I wasn’t going to write anything.
I wasn’t going to feel anything.
I wasn’t going to be different.
It wasn’t going to be different.
Except it was.
This year is different.
It was going to be my first official Mother’s Day. And, I guess it is. But, my heart knows it’s not what we planned. It’s not the same.
If you hear or read a twinge of sadness, you’re right. It’s there. But I’m doing my damndest to channel that hope in my soul.
In the light of the impending holiday, I have a few suggestions to my fellow mommas-in-waiting, those who still have empty arms and a chunk of their hearts still missing, those who’ve suffered a loss during pregnancy or after, and those who have had failed adoptions. This could also apply to those who've lost their mother or estranged, I suppose too.
1. Find your kind.
Literally, find your kind. Find the ladies who have walked this path, and those still in the midst of it. These are the folks who can really relate to the experience, the emotions, the emptiness, and the impatience. Connect with them via social, text, a call, or in person. Talk it out or be quiet together. Lend your support and send a little love on this day. It's hard for everyone but hard is better together, usually. I think.
Also, find your kind. Be kind to yourself. Remind yourself that the lack or the loss isn't your fault. It isn't in vain. And, it isn't over. Practice some self-care.
2. Expect the awkwardness.
People, including your closest family and friends, don't know what to say. And, what can they say? Sometimes what's said hurts more than helps. But, let's try to understand, even if someone says all the wrong things, they're trying to fill the space. They think they need to say something to show their sympathy or empathy usually because they really, really care and want what is best for us. And let's be brutally honest and self-aware, generally we don't know what to say back which is awkward for them too. Plus, if they weren't saying anything, then how would we feel? So, let's give our crew and the well-meaning strangers, the benefit of the doubt. Grace is a gift we can give them and it helps us too. Accept that the awkwardness will happen and embrace it. Say thank you for their sentiment or dive in and have a conversation if you feel so moved.
3. Eat your favorite food or something totally indulgent.
All the health experts and nutritionists probably would tell you emotional eating is bad. And, probably a poor coping mechanism. But, I'm here to tell you that there is something special about your favorite food -- be it a fudgy brownie, a tart lemon bar, a double-dip cone, or heap of chips and guac. Whatever your go-to is, make it or order it. And don't second guess it. Calories don't apply here.
4. Get some sunshine and some moves in.
For me, getting some steps in outside not only gives me a dose of Vitamin D and some fresh air, but gives me a chance to dream and think big thoughts. I always feel refreshed after a walk or a yoga sesh.
5. Love on the mommas in your life.
This can be a hard one in particular on this day. But do it anyway if you can. Tell them they’re doing a good job. Tell them what you admire about their approach to #momlife. Tell them why they’re special to you. Our relationships with other women are so important. You know the gals I’m talking about: Your momma gave you life. Relish if you’ve still got a grandma or two around. And don’t forget to love those sisters and sister-in-laws who gifted you the most precious nieces and nephews on the planet. Love on your momma friends; they are a good group to learn from — plus you were probably friends with many of them BEFORE they had kids in tow. These are our examples. These are our role models. These are our future babysitters, play dates, and room mom crews.
6. Know you are still a rockin’, strong, rad, beautiful soul that gives the world her best.
Through the monthly disappointment and spontaneous tears, you are still you. And that is enough. Totally enough.
Note, these are just suggestions. By all means, if you just can't do any of these, and you just need space and quiet, take it.
And, tomorrow, if you happen to go to church, and you get to the inevitable portion of the sermon when the pastor or priest asks all the mothers to stand up and be recognized, do what feels right. If you want to stand because you have a babe in Heaven, stand tall. If you want to sit because it doesn’t feel right to stand, stay planted, but don’t shrink. And if the well-meaning little in your family asks for another flower for you too (because her mom and grandma have one), accept it with grace. You’ve earned that flower.
Mommin’ is hard. No matter what stage you’re in or if you haven’t even got to really start it yet. All mommas matter.
For now, I’m going to be a momma-in-waiting. But I know it’s going to be worth the wait.
Until next time,
Baby-making and infertility have their own alphabet.
Raise your hand if you agree?!
All of these abbreviations become your every day vocabulary during this process. Whether you just started trying or it’s been a long road, these combinations of letters are familiar. And, for once I wish I didn’t have a mastery of words, that I didn’t know these definitions.
Or, that I was clueless and still thought you just got married, decided to have kids, did the deed, and then 9 months later brought home a newborn.
This process, this hurdle, this hiccup, this mountain we've been assigned -- what a doozy.
Nicholas and I are 1 in 8. ONE in EIGHT couples who have struggled with conceiving a babe, carrying to term, and becoming parents.
