nourishing & unapologetic
One year ago today, on November 6th, our miscarriage was final. At eleven weeks, and o-dark-thirty in the morning, we headed to the hospital for our D&C. Our missed miscarriage meant surgery was a must. And just before lunchtime, we were done, headed to the store for my prescription and ice cream (both necessary medications!). It all seemed so simple and final.
Except, it wasn't either of those things.
So as I sit here the day before this anniversary, writing this blog, and reflecting on my lunch hour, there's so much I can say now. You see it's like that, that right there -- writing this on my lunch hour -- miscarriage just lives with you in the little spaces of life while simultaneously creating chasms in our normal.
One year out, here's what miscarriage, especially after infertility, teaches you:
Before you barf from the banality of this, walk with me on this one. We all know empathy is a critical skill, especially if you work and live among other human beings on Earth.
After our first miscarriage post, I have heard from so many women who've experienced infertility, loss, or both. Each time, I could almost feel my heart physically grow a bit more and my expression and stance towards them soften. Now when I interact with them there's a depth to that relationship that wasn't there before. And, while you'll still be annoyed when someone with one or two (or more) children is complaining, about not being able to have one more, you'll now know that feeling of yearning and your heart will go to them. Or when someone who is just barely married gets pregnant on their honeymoon but loses that sweet babe, you won't minimize the loss just because they got pregnant easily. Because everyone has a hard; the hard is just different.
Keep in mind, empathy isn't one note. It is just shared understanding of feelings, whether they be sad, frustrating, or joyous, albeit we often associate it with the sad or tragic. In general, instead of hardening your heart and rooting in bitterness, you'll likely find yourself more often being willing to try to relate to someone or a situation more instead of just judging or condemning.
You won't be empathetic about everything. You won't feel personal connections with everyone. Sometimes sympathy is enough, and there's nothing wrong with sympathy. But empathy- it's what binds us closer. And when there's a hole in your heart, empathy is a salve.
Patience ins't my virtue. Except now, I think I am working on sainthood status with this quality. Must be all this practice I've gotten.
If you detect /s (that's sarcasm in internet speak), you're not wrong. We're a year older and a year removed, and still have empty arms. We still don't have an explanation for our infertility. And, we still don't have a definite plan for how we'll proceed other than being stubborn and waiting.
I struggle, but I do genuinely believe this journey provides you a lesson in patience. It allows you the opportunity to practice waiting and not rushing. And, in reality, you have no choice but to try and do so.
The waiting can provide time to prepare more (financially, emotionally, physically). Although, I hear you're never truly prepared.
The waiting can provide time to do more (travel, start a side hustle, binge-watch trash tv, do house projects). And do them with no shame or guilt.
The waiting can provide time to talk more about what you want to be as a parent. Earnestly, not just the "we'll never's" that we'll totally do at some point.
The waiting can provide time to dream bigger dreams for you, your marriage, and that future babe. Be bold and ask.
We're told all the time "the best things take time." And boy, if you're putting in your time, I know this feels like an eternity. But, this adage isn't wrong. So give the grace you give everyone else to yourself and just be. The plan, the answer, the rainbow...it's coming. I have to believe, when the conditions are right, patience will pay off.
Grief comes in waves. It doesn't disappear. It just changes. And it will surprise you.
This weekend, someone asked me how many miscarriages we had had. I responded "just one."
Just one. WHAT? Why did I say that? Excuse me, one is enough. One is too many. One is still devastating. One is still heartbreaking. One is still worthy of grief. I felt immediately guilty and ruminated on it for minimizing our one experience. The other person didn't think much about that answer probably, but maybe she did; I am not sure. I am still working through that minimization. But this is part of grief. The moving forward process is messy.
I have been sad at inopportune times. I've been mad at insignificant instances. I have been gutted by baby coupons in our mailbox. But, overall I've been determined to exercise bravery and positivity. Some might think these posts are me dwelling on our misfortune or that I'm just a complete downer. Some might think if I'd just stop talking about them, my heart would heal and I'd move on. But, guess what, writing these blog posts are part of what is healing my heart. It's providing an outlet to process feelings but also giving me a way to connect with others. (See point 4). Writing has always been a safe space for me. Plus, I am advocate for transparency, even in the hard stuff. And speaking into the hard stuff removes its power and allows us to use it as fuel for better. If these posts make you uncomfortable or sad, then by all means, don't read them.
