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. ❤️

A Recap of 2019

Just Me Blogging

What can I say about 2019? This year has been life changing, hard, emotional, shocking, grief stricken, crazy, a whirlwind, encouraging and just down right challenging. Regardless, of the fact that the bad often out weighed the good, I’m thankful. Another year is in the books. I would like to take a moment and take a look back at my 2019.

In January…

I found out I was pregnant

I started my first internship at a government agency.

I became president of a student organization.

In February…

I saw my baby on ultrasound

I suffered my first miscarriage

I had a D & C

I switched internship sites, and started interning for the Sexual Assault Awareness Campaign on campus.

In March…

March is a blur.

I recovered physically from surgery.

Emotionally I was in a fog.

In April…

I presented on Trauma in my internship.

I received the Healing and Growth Award at my internship.

Started my Blog!!!

In May…

I celebrated my first Mother’s Day

I took a getaway to the lake shore with my husband.

I completed my internship.

In June…

Got diagnosed with hypothyroidism

Committed to a Summer of Self care

Started another internship

Reopened my Etsy Shop.

In July…

Published for the first time, my story in a magazine.

In August…

Started working out regularly.

Started my senior year of college.

Attended a University football game.

In September…

Got pregnant for the second time.

Honored my due date

Took a weekend trip to the cabin with my girls

Suffered a second miscarriage.

In October…

Started writing my book.

Became temporarily anemic

Celebrated Pregnancy and Infant Loss Rememberance Day.

Hubby got in a car accident.

Applied and got approved for graduation in April 2020.

In November…

Decorated for Christmas

Hosted a Friendsgiving with my college friends.

Celebrated 3 years of marriage.

Cooked my first Thanksgiving dinner for my husband and I.

Presented a speech on miscarriage.

In December…

Finished my second to last semester of college.

Got another car.


All in all, this year has been a little crazy. I pray that the new decade and new year is sweeter, and smoother for everyone.

I’m Not Sure How to Survive the Holidays with Grief in my Heart

Life After Miscarriage

To be honest, I’m not feeling very festive this Christmas. This past year has been a tidal wave of grief that I didn’t plan for, nor did I appreciate. On top of grief I’ve had other struggles including anxiety, depression, weight gain, self doubt and distress. Some might say this past year has made me stronger, and in many ways I believe that. But in this moment, this past year has only made me hate life.

When you’ve faced trauma, something changes in you. You see things differently, and you know things can get worse because you’ve lived it. When you’ve faced repeated trauma, not only are you traumatized, but also on edge. You’re just waiting for something bad to happen, or something else to go wrong. It’s exhausting, but if you’ve already been blindsided by trauma before, it’s almost an illogical effort to worry and fret for the bad things, in hopes that you will be somewhat prepared if they happen. I have lived this way almost every day this past year, and it’s really not anyway to live.


This Christmas was supposed to be different.


I have thought about Mackenzie everyday since she’s been gone. Losing her, has changed my life forever. She made me a mom. Even more, she made me an Angel mommy. This year I envisioned caring for an infant at Christmas time. Charles and I would head over to my parents on Christmas morning. She would be spoiled by her Grandma, and cooing at the cats and her Grandpa. She would be wearing the cutest Christmas jammies, and be smiling from ear to ear. Everything was going to be perfect as I celebrated my first Christmas as a mom.

Instead this year, I am celebrating Christmas as an Angel mommy. My baby Mackenzie will not be in her Christmas jammies, and my baby Chase will not be warm in my tummy. Instead I will be here loving and missing my babies, while Mackenzie and Chase will be in Heaven celebrating at Jesus’s grand birthday party. They will be having more fun than I can even fathom. As much as I want them here with me, I know they are safe and happy right where they are.

It won’t be easy… It won’t be easy this Christmas seeing friends and their baby’s first Christmas. But no one said this life will be easy. No one said we are all meant to take the same journey. And no said this world is prefect. So through my tears and heartache, I will get through this Christmas with my family, because my babies deserve to see me have joy my first Christmas as their mom. ❤️

Father’s Grieve Too

Life After Miscarriage

Why is it that when a couple loses a baby, society is more concerned of how the mother is doing more than the father? Why is it our society perceives a mother’s grief to be more substantial than a father’s? Why is it implied that father’s don’t grieve too? I believe it all boils down to stereotypes and the old thinking of men have to be strong and hold in their emotions. While women are delicate and emotional. Well, I have news for you. Sure these stereotypes do have some truth, but it’s not right to assume all men and women fall into these cookie cutter images. The reality is men can be strong but so can women. Women can be emotional and so can men. Women aren’t the only ones who grieve for the loss of a loved one.


