For an issue that affects so many people, fertility issues aren’t talked about enough.
Women’s bodies are powerful but for one reason or another, many of us face or will face pregnancy loss and infertility. The truth is, pregnancy is tough on the body and when our internal organs are under stress, our external organs usually show it.
Postpartum hair loss and hair thinning is extremely common and yet rarely talked about. That’s true whether you carry your baby fully to term or experience a loss.
Today, we’re grateful to have Dietician and Life Coach Allison Ruben Magier share her story about loss and how she reclaimed little pieces of herself along the way.
Life, Loss, And Healing
I am dedicating this blog post to all the women who have experienced loss, fertility struggles, or received news they hoped to never hear. I hear you, and I am with you.
“Hi Allison! How are you? Have you gotten a chance to review your labs yet?...You don’t have any hormone issues…you’re pregnant!”
The phone call and the sound of my OB/GYN’s voice plays over and over again in my head.
While this came as a surprise, given my husband and I got married three months earlier, I felt incredibly blessed and lucky to have received this news. Despite the debilitating nausea, many doctor appointments, and endless blood tests that I never fully understood the results of, there was not one moment that I did not feel grateful to be pregnant.
That’s all that mattered. A healthy baby is all that mattered.
Then came another phone call.
One that also plays over and over again in my head, but louder. It was 10:52am in late November, and I was 18 weeks pregnant. As my body changed and grew, my heart and mind did too. I started to get to know my baby. I pictured a mini version of my husband and smiled so wide. I heard his heartbeat in my head. I dreamt of his giggles, his personality, his cries, and the joy he would bring to our lives. And just like that, with a single phone call, it was ripped out from under me.
They say a mother’s instinct is best.
I had a feeling during my 18 weeks of pregnancy that something wasn’t right, but scan after scan, everything was ‘normal.’ These feelings weren’t based on anything other than a gut instinct, but, all the while, they were there.
After losing him, I felt like a shell of myself for so long.
I felt outside of my own body. I was experiencing postpartum depression and anxiety without giving birth to a baby. I found it hard to simply function. Daily tasks that I once did with ease seemed unfathomable, and the grief I faced seemed insurmountable.
My hair was falling out in clumps. When I looked in the mirror, I didn’t even recognize myself. The pain from hearing tragic news about a baby you are growing inside of you never gets easier. You just learn to live with it.
I asked for help from my doctors, family, and friends and used my own theories on nutrition and lifestyle to help myself find my way back into my skin and body. I needed, and continue to do, things for all of me – mind, body, and soul. While something as simple as my hair growing again seemed superficial, I started to smile in the mirror and began to recognize myself again.
I have Wellbel to thank for being a piece of the puzzle that allowed me to be one step closer to feeling like me again.
I am finally starting to believe everything happens for a reason — that life moves on.
Everyone’s fertility journey is different.
The first, second, or even the sixth chapter, can be written for you in a way you never wanted. But, I promise you, there is light. You will feel like yourself again. You will experience joy. You will laugh again. You will be able to look back on this period in your life and feel proud of the person and strength that came out the other side. I am proof that even dark experiences can have silver linings. Remember that riding the wave of grief is also important. Allow yourself to feel those feelings on the days you think nothing will ever get better.
One silver lining for me has been that I have become a better counselor.
As a dietitian and certified life coach who specializes in women's health, I can better help my clients find hope during times of struggle. I can help nourish my clients’ mind, body, and soul. And there is no better feeling after a long day of work than knowing I did just that. To all the people out there trying to build their family: I am here for you. I am you.