Your grief journey will be different than mine. You might need to eat the whole sleeve of Oreos. You might need to train for a half-marathon. You might need to not leave the bed for a week (or longer). You might need to go to work the next day and pretend nothing happened. You might need to quit your job. You might need to cry at every baby announcement and diaper commercial. You might need to give up social media. And you might need to do all of these things at some point. Or you might do none of these. But, let it be known, and understood, your grief is yours to process. And, you must let it happen. But, also let it be know, you don't have to grieve alone (Again, see point 4).
1 in 4. 1 in 8. These aren't just statistics. These are people. REAL PEOPLE. They are YOU and ME. And, good golly, these people are amazing. I wasn't looking to join this tribe. I wasn't looking for a new label. I wasn't looking for any of this. But, this loss and this struggle can be isolating, yet they don't have to be because there are a freaking ton of people who know this path. I was astounded by the sheer number of people who reached out to support and still so many more that shared their version of this struggle or this loss, or both.
The sense of community is unimaginable. You're in the club now. So I'd like you to join me. Let's make the most of the membership you and I paid a high price for. And, even if you're generally a private person, you're probably going to find yourself sharing. So: SHARE. TALK ABOUT IT. AND TALK SO MORE. Do it for your sake. The memories will slip out. The dashed hopes will be verbalized. The loss is going to be magnified and realized. But, if you lean into this loss, you'll find the ladies and gents who are holding you up. And, to be honest, they might not even know they're contributing to your healing. But it's the kindest and strongest band of mommas and crew you couldn't even dream up. To give you a glimpse of who you'll likely find in this community:
Being thankful for a miscarriage isn't what I'm talking about. No one is ever thankful for this experience, of that I am pretty certain. But I am grateful for the ability to weather this experience and for the person it's making me. Gratitude is personal so I can't begin to tell you that you'll be thankful for anything or that you have to be.
But for me, I've got some stuff for which I am appreciative. This journey, it's fortifying my constitution and my faith. This has shown me a different side of humanity, one that is vulnerable. And frankly, flying in the face of logic, it's probably made me more positive then I was before. Dad's lessons of PMA (positive mental attitude) hit home thirty-two years later. I also think it gave me a good dose of perspective -- I take fewer things for granted than I did previously. And, I am grateful for the extra unexpected time it's given Nick and I as just husband and wife. I wouldn't want what we've gone through for more time, but we're, for all intents and purposes, better than we were a year ago.
And, while we're on the subject of husbands... soap box moment ... I am blessed with the best. I think I always knew that but nothing reinforces that more than something like this. Nick has been at my side for everything. He made sure we could come home to our new home after the procedure last year because I wanted solitude in what would be our family home. (Reminder, he was building our house, with his own two hands last year during all of this.) He didn't hesitate to make a mad dash to IKEA to get a bedroom set and assemble it, or baulk about bringing our lives into a construction zone and living in it from then on. He's grieved in his own way (and similarly in some respects too). He's been eternally positive and an example of quiet resolve that I've consistently drawn from. Thank you, husband. xo
My hope, if this is your path too, is that you have this in your life. If you do, please take a moment to appreciate your spouse.
You have strength you didn't know you needed. You will soldier on. You will laugh again. You will cry at something small or arbitrary. You will be able to look at someone all too well meaning in the face and say, "yes, thank you, I know about ovulation trackers" or "no, adoption isn't part of our plan right now, but thanks for reminding me of the options." and not break down. You will be to see each day through because life moves fast and participation is required. And, if for nothing else, because you've got mom/dad strength now. And from what I hear, and see, parents just 👏 get 👏stuff👏done.
Blessed are the distractions for they get you through the days.
This might look like: Laundry. Cleaning the toilet. Grocery runs. Niece and nephew school programs. Work. Pets. Instagram. Netflix. Vacation. You'll find yours (or the many) and let them happen. Make peace with the ordinary. Don't feel guilty for getting lost in something non-loss or baby-related. It might just be during this time, you find your heart taking a necessary breather and you begin to feel a bit more human again.
If everything is important, nothing is. This is my most recent revelation. Earth-shattering, right? Oh, wait, I mean, basic. Right? Well, either way... I tend to have my fingers in everything. That candle of mine is always lit at every end. Dinner at 10 or 11 is normal, yeah?
And, word to the masses, if you want to message me and tell me the all too helpful advice that stress can impede pregnancy or cause less than ideal circumstances for a babe, bless your heart and save it. You can't do it for me.
