Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Healing After Miscarriage

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, miscarriage happens in 10% of all known pregnancies. Chances are you know someone who has experienced a miscarriage. The chances are actually pretty high that you know someone who has experienced more than one. I have been in that 10%...twice. I briefly mentioned my first loss here and here, but I realized I had never shared my full experience of that loss. I know mine is only one story among thousands, but I feel compelled to share. It might just be one story that helps someone get through something you can never prepare yourself for.

After being terrified of pregnancy, birth, and even motherhood for most of my adult life, we decided we were as ready as we could get. We had decided to start trying to conceive, but we weren't super serious about it. We weren't even 100% sure of dates when it was time to leave town for Christmas that year. However, I was late enough that I was pretty sure I knew what a test would say. I wasn't prepared to keep that kind of news from my family, but I also wasn't ready to tell them that early, so I just waited to take a test until we got home. I was a bit clueless and nervous, so I texted my doctor friend (so thankful for you Brit!) and got a pep talk as we got closer to home. I ran inside to take the test and thought I would have time to watch for the results while my husband brought in our luggage. Instead, the digital test flashed four lines and then "pregnant" before I was able to pull up my leggings.

Speechless, I walked into the entryway and waited among the luggage and Christmas loot my husband was unpacking for him to come back inside. I didn't even say anything when he did. I am not sure what my face was saying, but I just held up the test to show him. We hugged and laughed, but it didn't sink in right way. We unpacked and put away our things. He went to his vinyl record haven in the basement to organize the new goodies he got for Christmas, and I stayed upstairs...and cried.

Basically, I panicked.

I wasn't sad, but overwhelmed would be an understatement. I sat there on our bed, and the weight of bringing a child into this world flooded over me. I prayed for him or her. I prayed for guidance so I might have some small clue of what to do as we started this journey. I prayed that I might lead this baby to love Jesus and be a shining light in an often dark and scary world. And I cried a little more.

After my initial panic, we started allowing it to sink in and become a part of things. We quickly started to talk about what things would be like with a baby. Everything shifts to include this little person you have never met, and you are suddenly building your life and all your future plans around them. Though you can never truly imagine what it is like (especially when it is your first), it was easy for us to pretend and talk and dream about our growing family. I called the doctor and eagerly scheduled my first appointment, and we went about life with a bit more excitement...until one Sunday just a week or so later when I noticed the faintest traces of blood.

I told myself it was fine. I googled things online. I texted Brittney, and I tried not to freak out. Then I started feeling slight cramps. I tried to convince myself it was in my head. I tried to make myself believe that it was just normal discomfort, but I think in my heart I knew all along that something wasn't right.

The next morning I called and left a message with my OB and headed to work. It wasn't long before the pain got worse, the bleeding was getting heavier, and I knew the answer to any questions I might have had previously. I was frustrated that I hadn't heard back from the OB's nurse. I was panicked because I didn't know what to do, and I didn't want to text my husband at work to ruin his day. When I really felt like I knew for certain I called him and headed home to wait for him to make the commute home. The cramps were more intense than any I had ever experienced in my almost 29 years. I tried laying on the couch, but the pain kept me in the restroom. I don't even know how long it all lasted, but it was intense. I couldn't stop crying thinking about the reality of what was happening. I was still mad at the doctor's office, and I was broken thinking about my poor husband. I was angry that I didn't know why it was happening...and then it was over. There was nothing left to do but lay on the couch and wait for him to get home.

I will never-ever-for-as-long-as-I-live forget him walking through the front door in silence and joining me on the couch. It was so heavy and foreign to him, and we both just cried. There wasn't much else to do. Crying is mostly what I did for the next few days. I stayed home from work, but most of it is a blur, except for me crying uncontrollably. I had lab work done to confirm what I already knew and took myself out to eat where I distinctly remember watching a pregnant waitress walk by me what seemed like 473 times. I remember thinking bitter thoughts over my fancy macaroni and cheese, and then I headed home to cry some more. I would tell myself I was going to be okay and get it together, but the tears still came. I don't remember how long this went on...three? four days maybe?

