Let’s talk about panic attacks.

Panic attacks.

I’ve been having them.


Not a lot, but enough that I’ve started to recognize them before they hit. The inkling that something inside me is not quite handling itself the way it should.

The first time I ever had a panic attack was in college. I didn’t know what it was but I somehow found myself under a patternmaking table draped in burgundy stretch velvet and gray wool flannel – the materials I was using to make the final garment of my 3rd semester pattern making class. (It was the late 90’s…) Trying to catch my breath while tears ran down my cheeks, I remember my friend Vadim asking if I was OK and being pretty sure I wasn’t. Somehow I managed to laugh it away and was left with nothing but the memory of that freaky weird day when I found myself under the table.

To the best of my knowledge, that was the one and only panic attack I had in my whole life, until last year. Even in the midst of pregnancies and babyloss, the panics I experienced were logical and concrete, not the random freak-outs over minimal stimuli that they eventually turned to.

But then, they’re not really random. They happen when I am off course. So off course my brain and body are completely out of alignment with my heart and soul. 

Last year, before I left my job I had a panic attack. Part of my responsibility was to be an incessant critic. At my job, I would design a product and all the packaging in minute detail. I’d then send the information to China where they would proceed to sample the product. Incorrectly. It was then my job to look at what they’d made and comment “This is wrong and this is wrong and this is wrong and this is wrong…. oh- and I’ll bet you thought I’d miss that tiny little thing that’s wrong and barely noticeable but I didn’t because I have eyes like a hawk and can see shit that’s wrong from a mile away.”

That was my job.

And for a long time I took so much pride in my ability to do that job and do it well. For real. I could see mistakes before they even fucking happened.

And then, the loss.

And everything changed.

I took on so much pain and sadness that I just didn’t have the space left for all that extra negativity. So I let it go. People that dragged me down, feelings I’d harbored for years… poof. Gone from my life.

Except that was my job. Looking for what’s wrong. Finding fault. Demanding better results from a factory that was probably not at the top of the list for factories that treated their employees like they’re worth a shit.

And it started spreading into my life… Looking at things my husband was creating and only seeing what I perceived to be wrong. Seeing typo’s on Facebook posts and getting disproportionately annoyed by them. Defaulting to negativity.

And at work, I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t look at every little thing and find it’s fault. It was killing me from the inside out. And so, on a random Tuesday, I found myself alone in a really large boardroom. I was armed with a scissor, a tape measurer and two pairs of red heart print flannel pajamas. My job? Disassemble the pajamas and determine why one pair- the one I approved, looked beautiful, and the other one, the one the factory ultimately produced, looked like an almost identical but shitty version of the nice one. Where had the factory cheated? Where had they cut corners to save a few cents? Where were the mistakes?

As I stretched my tape measurer down the front of the garment I felt it rise up in me. The idea of spending the next 30-40 minutes determining what’s wrong, what’s bad, what sucked about that stupid-assed pair of pajamas threw me over the edge.

And that’s when I found myself, under the table- a giant fancy, zebra wood boardroom table this time- trying to calm my  breathing, stop shaking and manage the tears that were falling down my cheeks. From under the table I called my husband. He told me to quit. God bless him.

But I didn’t quit.

I calmed down, and asked my assistant to study the pajamas. I’d just double check her work.

And that’s what I continued to try and do, delegate, until a few weeks later when another sample came in wrong and I had another panic attack. This time, I marched right into my bosses office and told him if I had to keep doing what I was doing, pointing out “this is wrong and this is wrong and this is wrong” I’d heave myself out a window.

I told him he needed to hire someone to do that part of my job. I even went online and found applicants, and brought him their resumes.

But he didn’t believe me.

And so I quit.

Because life is too short to spend it like that.

So here I sit, 8 months later, at a job with much of the same job description.

The main differences? I’m making a lot less money because I have a boss who does what I used to do, so she’s the final word and responsibility isn’t ultimately mine.

I thought that would make the difference.

But apparently not.

I’ve had at least two- and a half- panic attacks in the last few weeks. Only one found me under a desk. This time it was in a disgusting corner of my tiny cubicle and the desk is covered in beige laminate…. a major step down from the panic attack tables of my past, if I do say so myself.