But in this last year, I kind of immersed myself in more. My constant going has almost worn me flat out. And I realize I don't want to do that any longer. So I am taking stock of where my heart wants to be, what I want to expend my energies on, and what I want to do to get me to where I want to go next. I want to live by WANT or GET TO not SHOULD. So, it's on. Here comes quality > quantity. That planner is going to look different in 2019.
My wish for you is that you grant yourself the permission to do the same. Say yes to what makes your heart leap and say no to the things that feel like obligations. Nothing weighs one down more than the should's. Plus, I hear that your priorities are totally rearranged once a babe lands in your lap, so a little practice now can't hurt.
Undoubtedly, life teaches us lessons. For me, and for many others, miscarriage is just one of them. But intermixed are so many others. I guess this notion of being a lifelong learner thing is really a thing.
Until next time, may you keep holding on to hope and slaying stigma.
Well, it's been way too long since I've checked in on the ol' blog. Shamefully, Born Daily has become a casualty of our move back to the homeland. There's no excuse other than not making it a priority. Forgive me?
We'll be back to regularly scheduled programming as soon as I have a kitchen, pots and pans, and my sanity back. We sold a bunch of stuff before we moved so there's some shopping to do. Whhhhhhy? Remind me again why I thought that was a good idea? (Target and Williams and Sonoma, you better come through for me. ha)
For the last three years, I've written an anniversary post. Accordingly, for the love of our four years, I'm dusting off the keyboard.
Yep, We're four years deep into #MrandMrsBorn.
It's truly hard for me to remember what life was like before our "us." But, I'm confident it wasn't better. I wasn't better. But, the universe really came through with this one and, I am forever grateful.
In the name of tradition, allow me to wax poetic. My top two takeaways from this latest year of love are as follows:
1. Marriage takes guts.
Like actual courage, because empathy, advice, honesty, goals, playfulness, finances, and commitment aren't light work. They're not "hard" per say, but this isn't a time to phone it in. Marriage should make you a better person, right ? That can't happen if you don't have the guts to love yourself first and love someone else equally, but differently too. You've got to be comfortable enough to not only wear your scroungy clothes and bedhead, but also to bear your soul to another person. You're totally open, emotionally invested, and utterly connected. You're basically naked. (Well, not actually. Okay, probably, actually sometimes ;).) This level of exposure creates the bond upon which all good and strength is built. As basic as this seems, marriage is about sharing the good stuff, the hard stuff, and the surprising stuff together. BUT, the good news when you're all-in as a team, all that stuff -- even the gut check stuff -- is just another adventure, albeit wild, joyful, hysterical, challenging, or scary, or all of the aforementioned.
2. Patience isn't overrated. Neither is food.
We're building a house together. Literally Nick's sweat equity is building the structure that is becoming our home and I am doing my darnedest as a gopher and helper. Patience is figuratively one of biggest line items on our budget.
We had sooooo many people tell us that if we can survive building a house together, we can survive anything. People made it sound like it would be the hardest thing we'd do together. Guys, I'm here to tell you, it's truly not been that bad. We went in with the expectation that we each had something to bring to the project. We're both the experts on certain subjects or decisions. You're not going to ask me to tell you what wall needs framed or how to do it; and, you're not going to ask Nick what color we're painting which room. We spent months planning for the project and I really think that preparation has allowed us to be more patient with the project, with the process, with the hiccups, and with each other.
Full disclosure, there have been plenty of times where our annoyance thresholds were burgeoning, and, there have a been three or four times, Nick and I have had a full-fledged, fury-filled fight. BUT we've always come back with cooler heads, and often fuller bellies, and rehashed what unhinged us and then moved forward.
How could we do that? // Why could we do that? Because of grace and patience. Not only patience with each other, but patience with oneself and giving each other the grace and space to deal with what triggered us. Patience is a form of love I'm still actively working on.
Also, if you know me I tend to be hangry if I've not had a meal or snack. And Nick, though he'll deny it, can he hangry himself. Naturally, we can assume that hanger has contributed to our annoyances and arguments. Never underestimate the power of food. Your body needs fuel and nourishment. Snickers has it right, "you're not you when you're hungry." But even more than the physical response to food, sharing a meal together (whether it be from a take out container or from a dinner plate) is a genuine way to connect. It is truly my love language. I highly suggest cooking together, eating together, and dining together. Anything can be solved or remembered or rekindled over a meal. The lesson in this: Snack hard. Love hard.
