It’s Okay To Not Be Okay

Miscarriage

It’s okay to not be okay… and today I am not okay. A year ago today I was happy. I went to a doctor appointment that I thought would leave me joyous and thankful. Instead it left me with every emotion imaginable, and this is when my grief first began. I was 11 weeks pregnant. I was supposed have an ultrasound and hear my baby’s heartbeat for the very first time. Instead I heard the words “I’m so sorry, we can’t find a heartbeat.” Instead of feeling joyous, I left feeling empty and broken.

My life changed that day. I became an angel mommy. I had to learn how to let go of a child that I fell in love with but didn’t get to meet. I learned who my true friends and family were. I learned how incredibly common pregnancy loss is, even though no one talks about it. I learned that there are good people in the healthcare system who go above and beyond for their patients. I also learned how the healthcare system let’s so many women like me down. I learned how to grieve, how to live, and how to be happy again. It wasn’t easy, and trust me… I’m still working on it.

Grief is a burden that we all have to deal with in this life. There is no telling how or when you’ll go through it. But we grieve because we love. It hurts because we don’t want to say goodbye. It’s confusing because we don’t know how to handle it until it happens. But more often than not grief brings people together. Whether it’s losing a parent, losing a sibling, losing a friend, losing a child, losing a neighbor, a coworker or even someone well known… it hurts, and it unifies us.

So today I am not okay. I am giving myself permission to grieve my baby. I’m not going to feel guilty for not being my best today. I’m going breathe, rest and remember what I had before I had to say goodbye, and that’s okay.

I love you Mackenzie! Daddy and I miss you so much. 💕

New Possibilities

Life After Miscarriage, Miscarriage

No, this is not a pregnancy announcement or a trying to conceive announcement. This isn’t an announcement at all, but rather a vision for new opportunities. I love having friends and family who know me. I love having these people in my life who take the time to listen and care for my needs and desires as a person and as a woman.

Recently, one of my best friends gave me a gift. At first when I received the gift, I didn’t know how to feel or what to think. My friend Reaghan gave me a planner, but not just any planner. She gave me a Mommy To Be planner. This planner is specifically for expectant moms who want to organize and prepare for their baby’s arrival.

Now, I didn’t ask for this gift, and frankly I was a little shocked to have received it. After my first miscarriage, I knew I would eventually want to try and have another baby. But after experiencing a second miscarriage, I’m not really sure how I feel. I’ve had two pregnancies that ended with surgery, and trauma. I don’t know if I can bare another loss. I don’t know if my heart can take it. It scares me.

However, even though I’m not sure if I could handle another pregnancy, I am sure of something. I want to be mom. I believe I will be a mom somehow and in someway. Whether it’s through foster care, adoption, pregnancy, surrogacy, or ministry… I believe it’s what God has called me to do.

I think that’s why Reaghan gave me this gift. Not because she thinks I’m trying to get pregnant, and not because she didn’t know what to get me, but because she knows me. She knows I want to be a mom and she knew just what to give me in this time in my life, when I simply don’t know what the next step is. She is a true friend. ❤️

Counseling & Sea Glass

Just Me Blogging

As many of you know, I spent a handful of hours in counseling last year after my first miscarriage. Through counseling I was able to develop coping skills such as self talk, reflection, and anxiety management. I was in counseling approximately once a week from March to July. At the end of June I essentially “graduated” from counseling for awhile until I felt a need to return.

Since coming back to counseling after suffering my second miscarriage at the end of September; I have begun to rebuild the skills I had started to lose. This time around in counseling, not only have I gone more in-depth about grief and advocacy but also on how I can be in the NOW. As a student, planner, organization freak and perfectionist, I take pride in planning the future. Planning helps me prepare for change, and also prepare if things don’t go as planned. However, I really struggle with living in the NOW. I have lost that feeling, and that state of just being.

My counselor, who is a AMAZING I might add; had an idea for myself, and other students just like me. In her office she has on her desk a bowl of sea glass. Each piece of sea glass is different. Some are round. Some are rough. Some have cracks in them. Some are shaped like diamonds. Each piece is unique for each person. My counselor allowed each one of her students to take a piece of sea glass to hold on too. She explained to me that we as people need something tangible. We need something to hold on to. We need something to ground us.

So, everyday I carry with me my little piece of sea glass. I reach into my pocket and feel the smooth diamond shape. Sometimes I pull it out of my pocket and admire its’ little crack in the center. This crack reminds me of myself, in the sense that I’m scarred but I’m not broken. It is a wonderful, real item that I feel, and serves as a reminder that it is okay to live in the now.

Let’s Change the Way We Treat Women Who Have Suffered a Miscarriage.

Life After Miscarriage, Miscarriage

This past semester, I took a public speaking class. I had quite a bit of apprehension before taking this class as I really don’t like speaking in public. In fact, I have registered for this class a handful of times before, but have always dropped it before the beginning of the semester. What can I say… I really didn’t want to take this class. However, since I am close to the end of my college career, I figured I better get it done, since it is a required course.