Then one day I woke up, and I really was okay. Don't get me wrong. I wasn't "over it", but I knew I would be okay. The world had, in fact, not ended while I grieved, and I knew I had to pick myself up. I did not and will not ever forget that experience. It has had a deep impact on who I am today, how I experienced my pregnancy with Henry after that, and how I have been able to connect with other women going through similar experiences. When I was able to talk to a friend who had experienced her own loss a few years before, I felt so much better. There is a lot to be said for solidarity, community, and sisterhood. It is a unique experience that I couldn't connect over with my mom, husband, or single friends, and that is why I share this here today. I don't know if it will help anyone or if anyone will even read it, but if you are here and have been down that road...you will be okay. While you will always remember and long for the baby you never met, the sadness will not always consume your whole world. You might be a little resentful of pregnancy announcements and baby shower invites, and you may be scared to try again. But let me tell you now, you can overcome. Try not to let anger control you. Remember it is not your pregnant friend's fault that you experienced this loss, but also give yourself some grace and time. Talk to friends, and pray to God. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

...and oftentimes there is even a rainbow.


Tuesday, April 2, 2019

It's okay not to hustle hard

I have debated sharing some version of this so many times. I have had this conversation with myself in my head over and over. I have worried my feelings might be misconstrued, but I just keep getting hit with this same idea. I couldn't let it go any longer.

I don't want to be a mom boss...

And that's totally okay.

You see, I think it is 100% A-okay to be a boss lady and hustle and set goals and achieve great things in your business. These things can be huge blessings to your family and to others, and that is a great thing! We have so many great products, resources, organizations, and ministries thanks to women who are driven to achieve big goals outside the home. We need these ladies!

However, I think it is also okay if your ambition lies in other places, like working part-time to provide income for your family but also trying to balance time with your kids. It is okay if your goal is to stay home and educate your children while creating a warm and inviting space for your family and others. It is okay if you just want to stay home and soak up every single moment with your little people because you can, and you know how fleeting your time is with them.

In a world full of "boss lady" t-shirts and "hustle hard" mugs, I am here to tell you: it is okay to choose a different route.

This is such a hard topic because the last thing I want is for it to seem like I disapprove of the choice to be a "mom boss". The reason I bring it up at all is because for a while I was feeling pretty down about the whole thing. I felt like maybe I was missing out on something because I didn't have that. It is easy to see the glamorous side of things when you think about how good it feels to accomplish goals. Validation is a great feeling. It is empowering to make that sale, finish that project, crush that goal, and cash the check. I totally get it. But I also know just how much hard work that all takes, and right now I am flat-out not willing to put the time and energy to get there.

I tried to build a small business after Henry was born, and it was going pretty well. I wrote a bit about it here, but what it boils down to is that a business takes a lot of time that I am not willing to spend away from my guys. Sure, I get a little crabby occasionally and need a little space some days, but most often I just want to be home with my people redecorating rooms and planning projects for our home and family. I love the idea of owning a business, designing a website, publishing material, learning, marketing...you get the idea. But what I love more is spending weekends going for donuts and groceries or maybe a trip to the zoo. I love the idea of being a successful business person, but I know myself. I know I am not at a point in my life where I am ready to commit the time and energy it takes to do it...and I am okay with that. For now I will expel that energy on being the one to make the doctor's appointments, sports pickups, and all the other things. I want to be that person, and I am realizing that there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, despite the rhetoric I hear daily from much of the outside world.

Once I realized it wasn't because I couldn't do it but because I was making the choice not to, everything became so much easier. It isn't because I am incapable. It is because I am unwilling at this stage in my life. It isn't that I can't ever do those things, but I am choosing not to do them now. I see how quickly these two years with Henry have gone by, and I can't even wrap my mind around it. I don't want to miss any more moments trying to get ahead in a business venture. Those opportunities and ideas, though different, will be there when my children aren't so close. I may get run down, stretched thin, and all touched out some days, but I love my current position here at home.

I admire the ladies who are able to run businesses, juggle family and work, ask for help, and make big things happen. I can't imagine trying to balance all those things! I also realize that having the opportunity to stay home is an enormous blessing. I know not everyone is able to do so, and that is not lost on me. I am beyond grateful to be able to be right here for each and every moment so far.

Besides...I'm still the mom and the boss at my job. It works for me.


Master Bathroom: Painted Floor Project

When we moved into our current home there was a long list of things I wanted to change. The disgusting carpet, the yellow-beige walls, and t...