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220. Our Stories of Infertility and Pregnancy Loss with Diana Hill, Alexis Bachik, and Anne Cushman

Many women and couples have experienced pregnancy loss and infertility, yet despite this common experience it is something so rarely talked about. This episode of POTC is breaking the silence. Co-host Diana Hill shares her story of stillbirth and how she grappled with applying the processes of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to her own loss. Alexis Bachik, a professor of positive psychology, shares how hard it was to stay positive in the face of years of exhausting and devastating infertility treatments. Author and yoga teacher, Anne Cushman reads from her powerful memoir about love and loss in motherhood. If you or someone you care about has experienced reproductive trauma, please join us in raising awareness by listening and sharing this episode.

Listen and Learn:

  • How Diana used Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to navigate an uncertain pregnancy
  • The key strategies from ACT that were most beneficial to Diana during her loss
  • Tools from positive psychology that Alexis Karris drew upon during infertility treatment
  • Advice Alexis Karris would give women who are struggling with ongoing infertility
  • The beauty, pain, and common humanity of motherhood

Resources:

About Diana Hill:

Diana Hil

Dr. Diana Hill is a clinical psychologist and co-author of ACT Daily Journal: Get unstuck and live fully with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Through her online teachings, executive coaching, clinical supervision, and private therapy practice Diana encourages clients to build psychological flexibility so that they can live more meaningful and fulfilling lives. Diana has a knack for unpacking complex, science-based concepts and making them applicable to daily life in work, parenting, relationships and health. She completed her undergraduate work at UC Santa Barbara, majoring in Biopsychology, followed by a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at CU Boulder where she researched mindfulness and acceptance based approaches for eating disorders. Diana practices what she preaches as a mom of two, homesteader, and yoga teacher. Learn more about her latest offerings here and get more at drdianahill.com. Also follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to get tools to build psychological flexibility into your daily life.

About Alexis Bachik:

Alexis Bachik

Dr. Alexis Karris Bachik, Professor of Psychology, received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Colorado at Boulder and completed her doctoral internship at the University of California at Santa Cruz. She is also a Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Brown University, where she studied psychology and economics. Dr. Karris Bachik’s teaching interests are in the Clinical/Counseling area of Psychology, including the following courses: Positive Psychology, Theories of Personality, Abnormal Psychology, and Introduction to Clinical and Counseling Psychology. Dr. Karris Bachik is most interested in research related to Positive Psychology, the scientific study of optimal human living, a new branch of psychological study supported by the American Psychological Association. Specifically, she has been measuring positive character traits in college students and testing how these traits relate to mental health outcomes such as depression, drinking, and anxiety, as well as well-being outcomes such as student success, happiness, and resiliency.

About Anne Cushman:

Anne Cushman

Anne Cushman is a leading national pioneer in the integration of mindfulness, embodied meditation, and creative expression. A member of the Teachers’ Council at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, she founded the first multi-year Buddhist meditation training for yoga teachers. Her books include the memoir The Mama Sutra, the novel Enlightenment for Idiots, the mindful yoga book Moving Into Meditation, and the India pilgrimage guide From Here to Nirvana; and her essays on spiritual practice in daily life have appeared in the New York Times, Yoga Journal, O: The Oprah Magazine, Lion’s Roar, Tricycle, and many other publications. She directs the mentoring component of the Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification Program, which enrolls over 1500 students from 47 countries. She leads regular meditation retreats with a focus on creativity, embodiment, and daily life practice. 

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1 comment
  • Thank you for this episode. I am also a babyloss mama. So much of Diana’s story resonated with me. We share so much within our stories. Here is mine.
    I became pregnant with my first child in early 2007. Like Diana, I had my first bleed very early at 9 weeks. Sure I was miscarrying, I went to the ER with a follow up at my OBGYN. Thankfully the baby was fine and all seemed well.
    Fast forward to 24 weeks of pregnancy. I awoke early with severe pain in my abdomen. It got worse and seemed in line with contractions. I called my workplace and my husband drove me to the hospital. I was in pre-term labor. The hospital did not have any open high level neo-natal beds so I had to take an ambulance over an hour away to a different hospital in case my labor could not be stopped. I was in the hospital for 3 days and given meds to stop the labor. It worked. I was put on bed rest at home. How grateful I was! Another scare yet our baby boy was safe again within my body.
    Fast forward to 41 weeks pregnant. I was induced at 41 weeks (a regretful decision now) and went into labor. After laboring and active pushing for over an hour it was decided to have an emergency C-section (baby’s heart rate was increasing wildly with each push).
    My son Liam was born via C-section weighing a whopping 7lb 15oz! He scored 8 and 9 APGARS. The nurse brought him over to show me my first born baby while the surgery was completed. I could not hold him as I was in surgery. I saw his face. I cried with joy.
    Less than 20 minutes later my OBGYN came in with the worst news. Our baby boy had died. His body went into distress and was not responding to medical treatment. I was on the OR table. My joy ripped away. I was helpless. I never even got to hold and kiss and nurse my son.
    I was able to hold Liam post surgery. He little lifeless body wrapped in clothes and blanket that were not his. My world stopped. My heart was torn from my chest. That was both the best and worst day of my life.
    My son Liam would be 14. I love and miss him everyday.

    After Liam died it took a year of grief work to feel ready to try again.

    After 2 years of unexplained secondary infertility we were once again heart broken.

    We tried adoption for the next few years but had no luck. Again heart break.

    In 2012 after 5 years of grief I became pregnant! Oh the emotions! I didn’t want to trust or believe but I wanted to trust and believe. Everyday was a possibility! I didn’t tell my co-workers although I was showing more each day (thank you scrubs for hiding my growing belly). Finally at close to 5 months pregnant I had to share my news with a wider circle. Like Diana I had to answer questions daily that were difficult.
    My son Seamus was born healthy via c-section at 39 weeks. He came out screaming which brought joy to our hearts. I could not believe fully until an hour had passed and he could nurse and I could feel his little warm body in my arms.
    My son came into the world screaming and didn’t stop for months. Like Diana my baby had severe colic. It was so much. He screamed more hours of the day than not. I tried everything but could not help. We could not nurse because he was so fussy (another regret). Eventually his colic settled out and while he continues to be a sensory seeker he is alive and wildly 9 years old.
    My next miracle baby came with no effort. I had no expectations of another baby but my sweet Phoebe came into our life. My pregnancy with Phoebe was smooth and wonderful. She is fierce and loving and amazes me daily. My Phoebe is 7.
    I am no longer having babies. My heart is full with my three kids.
    Thank you again for sharing your stories and taking the time to read mine.
    There is so much more to say but this is a beautiful start.

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Episode 220