Mother’s certainly grieve for their babies who are gone too soon… but father’s grieve too.


After I experienced my first loss, I didn’t realize how my husband grieves. I didn’t doubt that he too was hurting and grieving over the loss of our baby, but I didn’t understand how he grieved. For the most part, Charles grieved in silence. I liked talking about our baby after both our first and second loss. Charles however, didn’t like to talk about it. Charles was more than willing to listen to my thoughts, but wasn’t too willing to share his own. This often turned into a lot of spats because I didn’t understand his grief and he didn’t understand mine. Eventually, we were able to come to a understanding.

With time, Charles would open up about his grief and sorrow he was feeling. For instance, when we would go to a store and see cute children’s clothing on the racks, he would make comments about how he wishes we could have kids who could wear cute outfits like that. Or when we would see children at a playground or park, he would mention how seeing those kids makes him sad and miss our kids sometimes.

After awhile, I had come to realize why Charles grieves the way he does. Since our losses were so hard on me emotionally and physically, he didn’t feel right falling apart while I was already a mess. He felt he needed to be the strong one, and help me through. Then, once I was feeling more stable, he was more willing to open up about his emotions and grief.


If you too have a boyfriend, partner or husband that doesn’t outwardly show his grief… you are not alone.


It can be challenging as we all grief differently. My advice to you would be communicate with one another and allow each other to grieve in your own time. My mistake, and often the reason for many of our spats was that I would push my husband to grieve… and that wasn’t right. With time, patience and communication…. grief starts to become more manageable… and something to experience together rather than apart.

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.

My “Feel Good” Playlist

Just Me Blogging, Top 10 Lists

My Feel Good Playlist

1. Keep You’re Head Up – by Andy Grammer

2. How Far I’ll Go – by Auil’i Cravalho

3. I Gotta Feeling – by Black Eyed Peas

4. Just the Way You Are – by Bruno Mars

5. Fallin’ for You – by Collbie Caillat

6. Tell Me You Love Me – by Demi Lovato

7. Perfect – by Ed Sheeran

8. How to Save a Life – by The Fray

9. Come to Me – by Jamie Grace

10. I Won’t Give Up – by Jason Miraz

11. Say – by John Mayer

12. Good Morning – by Mandisa

13. Uptown Funk – by Bruno Mars

14. She Will Be Loved – by Maroon 5

15. Shake It Off – by Taylor Swift

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.


Pregnant Again!?!?

Pregnancy

When I found out I was pregnant again….. I was filled with a lot of emotions. The last time I was pregnant, I was excited, scared, confused and feared the unknown. This time I was excited and scared because I feared of the past. I prayed for this baby and had peace for whenever God decided to bless us again. When we were blessed with another baby I prayed over Baby Chase everyday. As my pregnancy progressed, I had a lot of faith, which was really surprising. For some reason, I knew everything was going to be okay. I had peace that this baby was happy, healthy and safe. I hesitated on planning for a future and getting too excited, but I talked to Chase. Charles talked to Chase. We showed him love and were thankful for every single day we had with him.

We again were embarking on a second adventure of pregnancy. Before I got off birth control, I did some deep self reflecting and asked myself Could I handle another loss if it were to happen? I didn’t want to think of having another loss, but at the same time it’s something I needed to consider. I came to the conclusion that yes. Though it would be excruciating, I could do it because of my faith, how much I have worked on myself in the past year and my strong marriage,


I knew Charles and I could survive another loss if it were to happen.


I am Thankful… 30 Things I am Thankful for.

Just Me Blogging

It is officially November 1st! I can.t believe it. Time is sure flying by! It will be Thanksgiving before you know it. 🙂 Since it is November 1st, I have decided to write 30 things I am thankful for. Here we go……