In this class, I had the opportunity to give a persuasive speech on a topic I am very passionate about. I took about a week to contemplate and brainstorm on my topic, until I was ready to present the speech topic to my professor. The topic I decided was miscarriage, but not just miscarriage. I wanted to give a persuasive speech and argue that their be a change in the way women are treated after suffering a miscarriage, in society and in the healthcare system.

I organized my speech into 3 main points:

1. Language, and what to say and not to say to a woman after suffering a miscarriage.

2. Policy changes that I would like to implement in the healthcare system.

3. Advocacy for women of loss.

The day of my speech I was very anxious. I was scared I would break down while speaking because this topic was too close to home. I was afraid I would trip over my words, forget something or go over my time limit. Ultimately, I was scared I wouldn’t be able to do it. Regardless, when it was my turn to get up and present my speech, I took a deep breath, prayed that God would help me through, and began.


“When a child loses his parent, they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses his or her partner, they are called a widow or widower. When parents lose their child… there isn’t a word to describe them.” – President Ronald Regan


The above quote by Ronald Reagan was my attention getter for my speech. I went on to argue my main points and why I feel there needs to be a change. I ended my speech by saying: It is likely you will know someone in your life who has suffered a miscarriage, and coming from someone who has suffered two miscarriages, my hope is that you take something from this speech and change the way we look at miscarriage.

At the end of my speech, my classmates applauded and asked me various questions about miscarriages, pregnancy and resources. When class was over and I was walking out, a girl in my class came up to me. She told me she loved my speech, and really appreciated the things I had to say about miscarriage and some good things to tell women who have suffered a loss. She even disclosed to me that she too had suffered a miscarriage, and it was the worst most terrifying experience of her life. As she confided in me, in the middle of the hallway, I so badly wanted to give her a hug, as I too knew her pain. But when I looked in her face, I could tell she was fighting back tears, and it took a lot for her to come and talk to me. So, instead I said “thank you for sharing that with me.” She smiled while still holding back tears and went the other direction.

In that moment, I knew I was meant to give that speech, and I again understood that I am meant to share my story and advocate for miscarriage/pregnancy loss. Even though it’s hard, and even though I didn’t really think this was my purpose, I now know I have to do it. Even if as an advocate, author or speaker I only impact one person… I know I will have made a difference.

My Worst Fear… Again

Miscarriage, Pregnancy

The following post is my story of how I experienced my second miscarriage. In this post I show vulnerability in retelling my second loss. I also share details in my miscarriage, so I do want to offer a TRIGGER WARNING before anyone begins reading my post. Please feel free to stop reading, and take care of you if my words, and my story are challenging to read.

At 12am on Sunday September 29th, I was startled awake. Something was wrong. Something was very wrong. I had just gotten home from the ER a few hours prior. I was advised by my doctors and nurses to get some rest. I had only been asleep for a few hours when I woke up at midnight. I was confused. My heart was racing. I was sweating and I felt really uncomfortable. It’s just anxiety. Calm down. Relax. Baby is okay. I tried talking myself down from my minor panic attack.


I nudged Charles awake. He held my hand and we both fell back asleep.


I woke up again around 2:15am. I woke up sweaty and gross and had to go to the bathroom. I was scared to see I was still spotting and it was getting worse. I was now seeing bright red blood instead of light pink. In wasn’t a lot of blood, but it was getting darker. I prayed, prayed, prayed then fell back asleep.

I woke up at 4am in pain. Cramps radiated from my groin throughout my back. I couldn’t get comfortable. I held my belly, then curled up in a ball. It wasn’t taking the pain away. I got out of bed and tried stretching my legs and my back. I was so confused. What was going on? Why was I in so much pain? After a few minutes of stretching the pain died down. I laid back down. Fifteen minutes later it happen again. Sheering pain was radiating through my core. I tried stretching, pacing and slowly breathing, at that moment it dawned on me. Oh my gosh… I know what this is. Cramps that are painful that radiate throughout my back. Uncomfortable positions. Pain every few minutes. This pain wasn’t just cramps, these were labor pains. I was in labor and I was going to lose this baby.

When this realization hit me, I wanted to throw up. Part of it was the pain, and part of it was my mind and emotions trying to catch up with what my body already knew. I had cramps every fifteen minutes, then every ten minutes, then every five. I paced through my apartment, tried laying in bed and tried sitting on the toilet. Nothing helped with the pain. Around 5:15am, I found myself laying on my bathroom floor sobbing.


I felt scared and alone. I considered waking up Charles, but I didn’t. I didn’t want him to be scared.


At 5:36am I cried out to God. I pleaded with God to help me. I knew my baby was already gone, and my body had a job to do. I knew this was completely out of my control. I knew the end was coming, but I couldn’t bare to think about it. I asked God that if this was it, if I was truly going to lose my baby, then could He just please make it quick. Ten minutes later at 5:46am, I felt my baby leave my body. I felt blood pour out of me and I felt my heart shatter yet again as I said I’m so sorry to my baby, and left the bathroom.

