27 Transcript: Coping with Grief After a Miscarriage (with Scarlet Paolicchi)
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J: You are listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, episode number 27.
S: It's very touching just by itself just to know that someone is thinking about you and cares about you and understands you’re going through something.
Intro: Welcome to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, stories of vibrant women living happy lives. And now, your host, Jen Riday.
J: Hey there, welcome to Vibrant Happy Women, I'm Jen Riday. On our last episode, I spoke with Cindy Beall about healing after infidelity. She is a courageous woman and an inspiring example of how to forgive and move forward in love. Today, I'll be chatting with Scarlet Paolicchi about coping with grief after a miscarriage. Scarlet has a sad story, but she was able to move forward and continue to care for her other children and have a happy life today. Scarlet also offered us some great advice on listening to intuition during those quiet moments.
Welcome to Vibrant Happy Women, I'm so glad you're here. I'll be talking with Scarlet Paolicchi today. She's a Nashville mom blogger and she went to Tulane University and married her college sweetheart they have 2 children together and their family includes a German Shepherd, a cat, a chinchilla, and a frog. Scarlet loves family time, good food, and travel. So, Scarlet, welcome, tell us about your blog a little bit first.
S: Okay. I started my blog about 6 years ago and it's a little bit of everything related to family; so focus on everything from parenting to recipes, travel, eco tips, a little bit of everything.
J: Mm-hmm. And what's the name of your blog for those who don't know?
S: It's called Family Focus Blog.
J: Family Focus Blog, and is that at familyfocusblog.com?
J: Ooh, perfect. Well, we'd love to start out our show with our guest’s favorite quote, so what would you like to share with us today?
S: Okay. My favorite quote is, “Whatever you do or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.”
J: Ooh, that's nice.
S: Yeah, I love it because it reminds you to just get started because it is easy like sometimes when you want to do something, if it's big project, it's easy to go, “Oh, that's so big,” and to put it off and agonize over the details of it. But if you just get going, I think it's the best way to conquer it. You know, once you get going… I find that once I get going, I have more energy and more dry than more everything to keep going and to make it perfect than before you start it's kind of safe to not start. (Laughs)
J: Right. I just saw a little comic strip, a woman was saying, “Oh, I have so much to do! So instead, I'm going to go get on Facebook because I don't know where to start,” (Laughs). So that's exactly… just start.
S: Exactly, so once you start, it’s easier (unclear) [03:04].
J: Mm-hmm, perfect. Well, Scarlet, we on Vibrant Happy Women love to hear about a low point in our guest’s lives because we all face struggles and it's so important that we hear how others face their trials and… and are still able to be vibrant and happy. So would you be able to tell us about a low point in your life?
S: Okay, so my low point was through my third pregnancy; about 24 weeks, it ended in fetal demise, so that was obviously hard for me. But basically I was able to kind of get through it just by taking it, you know, one day at a time and… and really giving myself the time I needed to feel my grief.
S: And at the same time, just trying to keep that, you know, to a limited time so it didn't overcome me and overcome my family time too, you know, because I had kids that I wanted to be there for.
J: Mm-hmm, you had 2 other kids at the time?
S: Exactly, yeah. So that was, for me, the biggest struggle was just kind of trying to have my grief time, but also making sure that I put it away…
S: … and have their special time, you know?
J: Mm-hmm. So when did this happen?
S: This was in 2011.
S: And as you can tell, it still some… you know, shakes me up a little bit. It always kind of surprises me that it still shakes me up, it even surprised me at the time how much it is because I'm the type of person who thinks a lot with my brain and I can, you know, think it should be this way or should be that way and I think, “Oh, I shouldn't, you know, let this over tell me with so much emotion.” But I find that emotion is not something that you can just reason away, you can… you can think, “Oh, this… I'll set this aside, this shouldn't bug me or I won't let it,” but you have to deal with this because emotion is not logical. (Laughs)
J: Right, and… and you face it head-on and slowly over time, it gets less and less. Well, so you went in for an ultrasound and then you found out there was no heartbeat, how did that all shake out when that happened?
