This Is Not Where My Story Ends: Giving Up Is Not An Option.

Life has a crazy way of kicking us when we’re down, doesn’t it? We’ve all heard the saying, “When it rains, it pours..” and I’m sure most of us have probably even used it a few times ourselves. Sometimes life can be so overwhelming, so exhausting, but that’s just all part of the journey. Nobody ever said that it was going to be easy. 

When I was young, just a pre-teen, babysitting my brothers and neighborhood kids, I dreamed of the days that I would grow up and become a mother, taking care of my own children. As I rocked my youngest brother to sleep, I’d fantasize about what my house would look like and how my life would be in the years to come. I imagined myself and my husband like most other girls my age did, everything fell perfectly into place and I got my happily ever after ending. I always joked that I wanted three kids and two dogs. I had it all planned out. It was picture perfect and over the years, I kept faith that my hopes would someday become my reality.

I’d like to think that I’m blessed with my relationship, I found a man that exceeded all my expectations and we make a great team. It’s a safe bet to say that we appear to be just like any other couple our age, from the outside looking in. Strangers would probably never guess what we’ve been through in the six, almost seven, years that we’ve been together. Overall, we’ve created a great life for ourselves, but my dream of my picture perfect family hasn’t quite come together just yet though. It’s not because we haven’t been close, because damn it, we’ve been so close more times than I’d like to admit, but unfortunately, we have yet to successfully welcome a child into this world that we can hold in our arms forever. In fact, this part of the plan has been nothing short of complicated, but this is not where our story ends.

I’ve had countless people ask me if we were going to be trying again and then proceed to ask me how I could ever “want to put myself through that again”. I’ve been repeatedly asked how I’m not “afraid” of possibly losing another baby and I’ve even had people say, “there’s always adoption!” as they continue to to tell me how crazy and selfish I would be, if I were to get pregnant again. I’ve literally heard it all. 

Let me start by saying, thanks for your input and excuse my language, but fuck off. If you’ve never gotten a positive pregnancy test, only to be told that there is no heartbeat; if you’ve never had baby showers or gender reveals only to be left with unopened and unused presents; if you’ve never felt a baby kick from the inside, only to hold it’s still and silent body in your arms just a couple weeks later; if you’ve never been through the loss of a child, then you have no idea what I need to do or how I should proceed with the decisions I make in my life and you will never understand the internal battle that I have with myself every single day.

Every time I’ve gotten a positive pregnancy test, my longing to have a living child has grown that much more. My motherly instincts kick in and I instantly become overwhelmed with emotions. I fight to not get my hopes up, but it’s close to impossible not to. I cry in fear of what may happen and I pray to God for guidance and a healthy baby. Every single time, it’s an emotional rollercoaster. 

To answer your question, hell yes I am terrified of losing another baby. I spend more time than not worrying about all the things that could go wrong, but to me, every single aspect of it, is more than worth it, if it means I’ll get my rainbow baby someday. I don’t regret a single pregnancy, because I felt a happiness and an unconditional love for each baby, that I never even knew existed. I don’t have anything ‘wrong’ with me nor have I been diagnosed with something that would prevent me from ever having a healthy child, so I will continue to take the chance and try for my forever baby. If that makes me crazy and selfish, then so be it.

Pregnancy is not always easy and I don’t just mean the awful morning sickness or the backaches that come along with it. You see, getting pregnant isn’t just an ‘oops!’ for everyone. It takes some couples thousands of dollars in treatments and medications before they are finally blessed with a child. For others, staying pregnant is one of the biggest challenges that they may ever face and sometimes, there just isn’t an explanation as to why. So before you question or judge someone else, try to put yourself in their place, it may not make sense to you, but it doesn’t have to. Giving up is just not an option, staying strong is the only choice I’ve got. 

The Life of A ‘Loss Mother’..