I went into my room and woke up Charles. I sobbed and told him what happen. He was confused and saddened. He held me and we cried together. That was it, it was done. My second pregnancy and my Rainbow Baby Chase were gone.


The next morning we woke up and tried to wrap our minds around what had happen. I took it easy that day, since my body was truly drained. I reached out to family and friends and let them know what had happen. They sent their love and condolences. I couldn’t believe it. We lost another baby. Why? That afternoon, Alli and Andrea sent us some flowers that read: In Loving Memory of Baby Chase. Reading this made me cry, and after that I didn’t cry for awhile. I didn’t feel like I should.

A Scare at 7 Weeks and 3 Days

Miscarriage, Pregnancy

Saturday September 28th, was supposed to be a very relaxing day. I didn’t have any plans that day except for studying and relaxing at home. I spent the morning in my pjs, drinking decaf coffee and catching up on some reading. Charles headed to our university’s football game and hung out with friends. I felt completely fine, except some cramping around my pelvis and cervix. However, I was convinced that this cramping was completely normal in early pregnancy.

Around 1:30pm I made myself some cheesy potatoes for lunch. I then went to the bathroom for probably the tenth time that day. When I went to the bathroom, I felt completely normal and pregnant. When I went to wipe though, I froze. Blood. There was blood. I was bleeding. I was spotting. Oh no! I instantly started to panic. It wasn’t a lot of blood, and if I were to describe it…. it was like the color of pink lemonade. Regardless, it was enough blood to scare me.


Why was I bleeding? This can’t be happening! Not again! I can’t handle this! I can’t handle another loss! I frantically started praying. God please, please keep baby Chase safe! I don’t want to lose him!


I immediately called Charles. Once I started crying, I couldn’t stop. I told Charles what was going on and he immediately headed home. While I waited for Charles I called my friend Andrea. She prayed over Chase and I. I also called the midwife on call. I explained to her how I was feeling, and what I was seeing. The midwife explained that unfortunately it did sound like another miscarriage, but I could always go the hospital to get checked out if I wanted to. When Charles got home he hugged me, and reassured me things were going to be okay. Then we headed to the hospital.

Going to the ER on a Saturday afternoon, I knew there would be a wait. However, I didn’t anticipate a full hour wait. When we were finally called back, I was able to relax and rest in bed. My cramps were still mild and the bleeding hadn’t gotten any worse. I was thankful for that. I explained to every nurse and doctor I saw my symptoms and medical history. I had a variety of tests done including CBC blood work, urine test, pelvic exam and three ultrasounds.

One nurse that particularly stood out to me was Doug. He was the best male nurse I have ever had. He went above and beyond to take care of me, my baby and my husband. He was funny and very willing to answer my questions. He also disclosed to us that his wife has had three miscarriages, and currently has two sons at home, and an infant in the NICU of the hospital. One thing Doug said that truly stood out to me, was this: At this point we don’t know if you are going to have a miscarriage or have a healthy pregnancy. But just try to take care of yourself and rest. Know that you have done nothing wrong. Sometimes it’s just not meant to be at this time….


Don’t be scared, because your body knows what to do, and it is going to do what needs to be done. So, take care of yourself and be there for one another because this affects both of you.


Based on all my tests, everything was completely normal. My blood work showed that my HCG was in the 2000s which was higher than I ever had with my first pregnancy. My hemoglobin, and thyroid levels also looked great. My urine was fine and no UTI. My pelvic exam was normal besides some uterine bleeding. Lastly, my ultrasounds all came back fine. The reason I had three ultrasounds is because the doctors had a hard time finding the fetus. The ER doctor first used an ultrasound machine beside, which apparently has a difficult time picking up a fetus smaller than 12 weeks. I was then sent to an ultrasound room where I had another test done over my belly. The tech also had a hard time finding the fetus, so I had to have an inner-vaginal ultrasound. During this test, the tech and Charles were able to see the baby. Baby was only measuring at 5 weeks and 2 days… which was strange since I was supposed to be two weeks further in my pregnancy. However, the doctors said it was a possibility I had ovulated late. Besides that, baby was still attached to the uterus and everything seemed normal.

That night around 6:30pm we were sent home. I called and texted family and friends to let them know what was going on. When we got home, I forced myself to rest and take it easy. Shortly after arriving home, I had to go to the bathroom again. Though I was hoping the bleeding had stopped, I was still anxious by what I saw. I was still bleeding and it was getting brighter and thicker. Even though I was cleared to go home, I still feared I was going to lose this baby. Charles took the evening to hold me, and reassure me that it was going to be okay. That night when I went to sleep I had peace and faith I was going to wake up in the morning, with no bleeding and feeling so much better. I was convinced my baby and I would be fine, until I woke up at 12am the next morning……

7 Weeks Pregnant

Pregnancy

At 7 weeks pregnant… I started to feel better. My nausea started to subside, and food was starting to appeal to me again. I think that since I had already experienced a loss, this symptom made me really nervous and anxious. I feared that I was losing my pregnancy symptoms and I was going to lose another pregnancy. However, I also wondered if it was just my nerves talking and this pregnancy was different than the first.