S: Yep, pretty much just like that. I actually had bleeding first, and that's why I went in; I went in because I was bleeding and I thought it was too early and, you know, I thought they would be able to stop it, I thought they would be able to stop it; they did, but they weren't… and there was no heartbeat when I checked. And so… so, yeah, for me, I guess the best way for me to deal with it at the time was really like writing. I found that that's always helpful for me personally just to write. Like, I wrote in the hospital on whatever I could write on about my feelings.
S: You know, and I think that that helps get them out.
J: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.
S: And it continues to come in so many different ways. Like, I did… I wrote like just poems with my feelings and I wrote a letter to the baby, you know?
J: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.
S: I wrote on my blog when I felt like I was able to share stuff and I've got to a point where I was wanting to share, because there was point where you just want to not share.
S: And there's point, it helps you to connect with other people. I know a lot of people wrote me and told me about things happen to them and I had no idea that they had miscarried, you know, it helped me feel like, “Okay, I'm not alone.” Because there's always an element, I think, of when something bad happens to you where you think, “Why is this happening to me? What did I do?”
J: Yeah, right. So…
S: So it helps to connect and know like, “Okay, I’m not alone, this isn’t just me.” (Laughs)
J: Okay, okay. So if… if any of our listeners are facing something similar, maybe writing and then connecting with others, what else helped you?
S: What else helped me too, I think was giving myself permission to, you know, have my grief and to be sad and to wallow in it a little bit. (Laughs)
J: Uh-huh, uh-huh.
S: You know, when my husband was off to work and my kids were at school, I took that time to myself. But then I also made sure that I pulled myself together before they came home and… and tried to, you know, know that it had sucked, but… but that's not all; that I still had a, you know, loving wonderful kids and wonderful husband. And so just trying to, you know, move out of it to not let yourself wallow in too much, you know, not let it become all that you feel because you have to… we have to remember there's still so much wonderful greatness in life and you have to focus on that. And that is… that was what was waiting for me, you know, those are… those are my kids, they're there for me now, I have to appreciate them and show them how much I appreciate them.
J: Yeah, yeah, so focusing on the great things; yeah, like that. So moving forward, you allowed yourself to grieve and you focused on the positive, what does vibrant happy living look like for you today?
S: It's very much of that. It's, you know, being able to appreciate what I have and to look at my family and be thankful for them and be thankful for everything that I have. And I… I mean, I try to do that each moment in life and to remember that, you know, sometimes my son will be telling these stories that go on and on.
S: You know, it will be like about Pokémon or YouTube or…
S: … you know (unclear) [08:31]. But I’ll remind myself that, “You know what? This is… you know, he's talking to me, he's telling me he chooses to, you know, be excited enough to tell me and I should be, you know, be in the present and listen to it and not think about, you know, what I might… should be doing or could be doing otherwise.”
J: Right, right.
S: So really appreciating and being in that moment now and realizing like these are the little stories that he's telling me, you know, that's… he's only 9 and that's only going to last so long. Pretty soon, I'll probably be like, “Tell me a story.” (Laughs)
J: Wow, yeah!
S: (Laughs). So…
J: Aww, that's great, that's great. And what's something that's really exciting you about life right now?
S: Well, right now is back-to-school time, so my kids just started back. And… and that's always fun, you know, learning about how they like their new teachers and how their classes are going and just also getting back into the swing of things for me and getting back into my work routine and… and so it's a little bit of change time. And then also, fall’s right around the corner and I love the change of season so that's fun too.
J: Oh nice. And tell us more about your blog, what are your favorite parts of being a blogger?
S: My favorite parts are getting to write. And that was also one of the things that helped me… when I was saying earlier, that helped me kind of move forward and then help me be able to move past the grief that I was feeling is that, when I write, I can… I know that like to think clearly, I have to like push everything out of my mind and put everything aside, you know, all the things that you might be feeling or thinking or doing about or that you need to get to later, you push them all aside and you just write about whatever… whatever it is you're writing about; I like that. So I enjoy, you know, having that chance to be creative and write about whatever I see that I want to write about or… you know, and just making sure that my blog as a reflection of… of what I want to be, which is a resource of various different things for families.
