nourishing & unapologetic
One year ago today I had the first suspicion I was pregnant.
We spent the night before celebrating the wedding of one of our favorite couples on the planet in the most idyllic setting in the Ozarks. Although it was a late night of fun, I wasn’t hungover (card-carrying drink-waster right here. Coke, Diet Pepsi and Dr. Pepper are my party beverages of choice), but this nausea was REAL.
While Nick slept I snuck out to snag a Sprite (from the vending machine right near our room) to go with the famed ginger snaps Big Cedar leaves in each room. (And if you didn't know, ginger is a natural remedy for queasiness.) Serendipity, I tell ya.
I rallied enough to pretend nothing was unusual and chalked it up to a lack of sleep. I hadn't fathomed we were expecting so it was only a quiet suspicion being tamped out by the loudness of doubt.
This selfie is from the night before. It’s one of the last pictures I have of my former self (albeit with professional hair and makeup 💄 ✨).
It would take me five more days after this picture to get the courage to take the home pregnancy test I'd so tentatively purchased while fervently praying I didn't see anyone I knew during my self-checkout process. But once I did take the test, it would take me all of about 15 seconds to realize our lives would never be the same.
Two pink lines: Ubiquitous. The symbol of song lyrics-- the cliche that's so cloying, it's true. Two pink lines was all it took to change my heart and soul.
From that point forward, the dreams and plans about what you'll do with this pregnancy, growing bump, and soon-to-be babe are almost immediate. The gravity of the responsibility and gift are intuitively recognized. The innate need to be better is instantaneous.
And, then when our ultrasound was silent, the despair was deafening.
For some reason, I never posted this picture, other than the original Snap it's from, but have held onto it through all my necessary and all too often iPhone photo purges. I think my subconscious kept this photo because I knew what it represented.
This is the last picture of me, the woman who didn't know about miscarriage.
That Jess... I wouldn't go back to her for a second.
I was the woman who still knew about infertility but now also knew a new kind of disappointment.
I was the woman who didn't know about loss.
I was the woman who didn't know know that miscarriages happen a lot.
I was the woman who didn't recognize that patience is a learned practice.
I was the woman who didn't yet know that this level of empathy and frustration can co-exist.
I was the woman who didn't share all her heart, but now knows the only way out is through.
I was the woman who didn't know miracles really do happen.
Leading up to this week, I've been silently on tilt. My emotions have been a bit out of whack. I've been fixated on strange and insignificant things. I've been pretending to not think about the dates looming ahead of us. I've been pretending not to go back into the September/October 2017 section of photos on my phone. I've been pretending that I still adore September as much as I always have. I've been pretending I'm fine. But somehow in all that pretending, I actually faith-ed it til I made it because this week I'm oddly feeling pretty at peace.
I'm working on a post about what miscarriage teaches you which will be coming soon. But in the meantime, to the woman who recognizes herself in my reflections and experience, may you know:
Mommas-in-waiting, loss mommas, and all those in between, I see you. To those who love us through this, I see you too and thank you.
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,