Our Steps Together
A Personal Message from Allison Schaaf, Founder Miscarriage Hope Desk
I plan to share with you what I have done this far on my fertility journey, but first I want to first pause and provide a message that has come up for me a lot during my fertility journey…
Don’t Do, Just Be
I often combine my meditation time with prayer and listening. Honestly, I am often looking for answers and want solutions, not reminders to slow down or “just be.” But this was the only message I received for quite a while. And while it wasn’t the solution I wanted, it has been a message I have come back to time and again when I start to feel the pressure to do all the things. Or when I start to feel “behind” in my timeline.
There is an overwhelming amount that we can “do” to help increase fertility. But before diving in head first I would encourage you to pause and ask, “What feels right for me?” Do not rush into decisions just because a doctor or friend thinks that you “should.” Don’t be afraid to question a recommended protocol or to ask for a 2nd or 3rd opinion.
Sometimes, I know immediately my next step and I go for it.
Other times, I simply make a timeline, knowing that at the moment, I am not ready to make a specific decision. Throughout the process I have given myself breaks, for example, “this month (or 2 or 3) we are not going to do anything, but we will start up again on this specific date.” If you are suffering from a loss, such as in the case of a miscarriage, give yourself time to grieve if you need it.
Before I dive in with some of what I have found helpful (or not), I want to leave this message here for reference as we take our steps together and as a reminder to take time for yourself and do not rush a decision you are not ready to make. Take a moment to be quiet and know that all is well, even when it may not feel that way.
Allison Schaaf, Founder
I created Miscarriage Hope Desk as the friendly resource I wish I had during my years long struggle with infertility, including a total of 6 miscarriages.
While I found a lot of information regarding infertility, I always felt like a bit of an outsider. I was getting pregnant, it just wasn’t sticking! I often felt lost and very alone. Now I realize that not only was I never alone, but there are so many resources out there for people like you and me!
My goal with Miscarriage Hope Desk is two-fold. One, I want to connect you with real life stories from women walking a similar path of recurrent miscarriage. I also want to provide and connect you with resources and research to help you make informed decisions in a timely manner (ie, I want you to avoid mistakes that I made!).
Miscarriage Hope Desk is THE resource for miscarriage and more specifically, Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL).
On a more personal note, I have a background as a chef and dietitian (my master’s degree in Nutrition Communications has been vital in poring through the research used to make this site what it is today). I am also a serial entrepreneur and founded the meal planning website, PrepDish.com where I help busy moms get healthy, delicious meals on the table!
I currently live in the Texas Hill Country about 1 hour outside of Austin, TX with my husband, son, 2 cats, 24 chickens and a few bee hives.
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Since day 1, Miscarriage Hope Desk has had a mission of impact. Whether through our podcast, our newsletter, or our social media communities on Insgatram and Facebook, we have been bringing free resources to women struggling with miscarriage and recurrent loss for three plus years.
By becoming a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, we are opening our doors and allowing anyone who feels called to support us in our mission to do so.
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Dr. Nattha Wannissorn, PhD
Dr. Nattha Wannissorn, PhD, is a scientist who makes scientific research accessible to the general public through health and wellness blogs. She is also a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner, Registered Holistic Nutritionist, and Fitness Coach with a focus on women’s health and over five years of client experience. During her academic career, she co-authored publications in leading journals, such as Cell and Cell Host & Microbes. As former Chief Content Officer at SelfHacked and the genetic analyzer SelfDecode, she co-created accessible science-based content that reached over 3 million readers.
Dr. Maja Macura, MD
Dr. Maja Macura, MD, is a medical doctor with a clinical interest in perinatology. She is currently completing her internship in OB/GYN and neonatology. As a top graduate from the Medical Faculty at the University of Belgrade, she did a rotation at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, one of the best clinics in Europe. She is an advocate of scientific approaches to healing and evidence-based medicine, especially in women’s health. She is also part of the editorial board of a scientific journal, Medical Youth.
Dr. Shala Salem
Dr. Shala Salem is a fertility specialist with over a decade of experience. She has had the privilege of working with thousands of women in the area of reproductive medicine. Her passion to help women and her own personal struggles with health and fertility prompted her to look beyond conventional treatments and pursue integrative medicine. She completed a fellowship in integrative medicine at the University of Arizona under Dr. Andrew Weil and it forever changed her approach to fertility. She has published multiple papers in the field of reproductive medicine that have been of key importance in the area of genetic testing of embryos. She currently practices at Pacific Reproductive Center, one of the top fertility centers in Southern California. Most recently she has created Integrative Fertility MD, which is an online program to help women to learn techniques that can help improve fertility beyond just using conventional treatments. Integrative Fertility MD brings together experts in the areas of nutrition, mental health, and mindfulness to help increase the chances of conception and support a healthy pregnancy.
Shawn Tassone MD, Ph.D.
Dr. Aumatma Shah
Dr. Marc Sklar (aka The Fertility Expert)
For more than 18 years, Dr. Marc Sklar (aka The Fertility Expert) has been helping couples struggling to conceive empower their fertility naturally with his online fertility programs and virtual consultations.
