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This mom is sharing her story of pregnancy loss so others won't struggle alone.

When it comes to miscarriage we kind of have it all wrong.

This mom is sharing her story of pregnancy loss so others won't struggle alone.

Rachel Lewis has had five miscarriages.

They were painful and heartbreaking for her and her family. On top of the intense grief and inner turmoil she was feeling, Rachel was met with a mixture of awkwardness and expectation to move on — and to do so quickly. There can also be an assumption that miscarriage is someone's fault. Rachel found herself scouring her own behavior to find a reason why it happened.

"We blame ourselves because we need to blame something," Rachel explains. "It was our body's one job to make a baby and keep it safe."


Rachel, pregnant with her daughter Ellie. Photo by Sarah Thompson.

Miscarriage holds a stigma in our culture, but many of the things women attribute miscarriage to are old wives' tales.

That jog you took? A stressful day at work? Not going to cause a miscarriage, says Dr. Zev Williams, director of the Program for Early and Recurrent Pregnancy Loss at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. Irrational as it seems now, Rachel thought not drinking enough water led to her miscarriage.

“Historically, medical professionals have played a role in perpetuating society’s hush-hush treatment of miscarriage,” says Williams. He doesn’t even like to use the term "miscarriage" because of the blame it places on the mother. “It implies not carrying properly," he says. "The woman did nothing wrong.”

When women become pregnant, they are often told not to tell anyone for three months. "The implication behind that is you want to avoid talking about a miscarriage if you have one,” Williams says.

Rachel and her husband Ryan's announcement for their much hoped for "rainbow baby" — their third daughter, Ellie. Photo via Rachel Lewis.

But gun-shy behavior around miscarriage is odd because it is the most common complication associated with pregnancy, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

High incidents of miscarriage in early pregnancy isn’t actually a bad thing either. It’s a body doing its job.

In those first few weeks of pregnancy, the body evaluates the embryo to determine if it is viable; if it is not, the body will naturally abort the pregnancy. The vast majority of miscarriages are due to chromosomal abnormality, and according to Williams, there is absolutely nothing a mother or even a doctor, can do to prevent a chromosomally unviable pregnancy.

To put it simply: With miscarriage, your body is not failing and neither are you.

Rachel and her husband Ryan, pregnant with their oldest daughter, prior to any losses. Photo via Rachel Lewis.

But we are failing in our hesitancy to discuss it.

Why is it so awkward to openly talk about miscarriage at work? Why are we told to keep our pregnancies private until we're "sure" they will go to full-term? Why isn’t miscarriage a more prominent part of sex education and health courses? Perhaps if we, as a society, were more educated in the prevalence and often unpreventable nature of miscarriage, we would be better able to cope with miscarriages and provide better support systems to women who are going through them.

Rachel at the OB-GYN office. She had just had an ultrasound where they suspected trouble and an ectopic pregnancy. She says, "I took this picture to remember what heartbreak looked like." Photo via Rachel Lewis.

“My routine OB-GYN care in no way prepared me for the mental onslaught of grief, anxiety, depression and numbness that accompanied my pregnancy losses,” Rachel says. Her miscarriages were early, within the first eight weeks, and she felt that her doctor didn’t take her needs seriously given that miscarriages are so common early on.

"Miscarriage can be scary, overwhelming, and heartbreaking — not to mention extremely painful," she elaborates. "Knowing that our OB sees this all the time does not save us from experiencing all the rawness of the pain and grief.”

Rachel now spends her time writing about her experience with miscarriage in the hopes that she can provide comfort to anyone struggling in silence.

Photo by Sarah Thompson.

Rachel wants to bring the universal experience of miscarriage out of hiding. "Sure, we've broken the taboo about discussing birth control and preventing pregnancies. But admitting that we've endured a loss is still difficult. Secrecy and shame shroud this event, starving both women and men of the support they desperately need."

Rachel is bravely taking the step to start the conversation. We should all follow her lead.

Rachel and her husband Ryan along with their daughters Maddy, Leyla, and Ellie. Photo via Rachel Lewis.

Photo courtesy of Justin Sather
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While most 10-year-olds are playing Minecraft, riding bikes, or watching YouTube videos, Justin Sather is intent on saving the planet. And it all started with a frog blanket when he was a baby.

"He carried it everywhere," Justin's mom tells us. "He had frog everything, even a frog-themed birthday party."

In kindergarten, Justin learned that frogs are an indicator species – animals, plants, or microorganisms used to monitor drastic changes in our environment. With nearly one-third of frog species on the verge of extinction due to pollution, pesticides, contaminated water, and habitat destruction, Justin realized that his little amphibian friends had something important to say.

"The frogs are telling us the planet needs our help," says Justin.

While it was his love of frogs that led him to understand how important the species are to our ecosystem, it wasn't until he read the children's book What Do You Do With An Idea by Kobi Yamada that Justin-the-activist was born.

Inspired by the book and with his mother's help, he set out on a mission to raise funds for frog habitats by selling toy frogs in his Los Angeles neighborhood. But it was his frog art which incorporated scientific facts that caught people's attention. Justin's message spread from neighbor to neighbor and through social media; so much so that he was able to raise $2,000 for the non-profit Save The Frogs.

And while many kids might have their 8th birthday party at a laser tag center or a waterslide park, Justin invited his friends to the Ballona wetlands ecological preserve to pick invasive weeds and discuss the harms of plastic pollution.

Justin's determination to save the frogs and help the planet got a massive boost when he met legendary conservationist Dr. Jane Goodall.

Photo courtesy of Justin Sather

At one of her Roots and Shoots youth initiative events, Dr. Goodall was so impressed with Justin's enthusiasm for helping frogs, she challenged the young activist to take it one step further and focus on plastic pollution as well. Justin accepted her challenge and soon after was featured in an issue of Bravery Magazine dedicated to Jane Goodall.

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


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