It’s not just about the negativity of seeing “the wrongs” – it’s the general feeling of anxiety that fills my chest cavity and makes the voices in my head start talking really, really loudly, but kind of in slo-mo, if that makes sense?  I can no longer seem to (want to) handle the general stress of a job in the way I used to. The “let’s care about this shit and get it done” energy that used to fuel me, now leaves me feeling depleted and sullen. Because I don’t care about this shit. I care about

people. I care about joy. I care about my family and this community and making a difference in the world.  When I talked about all this with the hubs, I brought a lot of it back to the twins. Because that’s the pivot point where everything changed… but at the same time I don’t want to define myself by that, even though in so many way it defines me.

There’s a lot in this world I don’t know, but one thing I’m quite sure I DO know is I DON’T want to go back to caring passionately if a shade of blue is exactly 100% perfectly perfect according to some unknown barometer for measuring the perfect shade of blue. I CAN’T go back to that, and I’m pretty sure my panic attacks are basically me reminding myself of that fact.



I was given a wake-up call of the highest order, and I fully intend to stay awake.

…and on that note, It’s just about midnight. I’m heading to bed.

Thank you for reading…

Why my elevator pitch irritates me

When people ask what I do I say “I have a community website that helps women refind their light, joy and identity after grief or trauma.” 

It took me a long time to come up with that. I used launch into a 12 minute description of Muchness and the history of the word and what I do and blah blah blah blah. I needed to make it quicker. easier to understand and share over cocktails at a Bar Mitzvah. I’m pretty happy with that description but I have one issue. It’s that word “After.”

Because it’s not really “after”, is it?

I know when I started my Original Muchness Challenge, I wasn’t anywhere near “after”- I was smack dab in the middle of my grief and trauma. And frankly, as far as I can tell, grief and trauma don’t exactly have an “after.”

I’ve tried changing it to “I have a community website that helps women refind their light, joy and identity despite grief or trauma.”  but that didn’t exactly work either. That just sounds dismissive of the grief or trauma and like I try to candy coat sadness with sparkles and and bullshit. But that’s not what I do either…. at least not most of the time. (For the record, sparkles and bullshit do do a brilliant job of temporarily distracting a person from some amount of sadness, but that’s not really what I want to put on my calling card, ya know?)

If you’ve been reading a while, you know I do this because I want to help women begin to feel like themselves again. To remember what it is that shines inside them, and to celebrate that- their joys, blessings, quirkiness and creativity. I do it because I love bringing smiles to women who want to smile but may have temporarily forgotten how. I do it because grief and trauma can knock you down so hard that sometimes you feel like you may never be able to get up. I’ve been there. I know. But you can get back up, and you will. When you are ready. When the pain of staying in pain becomes more painful than the fear and discomfort of refinding joy.

Listen, there is no “after.” You don’t wake up one morning and say “Well, now that I put that behind me, let’s move on.” 


You wake up every morning and say “Today is a new day and today I’ll find joy.” and then that’s what you do. And some days it works and some days it doesn’t.

Maybe I’ll change it to “I have a community website that helps women who’ve experienced grief or trauma refind their light, joy and identity… when they’re ready.”

Are you ready? 

Something I’ve Never Said Before….

At work today, one of the women randomly said while work-chatting “I want twins.” …she said it like, 3 or 4 times. Said it was like, her dream. What she wants more than anything.

She was talking to a few of us, all isolated in our little cubicles. But i was sitting at a table, out of isolation, working on something. So I could see her. And every time she said it, my stomach lurched.

So I said something I’ve never said before.

I said: I HAVE TWINS. 

Not, I had twins.

Just simply, I Have Twins.

Of course, these women know I have two daughters that are different ages, so after a second of absorbing what I said she looked at me quizzically. “Oh?”

And then, I offered the (small) detail that they were stillborn. But I also heard myself finish the sentence “but they’re still mine.”

And we all agreed that stillborn twins suck.

And then they asked me what happened.

And here’s the thing. I felt myself light up when I spoke about it. I explained the nuances of identical vs. fraternal twins, and intricacies about how identicals form, how, if the fertilized egg splits within 4 days you end up with two placentas, and it’s impossible to know in utero if same-gender twins are identical or fraternal before birth, yes so many under-schooled OBs claim to anyway- and it pisses me off. I drew little diagrams with my highlighter of two babies and their sacks and cords and how TTTS looks, with one little baby up against the wall and the other floating in a giant pool of fluid.

