The Broken to Brave Podcast

Navigating Grief and Finding Resilience

July 02, 2024 Dr. Stephanie Lopez Episode 58
Navigating Grief and Finding Resilience
The Broken to Brave Podcast
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The Broken to Brave Podcast
Navigating Grief and Finding Resilience
Jul 02, 2024 Episode 58
Dr. Stephanie Lopez

Grieving unfulfilled dreams in surrogacy and miscarriage is rarely discussed openly. In this episode, I share my personal journey from the disappointment of negative pregnancy tests to the overwhelming sadness of miscarriage. Learn how clinical breath work and community support became lifelines during these turbulent times.

I emphasize the importance of acknowledging our feelings rather than suppressing them, and share how I found release through crying and music. Remember, everyone's grieving process is unique—there are no rules. This episode is a compassionate reminder that it's okay to honor your grief your way and that resilience can emerge from our most vulnerable moments.

In this episode, I cover the following:
1. Dealing with grief from a failed surrogacy attempt and miscarriage.
2. My personal surrogacy journey.
3. Emotional processing techniques for difficult times.

5-Day BRAVE-cation Healing Retreat:
www.brave-method.com/retreat-priority-list

______________________________________

[FREE TRAINING]
How high-achieving women can
DITCH anxiety in as little as five minutes a day

www.brave-method.com/anxiety

Which of these results do you want and inspire you the most?
www.brave-method.com/testimonials

💗 Dr. Steph
@DrStephanieLopez
www.brave-method.com




Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Grieving unfulfilled dreams in surrogacy and miscarriage is rarely discussed openly. In this episode, I share my personal journey from the disappointment of negative pregnancy tests to the overwhelming sadness of miscarriage. Learn how clinical breath work and community support became lifelines during these turbulent times.

I emphasize the importance of acknowledging our feelings rather than suppressing them, and share how I found release through crying and music. Remember, everyone's grieving process is unique—there are no rules. This episode is a compassionate reminder that it's okay to honor your grief your way and that resilience can emerge from our most vulnerable moments.

In this episode, I cover the following:
1. Dealing with grief from a failed surrogacy attempt and miscarriage.
2. My personal surrogacy journey.
3. Emotional processing techniques for difficult times.

5-Day BRAVE-cation Healing Retreat:
www.brave-method.com/retreat-priority-list

______________________________________

[FREE TRAINING]
How high-achieving women can
DITCH anxiety in as little as five minutes a day

www.brave-method.com/anxiety

Which of these results do you want and inspire you the most?
www.brave-method.com/testimonials

💗 Dr. Steph
@DrStephanieLopez
www.brave-method.com




Speaker 1:

Hi, I'm Dr Steph and I'm here to guide you on your journey to healing from a difficult relationship with your mother, whether she was narcissistic, emotionally immature or just plain toxic. I want you to know that you are, in fact, not broken and you do not have to suffer from anxiety or explosive emotional reactions like lashing out. You can break the cycle. You are a strong, capable woman who can handle any challenge that comes your way, and I'm gonna show you how to have the ultimate control over your reactions so that you are unstoppable. Welcome to the Broken to Brave podcast. Welcome back to the Broken to Brave podcast. Welcome back to the Broken to Brave podcast. I am so happy that you're here and I hope your week is off to a great start and that your summer is going well. And today I want to talk a bit about grief.

Speaker 1:

I shared a little bit about grief in the past, briefly on an episode before Christmas, because I know that over the holidays this can come up for people and be especially heavy. Now, full transparency. This is going to be about the surrogacy journey. If you follow me on Instagram, you may already know where I'm going. I want to share a couple caveats before I dive in. Today I am going to talk about myself rather than the intended parents, and I do not want you to take that as I'm only thinking about myself and I'm not thinking about them, because that is not at all what's happening. I do want to protect their privacy. I don't want to be too intrusive with you know sharing, so I am just going to keep this focused on me, my reactions, what came up for me, what I've been doing to help myself and let them have their privacy. So I just wanted to clarify that before I dive in.