1. Fall Colors and Changing Leaves 🍁

2. Pumpkin Spice EVERYTHING! 🎃

3. My Parents ❤️

4. My Home 🏠

5. My Husband ❤️

6. Doughnuts 🍩

7. My Education… I’m Almost Done! 📚

8. My Job 💻

9. My Health 🍎

10. My Readers of My Blog ❤️

11. My Family ❤️

12. Medical Insurance ✝️

13. Nature 🌳

14. Michigan 🥧

15. Communication ☎️

16. New Recipes 🍰

17. My Angel Mackenzie ❤️

18. PJs 👚

19. Rainy Days ☔️

20. Buffalo Wings 🍗

21. Thanksgiving 🐔

22. Warm Blankets 🧶

23. My Friends ❤️

24. Netflix 📺

25. Coffee ☕️

26. Pumpkins 🎃

27. Jesus ✝️

28. Faith ✝️

29. New Clothes 👗

30. Our New Little Blessing ❤️

My Besties’ Gender Reveal Party

Life After Miscarriage

On a lovely Friday evening in July, my best friend Andrea held a gender reveal party at her parent’s house. The party was at 7 but I went early to help her and Alli set up. Going to help prep the party was just like the good old days of baking together, making messes in the kitchen and laughing the entire time.

Even though I was still dealing with some emotions and grief, I was surprised by how well I was handling everything. I was and am so incredibly excited for Andrea. I love seeing her be an amazing mommy to her son, and I can’t wait for her to be a mommy to her baby that is due very soon.

At 7 o’clock we all gathered around the table. We took pictures and watched as Andrea and Zeb excitedly cut the cake that would soon reveal the big secret that was brewing. Zeb carefully served the first piece of cake on to the plate and the gender was revealed…

“It’s a Girl!” Andrea declared with a huge smile on her face. All of her family cooed with excitement, as I tried my best to keep a smile on my face. In that moment the real and raw pain of grief hit me all again. My baby is gone. It’s not fair. It still hurts. I tried my best to keep it together. I watched as Andrea’s mom cried, and cheered that her grandson was going to get a sister. I had to look away at this point, because I was overloaded by too many emotions all at once. I remembered closing my eyes and doing my best to try and muster up enough strength to show my happiness for my friend.

While my eyes were closed I got a huge hug from her mom. She was crying with happiness but also with sadness. She new my story and she new my pain. “I’m so sorry.” She said holding me. Tears whelmed up in my eyes and we had to step away. We went into the next room and talked. She was loving and kind. She probably still has no idea how much I needed that hug.

So, going to the gender reveal party did not go the way I had expected. I thought I would do fine, but when it comes to grief it can strike at any time. It’s okay to not be okay sometimes. Andrea was very understanding at how I felt and I truly appreciate that. Though it’s hard sometimes for me to see other expectant moms, I am super excited for Andrea and to meet her precious baby girl.

The Joys and Challenges of Being an Interracial Couple

Just Me Blogging

“Puedo tener su numero del telefono? Charles said to me one day as I was gathering my things and leaving our Spanish class 5 years ago.

“What?” I said, not sure what he was saying. I tried, but I was not that good at Spanish.

“Puedo tener su numero del telephono?” He said again, and stared at me looking for an answer.

“I don’t know what you are saying… you want my phone number?” I asked confused and flattered.

“Si” he said excited. I gave him my phone number and went on my way. This was pretty much the conversation that started everything.

After meeting each other on September 4th, 2014…. we became aquaintances. We then began Spanish class buddies and eventually friends.

After asking me out 3 times, I finally said yes and Charles took me out for Indian. It was so sweet, yummy and awkward… but first dates usually are. By November 4th, 2014 we decided to make it official and become boyfriend and girlfriend…. or Novio and Novia.

We dated for a year and 8 months before getting engaged. He was so nervous as we walked through a park downtown, pulled out a ring, got down on one knee and asked me to marry him… of course I said yes. It was the best birthday present I ever received.

Exactly 3 months later, we tied the knot on November 12th, 2016. We had the perfect fall wedding with many of our friends and family in attendance. We got married in the same church my grandparents got married in, and my Daddy gave me away to Charles. It was beautiful.

Before meeting Charles, I had never really considered dating someone let alone marrying someone of a different race. I have always been open to meeting new people no matter what they look like or where they come from, but I honestly just never thought I would be in an interracial relationship.

Dating Charles made me realize we were from two different worlds. There were a lot of cultural differences that I was not at all use to. A lot of slang and phrases Charles would use I didn’t understand, or had never heard before. Thanksgiving was a huge culture shock. I was used to turkey, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, stuffing, fruit, corn on the cob and pumpkin pie. In Charles very soul food oriented family we had turkey, ham, fried chicken, greens, yams, corn bread, stuffing, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and cabbage. It was amazing.

