My Pregnancy Journey- Breaking the Silence
I'm so happy to announce I'm pregnant! I've decided to share my pregnancy journey with my readers and followers, but only under the condition of being 100% open and honest about it. It would be a nice story to say how easy this has been so far, but that would be a lie. Still, I consider this journey to be beautiful.
Although this is my first post about my journey, this is actually my third pregnancy. I first miscarried in the summer of 2016. I got pregnant on the first try and was in the best shape of my life. The moment I saw my baby and heard its heartbeat at my first appointment, he/she became very real in my heart. At approximately nine weeks along, I had a spontaneous miscarriage after finding out my baby's heart stopped beating. This was both incredibly traumatic and heartbreaking; yet, after a week, I tucked away my heartache and then tried to move on like the rest of the world that knew nothing about what I was going through. After all, I didn't know many people that openly talked about miscarriage. Many of my friends and family reading this have no idea any of this even happened.
I don't think I fully understood my own grief until after I found out I was pregnant again in January 2017 (while living in Greece). I'd been coping with my grief with the idea that many women miscarried and went on to have healthy babies, so I just needed to do the same. After a couple of weeks into that pregnancy, all the anxiety and fear I suppressed in the last few months came roaring back in. I was afraid to workout. Even though I knew that wasn't the cause of my first miscarriage, I figured I would pick things back up after I got the okay at my first appointment. When I went to that first appointment, I was saddened to find out I measured three weeks behind. This subsequently led to a diagnosed missed miscarriage and a D&C in March 2017.
After that, I decided I didn't even want to think about trying to have another baby. I didn't want to pray about it. I didn't want to reason with reality. I was mad. I avoided family and friends. I didn't even like looking at myself in the mirror because mentally and physically, I didn't really like what I saw. I didn't know who I saw. I didn't want to play pretend like I did the first time. I wasn't okay--no matter how many times I let the words "I'm fine," leave my lips with a smile. As much as I loved God, I couldn't wrap my mind around why these experiences had to be aligned with my life. I stopped responding to emails from brands and slowed down on blogging and posting on social media. How could I positively influence other women in the beauty and health industry to "be themselves and love their bodies" when I was struggling to feel comfortable in my own skin?
I understand my story could be a bit much or even triggering for others and anyone reading this. After all, I could be silent and post pictures as if none of this happened. But I would rather tell my story with the hope that I might encourage someone else. It gets better, I promise.
First, I began to talk about my feelings with those closest to me. There's such a stigma (I would dare say generational stigma) when it comes to talking about miscarriage. But sometimes talking about what you're feeling can help you understand what you're experiencing. Out of the few women I shared my story with at the time, at least three had their own story to share.
Then I had to stop rationalizing my feelings with the idea that I shouldn't get so lost in my grief because there's always someone that has it worse than I do. Although that might be true, it shouldn't void my right to grieve, to feel sad, to miss the babies I would never meet, and to long for a day when I could hold my own in my arms.
The truth is there is no time frame for healing. You just take everything one day at a time. Gradually, I began to release all the pain I was holding on to and just live for the present. I realized that pushing forward in my life didn't mean I had to forget or downplay those experiences. I just had to carry them a little differently. Whatever weight I couldn't handle on my own, I gave it to God. No matter how much we may want to change the past, we can't. Comparing your life and what you lack to someone else certainly won't help either. I had to appreciate the blessings I still had everyday: a husband who still loved me, a family that always wanted to be around, friends that I could always count on and a chance to truly LIVE every new day that I woke up. I was going to believe in myself, love myself and get back to my goals, even if I had to do it afraid.
Today, I'm sixteen weeks pregnant. Everyday I wake up afraid that I might not be pregnant, and everyday I fight that fear. I will be honest and admit that this time around I wouldn't allow myself to add any pregnancy apps to my phone, journal my thoughts, record family reactions or think too far into the future. I'd done all of that twice before and It gave me too much anxiety. I just wanted to BE in the moment. Moreover, during my first trimester I did allow myself enjoy life in Venice, Italy and have a good time with my friends, while eating lots of pizza and pasta of course! And today, I'm allowing myself to share my story, because being brave enough to stand in my truth may inspire and assure others they are not alone.
You are not alone. Despite what you're going through---infertility, miscarriage, grief, anxiety, depression or whatever it is that is weighing you down---your body is still worthy of your love. You are worthy of love. You are valuable simply because you're you. I'm learning to love myself at every level, and you can too. I'm excited to take you along the rest of this journey. It would be wonderful to tell you I'm in a "safe space," but anything can happen at anytime. I'm just pushing forward everyday, even if I have to do it afraid.
To my husband,
Thank you for loving me and lifting me up when you already have the weight of the world on your shoulders. I love you.