​1 in 4. It’s that common. Did you know that more than 500,000 pregnancies each year end in miscarriage? Over 23,600 babies are born sleeping a year in just the United States alone. So many parents are affected by the loss of a child and some families have even suffered from multiple losses. These statistics may seem minuscule in the big scheme of things, because every time you scroll through Facebook or refresh your Instagram feed, it seems like yet another person has announced that they’re expecting, but roughly 19% of the adult population has experienced the loss of a child. Regardless of what stage of pregnancy the loss occurred or how much time the parents were given with their child before they had to say goodbye, there are no words to fully describe the pain that is felt throughout life after that loss. There is said to be 7 billion people in this world and roughly, 1.33 billion are parents who have to go through life without their child (or children). So tell me, why is it not talked about? Why do so many parents feel so alone and hide their stories amongst themselves, when there are over one billion other people in the world who have been in similar situations and are familiar with the grief that takes over, when a child is taken far too soon? 

I am a loss mother. To my fellow loss parents, I know the heartache and the pain all too well and I am here to tell you that you are not alone. I have held back and kept quiet. I have shut myself out from the world. I have been bitter and I have pushed those that are closest to me away, because I didn’t know what else to do. There is no ‘right’ way to grieve. Death affects us all differently and it’s only natural that we find our own ways to cope with it. However, from my personal experience, I learned that not talking about it did not help. Not sharing my story, my life, didn’t change the fact that my heart is forever hurting. I was suffering alone, but that didn’t make my situation any less real. Regardless of if I held it all in and cried myself to sleep for months without ever telling a single soul or if I post novels on Facebook sharing my every emotion, I am still a loss mother and nothing is going to change that.

No two stories are the same; we may have faced different challenges, but we have one thing in common, the longing for our child(children) to be in our arms. The struggles we face as loss parents, never go away. For days, months, and years to follow, we are haunted by the fact that this is our harsh reality. If you are a loss parent or you know or love someone that is, try to remember the following things, when you see that they are having a rough day: (Trust me, they happen and sometimes the grief will hit like a ton of bricks.)

You don’t have to know what to say.

We don’t expect you to, because honestly, there is nothing that anyone can say to ease the pain. Sometimes we just need to know that someone is there to listen and to hold us while we cry.

Don’t be afraid to ask.

Chances are we are waiting for the opportunity to talk about our children. Talking about them keeps their spirit and memory alive and that’s all we have left, so ask us about them. I bet you’ll see the light in our eyes when we start describing the most intimate moments and reminiscing about the sweet little angels they are.

It takes time.

Everyone is different and we all grieve differently. Time does not heal all wounds, because some were just not meant to be healed. The hole in a loss parent’s heart is forever.  I know the emotional rollercoaster ride may seem never ending at times, but we will get there, when we get there and that’s okay.

Blame. It’s going to happen.

As a loss parent, it is impossible not to feel at fault. “What did I do wrong?” “What could I have done differently?” “How could I let this happen?” “I was supposed to protect my child and I failed.” It’s hard, so, so hard, but it is no one’s fault. We don’t always understand the plan that’s in place for us, but we’re not supposed to. Sometimes there is just no justification for when, where, how or why things happen.

Patience is a virtue.

There will be days when it takes everything we have just to get out of bed and change into semi-presentable clothes. There will also be those days where there are more tears than there are words spoken. There will be sleepless nights and a loss of appetite, but be patient. Figuring out how to put the pieces back together isn’t an easy task, but having support to stick it out through the dark days, makes it seem less impossible.

Tomorrow is another day.

Some days smiling comes easy. Our hearts are full of hope and faith. The memories we have bring joy and we are overcome with happiness because of the unconditional love the we felt from our little ones. Signs of our angels will appear in the craziest ways, letting each of us know when our babies are near. Those are the good days. They may be few and far between, but when they happen, it’s a reminder that we are going to be okay, that we are going to make it.

The journey of life after loss is just that, a journey. Every day is a challenge, but it is another day closer to being with our children again. Pregnancy, infant, and child loss are so common all over the world and the more we open up about it, the more we can come together. Losing a child doesn’t make someone any less of a parent; they just become an extra special kind, because their child is an angel. Share your story or be a listening ear. Let’s break the silence.

A Letter To My Unborn Child.

