The Hidden Scars - Dealing with Miscarriage and Secondary Infertility

Monday, May 22, 2017

I am told I am lucky.
I got my boy and my girl right off the bat.
"You're so lucky!," say strangers on the street. "Now you're done!"

Ummmm, why? I always wanted to finally turn around and ask, "What makes you say that?"

Because I didn't feel lucky.

When we had an early miscarriage after our second child was born, it was much more heart wrenching than it had to be due to social pressure to fall within certain reproductive expectations.

The following are real quotes real people have really said to me.
Like to my face.
And meant them.

Once you have a boy and a girl it's "so nice you're done!" It's a statement, not a question.

Any pregnancy less than two years after the last child was born must have been an accident. Because "why would you even want that?"

DEFINITELY never tell anyone about a pregnancy before 12 weeks. Because "what if something happens?!"

Well something did happen, and, ya know, it was not helped by keeping my child some deep secret.

Following our miscarriage it took a lot longer to get pregnant with our next baby than expected.
It's impossible to convey, without living through it, just what it's like to hope so hard every month.... and then see that tell-tale temperature drop on the chart and know that it wouldn't be this month.

Or the next.

Or the next.

But from the outside looking in everything looked perfect!
We're very healthy and active people. We have two cool kids who fill our days with antics and adventures.
But people are not Legos. You can't just swap out one kid for another, and my heart longed for the baby we lost and the ones I was no longer sure would ever be coming.

Sometimes it seemed like no one else even remembered that baby happened.

I entered a weird twilight zone where I would hope against hope that friends would make their pregnancy announcements on Facebook instead of insisting on telling me face to face. IKEA and Target on the weekends was like walking into a maternity catalog. It felt like every other woman in a 50 miles radius could get pregnant but me.

I faced the possibility that we might end up as a two child family.
With our boy and our girl. Socially approved.

I recoiled from the social approval. It felt backhanded. "Good job meeting the Orwellian ideal!" No room for difference. No room for growth. No room for humanity or empathy in there.

I am currently pregnant with our "rainbow baby" who is due to arrive at the end of September. This was a pregnancy announced right away. This child will not be hidden, her birth order will not be excused, and I sincerely hope she's not the last.

I hope for a society that is less focused on a reproductive ideal, and solely focused on the gift of humanity present in each child. I hope for there to be love and understanding for mothers like me who are suddenly staring at a battle with infertility. I hope for a first child and an eleventh child to be equally welcomed. I hope for the silent struggles and wounds of our hearts to speak.

Emotional and spiritual healing from my miscarriage is an ongoing process, so I was thrilled to see Peanut Butter & Grace was publishing a book focused on miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss - Blessed Is The Fruit of Thy Womb by Heidi Indahl

What saint better understands what it is like to lose a child than Mary? The book prays through the rosary using meditations from Scripture, reflections, and prayer intentions. What I find most valuable are the questions and journal space within the book to write down the emotions and thoughts that arise from our prayer. 

The book does a great job of grounding the reader in the guidance of Mary and Scripture while consciously allowing the reader to process her own grief and experience. That processing is always followed up with a prayer intention for the larger world. 

Our grief is not unique. So many mother's hearts all over the world and throughout history bear the scars of child loss. Own your story, write it down, talk about it, don't forget your children, but also remember that others are with you bearing the same grief. Bearing the same wounds. Reaching out to each other, beginning through prayer, can be the first fruit that reconnects us back to each other.

Blessed Is The Fruit of Thy Womb is available on Amazon. You can follow more from the author, Heidi Indahl, on her blog Work and Play, Day by Day and on Facebook and Instagram. I received access to a free digital preview copy of the book for review, but all opinions and commentary is my own.

A Tactile Prayer Life - Making Your Family Altar

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

I am a very tactile person when it comes to prayer. I like to have physical Bibles, prayer books, and rosary beads. This works out well when trying to teach little kids about prayer since they are very tactile too!

My greatest struggle with prayer is just starting! I have found having a family altar, or oratory, very helpful as a reminder that we should have prayer in our homes. Here's the typical things we have on our family altar.

Note: Apologies this will not have many pictures. Many of my liturgical items, kid faith art, and statues got crushed/beheaded in the move. A new opportunity for improvement awaits!


Nothing makes you think of Jesus more than seeing the guy himself in the moment of his crucifixion. Even young kids really get what the cross is all about when they see at least one crucifix on a regular basis.

Family rosary is never gonna happen if it's always proceeded by a scramble to find rosaries scattered all over the house. It also helps the kids to understand that rosaries are not toys when they are kept in a special place in the house.

Holy Family Statue

I really love statues of the Holy Family since they often show Jesus as a small child, and it seems to blow kid's minds that once upon a time Jesus was a little kid like them. It presents Joseph and Mary in their context as Jesus' mom and foster father which has helped my kids understand what the big deal is about them.