When we got married I learned more things about being a black and white interracial couple. For instance people stare at us. Sometimes they are staring at us because we’re cute together, but other times they stare at us with disapproving looks… it’s very uncomfortable.

Regardless of these differences, I truly enjoy being in an interracial marriage. I enjoy being with someone who has a very different background than I, but also shares the same values. For better for worse, for rich or poor, in sickness and in health, black or white…. I love Charles so much and I am honored to be his wife.

My Top 10 Favorite Things About Fall

All Things Fall, Just Me Blogging

Fall is my Favorite!

Fall is my favorite season. I love everything about fall. Anything from the colorful trees, to the doughnuts… I just love it! Fall is my happy place! Since I love fall so much, I have decided to share my top 10 favorite things about Fall.

My Top 10 Favorite Things About Fall

  1. Changing Leaves – I love seeing the leaves change in the fall. Here in Michigan it can be absolutely breath taking seeing red, orange, yellow and brown being displayed through out our beautiful state.
  2. Doughnuts – I would have to admit that doughnuts indeed are my love language. What’s funny is I am really not a bread person. I don’t like a lot of bread but I love the sweet, and fulfilling goodness of a doughnut… especially in the fall.
  3. Sweater and Hoodie Weather – I love to layer and be comfy in my clothes. I get so excited when it is just cool enough that I can throw on a hoodie, or look stylish and comfy in a sweater, leggings, boots and a beanie.
  4. Fall Scents – I get so excited to smell fall, I know sounds crazy to say. But I do. I love smelling pumpkin, cinnamon, apple, smores, vanilla and everything in between. I am one of those people who looks forward to a pumpkin spice latte every fall at Biggby. I am also one of those people who enjoys the new fall scents at Bath and Body Works.
  5. Football Games – I get so hyped for football games at my college. It just feels like fall when I am sitting in the stands, wearing my hoodie and cheering on my team.
  6. Back to School – Even though it may be stressful for some, back to school just puts me in a good mood. It just feels like a new beginning with new goals and dreams I have yet to accomplish. Plus, I love catching all the good back to school supplies deals.
  7. The Apple Orchard – I have many fond memories of going to the apple orchard as a child and as an adult. As a child I can recall picking apples, eating doughnuts, going on hay rides and milking a goat. As an adult I can still recall picking apples, eating doughnuts and even accompanying preschoolers on field trips to the apple orchard.
  8. Fall Vibes – For some reason I feel like here in Michigan, people are a lot happier in the fall than they are in the spring. It’s almost as if many of us Michiganaders enjoy the cool weather of fall right after a hot summer. Whereas we are slightly grumpy in the spring because we are still somewhat holding a grudge after the brutal winter we had just experienced.
  9. I Met My Husband in the Fall – Someday I will likely share our love story, but for now I will share how we met. My husband and I met on September 4th, in Spanish class at our local community college. I was sitting at a table by myself in the front of the class, and he came to sit by me… and the rest is history.
  10. My Wedding Anniversary – My Husband and I got married on November 12th , 2016. it was beautifully fall themed with doughtnut holes, apple cider, fall leaves, pumpkins… you name it, we had it. Fall is a very special time for us.

Thanks for reading my Top 10 Favorite Things About Fall! What are your favorite things about Fall?

Book Review: Loved Baby, 31 Devotions Helping You Grieve and Cherish Your Child After Pregnancy Loss

Miscarriage, Resources

Book: Loved Baby, 31 Devotions Helping You Grieve and Cherish Your Child After Pregnancy Loss

Author: Sarah Philpott, PhD

Publisher: Broadstreet

This 31 Day devotional was sent to me from a friend who too recently suffered a miscarriage. I found this book so incredibly helpful in my healing process. This book is full of real life stories, bible verses, and moments of faith that many women have experienced. I love how the author wrote this book as she was not only real with her emotions, but also sensitive with her words and advice to other Angel Mommies. This devotional is separated into various sections, and provides many topics including searching for reasons why and how to honor your due date. I absolutely loved this book and highly recommend it!

This book is available at Barnes Noble and Amazon.

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?

What is Human Development? Poem

Poems

What is Human Development?

It all starts from the very beginning…

Before a human even starts thinking

And even before the heart starts beating

It all starts at conception

When the egg and sperm engage in flirtation

That’s when it all begins

As conception takes place

The genetics and DNA become reality

And then forms a baby, for all to see

The birds and the bees

The grass and the trees

All connected through the process of development

As one big family