How to deal with the doubt of a healthy baby

You think you’re having a good life until the moment when you go to an ultrasound to see how your unborn baby is developing. You leave the doctor’s office stupefied, chocked, confused and with tears in your eyes. There is a 2% probability that your baby might have a chromosomal abnormality.  

You decide to do an amniocentesis test to find out with 100% probability if the baby is healthy.  In 1 to 4 weeks time, you’ll get the results. 

Meanwhile, going about your life as if everything is normal is out of question. How can you handle your fears and stress? 

If you are anything like me, you’d start talking to family and close friends. Not that it would change anything, but the affection and love that you feel from them gives you the strength to get off the bed in the morning.

In times like this, you feel even better how much your family loves you! You listen to your friends’ encouragements and you feel the positive energy and the strong believe that everything will be fine!

In times like this, you discover new sides of the relationships you have with all these wonderful people. You see how they use their personal believes to give you the best support that they are capable of.

You open up to them in your weakest moments and you discover more similarities with them than you would have thought you have before. One of these similarities is the belief that prayers can do wonders.

And praying many times a day, indeed does wonders. It makes you realise that your faith and your hope is much bigger than your fears. Come what may, but until the day when the truth is revealed, you have your hope to feed on.

Your hope can inspire you to visualise happy moments of the future and can diminish the stress of the present.

You are a human being thrown in the tumult of life, with its uncertainty and unawareness. This moment of waiting is a reminder that all you have is today. So how would you like to live today? How does it sound to spend the day dreaming about a happy tomorrow?

Well, yes, but what if tomorrow does not bring happy moments?“, some skeptic voice may argue.

It’s probably a matter of personal choice, but if you were to choose between hoping in the present and worrying in the present, what would you choose? Tomorrow’s reality will unveil itself when the time comes. Why not embracing it with the courage and peacefulness brought by the hope of today?

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The art of helping through conversation

How Faithfully Do Words Reflect Our Emotions?

The art of helping through conversation

It’s never too late to admit that you make mistakes in managing a discussion with a friend or family member who comes to confess to you. Listening in the right way and asking the right questions can make her feel supported during the conversation. Yet, this sounds easier than it actually is.

When a friend or a family member opens up to me about her problems, I am inclined to chime in with my brilliant suggestions. I get excited that I know how to fix her problems. After all, “I know what she’s taking about, I’ve been going through the very exact experience!”

It took me half of a lifetime to understand that such thinking is a big mistake because it keeps a dear person from opening up to you.

It’s wrong to believe you understand your friend’s predicament. It’s wrong to believe you know exactly how she feels.

When you get confident that you know what’s her problem, you start listening only to the words.

But if you want to be helpful, you’d rather start by admitting that you can never know how a loved one feels about a particular situation. You may have experienced a similar problem. You may have a great connection with her. Despite all that, your subjective realities are different. You relate to people and the surrounding reality in your unique way.

Therefore, it’s safer to assume that you don’t know how she feels. You can only guess but keep it in mind that that’s only your perspective.

If you want to understand better her perspective, you need to empty your mind about your own experiences and points of view and listen as if you were born yesterday. This way you can refrain from giving advice. Even the advice based on the best intentions, puts the other one in defence and she’ll be even further from finding a solution to her problem.

Sometimes the advice can be said in a judgmental tone, which may make the other one feel belittled or disregarded, and ultimately not interested in continuing the discussion.

Instead, practice the best empathic listening that your emotional intelligence can allow. More important than the words that she’s using, the key to tuning into her feelings is to understand why she is telling those words.

When you understand the feelings that underlie the spoken words, you are able to ask questions that can help the dear one figure the problem out by herself.

Therefore, it’s crucial for an effective help to be careful with what kind of questions you ask. For example, when she tells you, “I am so tired to work long days.” instead of saying, “Why do you work so much then?”, it’s better to ask, “I believe it is tiring to work long days.” By repeating the words that the other one just said, you lay the foundation for empathic dialogue.

The latter affirmation is supportive of the frustration feeling and signals to her that you are willing to listen.

Since you can never know how another person feels, the least you can try is to understand what kind of emotions the other one experiences related to a particular issue. Asking empathic questions may help the other one feel she is not alone in times of trouble.

If you are clumsy with words or if your best listening does not seem to help, you can ask sincerely, “I’d like to help you, so please show me how I can do that.”

Being humble in relationships is not a sign of weakness or vulnerability, but a sign that you care about the other person and you want to build a strong and authentic relationship.