Fire is one of those magical elements that signal to kids "this is a big deal".
Having a candle stash by your altar is nice when you want to light a candle as a reminder to pray during a particular period of time during a day. Maybe someone is having surgery, is in labor, or doing a job interview. One more way to stay prayerful even when we have to attend to daily concerns.

I have three stashes of candles around my house: candles for prayer, candles for emergencies, and candles for ambiance/make the house smell pretty. I strongly suggest getting unscented candles for your family altar since it's sad to have to blow out a prayer candle that is making you nauseous.

Liturgical Year Items

These rotate depending on the time of year. I stash my blessed palms in a vase on the altar during the Easter season. We fill a red construction paper heart with the names of our loved ones who have died and place it on the altar for the month of November. There's a huge range of what you could do, but changing the look of the altar with the seasons has really helped my kids see where the differences are in the liturgical seasons.

Holy Water/Other Blessed Items

It's amazing how many blessed items a family can accumulate! In order to keep them together (and not forget they are blessed and should be treated differently) I like to keep them near our altar. Not necessarily on the altar since they are not all needed on a regular basis. A great example for this is the blessed chalk we use for the Epiphany house blessing. We only do the blessing once a year, but the rest of the year I need to manage not to use the chalk that is blessed as regular sidewalk chalk for the kids (because we did have father bless Crayola sidewalk chalk. It was on sale.)

Kid Faith Creations

The kids both participate in our Little Lambs faith formation program which sends us lots of super cute liturgical year crafts. Some of them are things I think are clever and useful for family prayer, and the kids get a lot of pride in seeing something they made go someplace as special as the family altar.

For more ideas about family altars, I highly recommend the book The Little Oratory: A Beginner's Guide to Praying in the Home by David Clayton and Leila Marie Lawler. It is very detailed so don't be afraid to take what you need and come back for more later.

This post is part of the Catholic Women Blogger's Network (CWBN) monthly Blog Hop! Make sure to click over to the hop to check out more posts on this month's theme: Different ways to pray - holiness in our daily lives.

Do you have a family altar? How to you like to physically live the liturgical year in your home?

Gender Reveal! + Happenings

Friday, May 12, 2017

Linking up with This Ain't the Lyceum for 7 Quick Takes!

Happy Friday everyone! This was an exciting week in the Hoberg household.


Our Moving Truck Finally Arrived!

We can finally stop camping in our house! The first thing we legit cooked in our kitchen was spaghetti and it tasted so good after so much frozen food!


....But There Are Some Problems

The first thing we started unpacking was the coffeemaker (#priorities) only to find it smashed to pieces. Some other pieces were deeply dinged and a crate was temporarily lost. Somehow all of the boxes got piled into our sunroom and not in the room there were directed to be in. The box excavation is coming along and I got to get a new (super nice) coffee maker at Target.

So long trusty old friend. I feel like we've gone through a lot together.
.....your replacement is pretty awesome though....

We're Planting Our First Garden!

Having been apartment dwellers our entire marriage, we are so excited to have dirt! Tomatoes went in first, and the garden space already had chives, oregano, and strawberries thriving - even in it's neglected state.

I think peppers are next. John wants to make sure we include sunflowers, pumpkins, and radishes. I have no idea how the interest in radishes suddenly appeared, but rolling with it.


Dealing with the Wildlife

So far we've found that our yard is also home to: rabbits, gophers, chipmunks, various birds, and ants. 
Huge, swarming, ants. 
We're investing in some ant traps for the house, and hoping the current fencing around the garden is enough to give our new plants a chance.


Gender Reveal!

We found out the gender of new baby this week!
John and Therese got to be in the sonogram room for the big reveal and see their new sibling on the monitor.

Big brother and big sister are happy to tell you that.....



We're all incredibly excited!
Thanks to everyone who sent girl baby name ideas! We've got a good list going. Now we just have to winnow it down to one!

First Minnesota Sunday!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

It's our first Sunday in Minnesota! I already feel like we hit the parish jackpot with this one. 
Beautiful music, great preaching, and learning, spiritual growth, and community opportunities galore!

We got lucky that today also happened to be the Sunday of the Knights of Columbus Pancake Breakfast benefit. After mass we got to go down and have yummy food while meeting new people.

Y'all, people are super friendly here! For each person we met they had 3+ people they wanted to introduce us to. We got invited to dinners, set up with homeschool group info, and Matt already has his Knights of Columbus paperwork in progress.

After spending many years as the only family with young kids at the early morning mass, we were thrilled to see so many families with littles all over the full church. Then we were told this was actually a very lightly attended mass as today is Confirmation day for the diocese and most families will be at the Basilica today. It just gets better!

We're still waiting on the moving truck to get here, but they say it should be this Tuesday. I cannot wait to have a functioning kitchen again! I wrote up my tips for moving with young kids over here.