I told them about my beautiful friend Maripili and how she lost her boys to TTTS because there was not one laser machine to perform surgery on her boys’ placenta in the entire Central America. I shared with them how a bunch of TTTS Loss parents helped her help another TTTS mom in her country a year later. With a rented Laser Mackine that is routinely used for prostate issues (I believe)  Her doctor was able to perform the  life-saving surgery and save two little girls and now they are opening up a prenatal fetal Care Center in Costa Rica named after Maripili’s sons, Noah and Gael. That story made one of my coworkers cry. And rightfully so.

I’m sharing this because it was my Muchness Moment in my day. Educating people about TTTS and still birth. Sharing my twins and claiming my place as a twin mom.

We recently had a “getting to know you” night at the school my kids will be at next year. The school pairs new parents with veterans who’ve had kids in the school for years. Of Course, the family we were paired with has twin girls. Of Course. 

The mother was lovely but I noticed every time she mentioned her daughters, she reiterated that they were twins. “What grade are they in?”
“Oh, they’re both in second grade. They’re twins.” 

“Are they in the same class?”
“Even though they’re twins, we wanted to separate their classes. We didn’t want them doing EVERYTHING together.”

And EVERY time she said the word “Twins”, I swear to god, her eyes sparkled and her smile grew wider.

Then I asked if they were identical and, thank god, the answer was no. And her energy diminished juuuust a teeny tiny bit. Because if twins are special, everyone knows identicals are just an itty bitty bit specialer. So sue me. It’s true.

When the time comes, I am going to tell her I am also blessed to have twins. And while the sleepless nights mine brought me are of a whole different variety, I’m gonna make sure my eyes sparkle when I claim MY place as a twin mom too.

Finding my voice

Tonight I went to a local event hosted by a non-profit called NechamaComfort.

NechamaComfort is a Jewish pregnancy and infant loss support group started by Reva Judas, whom I met when she reached out to me after seeing the Muchness Bands featured in a local paper.
This event was designed to help the community understand the complexities of pregnancy and baby loss so they can be better prepared to understand and help when it occurs to those they love.
At the end of the event, I raised my hand and shared that today is International Bereaved Mothers Day. And then I asked if I could read something I wrote for the day. It is posted on PowerOfMother.com
The response was amazing.
I never feel regret after sharing my voice. I only regret that I don’t do it even more.
Please check out my post.
A mother is a mother


Right now. Are you where you are?

I’m not exactly sure what or how it happened but sometime in the last week I went from living in fear- living in mental noise and chaos- living in the future and in the past- to living now.
Suddenly my mind has quieted down. My creativity has piqued, and I’m feeling more focused.
Maybe it is the job. Maybe having the security of income is helping my fears subside. Maybe being in a space where I am the most colorful thing outside of a Pantone Swatch Book is reminding me of the importance of my mission.
Or maybe it was the trip to the cemetery. Something about going there feels like it set me free. Suddenly I feel free to accept what comes my way, confident that it is all part of a master plan. It created a shift in perspective for me that is making it easier to go through the day with grace and confidence.
It has also made me realize I need to step away from the computer. If I accept this job I will be glued to a screen all day. That means for me to find my muchness out of a job I need to create a tactile experience for myself. A craft, a human connection.
On the drive home from the cemetery inspiration struck. I initially dismissed the idea but I the more I think about it the more connected to it I feel. And the more excited.
I’ve decided to keep it a secret until it is underway. I know. So selfish.
I will refer to it as Operation:Glitter.
Stay tuned for more info…
As we drive down the highway I found myself (in a very non-tova way) noticing the foliage.
I said to My hubby “hmmmm… Pretty trees.”

Is that some variation on stopping to smell the roses?
Welcome to my change in perspective.
Hoping to hold on to this one….