J: Nice, nice. So what's your most popular blog post on your blog?
S: I don't know, you know, it changes obviously.
J: Uh-huh, uh-huh.
S: (Laughs). You know, I had… I think my most popular one last year was like a New Year's Eve like craft; like 10 different New Year's Eve crafts or something. (Laughs)
J: Uh-huh, uh-huh.
S: So what… what is going to be the most interesting thing at the time, always something different each month; there's, you know, one that performs better than the rest and it's always interesting to see what they are.
J: So your blog has crafts, and what else could people find there?
S: So crafts, recipes, parenting tips, all kinds of stuff. (Laughs)
J: Nice, nice. And it's kind of intriguing to hear how much you like to write. I imagine your posts are just beautifully written, so our listeners should check it out, for sure.
S: Thank you.
J: Scarlet, even though you've come so far and you overcame a big hardship that caused you a lot of grief, what is a current weakness or a difficulty that you might still be struggling with today?
S: I think most… everyone probably struggles with this, but it's a lack of time, you know?
S: I think everyone kind of feels that to one degree or another. And… and that can kind of definitely hinder you’re your happiness because, you know, it's hard to feel happy when you feel stressed or, you know, like you have a lot of things to do. So I think, for me, the… the main way that I deal with that or… is I like to… I like to make a list a lot of times and, but always even if not a list, at least prioritize in my mind like what really has to get done.
S: And also besides what really has to get done, just, “What's the most important?” you know? Because it depends on when it is, but sometimes you have to go, “Okay, well, you know, whatever that is, that has to be set aside because this is what's actually important.” Sometimes you lose that like the bigger picture of what's actually important to you because you are so attached to the list; so not being so attached to the list that it stresses you out.
J: Ah, yeah. So, Scarlet, speaking of lists, would you mind sharing your routine with us, if you have a morning routine?
S: To be all inclusive like with my family and everything that we do, then like I get up at like 6:00 usually and go wake up my daughter because she's the first one to leave in the morning besides my husband, but he takes care of himself. (Laughs)
S: When I wake up at 6:00, I wake her up and then my son usually gets up too. And then we do breakfast and we pack lunches, which I know a lot of people do the night before, but I like doing it in the morning while they're eating and we kind of talk a little bit about their day and…
S: … stuff. And then, you know, then the kids go off to school and I start on my work. Usually pretty much right away I like to get at least like a chunk of what I need to get done for the day out of the way before I take a break and then I usually go walk the dog…
S: … and get him some exercise and me some exercise and then get back to work and do the things that weren't quite as high on my priority list.
J: Oh yeah.
S: I like to do those high-priority things right away so that I don't feel stressed out by them.
J: Oh, that's smart, so you kind of knock out the ones that are stressing you out the most.
S: Yeah, I get those… try to get this done like before 10:00, you know, if there's something that just must, that way I don't feel like it's stressed afterwards, and then I can take my walk. And then after that, we finish up and go get the kids and checking their homework and talk about their day and all that good stuff. (Laughs)
J: Oh yeah. You're busy being a mom and a blogger so that's impressive you're able to do both so in such a balanced way.
S: Well, that's part of actually why I blog because then I can… it gives me the freedom to, you know, be able to pursue around their schedule. That way I have time to pick them up and drop them off and do everything that I want to do with them. Because, like I said, to me, it's all about priorities and, for me, they are my priority. I really wanted… I knew I wanted to be home with them when they were growing up, so this was something I found that… that I could do around their schedule and that I ended up absolutely loving and probably never would have found if I wasn't trying to find something to do around their schedule.
J: Ah, that's great, something that's following your passion and letting you put your priorities in order the way you want; great, thanks. Well, so let's talk about a few of your favorite things, Scarlet. What is a favorite personal habit that contributes to your success? You kind of shared one where you do the hard things first or the… the most important things first, but is there another that helps you?