I’ve never been one for math, (and if you are, that’s a 12.5% chance) but that means more than likely you know someone else struggling with unfulfilled dreams of being mommas and daddies. We're also 1 in 4 to have endured a miscarriage.
This week, during National Infertility Awareness Week, we’re helping #FlipTheScript. We’re turning those acronyms into meaning. We’re telling our story.
We've been not preventing, trying, not trying, and trying for the bulk of three years.
We’ve had one BFP on an HPT — that's a big fat positive on an at home pregnancy test.
But we’ve also had a D&C because of a missed miscarriage.
We would have been 8 months along this very week.
We haven't done IUI or IVF and are uncertain if we will.
We made a miracle that was too good for Earth and we pray we’re lucky enough for a second chance.
Long ago now, we learned our ABCs. And as much as we didn’t ask for it, we’ve got this alphabet down too.
For now, these letters are the only ones I’m going to focus on, and encourage you to, too:
Y-O-U and M-E
That's right we've got a fan club and prayer squad like no other.
We've got genuine, soul-smiling hope.
And until it’s our turn, we will talk about trying.
We will still celebrate baby joy for others.
We will still love life. Every ounce of it. The good and the bummers.
Because we were made for this.
We can do hard things.
And so can you.
Until next time,
If we're Facebook friends, you've likely seen one of my most recent posts about Plexus.
It's okay if you want to roll your eyes. Go ahead. Do it now. Get it out of your system.
I did it too. Before.
Before I tried the Plexus products. Before I gave the company a chance. And, gave myself a chance.
Yes, I was that girl who occasionally 🙄 at this type of post that was in my newsfeed. I love marketing so give me a witty tagline, a killer graphic, or a good deal--I'm there. Somehow I had dichotomized the product information that companies were pushing at me and the products my friends and colleagues were highlighting in their personal testimonies. I think they both have their place and should be given their due.
So, maybe I've drank the Kool-Aid. Maybe I've lost my wits.
Or maybe I've decided there is more.
More health. More wealth. More friendship. More hope. Can there be more? Can there be better?
About a month ago, my sugar cravings were in overdrive. All I wanted to eat was processed sugary treats. I mean, seriously, all I wanted was a frosted brownie all to myself every.single.day. And most days I gave in. And If I did, the more sugar I wanted to eat. It was like a never-ending cycle brought to you by Better Crocker. The desire for sugar was so intense, I was legitimately concerned for myself.
I think this is what most people would refer to as rock bottom.
That feeling was worse than any sugar crash, ever. I decided to be a grown-up and do something about it. I called my very bestie and fellow Plexus pal, Meagan up. (Which, BTW, she's been an ambassador for a year and is looking great and rocking her business.) M got me set-up with the Tri-Plex combo (the Plexus Slim, ProBio5, and the BIO Cleanse). And the rest is history!
So, WHY? Why Plexus? Why now?
I guess the better question is, Why NOT? I didn't have anything to lose except an extreme sugar addiction, a raging affinity for pop, and a constant battle with bloating.
So I decided I'd take the products and see where that led. It's been 3 weeks and it's led me to telling YOU about them. I am feeling better, I don't start my day off with a cold one (a Diet Pepsi!), and I am not sneaking candy at my desk at 10:30am or 2:30pm. Then, I realized that there was this incredible opportunity staring me in the face that I needed to pursue. Plus, I already joined as an Ambassador, to receive discounts on my products (#bargainhunter4life), so I was already positioned to pursue the actual business side of things. Doing so allows me to continue to harken the spirit of entrepreneurship carry forward a mission of health & happiness.
So WHY would I join a multilevel marketing company? Why would I want to put myself out there and share about these products daily? Why risk the eye rolls, the sighs, and the potential loss of acquaintances? Because:
*I don't have the bloating flare ups I've had for years now.
*I want to have financial flexibility.
*I want to pay off our student loans early.
*I want to be in a position to own other businesses with Nick.
*I want to make new, incredible friends and develop bonds with like-minded people.
*I want to give back! Meals, time, treasure, etc...
I am committing to doing my best with this endeavor for the next 12 months. I am eager to grow during this time and help inspire growth and health in others.
If you're interested about Plexus products, even remotely, give me holler. I'd love to share with you. If you're looking for an opportunity to contribute to your financial and personal wellness, let's chat.
PS I promise this won't be the focus of my blog. I won't be giving up baking or cooking. I still LOVE dessert. But now I working on being equipped to indulge in moderation.