Here's what we wore for My Sunday Best with Rosie at A Blog For My Mom!

Kid take away from Therese on our way out the door: "That's a very nice church."

Dress: Kohls
Belt: JC Penny
Shoes: Nordstrom
Infinity Veil: Veils By Lily
Bump: 20 weeks!
Yesterday was the 20 week mark for baby - halfway there! Tomorrow is our anatomy scan when we will (hopefully) find out if it's a boy or girl in there. The kids are currently campaigning for boy after almost a month of saying girl. I'm still trying to convince them that this is not a democratic process.

We have a likely boy name but zip zero ideas for girl names. If this baby is a girl I will need all the suggestions! We like saints names preferably and I'm good with uncommon ones.

Moving Halfway Across the Country with Young Kids

Friday, May 5, 2017

Linking up with This Ain't the Lyceum for 7 Quick Takes!

This past week we moved from Berkeley, CA to St. Louis Park, MN. It's been a saga. I would not claim moving with kids is easy, but there are some things we did with this move that made the process easier.


Find a way to make baths happen everyday

During the moving process there is so much upheaval. The packing and moving makes living spaces very dusty, and being outside so much meant by the end of the day there was a decent amount of dirt, dust, sand, sunscreen, and who-knows-what on these kids. 
My kids are very used to bath time starting the train to sleepy time. If I can just get them in a tub at the end of the day, nighttime goes so much better for everyone!


Bring the white noise machine

We're used to sleeping with white noise machines in each bedroom, and I was very grateful for that during the move. Having that consist sound for sleep was great for thin walled hotel rooms and even for getting used to the sounds of our new home.



Much of the time it only made sense for one of us to be at the apartment/house and the other to be the kid wrangler. The best mode of kid wrangler is out of the house, and if you need to be out of the house might as well do fun stuff!
I became kid wrangler so the kids and I had adventures! Everywhere! We hiked the trail next to the hotel, made a whole ceremony out of getting free snacks from the hotel lounge, tried out our new library, 


Plan one fun meal each day

We were traveling, in different hotels, and then essentially camping in our new house for over a week (and counting).  We had bagels with cream cheese and bananas for breakfast, and sandwiches for lunch, most days. We requested a fridge and microwave in hotels which greatly broadened our meal options for non-restaurant meals.We liked to pick either lunch or dinner to be the fun dinner out. It was a great way to stay on budget. Honestly, my littles could only handle one restaurant meal each day from a good behavior stand point alone.


Don't Over Pack

I know this is so hard when traveling with little people, especially when you cannot be exactly sure when that moving van will show up at your new place, but traveling with only as much as you need saves so much headache. Especially because we were flying, I wanted to keep our number of bags, and the weight of those bags, on the lower side.

My strategy has been little kids all share one brown duffel bag which they pack under mom supervision. We generally bring enough clothes for five days at a time. We always always always pack swimsuits, fleece jackets, church clothes just to be prepared.
Each kid gets a kitchen size trash bag labeled with their name put into the duffel. Socks, underwear, swim suits all go in a gallon sized ziplock with their name as well.
All kid toiletries go in Mom or Dad's bag since that helps streamline the set up process when we arrive out destination. 


Preparing the Kids for Moving

We prepared the kids for moving for months. They saw pictures of the new house, we researched local parks, parishes, and activity options so we could talk in more detail about what would be around in their new neighborhood. We read probably every picture book about moving our local library had in their catalog. Our favorites were The Berenstain Bears Moving Day and Moving by Fred Rodgers (aka. Mister Rodgers!).

We were also very honest about the process of moving. We each encouraged the kids to ask questions and made sure not to sugarcoat things. We probably will not be back in our old town for a long time so these goodbyes will very likely be the last in person visit for most of their little friends. Talking about how they met the friends they have now is useful for helping kids picture how they might make new friends in their new neighborhood. Because they have had success at this friend thing before!


Prepare Yourself

Little kids will generally mirror the attitude and perspective of the adults. If YOU are not happy about moving, are scared or unsure if this is a good idea, the kids will probably follow your lead. The best prep for getting through the moving process is to get yourself prepared! Figure out what you need to feel secure in the decision to move and what you will need set up in your new home first off.

For me, picking a parish is huge. I use my parish as home base for finding community and if I can find a solid parish I have a lot more confidence that connections will happen.

Have you ever moved with little kids? What are your moving tips?

Ballet While Pregnant - Yes You Can

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

One of the big contradictions in pregnancy advice surrounds exercising while pregnant. Generally everyone accepts that exercise of some sort during pregnancy is to be encouraged. Where the disagreement happens is when we try to decide what we mean by "exercise". EVERYTHING is, apparently, potentially dangerous.