S: Yeah, I'd say that's the main one is really just like really prioritizing and making sure that I get the… the most stressful items out of the way so that I can relax the rest of the day and I think that's what works best for me.
J: Great. And what's a favorite easy meal that you like to you regularly?
S: I love to count chicken marsala with rice and spinach. It’s easy and it tastes good and kids love it. (Laughs)
J: Would you be able to share the recipe with us?
S: Yeah, you mean like just tell you right now how I do it?
J: Well, send me the link and I'll post it on the show notes page.
J: And if it's not your recipe, well, just send me the link of wherever you found it; that will work. (Laughs)
S: We did blog about it at one point in time so I will find that link and send it to you. (Laughs)
J: Yeah, super! Yeah, we’ll link right to your blog; perfect. And what's your favorite kitchen gadget?
S: Well, I have a food processor and a Ninja and all those things, but I would say like really my favorite most often used kitchen gadget is probably just the garlic press. (Laughs)
S: It's such a basic tool, but I mean, I use it all the time for so many recipes, and it doesn't take up a lot of space; I love it.
J: Perfect, and garlic is like the greatest thing ever in anything you're cooking, I'm…. I would have to agree.
J: Okay, what's your favorite book that you'd recommend to the Vibrant Happy Women community?
S: My favorite book that I would recommend for this community is called ‘You Can Heal Your Life’ by Louise Hay.
J: Oh, nice.
S: And I read it when I was like 17 and it was really honestly life-changing to me at that point in time. I had never considered the idea that your life could be influenced by your thoughts, and to me now, it seems very obvious that maybe it would have become obvious to me even if I hadn't read the book, I don't know, but at the time I was like, “Whoa, that's amazing!” and, you know, I still find that it's true. And even though it makes sense to you, sometimes you need reminding of that to in different ways, so I think it's a very good message.
J: ‘You Can Heal Your Life’ Louise Hay, I love that one too. So have you been trying to teach that to your kids as well? Do you catch yourself teaching them that their thoughts matter?
S: A little bit, you know, I haven't had too much deep conversation on that yet, but…
J: Yet, when they're older.
S: I think it's kind of, you know, more for when they get older, but I mean, they've had some introduction to that idea.
J: And what is the best advice you've ever received?
S: “Do onto others is you would have them do onto you,” absolutely I think is the best piece of advice you could give and receive and it's a great one to live by and it affects so many areas of your life. You know, just from little kids, you know, you should share that you would want them to share that with you too all the way to, you know, when you grow up and how you want to treat people and how you want to be treated.
S: So that's very good one all the way through life.
J: And going back to the time when you lost your baby, what were the things that people were doing for you that you could share so that we can do unto others as we would have them do unto us? You know what I mean.
S: Yeah, and I think that there were a lot of people who reached out and who were… like I said, that really helped me connect, but they were also great at understanding too, like sometimes you don’t want to connect, you know, sometimes you're in the mood to connect and talk and sometimes you're not. And I think that everyone did a great job of respecting in my space when I needed it and… and in being there for me when I needed it too. So I think, you know… and they can be there in all kinds of ways just in advice or just in listening or just in baking a casserole and bringing it over. Sometimes I thought that… I mean, I couldn't believe how sweet some people were, because as I know as a mom, it takes a lot of time to do that type of stuff, you know, baking a casserole which is, you know, just is very touching just by itself just to know that phone is thinking about you and cares about you and…
S: … understands you’re going through something.
J: Thinking about you; that's huge. So I want to remind our listeners they can find links to everything you've been talking about by going to jenriday.com/27. And now, we will get to our big and fun question, the happiness formula. So, Scarlet if you had to create a 3 to 5 part formula of actions or beliefs that maximize your happiness, what would that include?
S: That would include listening to my heart, spending time with my family, and being grateful for what I have.
J: Okay, listening to your heart, spending time with family, and being grateful for what you have; perfect, thank you so much for sharing that. And then now, as we close, I'd love for you to issue a challenge to our listeners.
