November 2, 2018 marks the 17th year anniversary of the morning I lost my twin boys, Enzo & Maxx, as a result of their pre-mature birth. For reasons, still unknown today, I went into labor 20 weeks into my pregnancy. That was a very dark day. With my husband by my side, we tragically suffered 18 hours of labor knowing our boy’s lungs were not well formed enough to breathe on their own. We had already had 3 previous miscarriages 14-16 weeks into our pregnancies but this time we had flown thru the first trimester with flying colors and all signs pointed to parenthood. We sat in stillness that morning reflecting on the fact that the nursery at home was waiting in anticipation… with its’ John Lennon IMAGINE inspired theme designed with hope for our future together. Sadly, our boys would not be returning home from the hospital with us that day and our hearts were broken.
Miscarriage is defined as an unsuccessful outcome of something planned; failure, nonfulfillment, mismanagement.
Let’s be real. Miscarriage is a word that makes people shudder. It implies that something was “mis-managed” and leaves any woman who suffered this devastating loss, feeling shame and self-loathing. Questions and uncertainty ring in her mind about what she could or should have done differently.
In the days that followed, I was left empty, void, and forever wounded. I couldn’t understand what I had done wrong. I did what most do when faced with tragedy. I grieved. I suffered a deluge of ridiculous responses like “things happen for a reason” and “it’s God’s will” and “you can try again” all the while stifling my impulse to scream at the top of my lungs with a battle cry. I wept when I held other people’s babies and avoided any interactions with mothers-to-be. I dug deep. I carried on. It was not easy.
The following June, my husband and I traveled to Moscow, Russia to adopt our beautiful miracle of a daughter, who is truly the light of our lives. In the months and years to come, I dove back into my work, focused on being the best, most attentive helicopter Mom I could be, and directed my energy to the support and healing of others so I could eventually heal myself. Becoming a family through adoption was the best choice I ever made and I don’t regret one minute of that decision. My daughter is now 17 and maturing into one rock solid human. I am proud of her every day. But the fact remains that one child does not replace another.
I have known many beautiful warrior women over the years who lost a child before it was born and suffered in silence. I want to raise awareness that the emptiness never leaves your heart. Women don’t only lose a baby when they deliver prematurely or “miscarry” – – they often lose their self-esteem and struggle to return to intimacy with their partner/spouse. Women who suffer miscarriage or loss during birth feel isolated, alone, and afraid to talk about their experience because it carries with it so much shame.
I choose to share my story, all these years later, because women are rising up, now more than ever before, and speaking their truth. We the female need to bond together to heal the planet one woman at a time. Let’s change the conversation and more importantly the stigma that surrounds “miscarriage” and honor all the mothers who have lost their children before they had the opportunity to watch them grow.
I am deeply blessed in that I was able to take our losses and turn them into love by becoming a mother to my daughter and later creating a sacred space for women to gather and lift one another up in healing. Rise up sisters and love on another. For it is your light that will turn the tide and create a more peaceful world in honor of Mother Earth.
Jennifer Gulbrand is a self-proclaimed Warrior Goddess and creator of SheBreathes Balance & Wellness Studio in Walpole, Mass., where all women are invited to breathe in balance, be inspired, and feel supported.
Do you often wonder what others are reading and why? I do. I am always interested in finding out what other people read and how it connects with their life. When a new title comes across my path, I am curious “what is that book about?” Often, it opens my eyes to a topic I haven’t thought about exploring before.
I love books! So, it was fascinating to read all the Game Changers’ interviews and learn about the last memorable books they recommend and why. I created this list to share with our tribe and I hope you find a title that inspires you or discover one that will raise you up. Enjoy!