So, what's to come for us in this year? The conclusion of #BornsBuildAHouse: A HOME. And, a mortgage again. (warm fuzzies, right?) Really though, OUR HOME. We're stoked to continue to build, paint, furnish, and decorate #casadeBorn. And it's pretty convenient that Hallmark tells us that the modern fourth anniversary gift is appliances. We've got that covered -- winning!
There's no one I'd rather do life with. Can't wait to keep loving you four-ever!
Happy Fourth Anniversary, Lovebird!
And, in true anniversary tradition, check out our highlight reel with the annual Flipagram:
To the newlyweds, the long-timers, those "just" dating, and those anticipating what's to come: Let love guide you. Let laughter renew you. Let the shenanigans keep you young. Cheers from #MrandMrsBorn!
Until next time. xo-
ps at what point do I have to stop saying these are newlywed reflections?
Hi, I'm Jessica. This is my blog. Really, it is. I started it. Annnnnnnnnnndddddd, well, you can tell it's been too quiet over here. I probably don't need to do introductions again, but if you're just now joining in with the Born Daily adventures, you've come at a good time.
It's our anniversary! That's nearly 1,100 days married. Wooooooo! I could regale you with tales from the year, and I still might. But I'm feeling like being a little out of character, and cutting to the chase. So here it is:
Marriage is pretty cool.
That's all I have.
Okay, I also have a giddy, memory-induced smile on my face brought on by a few of my favorite N+J photos from our engagement session and big day. Mike and Julie from JSiPhotography are outta this world good. All the credit goes to them for helping us retain these special moments.
Ooooookay, maybe I have a little more.
Marriage is pretty cool because:
I'm settling into this wifey role with every passing day. I love cooking meals for him and generally managing our life.** I adore having another half (arguably, sometimes the better half). I live for big and small adventures with Nicholas. I am challenged every day by his unwavering logical thinking, his lack of filter, his unending curiosity and his overtly apparent belief in systems and science. I am strengthened by his positive outlook and the steady pace at which he takes on life. I am amazed by his natural mechanical talents, his charm and his ability to assess situations quickly. He is one-of-a-kind. And, I am so glad he's mine and I am his.
What's happened this year with #MrandMrsBorn? In so many words, in the last year, we've:
For those of you newly engaged, just starting the wedding march, or seasoned pros, may marriage make you more. More than just two individuals. More than just another couple. More than just a label or status. May you have little moments and big magic. May you have enough peace to keep your sanity and enough challenge to keep you thriving. May you have kisses, laughter and alllllll the food and drink you enjoy together. And for those of you with September anniversaries, cheers! It's the best time of the year! (only slightly biased...)
**I don't want to hear about how I am conforming to dated gender roles and damning my female counterparts or renouncing any beliefs I have in equality. Nick doesn't expect this and doesn't request anything. I choose to show my love in domestic ways because that is where my heart and some natural talent lies. I'm doing me. You just do you. We can at least agree it takes both people who agree and understand each role to make the partnership work well.
But for the record, I hate putting away the laundry. That's something I will do, but I don't like that at all. Husband, take over if you want. Just don't mix up the athletic socks with the dress socks and make sure to hang my shirts by color, style and material please. ;)
Y'all...it's time for some renewal, some adventure, and some sun! That's right, no blogging for the next week because it's VACAY time. If I had some scheduled content for you lovelies, this would be a moot point. possibly
I know, I know, you aren't supposed to announce an absence...but since we don't have a physical address to creep on, I think this one time it's safe...
But, this isn't a post for post's sake. Yesterday, when I was on Facebook, for the gazillionith unnecessary time, I stumbled across this article. It's a list of things to do so your life is full of the good stuff. It stirred my soul, again. It is what the universe knew I needed as I am in a bit of a struggle with this precarious position between some entrepreneurial freedom and the must of stability. But more than anything, I know I want to, okay, I need to, LIVE BIG!
Check it out -->
I hope something in this list speaks to you, challenges a notion or two, or prompts you to go for whatever your heart is aching for. Self care is critical in this crazy world we live in. Raise your hand and commit to something because you're worth it. Your family and friends are better for it, promise. Plus take them along on the adventure!
Okay, GTG. I still need to shove the all the things in our suitcase.
(And for the record I think the husband is the one who's over packing. Clearly, he's the one who wants to have back-up books in case there's extra time to read...and the ones he wants to read were only in hardback...facepalm... Okay, maybe that's me, but who can be for certain? I do think he's taking more clothes than me so there's that.)
Today is our second anniversary. Yes, 730 days spent married. Maybe it's not that long, but maybe it's one year closer to forever. (insert mushy emoticon here, right?)