Speaker 1:

Often, with grief, people think of it when there's loss, sometimes with a family member or a parent or a child or a friend, a pet and people also think of grief when it comes to having a rough childhood. Sometimes people grieve what they didn't have, what they missed out on. And I did a podcast interview with somebody yesterday. I was on her podcast, her name's Heather, and we talked about this just very, very briefly before we started recording and she said you know, people don't often think of grief in terms of a dream, and as soon as she said that, my eyes welled up with tears and I started crying. It just hit me in a place that felt raw. People don't often think of grief do, but that felt true.

Speaker 1:

It's like less noticed perhaps, but before I say any more about that, I have received a lot of support. Many, many of you have reached out to me and been so loving and so comforting, and I appreciate you greatly, so I don't want to gloss over that. I thank you so, so much. It means the world to me, and I'm just going to go over a few things in chronological order and then I'll talk about my emotional state within each of those. And if you haven't seen my Instagram, you're like what the heck are you talking about? We'll get there. Sorry, to keep you on the edge.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so let's go back to June 4th. June 4th was the embryo transfer for the surrogacy journey that I'm on and, in case you've missed things that I've shared, this is not my baby. The egg and sperm were brought together to create an embryo and those both belong to the parents, so this is not genetically related to me at all, just to be clear. So June 4th I flew out. Well, june 3rd I flew out to Arizona to prep for an embryo transfer. The next day, and that morning I had nervousness coming up because everything seemed right on track, like everything with me. I was told by two doctors that it was textbook looking good, the embryo was excellent quality. But I still had nervousness because I haven't done this before and I so badly wanted it to work. And so I did some breath work that morning and specifically the type of breath work that I teach my clients, which is clinical breath work and a lot of research shows that it's highly effective for regulating the nervous system, bringing you out of fight or flight and even, over time, recalibrating your nervous system. So I sat and I did breath work and calm my nervous system to keep myself in a good state that morning. Fast forward, everything went well. Transfer was super smooth. Of course, there's lots of details there that I could share with you, but I'll save you the time unless you want me to. I'm happy. I'm an open book. So, yeah, I'm going to fast forward a bit.

Speaker 1:

So the first day that I tested to see if I was pregnant after the embryo transfer was four days post-transfer, and if you've had a normal you know, non-ivf pregnancy, you may be like what that is so early, like four days afterwards. Now, keep in mind that they transfer a five-day embryo and oftentimes people can get a positive pregnancy test nine days after conceiving. If you just add those two together, that's what it is. I had a negative that day, so I did a test the next day and it was also negative. During this time I was in a transfer group, which is a group of ladies who's all doing embryo transfers as a surrogate this summer, and then they had us all, if we wanted to separate by week. So I was with like I don't know 17-ish people who were transferring that week and people started getting positives. Even people that transferred the day after started getting positives. Even people that transferred the day after started getting positives. So I tested again day six Now, probably tested a couple times a day, if I'm being completely honest.

Speaker 1:

Sometimes it was twice a day, sometimes I did three times a day, sometimes not. You see where I'm going here. And so day six a negative again. Day seven negative. And at this point I can't remember exactly which day I started feeling emotional, maybe like day six. I was like, hmm, maybe I felt a little emotional day five, because I did see a lot of people getting positives on day five. So I started feeling a little bit. But I was like, oh, you know, I think it's going to be okay.

Speaker 1:

Day six some more emotions were coming up like oh my gosh, I don't know if this is going to work. Day seven then I have heard that most people get a positive by day seven and when I didn't, I was like oh my gosh, it didn't work, and I cried and just sat with the emotion, allowed myself to feel it. I didn't try to make myself happy, I didn't try to make myself feel better and I'm sharing that with you because, as someone who guides women through their emotions, I want you to, even though you may never do this type of journey. I want you to hear how I support myself with my emotions, because it's very similar to how I would guide you to support yourself when lots of emotions are coming up. So I didn't try to make myself feel better.