Around 6 weeks and 6 days I started to experience a really weird symptom. It was an aching pain deep near my cervix. It kind of felt like a menstrual cramp, but also just felt sore. I started to get concerned about this symptom as I had never experienced it during pregnancy before. I asked a friend and even a nurse at my OB clinic. They all said it sounded pretty normal. I also Googled the symptom, which probably wasn’t a good idea. The only term I could find was lightning pain. This is a term used when a woman experiences pain at the start of labor. I figured that probably wasn’t what I had and just decided to trust that everything was okay.

At 7 weeks exactly, I had my first OB appointment. I ended up going to the appointment by myself since Charles had class. It was just like last time as I had to sit with a nurse and talk about my medical history. I also met with the community health worker. In this meeting I felt compelled to share with her about my previous loss and how I was treated. I expressed to her how I was given promotional offers, samples and other reminders from various places. I shared how hurt I felt that I wasn’t given any resources until 3 months later. I expressed how I wasn’t treated kindly by my doctors. Lastly, I shared the struggle in the waiting room and how it can be hard on any woman of loss to have to sit among other pregnant moms.


The community health worker was so kind and supportive. She listened intently and allowed me to feel heard.


Unwanted Reminders

Life After Miscarriage, Poems

In the beginning of September, I was in a funk. Part of me was depressed and anxious as my “what would have been due date” was approaching…. While other parts of me, was excited for a new beginning. I was excited to start school again. I was excited to continue getting healthier and start our trying to conceive journey. I was also excited for fall, and all the fall things.

On September 7th, after coming home from my campus job, I looked through the mail. I discovered a letter from DHHS and opened it. As I read the letter I froze. I was shocked. I was angry and I was hurt. The letter read:


Reporting a Baby’s Birth. Our records show that you will be giving birth to a baby this month. Please…..


After that I stopped reading. I called my husband into the living room. I was heated. Why was DHHS sending me this document, when I had already called back in February and told them I had experienced a miscarriage? Charles encouraged me to call and leave a message. I was so angry, and I truly wanted to leave an enraged voicemail on my case worker’s phone. I wanted to… but I didn’t. I was afraid that if I had tore into my case worker…. it was likely he wouldn’t take me seriously. Instead I was stern, honest, and said that there was no reason I should have received this letter.

A few days later he called me back. He left a message and said that he was unaware I had had a miscarriage. For whatever reason he never got the message, but would fix it right away. Receiving this message made me even more angry. He didn’t get the message? Seriously!? Not only was I upset that he didn’t get my message, but it didn’t even make any sense. DHHS paid for my D & C! They paid for all of my appointments!


So why on earth did he not realize I wasn’t pregnant?


Receiving letters in the mail, promotional offers of baby items via email, and even a free case of baby formula left at my door; were just some of the many unwanted reminders I experienced before my due date.

Things to Say and Do After a Woman Has Had a Miscarriage

Just Me Blogging, Miscarriage, Resources

A few months ago I wrote a blog post titled The Hurtful Things People Say and What not to Say After a Woman Has Had a Miscarriage. I had quite a response to this post, as not only did people find it helpful, but also encouraged me to write a follow up post about Things to Say and Do After a Woman Has Had a Miscarriage. So… here we go.

1. The Best Things You Can Say is “I Love You, I’m Here for You, and I’m Sorry for Your Loss”

Wouldn’t you agree that after someone dies, there’s not really much of anything that people can say to take the pain away. Even though people don’t like to see you hurt, they also don’t know what to say. And when it comes to experiencing a miscarriage, people really don’t know what to say. They can see your grieving, but they don’t feel the loss nearly as deeply because they didn’t meet or have a bond with the life that was once inside you. Unfortunately, our society does not know how to treat miscarriage as a loss or death.

When I was grieving and at my worst, people didn’t know what to say to me either. There were people who said a lot of the wrong things, and there were a lot of people who just left me alone. But the best things people said to me that were not hurtful, did not offer unsolicited advice, and were sensitive were: “I love you, I’m here for you, I’m sorry for your loss, if you ever want to talk let me know, I’m thinking about you and I’m praying for you.”

2. Offering to Clean, Cook and Run Errands.

You know how when someone dies, people make you food? Well, I really appreciated this. I don’t know why food is such a comfort, but it is. It seems that when people don’t know what to say they make food. I had a neighbor make dinner for my husband and I, a yummy dish from the Dominican… it was amazing. Our associate pastor and his wife made us chicken, green beans and potatoes…. so good. My sister in law, who worked all day invited us over and made us a feast! Bless her heart. And my Momma provided me with lots of comfort food when I was recovering from surgery. Food doesn’t make everything better, but in that moment of grief when you need something to numb it for awhile, food helps.

