I strongly believe sharing your story not only helps you process and heal but also helps other find the courage they need to share too. And so, I’d like to feature another valiantly vulnerable woman’s story occasionally. Let me introduce you my friend to Lindsey. . .
Hey there! My name is Lindsey and I am so thankful to have been asked to write a guest blog post, and I am thankful to YOU for taking the time to share in my journey! If there is anything I learned through this experience, it is that I am NOT alone.
See, I didn’t really have a fear of miscarriage before it happened to me and I didn’t have this negative stigma attached to it. I am an only child and I just didn’t KNOW anyone that had miscarried…except for my mom. I remember the day she found out, but it is a blurry memory because I was so young and I never thought of it for years until I got pregnant. She told me that she remembers afterwards she just kept thinking “all I want to do is go to Disney so I can be happy”. That sounds so silly, but I completely understand exactly where she was coming from.
I guess you could say I was different than most people I met…people told me “you don’t want to tell people you are pregnant yet in case you miscarry” and I kind of listened to them…I mean, I didn’t make it “Facebook official” at all, but I told friends in person because I was excited. Hubby and I waited 6 years before even trying to get pregnant and I’m a very honest, upfront person. I thought “who cares who knows now?!”…I knew people miscarried, but I had NO IDEA how common it was.
I found out I was pregnant the week of Christmas and I told Hubby he was going to be a father right in front of my parents and my grandparents. We were eating dinner and about to head out to see the Nutcracker ballet and I announced that I wanted to give him an early Christmas gift. I presented him with a white box tied with a red bow and when he opened the box, inside was shiny red cellophane, red Christmas ornaments and a tiny pair of off-white booties with faux fur trim. As an only child and grandchild, my parents were ecstatic for us.
6 weeks followed and I had a “scare”. I experienced some abnormal symptoms that left me up almost all night crying as Hubby held me close and tried to comfort me in whatever way he could, without words because he honestly had no clue what so say. Since I hadn’t even met my OBGYN yet, I called them as soon as I could in a panic and told them everything that went on. Not worried at all and trying to appease me, they scheduled an ultrasound for the very next day. They usually didn’t even see pregnancy patients until 10 weeks, so I was thankful to be worked in. Hubby couldn’t get off work in enough time so luckily Mom accompanied me to my appointment. Much to my delight, we had a healthy baby and I was told that the heart beat was especially strong. As a first-time mom going through her first miscarriage scare, this was music to my ears.
I walked away from that appointment overjoyed and I felt like God was telling me “I am not going to take this baby from you”. It’s amazing what things we can work into our minds when we want to hear them. I am a natural worrier and a perfectionist, so I resolved right then and there to trust that inclination. I went home and resumed normal living, although fatigue and nausea started to kick into overdrive after that. Friends told me that was a good sign because it means the baby is healthy, but every time a symptom would come and go, I was worried that something happened to the baby.
When I reached the 10-week mark and it was time for my first “official” ultrasound appointment, I could not be more excited to take Hubby back to see the baby up close instead of a picture and to hear the strong heartbeat that I had heard before.
When the technician did not find the heartbeat immediately, like last time, I knew something was wrong. She searched for a minute and then the words came…”I’m sorry, honey, there’s no heartbeat.” Those words sank to the bottom of my heart so heavy that I feel like I can’t pull myself above water even as I type this now, almost 6 months later.
We were escorted into a different room to meet the doctor and I hadn’t even cried yet. I couldn’t…I was still in shock and to be honest, I wanted to have it all pulled together so I didn’t look like a blubbering mess in front of an office full of staff and patients. The doctor explained to me that because of how far along I was, she recommended having a D&E versus letting the miscarriage happen naturally, but we went home to think about it. I wanted the D&E and I am glad that it was the direction we decided to go. I think letting it happen naturally would have been more traumatizing for me. I do remember walking out of the office with tears welling up in my eyes and looking at other pregnant ladies thinking “Why didn’t it happen to you?” I got home and as soon as my mom saw me and asked “how did it go?” I just lost it and fell into her arms and sobbed. I hadn’t even done that with Hubby yet, but for some reason Mom KNEW…she had been there…she knew what it was like and at that moment, I just needed my mommy.
Just prior to surgery, I had decided to post on Facebook about what was happening in my life. After all, social media is a huge part of my business and I always tell my tribe that it is important to be authentically you. I guess this is where I was tested to practice what I preach, but it ended up being the biggest blessing because I had SO many people praying for me.
Hubby took off of work for the surgery and I actually did fine…I didn’t have any pain the day of surgery and I even tried to joke around with the nurses. I guess you could say, I didn’t want to be the victim. I didn’t want to be pitied. I wanted to be strong because that is all I have ever been…it is all I knew how to be. We went home after surgery and I pretty much just laid around on the couch for the next few days. One friend even sent flowers that were waiting for me when I got home and I must say that sweet gesture and the many messages I received following it were what helped me get through my recovery and the days and weeks to follow.
