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.

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.

Life of a Softball Player’s Girlfriend.

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We all have our ‘thing’ in life right? Clearly mine is writing, but some people love to cook, bake, dance, sing.. The list goes on forever. It’s great to have a hobby or do something that just makes you happy. It’s even better to see someone you love do what they love. That’s what it’s like to be a softball players girlfriend. If you’re considering dating someone that plays this game, here’s a few pointers to get you prepared for the journey you’re going to embark on every season, every year:

It’s NOT a game. 

There’s actually a saying, “SOE” which stands for softball over everything. If you hear it, don’t get offended. When he’s at the fields, it really is softball over everything. If he’s anything like the average player, he will take it very seriously. If he makes an error or gets out, it’s best to steer clear of him for at least 10 minutes, unless you’re bringing him a beer, in which case, he may not pout for nearly as long.

Enjoy it.

Trust me, it may seem like softball season is never ending, sometimes you’ll be convinced that every weekend for the rest of your life (or as long as your dating him) will be spent at the ball fields, but enjoy it. You’ll come to find out that those 3-4 months out of the year that he’s not playing are actually pretty boring, you may end up missing the season more than he does by the time winters over. Going to the fields can actually be fun.

Don’t be stuck up his ass.

Excuse my language, but seriously. Like I said, going to the fields can be fun, but not if you’re that girlfriend that cannot be away from her boyfriend for 2 minutes. Softball is HIS thing. Remember, you’re solely there for support & beer (who doesn’t love a tub or five of alcohol?!) so if he goes off with his friends during a game break instead of having a make out session with you, it’s NOT the end of the world. This will actually give you time to meet some of the other wives/girlfriends and make friends of your own! I’ve met some of my favorite people and best friends at the ball park!

Traveling.

Yup, that’s right. Depending on what team he plays for & just how into it he may get, there’s always traveling in softball. This could be the perfect time for you to get to know the team and spend time with them or it could be your own mini-vacation from both him AND softball so you just have girls days back home instead, whichever you prefer. Please don’t make it an argument if he decides to go and you’re not/can’t. There are plenty of other things he could be doing instead of playing with balls with other men (LOL jk) but don’t hate him too much for playing.

He loved it first.

Chances are, you’re boyfriend was playing ball long before he even knew you existed or at least before you took part of his heart.. Anyway, because of this, when phrases like “SOE” are heard, know it’s nothing personal, but softball has a place in his heart too. He’s allowed to love you both, definitely you more, BUT when it’s game time, that becomes his priority.

Plan ahead.

This will save you a lot of arguments and spare you a lot of time. If you want him to come on a family vacation or you want to plan a romantic getaway for just the two of you, PLAN AHEAD. It’s a lot easier for him to go into the season knowing when he can’t play then wait until a week or two before hand to let him know about it, after he just found out they have a big tournament that same weekend. He’s not trying to choose softball over you, but he doesn’t want to let his team down either. Make it easier and don’t wait, so that everyone will be prepared.

It’s family.

Like I said earlier, I’ve met some of my best friends at the ball park. When he’s been playing softball for awhile or played on the same team for several years, you’ll soon realize just how close they are. There’s nothing like the friendships of those teammates. You’ll most likely know everyone’s entire family by the end of the season & you’ll feel like part of the gang. Don’t take those friendships for granted, once the seasons over, you’ll be surprised how often your schedule will allow you to hang out with them and you just never know what team he may end up on next year.

Basically, dating a softball player can be challenging at times for different reasons, but ultimately, it’s pretty great. Drink up and enjoy it. Love him for loving the game, you’ll learn to love it too, if not, there’s always more beer, and you can never go wrong with that. Here’s to the start of the season and the first tournament down.