Until next time--
The man that stole this girl's heart first is my daddy-o, James. He's affectionately called Dad, Milton, Milty, Papa Pope, and more. No matter the name, his awesomeness in this role remains. He may play the lottery, but I won the jackpot. I seriously couldn't have asked for a better father.
On this Father's Day, I wanted to take a minute to share a few of the chief lessons he's taught me (and many others).
Lesson #1: PMA
If you don't know what PMA stands for you probably haven't been lectured by my father. It's POSITIVE Mental Attitude and it's his mantra--wholehearted, bold font, underscored. He operates in life with the thought that 90% of the battle is showing up ready to work with a good perspective. PMA means you can be your own champion or your own worst enemy. I can be a "glass half empty" kind of person sometimes and it drives my dad (and husband) bonkers. I cannot tell you how many times my dad has uttered "PMA" at me, sometimes in the form of a reminder and sometimes as a solution. Admittedly, now when I begin to doubt or go straight to worst-case scenario land, I do hear this in my own head. It's not my natural mode, but I try. And, I'll continue to try.
Lesson #2: Work hard.
This picture is one of my very favorite images from our wedding (thanks Mike and Julie!). It speak volumes to me and automatically put that "Daddy's Hands" song in my head.
My dad's hands are tanned, strong, and rough. They are a testament that he is rarely idle. He owns his own business, a dental lab, so he works with his hands most days, all day. They are his best tools. He's an advocate for working hard and working well. He figures you have two hands and it's your responsibility to do something worthwhile with them. While I didn't grow up doing lots of manual labor type chores, I did grow up with an appreciation for putting forth all the effort you've got regardless of the situation or activity. And going for it full-throttle doesn't just apply to when you're getting paid, but in service too. Outside of his day job, he works hard in a volunteer capacity for the Crawford County Sheriff's Department, the Baker Township Fire Department, and the Bone Creek Gun Club.
Lesson #3: Be your own person and be your own boss.
Dad has always done things his own way on his own time. He doesn't lack for an opinion on anything and you'll always know where you stand. He's true to himself in every situation.
He's owned his own business for thirty-ish years. He will frequently tell you he doesn't have a job, rather a hobby that makes money. It's truly a refreshing perspective on work. He gets to operate the business on his terms. Now, he might work til midnight more than a handful of nights each month, but he also doesn't have to punch in at 8:00am if he doesn't want to, and, he likes it that way.
Lesson #4: Find a hobby (or three).
Though free time is scarce, my dad has always had hobbies. He's an avid shooter. He's a motorcycle man. He's rebuilt a hot rod. He makes jewelry. He is a jack of all trades and master of many. Many might question his "meet himself coming and going" approach but it's my theory that his hobbies keep him sane and curious. He is always learning, always growing, and always connecting.
Lesson #5: Don't know a stranger.
if you've ever been anywhere with my dad, you know the 10 minute trip to the store is going to take 30 because he'll find five people to talk through while he's in the aisles. When I was younger, I was always amazed at how many people he knew. And, they'd be all different kinds of people who did all kinds things. He doesn't know a stranger. He'll talk to anyone and ask them just about anything. He's a genuinely curious person and chatting up others is his way of learning more about people (and I think himself too).
For me, a slight introvert, making small talk and asking questions can be hard. But I think of my dad. All my life he's been teaching me the basic rule of communication: just do it. Use your words to share your thoughts, help others, develop relationships, learn new things, garner resources, and enjoy the surroundings your in.
Now, I've bragged about the rockstar my dad is and given you a solid glimpse into his character and personality with my the top 5 things he's taught me. Mostly, I've shared these things because I love him and think this is a fitting tribute to his fatherhood on this special day. But, it's also in preparation to ask for a favor of you: If you live in the Third District of Crawford County (here), I'd ask you to consider voting for him in the race for County Commissioner.
Yes, that's right Papa Pope is entering the world of formal, local politics! While I am biased, I truly believe he will be an incredible asset for the Third District and County as well as an advocate for the area's residents. In short: He loves the area he calls home. He is a cheerleader for our area's values. He's willing to learn and hear from those with concerns. As your Commissioner, constituents should expect an open door, open ears approach. Maintaining the integrity of the area’s values, increasing the quality of life, and improving processes and opportunities in the County are his chief priorities. Operating with transparency, especially in budgetary matters, he will steward the will of the people of Crawford County. If this appeals to you, use your voice at the polls. Vote Pope.
He is obviously my favorite candidate and I hope he'll be yours too.
I could continue to go on and on about this funny, strong-willed, loyal man who is my father, but in the interest of time, I'll close with this: Thank you!! And, Happy Father's Day!
PS Be sure to appreciate and celebrate all the fathers in your life today!