When you can’t do anything, but lay around on the couch you have LOTS of time to think. I even started to lay there thinking that maybe God was punishing me…this was finally payback for all of my sins…all of the “bad” things I had done throughout my life. Luckily I tried to drown my never-ending thoughts with lots of Facebook scrolling and I started to have TONS of messages roll in…friends that were older than me who had miscarriages before and who have kids now…family who had miscarriages that I didn’t even know about…and friends who even had miscarriages around the same time as me who were fighting this battle in silence and wanted to tell me how “brave” I was for sharing my journey publicly. I told them I didn’t feel brave…not even close…I was just sick of crying in silence and for me, this was a way of dealing with it.
What I didn’t know is that God was using this…
He used it from Day 1, because He taught me so much through this experience…
I learned that miscarriage is so much more common than we talk about publicly. Why is this so taboo?!? I still think that it is ridiculous to this day. A woman going through a miscarriage is stronger than most people I know…she has to deal with endless “Do you have kids yet?…no?…well don’t wait too long” or even “Well enjoy the time while you have it”. She has to go through surgery and all the gross ramifications of surgery (sorry…it’s true) to then go out in public feeling like utter poo poo magoo and have people be rude to her, not because they know anything, but our society is self-seeking in general and they have no idea that she just wants to break down crying because she is tired and is dealing with stomach pain and is trying not to walk too far or stand too long and is just trying to make it through the day while dealing with this loss. She has a hubby that doesn’t know how to act around her because he can’t possibly understand what her body and her mind are going through, no matter how hard he tries and to be honest, being between a rock and a hard place is a sucky place to be…especially when he is dealing with the loss too, but has to muster all his energy and strength to support his wife.
I learned that other people have it so much worse. I felt sorry for myself…after all, I had been through the nausea, the fatigue and the weight gain (more than should have happened) and I lost my baby. I was mad….I had to go through ALL of that…for nothing. But then I talked with a friend who just went through the same thing except ALL of her sisters (not just one) were still pregnant at the same time as her and they were all able to keep their babies. I didn’t have it tough…SHE has it tough. She had to have gab fests filled with name picking, baby shower dates, shopping trips…all to be happy for and celebrate her dearly loved sisters while every magical moment reminded her of her loss. Or how about the mommies who go through all of that, give birth and were able to see their babies and THEN lose their baby. THAT is hard. I did NOT have it hard.
I learned that God was using this to mold me. This wasn’t an accident. This wasn’t punishment (like the thoughts that I previously mentioned rushed through my mind time and time again). God has a beautiful plan for me and my life and this upsetting experience was the tool he was using to bring me closer to Him. I relied so heavily on Him through all of this. I prayed constantly. I had other people praying so hard for me. I spent time in His Word searching for answers and it brought peace like I have never experienced before. NOW, when I describe peace to someone, I know first-hand what it is like…it isn’t the mystical unicorn like creature I once thought it was…it is so real and tangible. He always knew this was the plan. In fact, in my prayer journal that I started when I was about 5 weeks along, I wrote something that I would need along the journey way more than I ever realized…
“Every bit of bad news holds good news, because He. Is. Always. Good.”
And it was good news because His perfect plan for my life is GOOD news. It may be painful…it may not turn out the way WE want…but He knows what is best for us and I am so glad His ways are better than ours. It doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. It hurts every day, but I know that instead of sitting in anger, I need to be fulfilling His purpose for me. What I didn’t know is that by fulfilling my purpose, it would actually bring healing and comfort to me. It filled me back up when my cup was dry.
What is MY purpose? The last one I would have ever picked for myself if you had asked me back in the day… I am a virtual health and fitness coach, which is quite ironic since I struggled with my own health and weight the majority of my life. See, I know what it is like to feel lost and confused…to feel like there is no way out…to be tired, insecure, depressed and feel like there is no hope, which is why I felt called to pay it forward and help other people with the same struggles I had dealt with my whole life.
But for the first time since I “figured it out”, I was back there….I had gained weight during the pregnancy…I had stopped working out for the surgery and the recovery…I felt like I was back to square one, trying to regain my strength, regain my energy, get my nutrition back on track, get my confidence back up. I was at ground zero…AGAIN. So I started with me…I started from scratch, working on my nutrition and my fitness, one day at a time…using my social media to show people that I was walking the walk…that I remember what it was like to start over.
Wouldn’t you know that I started having friends and family reach out to me because I was being authentically me, just like I always prided myself on…and they related to that. They wanted to know how I was “doing it”…how I had just gone through something so tough and yet I was setting out to provide support and motivation for other people on their journey. The response I gave shocked myself and it is then that I knew what MY purpose was…
“When you are so busy trying to focus on helping other people, it makes it really hard to focus on yourself.”
God was showing me that if I trust Him…if rely on Him every day…if I would be EXACTLY who He created me to be and I used my struggles as a platform to help other people, then He would be faithful to take care of me.
So are we trying for pregnancy #2 anytime soon? That’s a good question. I want to…I think Hubby wants to…but right now I am giving it all to God and letting Him be in control of my purpose…and I am letting Him use me and teach me along the way.
Lindsey Owens is a virtual health and fitness Coach with Beachbody and a live Group Fitness Instructor with the YMCA. You can follow more of her journey here.