My commitment

I’ve been feeling so off-track lately. Two weeks ago I felt right in the zone of muchness and then, boom, in a minute I felt more lost than I have in years. I’ve spent the last week at a 9-5 job and it has been so.not.muchy.
I don’t even say that to be cute. The people are lovely. The work is fine but something about the environment feels like it is the most absolute wrong place for me.
But I need to earn a living.
And trying to figure that put while simultaneously follow my purpose is a real complicated clusterf*ck of “how to?”
I’ve stayed away from talking about the big M word ($) on the blog because I told myself it wasn’t something “appropriate” to talk about. But the fact is, it’s a reality of life, and unless I learn to make peace with the idea that earning money is not a “bad” thing, I’m really never going to earn any.
The Muchness was sent to me as a gift from my girls and it has been the path that guides me to my passion, which is helping people find theirs. I can’t fulfill my purpose when I’m worried about paying bills.
Do I have a solution? Not yet. But it’s time to start being honest. Because this conflict has been causing me a lot of pain. A lot.
Today I went to the cemetery to see Sunshine and Daisy. I hadn’t been there in over two years. I felt like they were calling me and I needed to go to them.
Their rocks are still there. Faded.

I sat next to them and talked. I cried. I asked them to help me see the answers. To help me make the right choices and send me signs to let me know I am.
While there, I pulled out my laptop to write them a letter. It was a commitment letter. A promise to keep doing this work, to stay connected to my light, my talents, my joys- and a promise to continue to share that with others. That means blogging more often. When I’m up, when I’m down. It means sharing my voice even when it shakes. It means forgiving myself for the things I wish I did better and allowing myself to be real and vulnerable so others (and i) can see that that is not weakness. It is life.
As soon as I finished writing that commitment letter, two white butterflies flew past me, and as I lifted my tear filled eyes to follow them I saw two birds, flying together across the sky. They were the only birds I saw the entire time I sat there. I completely lost it.
Then, I pulled out some stickers and decorated their rocks.


Then, I turned and looked at the other baby graves. When I was there three years ago it looked deserted. Like no one ever visited these little babies. But something was different. There were more tombstones. Stuffed animals rested against grave markers. Directly in front of my babies was a headstone and on the back, facing my girls, was a collection of stickers, clearly stuck there randomly by a child- likely a sibling of the deceased baby. The stickers were worn and weathered but when I looked close I could make out the image on a few. This one was the clearest:

A mama bear with her two baby cubs.

There was also a new grave. Decorated with a collection of daisies and sunshiny yellow glass stones. And two butterflies.

Somehow, I know everything is gonna be ok.


DIY- Memorial candle for my grandfather + a story

Tonight is the 6th anniversary of my grandfathers passing. When I was pregnant with the twins, I would often think of my grandfather, who was a well known and very well respected Hassidic Rabbi, and I would think about his ancestors, which included some of the most famous rabbis in the last few hundred years of Jewish History, and I thought “No way my babies are going to die. He won’t let them.”

Well, I guess he had only so much say in the matter.

He died a year before Molly was born. He’d met Elie once. Actually, twice, but he could only communicate the first time. Elie and I had been dating for 5 months when he came with my family to Florida to celebrate passover. My grandfather called Elie to his house and told him to propose to me. Like, that day. Elie, who’d not yet even met my dad yet, assured him it was going to happen, but not that day.

The truth is, in some way, my grandfather was maybe responsible for me meeting Elie. I’d been dating a guy for almost 5 years and inside I knew it was a dead end but couldn’t admit it to myself just yet. My grandfather took it upon himself to call my boyfriend and tell him, basically, shit or get off the pot. It was that action that basically let me know, internally, I didn’t care if he shat or got off the pot. I wasn’t supposed to be there. So I left.

Two weeks later I met Elie.

11 months later, we were married. My grandfather, too sick to travel, listened to the ceremony via cell phone. He passed away 5 months later.

Anyway, I guess I just feel like he’s still looking out for me. Tonight my mother texted me that it is the anniversary of his passing – his yartzeit, in yiddish, and we should light a candle if we have one.

They make special memorial candles, but most of them are effing ugly. And I don’t have one anyway. So I decided to make one myself. I remembered my mom made one herself for my stepdad when I was a teenager. She used a really pretty cut crystal goblet and it reflected beautiful dancing shapes of light on a white tablecloth. But I also remember when the candle got down to the bottom of the glass, it got too hot and the goblet shattered into a million glass shards, and that was really kinda sad, on many levels. So I added a votive holder at the bottom. and used something less delicate.