3. Pampering the Angel Mommy

Being pampered by friends and family helped me in many ways. My momma bought me a massage right before Mother’s Day. I had no idea how badly I needed it, until my tears and emotions came out all over the table. My husband went out and bought me chicken wings at midnight when I was having a really emotional night and couldn’t sleep. My bestie Alli came over in the middle of the night and we drove all over town eating Oreos. So many people did kind things for me, when I needed it most, I highly recommend this. Of course I also would recommend proceeding with caution and sensitivity.

4. Providing Space to the Grieving Couple

I feel this is super important. The Momma is not the only one that experiences a pregnancy loss. Sure, she is the only one that experiences the physical pain of loss, but it’s also important to remember that father’s grieve too. I know of many men, my husband included who not only struggle to help their wives grieve, but also felt somewhat disregarded when it came to their grief and emotions. So, it is super important to allow the grieving couple time and space. Even recommending a getaway could be beneficial… but again proceed with caution.

5. Check In

Hearing the worst news, that your baby is gone is heartbreaking. It honestly numbs you. Looking back now, I barely remember the time in between my ultrasound and my surgery, and the whole month of March is a blur. I do remember laying in bed a lot, eating occasionally, crying until my head hurt and listening to sad music. I also remember having people check in. It’s something I would have never asked for, but truly appreciated. I had friends and family call and text me daily just to check in and make sure I was alive. So many of them opened the doors for communication and gave encouraging words to my tender broken heart. I highly recommend checking in on a friend or loved one if they have suffered a loss. It’s not much, but also not to pushy. Even if they don’t respond it is still nice that people care for you when you are feeling so alone, Sure, there were many times I didn’t want to talk, but I still loved that so many people cared. ❤️

6. Be Sensitive with Your Words

This is a big one… and I can’t stress this enough. Please be very careful with your words. After suffering a loss your mind and your heart are in a truly fragile state. It is likely that the grieving mother is heart broken, constantly blaming herself and hating life. So, it is truly important not to contribute to these emotions of anger and sorrow by saying things like “You’re young you’ll have more, or You shouldn’t have stressed yourself out so much, or at least you already have a baby.” For my advice on what not to say after having a miscarriage, check out my additional post at the bottom of this page.

7. Honoring Their Loss

Above anything else I’ve said, I think this is actually the most important. One of the biggest fears that I and so many moms have, is that the child they have lost will be forgotten, as if that little life that lived in them had never existed. It means the world to me when friends and family talk about my baby. It may make me sad and weepy, but also makes me feel loved and my baby never forgotten. I really appreciate it when’s friends and family are sensitive and saying they are thinking of me on holidays and anniversaries, because they know it’s not going to be an easy day for me. Showing love and honoring the baby’s memory is literally the best thing you can do to help a woman after a miscarriage.


I am not an expert or doctor in anyway, just a woman, a writer and a woman who has lost a baby. I hope these little pieces of advice help in some way. If you are reading this and you have suffered an unimaginable lost, I just want to say I’m so sorry for your loss, reach out to me anytime and this was not your fault,

If you are interested in reading about what not to do after a woman has had a miscarriage, check out my post:

Wise Words from My Friend Andrea

Physical Health, Pregnancy

Hi, I’m Andrea! How do I know Kaylee, you ask? Well, Kaylee and I have been best friends for half our lives. If you ever get a chance to ask her how we met, do it. It’s quite the story! Today, I’d like to share with you about body image. However, before we dive into such a deeply personal topic, I should tell you a little about me. I enjoy crafting, hiking, anything nature-related, good conversations, board games, changing seasons, experimenting in the kitchen, and all things Christmas. Oh, and my husband is my favorite. We met in college (another great story for another time) and have been married for three years. We have an active, inquisitive 19-month-old son and are expecting a baby girl around Thanksgiving. 

Enough about me. Let’s talk body image.

Remember when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (William and Kate) had their first child and gave the public their first look at their new baby? In the photos released, a beaming but tired William and Kate snuggled their newest addition. Kate wore a beautiful dress that tucked in at her waist and revealed her postpartum baby bump. To my surprise, media in the US centered not on the sweet little bundle of joy, but rather on Kate’s newly postpartum body. I couldn’t believe that after waiting 9-10 months to meet their baby, the public was more interested in how small Kate’s waist was, the fact that her belly still bulged little, and other features not worth noting.

While stigmas surrounding body image affect every person, childbearing women especially experience this reality in a deep and raw way. Some women I’ve known have a newfound security in their body image while pregnant or even after birth, finding pride in what their bodies can do and how many incredible changes they face to nourish and care for a child. Other women face deeper and more extreme struggles when they don’t have the perfectly round baby bump they’ve always pictured, or stretch marks tear across new areas of their bodies, or they face pain with their previously normal activities such as walking, intimacy, or even sitting. 