S: Okay, well, I challenge them to listen to their heart because I find that it leads you in the right direction in so many ways, whether it's, you know, when you're a new parent and you're wondering like, “Am I doing this right?” you know? And there's all this kinds of advice on, “You should do it this way and you should do it that way and you should do it that way,” and a lot of times, they're conflicting, you know? So you really have to just be able to listen to your heart, you know, “This is what's right for me and I'm going to do it,” and respect yourself, you know, not question it; in other… other areas of your life too, the same thing. I think that usually your heart and your gut, they lead you in the right direction if you let yourself listen to them.
J: So some people I've heard before say they don't know how to listen to their heart or their intuition, any advice there on how you do that?
S: Well, I think that it's just something that you hear when you're quiet all the other noises. Like, you know, if you're not sure about what to do about something, but… and you think, “Well, so-and-so told me this,” or, “If I do that, then this and if I do that…” it's just like, no, don't… don't think about like the pros and cons or the… the should and shouldn't, just think about the, “What really feels right? Like, if I do this, am I going to feel okay with this? Can I feel, you know, comfortable in my…” like, my grandmother always told me like, “Do your best,” and I feel like, as long as you're doing your best, you should feel comfortable.
S: So quiet the other noises and listen to and choose what you think is doing your best and what you feel comfortable with and then just feel comfortable with it.
J: Okay, that's a good advice. So feeling comfortable, paying attention to how you feel as you consider the options and, yeah, I like that; thank you.
S: Not because of like consequences or how is it going to… but just like whether, you know, something's right in your heart, you just… you just generally know like, “This is what…
J: It feels right.
S: Yeah, “This what feels right or feels good.” And a lot of times, if you ignore that, that's when you'll notice sometimes later, like if you're not maybe good at listening to yourself at the time, later you'll think, “Oh, I knew I should have done that because I…”
S: “… you know, I felt this way or that way.” So if you're not good at listening at the time, at least recognized in retrospect and maybe begin to connect with those feelings of, “What were you feeling that you knew that wasn't a good idea? Or what were you feeling where you knew it was a good idea?”
J: Oh yeah, that's great. And you mentioned finding that quiet time, when during the day is your best time for quiet?
S: Well, my kids both go to school now so I get a good chunk of…
J: So do you schedule it? Do you… do you go to a certain place in the house to have your quiet time or do you just kind of let it come throughout the day?
S: I don't, you know, necessarily schedule it or like take a time to like meditate or something like that, but I do take time to do… it can even be sometimes, you know, like when I'm walking the dog or whatever, I always, you know, take that time to kind of just think about things I need to think about.
S: And if I find I'm getting too overcome with to-do lists and stuff and I just kind of, you know, “Okay, this is not that time for that,” and to set this aside and… and to just relax and… and make sure that, you know, that I feel good about whatever's on my plate and whatever I'm wanting to do in… in moving forward.
J: Oh, that's great advice; so finding that quiet time and listening to your heart. Well, thank you so much for that challenge. And, again, our listeners can find links to everything we've been talking about by going to jenriday.com/27. Scarlet, thank you so much for being on the show, I really appreciated your heartfelt story and you were very vulnerable, but I think that it will help a lot of our listeners who've gone through the same thing; so thank you.
S: Thank you for having me.
J: Take care, Scarlet.
S: Thank you, bye-bye.
J: Thank you so much for joining us today and check out the show notes page to get a copy of Scarlet's chicken marsala recipe. You can find that by going to jenriday.com/ 27; the number 27. Next week, I will be interviewing Melissa Joulwan who is the author of the Well Fed cookbook series; Well Fed 1 and Well Fed 2. These are a series of amazing paleo recipes which I love. I was so happy she to be on the show, and I happen to know that she's going to offer that all of you listeners a 70 page free PDF of some of her amazing recipes. Tune in next time to find out how to get your hands on that. Alright, make it a great week. Take care.
Outro: Thanks for listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast at www.jenriday.com.