Here’s what I did:

What I Used: Pretty durable Glass + 6 White unscented (shabbat) candles + Microwave safe dish + Glass Votive holder. Not Shown: Wooden shish kabob skewers


I microwaved 5 of the candles for about 5 minutes. Then I fished out the wicks with the skewer.

***edited to add: The candle didn’t burn well. It was very dense and kept going out. I made another one and mixed about 2 tablespoons of olive oil into the melted wax. That made it the perfect texture an it burned beautifully.


While it melted I prepared the center candle.


Then I poured.


I should have then put it in the freezer but I didn’t. I put it in the fridge.


Then I ran into some trouble.



Then, I ultimately did put it n the freezer.

***edited to add: on the second version I just melted the wick to the skewer at the outset by dripping a candle onto the wick before I poured the hot wax.

After it was solid, I took it out and lit it. BEHOLD:


I decided to light Sunshine and Daisy’s candles too. It just seemed like the thing to do.

It was really so simple and quick and I LOVE the idea of making custom memorial candles in meaningful glasses or cups that are etched or even just painted with names and dates…

As an aside, I need to share that while writing this blog post I heard Elie sneeze downstairs so I grabbed my phone to text him a “bless you” (yes, you read that correctly) and while checking an email that arrived just then from Still Standing Magazine, this popped up on my phone.


I really can’t begin to get into the meaning of this… I’m really just sharing it for my cousin L’via, and because I feel like I’m just supposed to be sharing it.

The tears have found me

They finally came. I didn’t know I was hiding them, but ooh, was I ever. Weeks of feeling stressed, tense, overworked, unfocussed and insecure… all of that wearing a cloak of… god, something else… I don’t know what.

And then they’ve found me. tonight. In the shower. I’d mentioned on my last Still Standing Post that I was feeling regretful about telling Molly about her sisters. Regretful because she’s been acting out, acting tense, and completely beyond rational behavior. We thought it was because I told her about the twins. So we brought her to a therapist. In the first visit, just Elie and I sat with her (the therapist) to explain the situation. She suggested that perhaps Molly felt unable to talk to us about the twins and her feelings. I denied that, saying I always told her she could talk to me, but I also know that she has intentionally hidden her feelings.


Tonight, hubs asked me if Molly thought of the twins as her sisters. I couldn’t believe he asked such a question. uh, yeah. Because they’re her sisters. “But they were unborn” (yes- that is the word he used- lord knows where he picked that up. Oh wait- I know- he picked it up from a mindset we carried 4 years ago before we understood what it meant to lose a baby.)

And then, that’s when the tears found me. When I found myself, in the shower, trying to explain to  him, our parents, siblings and anyone else who needs to be reminded (None of these people were actually in the shower with me… I feel the need to clarify that point) that just because OUR daughters didn’t live DOES NOT MEAN they didn’t exist! And just because their bodies couldn’t work does not mean their spirits don’t. And just because they find the idea of dead babies so macabre that I was convinced I needed to have a D&E which (unbeknownst to me at the time)  mutilated their perfect little bodies does not mean that their sister has to be afraid to mention them, to love them and celebrate them the way that I want to, need to, and feel is HEALTHY.

“Just because you miss them doesn’t mean she has to. This is your tragedy, not hers.” …that’s what I was told. Well, actually, fuck that idea. This is actually a family tragedy and I’ll be damned if I’m gonna pussyfoot around my daughter so as not to make her upset. Clearly, that’s not working, and clearly, it’s not what I believe in, so why the hell am I allowing everyone else’s well-intentioned opinions guide my parenting… in an area I’ve gotten pretty damn well-versed in over the last few years.

Sometimes I really struggle with this blog. I started it to share my feelings and then, at a certain point, my feelings stopped being so “interesting” so I blogged about other stuff… Every internet book on the planet says “position yourself as an expert” but ya know what, I’m no expert. I’m just here, struggling to find light every day, push myself outside my comfort zone, take risks- even if they feel like baby steps, that sometimes move me backwards, because I believe my purpose is to just fully be me, and in the boldest, most sincere way possible. That’s what finding your Muchness is about, right? That’s why my twins were sent to me. To remind me that. It’s why they were sent to our family. I will not shelter my living daughters from the beauty that is their sisters. 