In the end, it may turn out that the best support you can provide is to be there with all your being. After all, the deepest relationship is when you can sit in silence and feel the harmony between your souls.


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The wisdom of the leaves

At the end of the Summer, I start missing the warm days with plenty of sunshine and colourful flowers. To me, Autumn used to be the season that brings the cold and dark days, culminating in the freezing days of Winter. This Autumn, I opened my eyes to another aspect of the season which prepares the nature for hibernation.

I have the tendency to forget how beautiful nature is in the Autumn. The most talented painter could not paint as stunning an Autumn landscape as the nature does it. In October when the grass is still green, and the trees are changing colours, some of the early falling leaves masterfully decorate the grass, better than any interior designer.

Some trees whose leaves are sometimes golden like mini suns, and sometimes fiery, are so breathtaking that every single one of them would deserve a poem. I’d love to be the one writing a poem, at least for one. Unfortunately, their beauty puts a spell on my soul and silences my mind. I have the urge to kneel in front of such a magnificent tree and hug its trunk.

Some of the leaves that are scattered on the ground have not withered yet; they still catch the eye with their rusty colours. There is so much dignity in how they end their life.

There is also acceptance of the inevitable end, in the way they lie on the ground allowing people to trample on them.

Eventually, the less lucky ones are carried away by the wind to a place far away where they wither alone. They experience their last adventure during which they see a more dynamic version of the world compared to the static perspective they’ve been accustomed to.

But other leaves stick around the tree that nurtured them. That’s where they’ll dry out. But not before passing on the tree their secret – how they face the end with beauty and dignity.

The tree will guard their secret for the leaves that will bud the following year. At the right time, it will reveal the information to the new leaves, which will then know to put on their best garment before letting themselves fall into the unknown of afterlife.


Human connection – a beautiful and rare thing

One of the most miraculous aspects of life is the human connection that people are able to establish with one another. When you feel emotional connection, soul connection or mind connection to another human being, life becomes more meaningful. Yet, strong connections are rare to find, especially when the people around seem to be satisfied living disconnected.


Loving someone with whom you have a strong human connection is one of the most precious gifts that life can offer to you. Feeling his moods, being able to read his thoughts, hearing him speak out the very same thing you yourself were thinking are examples of such a connection which is not a fiction of Hollywood movies. It can happen for real and when it does, you get the feeling of being one with your man and with God.

Having a sibling, a parent or a close friend with whom you exchange text messages at the same time or who calls you few minutes after you’ve thought about them give the feeling of belonging to a group of individuals for whom you’re important.

When an authentic human connection exists between two people, time and distance can’t weaken it. For example, on the rare occasions when I meet a former university friend who lives in another country, it feels very natural to spend time together. We talk as if we met yesterday – the connection is there, we just update it with the physical presence.

Human connection may be so valuable to me because I find it is such a rare thing to find. I live in a world where I feel disconnected from most of the people I interact with on a daily basis.

Based on Dr. Brene Brown‘s studies on human connection, there are two types of people. There are people with a strong sense of love and belonging and to whom it is easy to connect to. And there are other people who struggle for such a sense.

Intuitively, I feel that there is another type of people who don’t even struggle for a sense of connection because they don’t have the need to belong to anyone or anything. They are some kind of human lynx who enjoy the solitude of their fortresses.

How can someone with a strong need of love and belonging, survive in a place inhabited mostly by human lynxes?

To my mind, the solution is to never stop looking for people with whom it is easy and natural to connect. It may be as hard as swimming in the Grand Canyon, but it is worthwhile. Because a life without strong connections is a life spent superficially where people are just polite with each other (in the best case), but they don’t bother to tune into each other to feel their inner most beings.

There was a time when I was against social media as a means of connecting to people. After further consideration, I find it to be a great means to virtually connect with groups of people of similar interests. And if you are daring enough to meet some of these people in person, you may be rewarded by finding a friend for life.

Then again, strong connections can’t be forced. They are there before two people even meet. They only get activated when the meeting occurs. Therefore, until you are blessed with meeting such a person, pray in silence while you are living the best that you can. Serendipity can make it happen and while you’re waiting in line at the supermarket, you will meet someone with whom you will discover a special connection.

I believe you are meant to meet some people. They are like some fallen Angels who come into your life to cherish you and take you to your next level of personal growth.

So, if you are one of the people with strong need to connect and if you are surrounded by other type of folks, you should not stop believing that you’ll survive until the next encounter with a wonderful person with whom you’ll connect and sparkle!

I’d love to hear your perspective. How easy is it for you to connect to people? Why is it or isn’t important for you to connect to others?