Yoga - might stretch something wrong

Running - might fall

Pilates - might use your core muscles

Biking - might bounce too much

The list could go on and on. Some of these fears are valid and some are due to outdated understandings of pregnancy. But what, especially first time, pregnant moms hear is "this is something that could potentially hurt my baby" so they don't do it.

Y'all most pregnancies are not that fragile.

Birth is a marathon of an event. I can guarantee you it will be much much harder than necessary if you have not allowed yourself to maintain strength and flexiability.

18 weeks pregnant.
Some have been surprised that I have still been taking my regular Ballet classes - even well into my second trimester. Most are a little shocked when they hear that I fully intend to keep dancing through my third trimester too. When I push a little about why they find this surprising they mention that they assumed it would be too hard to do Ballet while pregnant, especially showing. Some insist it is dangerous.

I suppose it is dangerous, but so is crossing the very busy streets around here. I have yet to hear anyone suggest I avoid doing that.

Last night I had my last in-studio class. Not because of the pregnancy but because we're moving. I fully intend to keep training on my own. I can give myself a barre and center fairly well at home.
I don't do pointe work on my own (nor to I encourage anyone to do so, pregnant or not), but I can certainly keep up the training exercises that will allow me to get back to pointe work when I pick a studio.

I believe pregnancy is actually an excellent time to be dancing Ballet. Pregnancy forces me to pay much more attention to how I'm holding my center and turn out. I cannot cheat strength when my center changes so much from week to week. Being forced to be honest about my current abilities can only lead to better work.

Yes, exercise can be dangerous during pregnancy, but I believe most women have the common sense and wherewithal to listen to their bodies and be honest about their limits.

If you did not have a regular exercise routine pre-pregnancy, don't be afraid to start movement now! You will need to start slow and steady, preferably with a teacher, but there are certainly more choices available to you than just walking the entirely of your pregnancy.

How did you keep moving during pregnancy? What is holding you back from starting movement?

Last weeks in California!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Linking up with This Ain't the Lyceum for 7 Quick Takes!

This is our last full week in our apartment! Next week the movers come and we move out to a hotel until we fly out to our new digs in Minnesota!
I feel like both my time for blogging, and need to write, have gone way down in all the moving hustle so here's some thoughts on the past weeks and moving.


We had our last Dominican Easter! 

I sang A LOT. I logged about 15 hours of singing last week. Consider it my goodbye gift to the parish. Making it to Easter brunch felt like crossing the finish line.

I am crazy proud of all of our RCIA attendees who received their sacraments this year!

It was a rainy Easter here but there was enough of a break in the rain to do a (very quick) confetti egg hunt and fight in the park.

Part of the joy of Easter is smashing the egg shells from the confetti eggs.

Overall, I am not sad to be leaving California.
Things feel like they came/are coming to a natural conclusion point here. I am very happy with what we have been able to do in our time here in Berkeley. I will miss some people and places, but it does feel nicely closed. I know there will not be enough time to say goodbye to everyone, for one reason or another, but we are giving it our best shot!


The movers come next week!
Because this is a company move we have to have the moving company pack us, but we can prepare by getting rid of anything we can not/do not want to take with us.

My Lenten 40 Bags in 40 Days project was a success. Not all of my "bags" were physical bags. Taking the time to transfer medical records, set up plans for the coming year, clean out my email files, etc. counted as some of the bags. We still have some remaining food items, art supplies, cleaners, etc. to get rid of in the next week, but I think we're in very good shape for the movers!


My husband just completed his last business trip out to the Twin Cities without us!
(Yea for less solo parenting in my future!)

Speaking of solo parenting, congratulations to reader Lissa who won the pocket rosary from Rosaries by Allison! I hope you enjoy it!


The bump is finally showing!

I'm 18 weeks along this week, and per what seems to be my usual it just seemed to pop almost overnight. Since this is my 3rd pregnancy to come this far along, we can be pretty sure this is just how I roll.


Doing Ballet while showing is not nearly as challenging as I thought it would be. I can still jump and move as well as ever. The challenge is re-negotiating what centered and balanced feels like each week. Turning is a little more difficult, but I think that has more to do with re-learning how to get on my leg each class (aka. centered! It's the never ending dancer struggle.)
Hopefully I have one more class before we move, then I will probably switch to training at home for a while until after this little one is born.

I have been surprised by how many people expect pregnant women to "stay active" yet there does not seem to be much actual moving that they approve of pregnant women performing. Listen to your body obviously, but pregnancy is just not as fragile of a state as it gets made out to be. In fact this is prime time to get moving. How can we expect women to do the marathon that is birth without any physical training?
Someday I'll write a whole post on Ballet and continuing movement while pregnant. 


During all of Matt's business trips to our new home state, he has made it his job to investigate all of the arts, food, and natural sites as he can. He's making it very hard not to look forward to living there!

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