The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman – I loved the ancient magic and story of sisterhood ~Sonya Highfield
The Success Principles by Jack Canfield. It changed my life, helped me to find my purpose and changed the direction my life is heading! ~Elizabeth Phillips
How to Not Hate Your Husband After Kids. My marriage is so important and I wanted to learn strategies to be my best self for my spouse. ~Becky Bast
After the Locusts. Very encouraging book. ~Angela Callahan
The Great Alone. This book was epic to many facets to this story. The descriptions of the Alaskan Wilderness are so vivid, you almost feel like you are there. Beauty, love, redemption, PTSD, patience, loyalty and the everlasting bonds of family and friends. ~Laurie Mills
The Untethered Soul. It was written in such a way as to remind me again how vast and unlimited I AM. ~Signe Nelson Ayochok
Getting Unstuck by Pema Chodron: It wasn’t about what I thought it would be about! It helped me to “learn to stay”, as she calls it. To be more present both in and out of meditation, and to let go of judgment. ~Devon Grilly
The last memorable book I read was Food: What the Heck Should I Eat? by Dr. Mark Hyman. While this may not be the inspiring book you were expecting me to call out, the entire time I was reading I kept thinking “Finally!” Dr. Hyman does an incredible job of debunking many of the lies and myths about food circulating the internet and health magazines. This book is the perfect balance of research backed facts and easy to read surprising information. I’ve had clients share some pretty crazy nutrition concepts they’ve both read and followed over the years. This book is everything I’ve ever wanted to convey to set the record straight about what you should eat or avoid for optimal health. ~Maggie Dion
Breakfast with Buddha, profoundness in simplicity. ~Beth McLacklan
There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer. I like Wayne Dyer’s writing style and the easy way he explains potentially complicated subjects. This book is a great reminder that we are spiritual beings having a physical experience. When we shift our perspective to a spiritual one, we are able to apply the wisdom that is coming from our higher self which speaks to us through gut feelings, hunches, and intuitive insights. ~Susan Kapatoes
The Universe Has Your Back, Gabrielle Bernstein – she speaks to me, this book is about creating your own life, we are always guided, our vibration attracts what we bring, surrender and be an instrument of love. Very inspiring! ~Heidi Wilde
The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer – I loved it because it focuses on how to live life in the present without clinging to “stories” of the past or fears of the future that prevent us from enjoying our lives and fully experiencing the world authentically through our 5 senses. ~Jenny Eden Berk
A Mind of Your Own by Kelly Brogan, MD. She has an amazing holistic insight into how medicine and prescription drugs have changed all our health, but especially women’s health. I refer to her book daily in my practice as a way to help others take control of their emotional and physical health by making small lifestyles changes on a regular basis. ~Tina Rose
Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain. His candor and love for his profession and the people that came into his life were impactful. It was a bittersweet recent read as I got a glimpse into the life of a man who I hope has found peace. ~Vivien Roman-Hampton
A memoir on Coco Chanel, love her sense of style and she was her own authentic self. ~Karen Carter
Undoctored – Because I’m trying to reverse my health issues. ~Lauren Bortolami Robbins
The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown! The title says it all. We need to let go and be present in acceptance of ourselves; as we are! It’s a book you can re-read over and over- and you will find something new that resonates with every reading. ~Mariana Sanford Maynard
The Woman In the Window. Strength. ~Nancy Safran
Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult. It is a scary world we live in now. I wish this book can be taught in middle school so children can realize that bullying can cause lasting damage and can change a person’s life. ~Kelly Hathaway
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert was wonderful. I love that it discusses creating to create, not necessarily to make money or because you have a particular expectation. We’re all creative in our own way! Unleash that magic. ~Rachel Kaczynski
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – the main characters grew up in very trying times and in poverty, however, did not look at life that way and found joy and success despite these circumstances. ~Mary Dealy
The Separation by Tova Mirvis. It’s a memoir about how the author not only left her husband but her life of Orthodox Judaism. ~Beth Knaus
All Nicholas Sparks books are my favorites – love the escape, the drama, the passion, and that you never know what the ending will bring. ~Julia Peneda
Evolve Your Brain, Joe Dispenza. This is not an easy read as it is very scientific but due to a severe accident I experienced in October of 2017 and my continuing recovery, I was studying the brain to body connection and how I could assist my recovery in ways outside the norm. It’s all about creating new neuronal connections and with my background as a physician, I even found it hard to read. BUT, the information is invaluable. On a lighter note, I am reading John Holland’s Bridging Two Realms which is about assisting the layperson on how to see the connections with their loved ones in spirit. As I teach workshops on the subject, I love learning anything possible so I can help others. ~Dr. Cathy Ripley Greene
Entangled in Darkness, Seeking the Light. It’s about transformation/healing. ~D’Anne Olsen
The Energy Bus – a major dose of positivity! Very inspiring, especially in a negative world. ~Therese Nicklas
Ahab’s Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund. The prose in this book is so descriptive. The author describes every experience in such detail that we can truly experience what she is telling us. This book is a wonderful reminder to take note of even the tiniest details in our everyday life. ~Susan Finn
Love, Anthony. I have an autistic son, and this book displayed a deeper meaning of autism in a beautiful way. ~Kristen Cillo
The Dalai Lama’s Cat by David Michie. Well, I love cats. And I love spirituality and am especially intrigued by Buddhism. Put them together and it’s peanut butter jelly time! ~Elvia Roe
The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Ruben. A huge light bulb went on for me once I better understood myself as an Obliger, one who would always commit to meeting the expectations of others, often sacrificing the commitment or expectations for myself. This allowed me to pause and ask my true intentions and goals. ~Carrie Vinson
Capital Gaines: Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Stuff. I was surprised that I absolutely loved it! It took my surprise how much I learned reading it. ~Maria Salomão-Schmidt
Attached. A true game changer when it comes to the ways in which we grow up and form attachment styles. There are 3. Highly recommend this book. ~Brooke Snyder
Telma Sullivan is a Career Development Coach and Librarian of SheBreathes Balance & Wellness Studio.