Speaker 1:

Fast forward to seven and a half days and I have what they call a squinter of a line and I was like oh my God, oh my God, oh my God. Is this real? It worked. Maybe he just implanted late and I was so excited and over the moon and I couldn't wait to tell the intended parents, but I really wanted to tell them with one of those digital tests. So I did a digital test and it was negative. So I was like, ok, well, we'll just wait and I'll test, you know, a little bit later and we'll see if it comes back positive. Then so fast forward to 7.75 days post-transfer, and the digital came back positive and I knew it was just a matter of time, but I really wanted to catch them before the workday. And it was positive and I gasped. I was just so, so, so excited, so freaking excited, and they are three hours different than me in terms of time zone. So I was like, okay, I've got to wait for them to wake up and I started calling them at what would have been a little after 7 am. Their time called FaceTime, actually FaceTime the intended mom. She didn't answer. Facetime the intended dad, he didn't answer. Facetime the intended mom, she didn't answer. Facetime the intended dad, he didn't answer. Facetime the intended mom, she didn't answer. And then I got a FaceTime back from the intended father and I told them and they just were ecstatic. I got a few photos and they are photos that I will treasure for the rest of my life. Um, so beautiful, and you can just see how thrilled they are.

Speaker 1:

That was, I believe, on a Wednesday. Yeah, was that a Tuesday? Yeah, that was a Wednesday. So we had the blood tests coming up. That's something that they do with IVF, is they do a blood test? Well, they do multiple blood tests, but one was scheduled for Friday morning and then another was scheduled for the following Monday. So I went to the appointment Friday morning and did the blood work and the lady who was taking my blood she's like is this good news? And I was like it is, and I typically don't get blood work results until the end of the day. So many hours went by and I didn't think anything of it.

Speaker 1:

And then, at around four my time, the intended mom called because she's like I don't have a good feeling, why is this taking so long to hear? And the news was that my HCG and the news was that my HCG, the pregnancy hormone, was positive but low. And I wasn't expecting it to be high because I got a positive later than other people in my transfer group. But I felt good because the line had darkened three days in a row, so I wasn't worried. I didn't have a bad feeling and I'm pretty intuitive. I didn't have a bad feeling. Nothing seemed wrong. So the intended mom shared that news with me and I felt calm. I felt like, okay, well, this embryo is going to push through and keep growing into a healthy baby and it's going to be okay. I just had this calm, serene feeling and I went to bed fine that night.

Speaker 1:

And the next morning I tested and the line was a little lighter and I had some fear come up because I'm like that's not supposed to happen. But this was a new pack of tests. You buy like two or three at a time, so they're not 100% the same. So I'm like, okay, well, let me wait a few hours and I'll test again. And so I waited a few hours and I tested again and it was about the same. But I did a different brand because I had been doing two brands of testing and one of the brands didn't look lighter. So I was like I don't know what's going on here. I know you're supposed to do the first morning pee with these pregnancy tests. So, okay, I think I'm not going to like jump to conclusions here. Think I'm not going to like jump to conclusions here. So this is a Saturday, sunday morning, I wake up and I take a test, first morning pee, I'm like this. We'll see what this says, this will be accurate.

Speaker 1:

And there was no line, no line left gone that morning and I talked to the intended mom a lot we like some days we talk like throughout the whole day texting and so I knew that I had to tell her. I knew that, even though it's not technically quote unquote my job to tell her. I knew that I couldn't pretend, I couldn't just talk to her like normal and then see what the blood test said the next day. And why I was sitting with this for a minute is because I didn't want to give her news that was incorrect and cause an unnecessary, you know, emotional reaction. If I didn't know, but when there was no line, I knew in my gut I was like this baby did not pull through. I called her, I broke into tears, which I was, you know, not expecting. I thought like I'm going to stay strong during this. This is not my baby. This is in the realm of possibilities. You know people have miscarriages. One in four have miscarriages, and I don't know the rate for early miscarriages off the top of my head, but it's relatively common, even though I've never experienced this before.

Speaker 1:

And the rest of the day I just felt sad and kind of like physically there like a shell of a person, but emotionally just down, sad, I wouldn't really say depressed, but you know that kind of essence. And the next morning I had another blood test. So we're at Monday now Monday, the what was it now? Monday, the what was it 17th, I think, of June, and the blood test came back that my HCG was like four points something and technically five and above is pregnant, and my first HCG was a little below 20. So it went down, which it was just a confirmation.

Speaker 1:

But I cried again and I had a lot of fear come up and I had fear of is this my body's fault? I didn't think that I did anything, but I was like was something not quite right that we thought was right? Were things not in the exact? You know, I'm on all this medication for this embryo transfer? Were things not quite the way that they should be? Was my TSH, with my thyroid, too high? Is that what caused it?

