have already made an attempt to try out some “greener” products like Green Works or Mrs. Meyer’s. Unfortunately, many of the common “green” products available on most supermarket shelves aren’t so good for you either. Green Works All-Purpose Cleaner received a “D” rating because it contains potentially harmful ingredients. Most of the Mrs. Meyer’s products are rated a “C” with a handful of “D’s” and F’s”!

Their marketing efforts are good, but it sure makes me question their intentions with keeping us healthy and our environment safe!

3. Fill your home with clean, green, non-toxic goodness.

Stock up on a non-toxic all-purpose cleaner. I recommend one simple cleaning formula, making it pretty darn easy to put into action! My very favorite cleaning product is Branch Basics multi-purpose Concentrate which can be used for cleaning just about anything you can think of, from toilets and countertops to floors, hands and even laundry! The Concentrate is used to fill Branch Basics pre-marked spray bottles (All-Purpose, Bathroom, Streak-Free and Foaming Wash for hands) that come with their Starter Kit, each with a recommended amount of water and concentrate. I have a lot of glass spray bottles from my homemade cleaning product days so I've also used the Concentrate in those to place them in more areas around the house.

Use promo code "alo10" to get 10% off your first Branch Basics purchase! Because you have to get this goodness in your house friend!

The formula is incredible, 100% non-toxic and super safe. What I love is that I am using the same safe concentrate throughout the house, just in different water to concentrate ratios. I don’t have to worry about looking into the safety of new products or different products for different cleaning jobs. Perfect for a busy mama and takes the stress and guess work out of non-toxic cleaning! You can learn more here or purchase Branch Basics Concentrate.

Branch Basics is in the process of getting their product on the EWG website, just in case you try searching!

Another option is a simple mix of ¼ cup organic white vinegar, water and a few drops of pure essential oils in a glass spray bottle. When Branch Basics was reformulating their concentrate and had taken their product off the market, this was all I used.

Don't forget to use promo code "alo10" to get 10% off your first Branch Basics order

I hope these steps help you take your non-toxic living journey a giant step forward and make your preconception journey that much healthier! I'd love to hear what you think about Branch Basics, let me know if the comments below!

xo

Justine

 

For more information on how to get your body ready for baby makin' and create a stress-less conception story, join our brand-new email list for posts on healthy eating + living, upcoming events and programs and more!

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