Pregnancy has a way of impacting every portion of our being, from physical to emotional to spiritual. From the moment conception takes place, our bodies begin a long process of growing, changing, and morphing in new ways. With my first pregnancy, I pictured glowing skin smiling through morning sickness, a perfectly round little baby bump, and minimal weight gain that would slough off with a few months of breastfeeding. Boy, was I wrong. I was instead met with an overall feeling of puffiness from my face to my toes almost immediately after conceiving. My fatigue was overwhelming. I didn’t just feel tired. I looked tired. Acne popped up. When my bump began to show (much earlier than anticipated, I should add), I was met with more insecurity. I’ve always had a rough relationship with my stomach. Attracting more attention to an area I’ve always wanted to downplay brought up even more feelings of insecurity, especially considering the many unwelcome hands touching it (another topic altogether). Yes, I was absolutely thankful to be pregnant, but I just didn’t look or feel the way I had pictured. 

Once I was in the midst of the second half of my pregnancy, my weight gain – while in the healthy range on doctor’s office charts – felt like too much. My jeans were tight and my maternity shirts that had fit me at 18 weeks were creeping too high on my stomach while my bust pushed them too low on my chest. Everything was changing. By 30 weeks, my stomach had reached its limit for how far it could stretch. I tried creams, but my genetics won out. Stretch marks began to span across my growing belly. When I found the first one, I felt panic rise in my chest. “What?! This early?! How many more will I get before my baby arrives?” I’m glad I didn’t know the answer then. I needed time to accept and appreciate my changing body. 

Eventually, I couldn’t see my toes. I could hardly do a patchwork job of shaving my legs. I was too uncomfortable to do much of anything. Basic hygiene took loads of effort. I didn’t feel very human anymore. I used to be excited for this stage of pregnancy when I was obviously pregnant and feeling every movement of my little son…but the discomfort nearly outweighed the excitement. Then I faced guilt for feeling this way. Much of my pregnancy was not what I had pictured.

Then, the day came. The day. I gave birth to my miracle son, my sweet little boy. I had pictured this moment in my mind’s eye countless times. I’d heard women say everything in their world melted away the moment they saw their baby, and nothing else mattered. It’s a bit of a dramatized statement, but it holds some truth. Looking at my son and recognizing that I was his most crucial caregiver brought new perspective to my life. My dislikes about the current state of my body didn’t matter so much anymore. I had more to think about than the size of my waist or how many stretch marks I had acquired. 

Regardless of a shift in perspective, I still had the same body to sleep in, eat in, and see naked in the bathroom mirror. I had the same body to move in, breathe in, and use to care for my new baby. I had to come to terms with what it was. I remember lying in the bathtub at the hospital the first chance I had to bathe after birth. I was exhausted and thankful that I had completed the birthing process. Then, I looked at my stomach…and I couldn’t believe the words that came to my mind. “My stomach is floating.” That once-full belly with a little pregnancy fat and a little pregnancy stretch was floating. My stomach muscles were too tired and stretched to hold it. I felt another wave of panic. “Will my stomach always be like this?! How will I ever run again? How will I ever find another dress that makes me feel beautiful?” But thankfully, I was too tired to dwell on these things for long. 

In the weeks following birth, I was still too tired to do much fretting about what my body looked like. I was caring for a new life 24/7 and adjusting to a new level of responsibility and purpose for me. Eventually, as I emerged from the fog of caring for a newborn, my insecurities began to eat at me again. It took longer than I had imagined for my stomach muscles to tighten again. My extra weight wouldn’t budge much until I had stopped nursing my son. Yet, this round of dealing with insecurities looked different than it had throughout my pregnancy. This time, I had a newfound empowerment. Yes, I was stretched out, tired, scarred, and a few pounds heavier than I wanted to be…but I had carried a life. I wore the battle scars of nourishing another human from the inside out. I plumbed the depths of my heart and mind for strength I didn’t know I could ever muster during the most uncomfortable moments of pregnancy, in that birthing suite, and in the middle of the night fits of colic. And in those moments, I had the opportunity to reassess my purpose in life, and how that intense difficulty served to point me to the One who made me, sustains me, and gave me my son to care for. He gave me meaning and purpose and used even my lowest moments to teach me about himself and draw me in to his incredible grace and tenderness. 

Call me crazy, but I’ve found more confidence and strength in my postpartum body than I ever had in my pre-baby body with my flat, smooth stomach and well-exercised body. Defining my purpose and looking beyond the moment to remember it was more impactful than a few stretch marks could ever be. I’ve been scarred by childbearing…but the confidence I’ve found has meant more than any of my previous body ideals. And that confidence could only be found in seeing beyond the moment and shifting my perspective to my body’s purpose. I am so much more than my body. 

Whether you’ve ever experienced pregnancy, birth, or caring for a baby postpartum, you’re bound to at least experience some form of body image issues. Remember, your body is a vehicle to carry out your purpose in life. It’s not the prize at the end of a race. You have a chance to live every day in this vehicle that will continually morph throughout your life, with or without childbearing. And it’s worth it. Don’t let your body be what defines you. It’s about what you do with your body that matters. Who are you? What do you think? What makes you tic? How do you spend your time? What gives you purpose?