Dear Little One, 

    We have yet to look into each other’s eyes and I have yet to hold you in my arms, but it’s crazy because somehow, I feel as if I already know exactly who you are. It’s only been a handful of weeks since you became a reality, but in that short amount of time, you have changed my entire world. We haven’t officially been introduced yet, but over the next several months, we will continue ‘growing’ together, as will the bond that we have already formed, and before long, you’ll know exactly who I am, you’re mommy.

    Saying those words makes my heart fill with so much joy and excitement. I cannot wait to feel your kicks and movements as you are developing in my tummy. I cannot wait to start shopping and spoiling you to ensure that we are fully prepared (but no worries, because that won’t stop once you’re actually here). I know the days will get longer and the nights of sleeping that I enjoy so much will soon become a thing of the past, as you take a toll on my body, but I am beyond ready for this journey with you. I promise, I won’t complain too much when the backaches kick in or when the restroom becomes my new favorite place because you like to use my bladder as a pillow. As odd as it sounds, I’m ecstatic for those moments; the challenges, the hardships, the pain, all of it.. because the end result is you and I know you will be worth it.     

    It won’t be long before I get to see your sweet face and smother you with kisses, but until then, I will continue talking to you from out here and doing my very best to keep you safe in there. I try to imagine who you will look like. My nose and daddy’s eyes or maybe daddy’s lips and my chubby cheeks? But regardless, I know that you are going to be the most beautiful baby and your daddy and I are so very blessed.

    I look forward to all of the ‘firsts’ that I will share with you and the many more that will follow after. I am counting down the days until I get to hold you for the very first time. But for now, I find myself reading up on your progress daily to see what new things you can do and how your little body is forming into my very own dream come true. Every day for the rest of my life, I will have you to look forward to.

     I pray for you each and every day, just as I prayed for you long before I knew you existed. I pray that you continue to grow and be healthy and strong so that when you’re ready to finally make your grand entrance, it’s absolutely perfect- just like I know that it will be.

    It’s amazing how many people already love you and ask about you often. Can you imagine how they will be once you arrive? You have so much love surrounding you already, but you just have to promise that mommy and daddy will always be your favorites!

    Little one, you’ve already completely stolen my heart and I will cherish every second that I spend carrying you, not only in my belly, but also in my arms. I am beyond thankful that I have been blessed with you. Life is full of adventures, but this is by far my favorite one.

Love always,

Your mommy.

One Wrong Decision Can Change Your Life..

Within the last 72 hours, there have been over 60 reported cases of heroin overdoses in just Cincinnati, Ohio alone. Yes, you read it right, SIXTY. I’m thanking God that I can say that no one close to me is a part of this epidemic, but sadly, that could change any minute and that goes for all of us.

Over the last few days, social media has been flooded with posts, some praying for these lost souls and others hoping for their deaths. Regardless of how you may feel about addicts, we all need to take a step back and see the bigger picture here. This is not okay. Whether you agree with their actions or not, they are still people; they are someone’s loved one.. someone’s mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister, husband, wife, or so on. Life is hard for all of us. We’ve all been faced with challenges and have had to overcome obstacles that we never saw coming. The answer for some of us, just doesn’t work for others. I know myself, when I’ve been lost in my darkest days, unsure of what to do next or what my future may hold, the only thing that helped me keep pushing forward, the one thing that helped get me back on my feet, was the love and support of those closest to me. God only knows where I may be today if it weren’t for people helping me.

Call me crazy if you want to, but that’s exactly what we need to do for the people we see struggling through this horrible, horrible condition. Kicking someone when they’re already down, will not make them want to get up. You’re probably thinking that I’m a sucker; that I’m babying addicts instead of ‘giving them what they asked for’. But that’s totally incorrect, because I do not condone this. I never have and I never will. I honestly don’t understand what makes someone start doing heroin in the first place, what makes them want to do something that they know has destroyed the lives of so many others? I cannot imagine what they’re thinking as they pick up the needle that could very easily take their lives away.. I just can’t grasp the concept of it all; however, I do understand that we are all human and we all make mistakes. I also understand that once a person does it for the first time, they may end up addicted to it and then it suddenly becomes a habit that they need in order to get through their daily lives. They made the decision to try it, but they may not have had a choice, but to continue doing it. It’s like people that text and drive.. They know how many wrecks that causes on a regular basis, but they never believe something like that could actually happen to them, so they continue doing it. Someone tries heroin for the first time and they feel alright, so they do it again, only to end up getting addicted. It can happen to anyone, one wrong decision can completely change your life.