He’s the creator of FertilityTV, a youtube channel dedicated to natural fertility with over 100,000 subscribers, the founder of the Reproductive Wellness Clinic in San Diego California, and the clinical director of MarcSklar.com helping couples via online programs and virtual coaching.
He has extensive experience and expertise in treating and resolving the causes of infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss with classical Acupuncture and Chinese Medicines. A Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, Board Certified Herbalist and Oriental Medicine Practitioner, and President of the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine (ABORM), Sklar approaches his patients with an open mind, compassion, and a medically integrative perspective.
Since completing his master’s degree, Marc has studied with many prominent figures in the field of Oriental Medicine, as well as the Western medical world at large. Working closely with his mentor, local fertility specialist Donna Keefe, Marc has been trained and certified in the treatment of infertility and women’s health.
Marc has also trained at the Harvard Medical School, Mind/Body Medical Institute under Dr. Herbert Benson, M.D., and Peg Baim, M.S., N.P., where he became certified in Mind/Body Medicine.
Dr. Reena Singh
Dr. Reena Singh is a Naturopathic Doctor who specializes in fertility and preconception health. She is passionate about helping to bring healthy babies into the world.
Her journey into naturopathic medicine started at 19 years old when she was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, a serious inflammatory bowel disease. She was told that she would suffer from this disease for her entire life, that she would likely get cancer, and that having her own children was unlikely. She reversed the disease process using naturopathic medicine and went on to have two healthy children.
Dr. Singh works with couples to identify their specific imbalances or deficiencies that are contributing to their infertility or recurrent miscarriage. She customizes a plan for every mom and dad-to-be so they can optimize their health and increase the chances of conception, a healthy pregnancy, and a healthy baby.
She developed and created an online fertility course and is certified in Pranic Healing. She has been published in NDNR, Naturopathic Doctor News & Review, and has been featured on numerous health summits, podcasts, and interviews.
Erin Iwanusa, LCSW, CDWF
Erin is the owner and founder of Taproot Therapy, a therapy practice located in New York City. Erin is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker specializing in anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, grief and loss, fertility, and pregnancy loss. She is a certified Daring Way™ Facilitator, a highly experiential methodology based on the research of Dr. Brené Brown. She is also certified in Perinatal Mental Health.
Erin experienced three pregnancy losses in eight months. After her losses, she recognized the glaring need for mental health providers to specialize in pregnancy loss at any stage. Erin not only provides psychotherapy to individuals and couples who have experienced loss at any stage, she is also a fierce advocate for changes in mental health policies to support individuals and couples who have experienced loss. Erin is also a writer, and has written frequently about her own experience, as well as providing mental health support to others. Erin has a blog that you can follow on her website that frequently publishes on pregnancy loss (www.eriniwanusalcsw.com). She also has a podcast: Taproot Therapy: A Mindful Moment.
Erin has extensive training in both Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, both evidence-based practices shown to support anxiety, mood regulation, eating disorders, and depressed symptoms. Erin is also trained in mindfulness-based practices, including self-compassion and shame resilience, particularly in supporting grief and pregnancy loss.
Adrien Paczosa, RD, LD, CEDRD-S
MHD Nutrition Advisor
Adrien brings over two decades of experience in dietetics, specializing in eating disorders, neurochemistry nutrition, and family health. In 2007, she established her first private practice, iLiveWell Nutrition, in Austin, Texas. Today, iLiveWell Nutrition has evolved into Nourish, a national nutrition group that offers virtual care to improve access to nutrition services and address America’s healthcare crisis.
Currently, Adrien serves as the Chief Clinical Officer at Nourish. Her dedication to creating affordable access to care has expanded into a nationwide service that combines nutritional science and compassionate counseling to achieve positive health outcomes for a diverse range of patients.
Our Editorial Mission
Accurate, Transparent, Evidence-Based Information
At Miscarriage Hope Desk we strive to provide in-depth information on a wide range of issues related to miscarriage and pregnancy loss, including recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL).
Our rigorous editorial process includes extensive review by medical professionals. All condition, treatment and medically focused content is medically reviewed by at least one medical professional on our Advisory Board, listed above. Our content is backed by evidence from sound sources, such as articles in peer-reviewed journals, government health and medical organizations and objective health organizations. These sources are very clearly cited and linked within each article.
However, our content is not intended to provide medical care. For specific medical advice, diagnoses and treatment, always consult your doctor or other medical professional. All information on Miscarriage Hope Desk is for educational purposes only.
Our Stories of Hope section is a re-telling of real life stories of miscarriage. These stories and images are shared by the author with signed permission for the use of both image and story. These stories are told in the author’s own words. Each story of miscarriage is unique. Again, if something form a story resonates with you, we encourage you to consult with your doctor.
Message from Allison
I know first-hand how scary and lonely recurrent miscarriage can be, but it doesn’t have to be that way! I urge you to get connected with our community. Here are a few ways to reach out to us…
Learn About Our Moving Forward Program
If you are in it and struggling with recurrent miscarriage, I urge you to check out our Moving Forward program, where we walk you through seeing the big picture, understanding your options and how to navigate the next steps of your path to baby.