Seeing the OBGYN Again

Life After Miscarriage

In May I had my follow up appointment with my OBGYN. This appointment gave me some anxiety for about a week. I knew in my heart that I had been doing a lot better emotionally and mentally. I had been working extremely hard to find myself again. I worked through many emotions, counseling sessions, exercises and coping skills. I knew I was never going to be the same person I was and I still had a long way to go, however I was seeing great progress.

When Charles and I went to the OB, I was slightly nervous but did okay. Our wait in the waiting room wasn’t too long, and I was thankful they weren’t too busy. When I saw my doctor she said she was very impressed and glad I was doing a lot better. I expressed to her how I was going to do my very best to take it easy this summer and heal. She agreed that this was a good plan.

I also discussed with her how Charles and I would like to start having kids soon. Even though the miscarriage wasn’t my fault, I still wanted to know what I needed to work on and how I could be healthier before getting pregnant again. At the appointment my doctor and I made a list of things I should work on before Charles and I begin trying.

  • Lose weight and have a better BMI.
  • Exercising more and walking
  • Having better ways to manage my anxiety, meds, getting outside and walking, blogging etc.
  • Saving $$$ for Baby
  • Getting my thyroid under control with meds.

The Decision to Try Again

Life After Miscarriage

Sometime in May, after my breakthrough in counseling and our Mother’s Day Getaway… Charles and I continued considering the idea of trying again. If someone had told us that we would desire to have another baby a few months ago, after we had just lost our baby… I wouldn’t have believed it. But it’s true. Charles and I are both in this peaceful place and desire to be parents someday soon.

Throughout our many discussions on this topic, I have disclosed with my husband my fears and anxieties of trying again. It’s scary. It’s a risk. There are so many things that could happen. We could have trouble getting pregnant. We could have another miscarriage. We could have a stillbirth. We could have a difficult pregnancy, or delivery. Or… we could have a healthy normal pregnancy and delivery. It takes so much energy to worry about what could happen. I’m quickly realizing, that this is no way to live.

This summer before we start trying, I have set a few goals for myself; including eating healthier, losing weight, saving money, finding activities I enjoy, starting my personal small business, and just taking care of me. I have been on this journey of self discovery and healing for a little while now. It has honestly been one of the best summers of my life. Don’t get me wrong, I grieve and miss my baby every single day, but I have grown from what I’ve lost. It’s truly amazing.

So, yes someday soon Charles and I are going to try again. I don’t know when. I don’t know how long or if we’ll even be able to get pregnant. If we do get pregnant, I haven’t even considered how soon we will want to share our news. All I know is this… I am not in control of everything. I can and will do my best to take care of myself, but ultimately the future is in the Lord’s hands. I have faith and through this journey, that’s what I choose to hold on to.

Breaking Barriers: Telling My Story In Person

Life After Miscarriage, Miscarriage

On a Monday April 15th at noon, I attended my final internship meeting for the spring semester. At this meeting, each peer educator had the opportunity to become vulnerable and share a personal story with everyone else. The theme of this stories meeting was empathy. I thought this would be a good opportunity to share my story of pregnancy, miscarriage, loss, healing and a calling to advocate. I mostly wanted to share my story in person to see if I was up to the challenge. I wanted to see if I could do it.

The night before, as well as every hour leading up to the meeting, I was nervous. I wanted to do this, but I knew there was a risk of being judged and feeling shame. When it was time to share my story, I took a deep breath and began talking, I started from the very beginning. I talked about finding out I was pregnant, to telling my husband, to changing internship sites, to morning sickness, to both of my ultrasounds, to my surgery, to healing and finally to advocacy. My friend Jeanie sat next to me as I told my story. I didn’t feel alone, because in many ways she lived through it with me.

When I was finished telling my story, I was welcomed by much support, condolences and even love. I honestly think it was a good decision for me to share my story with an audience of peer educators in a very safe place. I did it, and it gave me confidence that I can do it again.

Trying a New Job

Life After Miscarriage

On Wednesday April 10th, I had a job interview at the child care center on campus. I had applied for the assistant GSRP position for the fall, but received a response rather quickly. I was asked if I would be around this summer and was invited in for an interview. Before going into the interview I was slightly nervous, as I wasn’t sure if emotionally I could handle it. Since my miscarriage, I had struggled to be around kids, besides my three year old nephew. I hoped and prayed that whatever happens would be okay.

At the interview I tried to show confidence, enthusiasm, and willingness to learn. I was asked many questions about my experience, how I feel about working with children, and what I hoped to get out of this job. I was honest with the child care director about my love for children, but I chose not to disclose my recent miscarriage. I didn’t feel it was relevant and or appropriate to discuss at that time. I was given a tour of the child care center, and I honestly wasn’t very impressed. It was very small, cluttered and kind of concerning as I felt the space didn’t have a lot of fire exits… but who was I to judge. After the tour I was offered the job on the spot and accepted.