ad·dict

 (ə-dĭkt′)

1. to cause to be physiologically or psychologically dependent.
 

ad•dic•tion 

[dəˈzēz]

1. the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity.”


dis·ease

[dəˈzēz]

1. a particular quality, habit, or disposition regarded as adversely affecting a person or group of people.


hab•it
[ˈhabət]

1. a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up 

 

I hear more often than not, that people don’t believe that addiction is a disease. People instead believe that an addict can just drop the needle and walk away with no repercussions; but unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Look at the definitions above, do you see the correlation? Don’t get me wrong, an addict should not receive handouts and they shouldn’t receive any ‘extra special treatment’ as they’ve slipped up and have broken the law, but a push in the right direction, a support system to keep them away from the wrong crowd, a hug when they’re down on themselves, or a motivator to keep them on track, could do more for them than you may realize.​

Yes, just like most of you, I think this epidemic is ridiculous. It’s sad that heroin is the topic of so many discussions and it is definitely not the answer to anyone’s problems. In the end, it makes things so much worse for everyone involved, but until we do something, this will not stop. As a city, as a country, as people just trying to find peace in a world full of chaos, we need to stand by each other. If you know an addict, please call (888-987-0721) or go to http://www.americanadditioncenters.org and get them help. You may just be the reason that they live to see another day.

It’s Unbelievable Where Life Could Take You.

Ya know, life is just crazy sometimes, better yet, MOST of the time. Just when we think we’ve finally got it all figured out, it’s like life sees us getting too comfortable and bam, just like that, another curveball is thrown at you, completely ruining your plans.

I thought I knew everything at 16 because sitting behind that wheel for the first time gave me all the power in the world. Again at 18, I knew I had it all planned out because I was finally legal and officially recognized as an adult. As 20 came along I was no longer a teen and was determined to take on the world. Here I am, 23, more lost than I’ve ever been and I’m realizing that this is perfectly okay.

I’ve spent most of my time trying to find ways of perfecting my life and making sure I was fully prepared for any obstacle that may my come way. When I tried college but it wasn’t my gig, I felt like a failure. When I quit my job to start all over again somewhere completely different, I felt like a loser. I’ve made an endless amount of mistakes, as I’m sure most of you have too. For awhile, I regretted them. I constantly thought about the ‘what if’s’ and pictured where I’d be if would’ve done things differently, but one day I realized that I was doing this thing called life so wrong..

I’ve learned that the key to life is not about living it perfectly and there is no way to ever be prepared for all of the challenges that may come your way. It’s not about doing everything ‘right’ and always having the answers.

From the time we were in grade school, we were told that the plan is to graduate; go to college; become a teacher, doctor, nurse, etc.; find a life partner, fall in love, get married, and start a family. Doesn’t that sound perfect? Isn’t that how 99% of the movies we’ve grown up watching portray life to be? Well guess what, that’s not always how it works. Some people will do it backwards, some may never follow it at all. But, to each their own, because there is no set in stone way of life. What’s right for someone, may not be good for someone else. What works for one person, may not go over well for others. The mistakes I’ve made are not because I’m a mess or don’t know what I’m doing. Their purpose was to bring me to the place I am today. They have helped shape me into the woman I am now and I no longer regret them. I don’t have to know exactly where I’m going, in fact, the unknown is part of the thrill.

I’ve found that the purpose in life, the reason for our individual stories, is to be happy. Fully, completely, and genuinely happy. If there’s something you don’t like, change it. If there’s negativity surrounding you, let it go. If you’re doubting your decisions and questioning why you are where you’re at in this very moment, know that it’s because that’s exactly where you’re meant to be. John Lennon once said, “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.” So don’t worry too much if you feel lost or uncertain, hold on to the things, places, and people that make you happy. It’s unbelievable where life could take you.