Sunshine & Daisy. Always in our hearts, in our minds, and without shame, with their names on the tips of our tongue.

The secret to seeing light over darkness

I know you know what it feels like to be angry. Really, really angry. It’s like a fire burning in your gut. You want to lash out and scream. Maybe hit something and inflict pain upon the source of your anger. Even the quieter anger has an undercurrent of that red hot fire. Like a cartoon version of anger, with steam blowing out your ears, or the evil witch with fire in her eyes…
Some people live with a fire of anger burning inside of them, lashing out because they’re burning up from the inside out.
But what happens when you dont want to live like that, and so the fire goes out, but the anger remains?
You’re left with ash.
I recently read a baby loss mom describe feeling as though her insides were filled with black ash and I thought “I know that feeling well.”
When Liat began to grow, from a tiny little bean, into the incredible baby I ultimately gave birth to, I was filled with ash.
The flames of anger had burned through my very soul until they had nothing left to devour.
I’m a very visual person and I remember lying in bed one night imagining this little ray of light, my tiny new fetus, glowing through the blackness of my insides.
In my mind this little ray of light had to push through the black and the soot fighting for her right to shine.
In a way, I started wearing the sequins to help her. I wore the sequins to connect me to her light. I wore them as a way to make up for the darkness inside me, as an apology to my new baby for being forced to grow surrounded by the darkness of my pain and grief.
When Liat was born, with her blond hair, pale skin, bright hazel eyes and easy smile, she honestly embodied light. Strangers would often, randomly refer to her as “Sunshine”- which was ironically, her sisters name, and remark on her warm, loving & happy energy.

As she’s gotten older, I continue to be amazed at the sweetness of her nature and wonder if she’d still be that way if I hadn’t found some light during my pregnancy.


I was six months pregnant here. Only 9 months after the loss. I remember this day so well, I was somewhere between deep grief and an aching desire to feel happy. We had so many friends over for our annual vegan-fest (Annual in that it was the only one we’ve ever had. 🙂 )  and I wore that shirt because Liat and I looked like a disco ball in it and it always made other people smile.


30 Day Deck Preorder

We choose how we want our moments to feel. We choose our perspective and we choose how we show up the world.

What’s your choice?

I am a mother for four daughters.

I’ve been having some heavy conversations with Molly lately. It was a few months ago that I told her about Sunshine & Daisy. I’d planned to share that story with you, since making the decision to tell her was not one I took lightly. There was a time when the idea of telling your living children about the ones you lost seemed absolutely insane to me. But then, so did a lot of things that have now come to pass. Molly was incredible, and perhaps I will share in another post the clarity and sensitivity she showed. It astounded me.

And then, life went on, and it didn’t seem like anything that was weighing on her.

Until my friend lost her 2 year old, Ella.

And then Molly started asking questions. “Why did she die? Was she sick? Is she going to come home? Is she also in the ground like Sunshine & Daisy? Are Sunshine & Daisy playing together with Ella? …Mommy, why do babies die?” Oh, to have to answer that question, when I have absolutely no idea.

She’d asked for a picture of Sunshine & Daisy and I’d shown her their 3-D ultrasounds. Now she wanted a picture of Ella too. So I gave her one. And she hid it somewhere in her room, in one of the corners where she hides her treasures.

There’s something about Molly… no matter what she feels, it’s like she feels it deeper than most people. Her drama is intense. Her anger, unstopable. Her humor, shockingly sharp, and her compassion, enormous.

The last few weeks she’s been drawing suns and daisies on all her art at school. Because “she doesn’t want to forget them” and she doesn’t want me to either. If I were not a  baby loss mom and read that, I might think “oh, that cannot be a good thing…” but then, I’d just be judging that which I cannot understand.

This morning I was sitting on Liat’s bed with Molly in my lap. Lait, growing jealous, started whining “No! That’s my Mommy!” and I replied “Yes, I am your mommy, but I have 2 daughters and I’m Molly’s mommy too.”

Molly turned to me and said “No silly! You have four daughters! Me and Liat and Sunshine & Daisy!”  and I hugged and tickled her and told her she was right.

That girl’s pretty damn smart for a four year old.


Two of my four daughters. xoxox