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  • Kristen Pagulayan

Invisible Losses

No one told us when we waited until we had established ourselves and our careers before beginning a family we would have such a difficult time. I hear about the heart break so many of us our suffering through my practice, as well as friends and family and it seems to be an increasingly all too common story. It makes me wonder if this is true, why weren’t any of us prepared for it? It took us by surprise when I had my first miscarriage after months of trying. I believed that once I decided it was convenient for me to have children, that the process would just happen naturally. Unfortunately, for so many of us having children has become the one hurdle that no amount of research, tracking, intervention can seem to alleviate or help us reach the goal.


This has left me wondering. How has all of this tracking, researching and medical intervention caused us to lose sight and become disconnected or connected from our bodies? Trusting them to know exactly what is needed? What is nourishing and good? As a clinician I’ve done so much study and work on the mind body connection. Learning how to trust and care for my body and yet it has failed me in so many ways.


When we’ve experienced such deep sorrow and letdown how do we learn to move forward from it? I have found myself saying I can’t trust this body, it deceives me on so many days for so many reasons. And for many years I gave into that self-loathing, pity party that took me nowhere good. I have learned, as I spend so much time studying and teaching how to let go of control, to just pause and listen. My body is like a wave and some days it swells with big beautiful powerful waves and other days it falls into a recession. Learning how to listen to it and respond accordingly has made all the difference.


This struggle with infertility & pregnancy loss has not only had me thinking about the toll it is taking on our relationships with our bodies. But also, on our relationship with our emotions. How often do we compare ourselves to others and diminish our own emotional experience?

Where is the space to grieve? When is it ok to just not be ok for awhile? because it hurts right now and that’s all the permission I need.


We all grieve differently. The only rule about how to grieve, is to just allow yourself TO grieve. Do it the way you need to do it, not the way society tells you should. Check out "It’s OK That Your Not OK" by Megan Devine As we numb out and try to push our emotions to the back or ignore what our minds and bodies are asking for, we are causing so much damage. We are also missing out on so many joys. There have been multiple studies showing the connection between unprocessed trauma and/or negative emotion that is stored in our bodies and its negative effects on our health. Positive Psychology believes that unless we allow ourselves to feel our negative emotions we cannot feel our highest highs of our positive ones. So while it may feel terrible in the moment, the long term payout is worth it.


We may not get what we planned for, expected or wanted in this life but we can trust that the plan laid out, is the perfect one for us. If we can just take those moments to pause and listen to ourselves and the signs that our all around us. You will find the path you are meant to walk on. And when we are walking on our rightful path, everything else just seems to fall into place. We find a peace and ease there, even if it wasn’t that path we wanted or would have chosen.


This belief that there is great purpose in all that life offers us, is what sustains me. Watching as I help others uncover that purpose and meaning in their lives is what invigorates my work. Let me help you in your walk, find and listen to the whole self—mind, body, and soul.

#Infertility #PregnancyLoss #Miscarriage #Grief



Grieving losses other than death

I see you newly bereaved mother


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Kristen Pagulayan, MSW, LCSW, LISW-CP

Licensed to provide counseling in Hawaii, South Carolina, Georgia, and Connecticut

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