I wanted to have a reflection similar to last year's, but something that grand wasn't on my heart. It's not that I am less elated for this year's milestone, it's just that more is currently going on. Life fills up and speeds up. I literally feel like I just wrote our first year post. I mean, seriously, where does time go? When people warn little kids not to wish for their days to go faster, they are serious. It's like pedal to the metal after age 25.
But today, I am lucky, the universe gave me a chance to pause. I am transitioning from one job to another and have today serendipitously off. (More on that on another day.) So, I am writing this from our newly completed back patio (more on that too) in the sunshine with our pups nearby. G-l-o-r-i-o-u-s. Thanks, universe!
Year 2: we bought a house. I think that sums up the pace for our year. We searched, we financed, we moved, we're redoing and decorating. Yep, that about covers it.
Oh wait, we learned about each other throughout this process too. Yes, that's where this is going, that what we've confirmed that marriage is about showing up each day and putting in the effort to learn and love. It's like PD, or continuing education for couples.
Here's the rundown of a few reflections from our second year of marriage (from my perspective and own experience.):
1. Being partners means saying the hard stuff and supporting even when you think the other is crazy.
I am admittedly not the easiest person on the planet. I have idiosyncrasies out the ears. And, I am impatient to boot. Nicholas is, well, cut from the same cloth but in a totally opposite fashion. To say we're wired differently would be entirely accurate. BUT IT WORKS because we understand who we each are and love each other for it. Moreover, we respect each other for it. During the house hunt and our eventual purchase and mini-renovations, we've brought the crazy out in each other. I've been bent out of shape about caulking and trim and he's been flabbergasted that I think finding old stuff and houses have charm. Our priorities for projects aren't the same and what seems logical to one is gibberish to the other. So, we've argued, thrown our hands up, threatened to put a for sale sign in the yard, but have always come back to each other. We've been honest, we've been irate, we've been surprisingly chill, we've been it all. It's all about talking through it, conceding sometimes, compromising often, and collaborating a lot. We're building a life and the home is just part of it.
2. Space for each person is important.
In the first year, it's kind of like you are attached at the hip. That's part of the awesomeness of the first 365. But it's also important to have your own space. There needs to be time to retain and develop who each of you are and what you bring to the partnership. Well-cared for individuals equal a couple well-positioned for longevity and lots of love. We've tried to continue things, or find new ones, that bring us, as individuals, release and joy. What have we done in this last year? Dabbled in yoga, ran, built a workshop, spent more time with friends, volunteered for committees and organizations we have interests in, found ways we can serve, and each took on side jobs. Each of our "own" activities allows us each to have more to share with each other.
3. Remember, there's no map or plan for marriage. It is totally unique to the couple.
During the engagement and the first year, you get a lot of advice. Like a lot. Enough to overwhelm even the most steadfast pair. There's a lot of pressure to do things a certain way or please everyone. Then, after the new wears off, things calm down a bit. And then...well people begin to wonder what your next steps are (buy a house, have a baby, go on a big trip together, advance in your careers, etc.). Most people are asking because they care, they want to help, and are genuinely curious. HEAR ME NOW: There is NO plan. There is NO right way to be married. Each couple has their own pace. There might be a natural ebb and flow in life and some similar patterns to coupledom, but there is no prescribed path. It's good to keep perspective. If we spend our time worrying about the expectations of others, we lose our ability to choose willfully and with abandon as well as enjoy the rewards or learn from the missteps. I've always loved surprises but always want to have a plan. As contradictory as that is they both can coincide. But in this instance, our marriage is the grandest adventure I've been on yet and I am so thankful to be the co-pilot for my best friend.
I heard an excellent song earlier today. While we tend to use 90's country as our love songs, but I think Nick won't mind that I stray a bit for this one; it is incredible. Check out "I Wasn't Expecting That" by Jamie Lawson. Nick swept me off my feet 4 years ago as of October 1st. I truly wasn't expecting to fall fast, fall hard, fall forever. He's still the best thing that's ever happened to me. #Iamtheluckiest
In the spirit of tradition, let's take a quick look at our 2nd year!
Happy Second Anniversary, Lovebird! Here's to another year of choices, chances, and change. May we continue to drive each other a little nuts and love like crazy. xoxo
Now, for all of the other September anniversaries and weddings, we wish you the best! You picked a fabulous time of year to start and celebrate the rest of your life. Let's cherish our time, make a lot of memories, and love love.
Until next time--