On Wednesday April 17th, a week later I started at the child care center. My shift started at 8am and I walked in excited and ready to start this new journey. I was excited to work with kids again. When I walked in, I met with the director. She had just finished talking with some parents and came over to me.

“Hi, so I have some bad news.” She said to me with a stern face. Oh no, my stomach instantly turned into knots. No, I don’t need another bad thing to happen.

“Okay.” I said confused and concerned. Did she change her mind? Did she not want me to work here anymore? Did I do something wrong?

“So, we just got news this week that the university is cutting our funding and we are closing June 14th.” She said sternly. My heart broke. This would happen. I got excited for something and again it was torn away from me. This sucked.

“Oh.” I said plainly. I didn’t know what else to say. I was in a bit of shock and selfishly wanted to know what this meant for me.

“So, we are glad you are here and I am hoping you will stay with us until we close. And I am willing to help you try and find a job.” She said reassuring me. “Our staff found out this week, and parents were notified last night via email.” She said. She then told me how to clock in and directed me to the classroom I would be working in. As I met with the teachers I would be working with for the next two months, my head was still spinning. I wasn’t happy for this job anymore. I didn’t want to be here anymore.

As I went about my day working in the preschool room, there was a really weird vibe. It was a vibe of anger, depression and confusion. I could tell all the staff members were upset because the center was closing. As I interacted with the kids, I too felt sad. But I was sad for other reasons besides the center closing, I looked at these children, and I had the sad realization that my little Mackenzie is never going to be in preschool. She will never be able to build with blocks or run around the playground. She will never be able to get spaghetti sauce all over her face or sing songs at circle time. It was a heart breaking realization, but I tried my best to keep it together. I found myself distancing away from the kids. I didn’t want to love and attach to these kids. I didn’t want to create relationships with these children or families if in two months I would have to say goodbye anyway. I faked my way through the rest of the morning.

On my break I called my mom. I tried my best to play it cool… it didn’t work. I was upset. I told her how the minute I walked in, I was told the center was closing. My mom was now upset. She didn’t think it was fair that my director let all of the staff know on Monday, but neglected to tell me until I came into work on Wednesday. She made a good point. I explained to my mom how hard it was for me to be there, and how I honestly just didn’t like it. My mom helped me talk through my emotions and made me realize I didn’t want this job anymore, and that’s okay. Even though the center was going to be open for another two months, it was likely that since I was the last one hired I would be the first one fired. I may not be there until June anyway.

I finished out the rest of the day, and sent an email to my director telling her I quit. She understood as the center closing was unexpected and not an ideal situation. It was hard but I knew I made the right decision to quit. I got my old job back at the dining hall. Through this experience, I learned I wasn’t ready to be around kids yet. I also learned I was still slightly unstable when it came to unexpected things happening. I still had some things to work on.

Presenting on Trauma

Life After Miscarriage

On Monday April 1st, I had to give a presentation on trauma on the brain for my internship. I originally picked this topic when I transferred to my new internship site. The topic of trauma and how it affects the brain and development really interests me. I spent a lot of time working on this project through my recovery time at home. I decided to create this presentation using a trifold presentation board. Not only was it therapeutic for me to understand the affects of trauma, but I also enjoyed being creative and assembling this presentation.

When it was time for me to present at 12:30pm, I was a little nervous. I don’t enjoy public speaking, but at the same time I was up to the challenge and wanted to do well in this internship. The presentation was only going to be about 30 minutes and I was presenting to about an audience of 10 peer educators. When I started the presentation, I did okay. I tried sounding enthusiastic as well as professional when presenting on my topic. Towards the middle of the presentation, I remember reading my notes and feeling a lump in my throat. I wasn’t really sure why. I had practiced this presentation many times, and yet I was getting choked up. My voice started to crack as I read to the audience different traumatic events that can affect people

“Car accidents, natural disasters, losing a child, including miscarriage, infant loss or still birth…..” Then I involuntarily stopped talking. My mouth could open but no words were coming out. It was the same problem that happen when I tried talking to the receptionist at my OB’s office. “Um…” I said trying to talk. My mind was blank. Why couldn’t I talk. Why did I feel like I was about to cry. I felt humiliated standing up there not being able to talk. I had practiced this and I was fine, but now that I was presenting I was being triggered by my own presentation. Eventually, I was able to start talking again. I don’t know how but I did. I don’t remember much more after that. I know I finished the presentation but I’m pretty sure I rushed through it and didn’t make a lot of sense.

Once I was done I was ready to get out of there. I left all my stuff and stepped into the hallway. I broke down and started crying. I felt humiliated I couldn’t keep it together. My friend Jeanie came out in the hallway and held my while I cried. She could tell I was triggered too. We both went to a different room where we could cry and calm down. My coordinator Danielle told me I did a good job even though she could tell I was having a really hard time. Despite the fact that I was triggered while presenting on trauma, I was still proud of myself for coming as far as I had and for getting through the presentation. I was also very thankful for the opportunity to research and present on the topic of trauma, and hope to have the opportunity again someday.