Speaker 1:

And just like all these stories that came up in my mind and I talk about this a lot, especially with my clients, because this can make a big difference is tune in to what you are telling yourself and fact check it if you want to, or change it if you want to, and all the stories that my mind were coming up with. I couldn't immediately fact check and I couldn't. I didn't know if they were true. They were just speculation and fears, and so I brought myself back to that Like we do not know and unfortunately we probably will not ever know, and that's uncomfortable. But could it be something within my body? It could. Could it have been the embryo just not being able to push through? Very likely a common cause of early miscarriage.

Speaker 1:

But here's the thing I didn't try to make myself feel better and what I noticed within myself is what you commonly see with grief is it comes in waves where there's a great deal of sadness and then you're fine, and then a great deal of sadness, and then you're fine, and then a great deal of sadness, and then you feel pretty fine. And that was my experience for sure, where most of the day I felt relatively fine and then I would have, you know, a lot of sadness come up and tears and resistance to this, because I didn't want this to happen. I didn't want this to be happening, and it's easy to fight what is happening in that way and it's common. It's very, very, very common human behavior and something that I have worked a substantial amount through in my own life because I used to I call it fighting life. I used to fight life on a daily basis, resist what was happening all the time, and I've drastically, drastically reduced that in myself and I guide my clients on exactly how to master that so that they can feel more at ease, even in situations that are awful and to some extent, are bound to happen. You know that are awful and to some extent are bound to happen. You know, nobody gets out like without hardship and it's okay if you catch yourself, like I did, like oh look, I am fighting life right now, like I'm really, really resisting this because you're human and I'm human and we will fade, you know, in and out like this and fall off the bandwagon, so to speak, and that's okay because that's a human tendency and the goal is okay. Just recognize it and get back on. And so I recognize it and surrender, and then a bit later I'm back to fighting life. And why did this happen? I wish this didn't happen. I wanted that baby for her, so for them, really, so, so bad and then back to surrender, and so I just wanted to share that with you.

Speaker 1:

And something else that I think that is important is you don't have to try to make yourself feel better, and at least in the beginning you probably shouldn't either, and at least in the beginning you probably shouldn't either. So at one point I think this was Monday night I went on a walk, which I commonly do I popped in my AirPods, I turned on sad music and I just let myself cry and cry and cry and release. I have heard a number of times people try to make themselves feel better, so they'll put on like positive music, peppy things, and tell themselves all this positive self-talk. And I'm recommending the opposite. We don't want to suppress the emotions. We don't want to try to make them go away, especially not like so soon, where I'm still in the midst of processing this and in a hardship that you're going through, you're still in the midst of processing it, and so, rather than trying to make myself feel better, I put on that sad music and I'm going to be transparent with you. I cried for almost an hour. Just a massive, massive release. That combination of music with movement can really help the body release, and I highly recommend that you do that for yourself too.

Speaker 1:

Now I had these thoughts. My logical mind was, like this is not my baby, it doesn't make sense. Like, why am I so upset? And then I'd bring myself back to like I'm invested, I want this for the intended parents. This has been a dream of mine to help a couple who can't start their own family, have that family. And so, of course, I'm upset. And so I validated myself in this way, even though I had, you know, that inner critic or that logical mind like what's you know, why are you so upset? So if you have those thoughts, that's not necessarily a problem. It's just do you want to believe them or do you want to validate yourself Because your reaction makes sense? All right.

Speaker 1:

So I'm just going to end this today with some reminders. There are no rules for how long or how much you should grieve. Honor yourself. If you want to be alone, be alone. If you want to hug, ask for a hug. If you want to go on a walk and cry your eyes out, do it. And just to put the cherry on top of this statement in moments where you're sad, rather than trying to make yourself get over it or feel better, sit with it, allow it, feel it, move through that emotional wave. You've got this. Thank you so much for being here. I will see you on the next episode. Thank you for listening today. If you're ready to heal so that triggering situations no longer control you and so that you can feel empowered, brave and thrive in any situation, dm me the word brave on Instagram and I'll send you a training where you will learn three of the most common mistakes driven women are making that are keeping them stuck in negative emotions, and what you can do instead.

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