Last month, smooshed in one of those crazy days between Thanksgiving and Christmas I lost my baby boy.
I lost him the week I was finishing my Whole30 Coaching Certification, the week before my Whole30 Recipes takeover, the week of finals, the week everything changed.
During that week, all of those things seemed so inconsequential when compared to the first thing – I lost my baby at 13 weeks and 6 days. I couldn’t get off the couch. The physical pain of a D&C, and the emotional pain was so intense I didn’t think I’d ever be okay again. I couldn’t get off the couch, but I was supposed to take finals and be in front of a million Whole30’ers and smile and be happy and get A’s and go to a 1st birthday party to a boy who’s my godson, and a holiday party with pregnant women in attendance, and Christmas, and and and and and.
“We’ll keep you here for a bit to make sure the bleeding isn’t too bad,” my doctor told me, as she cupped my face. I was still lying on my back, tears that started silently an hour prior had turned to an uncontrollable sob. I got up as she stepped out of the room to give me privacy to get dressed.
I realized as I stood up how much pain I was in from being dilated and cramping, tried to remember how to put my clothes back on and sat back down. I sat there trying to grapple with the thought that I was pregnant.. and now I’m not. I was hollow and empty. I sat there long enough crying that someone, I have no idea who, knocked and asked if I was okay.
I said nothing. Am I okay? Will I ever be okay again? I got up and followed her out of the room, and to a “recovery room” and they went and got my boyfriend. God I would have hated to be him that day. As I looked at him looking at me crying, I could tell how much pain he was in too. Knowing there’s nothing he could do to take away my pain made him feel even worse.
He looked physically sick with grief, and I’m sure the pair of us were quite the site to see. I’ve never loved that man more in my whole life. If there was a way I could have anticipated my needs ahead of time, or a way I could have asked someone to give me exactly what I need, to be exactly what I need, he would have done it. But he didn’t have to – he already did everything and was everything I needed without me knowing what that was.
I don’t quite know how to explain Justin to people. He’s just… Justin. My best friend. I’m my true self with him and no one knows the depths of me like him. That day he saw me unlike anyone ever has. With such guilt, grief, shame, pain, and such sadness. Red faced, grimaced in pain when I moved, with a continual stream of tears- my pain clearly visible over my face. And he knew what to do for me. I am grateful.
I mention all of those emotions, but what is the hardest is the guilt and the grief. Guilt because part of me was relieved it happened. A baby wasn’t in the plan. Like, anywhere in it. I wasn’t even sure this was what I wanted but then after those thoughts came the ones that made me feel even more guilty because so many people try for years and mine happened on accident and now part of me is relieved it’s gone. And then more guilt followed those thoughts when I shamed myself for feeling that way because I’m also devastated about the loss.
Thoughts of Justin being a dad, our families raising this little boy, Justin and I’s little boy… our little boy would send me instantly into violent sobs. How can I be both so overwhelmed with the deepness of this grief I felt over never being this baby boy’s mom, but also be relieved I won’t be at the same time? I hated myself for it. I still kind of do.
I didn’t know how life would go on. And, for a while, it didn’t. I did the things I “had to” every day. I barely made it though the Whole30 recipes takeover. I faked it. I put on a happy face when I needed to. I’ve avoided putting my face on the camera at all costs. I avoided my family and friends. I didn’t know how to tell anyone, so I pressured myself to make it appear that everything was just groovy over here. When it wasn’t. I was dying.
At least, I felt like I was. I didn’t know how to see anyone. So I didn’t. I buried myself in blog stuff to keep busy. I wrote an eBook. I churned out enough recipes to get me through a few months and gave them away to my elderly neighbor. Merry Christmas, Jo. I didn’t know how to deal.
It was a lot of ups and downs in a very short amount of time. From finding out I was pregnant, to being pregnant, to not being pregnant, it was just… hard. It’s an emotional rollercoaster I hope I never have to get on ever again. I never thought in a million years I’d have gone though it in the first place (because, I’ve been just fine the last however many years, and the pill is like 99.9% effective, so you’ll be fine, said DR. CRANE *eyeroll*, and I’ve now gotten an IUD so this doesn’t happen again)
People told me time will make it better. They told me my hormones will be all over the place for the next 8 weeks. They were right. But I still hurt. I’m still messed up. I still blame myself. I still wonder what would have happened. I still don’t go into the room painted as a nursery that we always meant to repaint when we bought this house but never got around to. I still avoid the baby clothes section at Target. I don’t know how to be a mom, and I also don’t know how to not want to be now either.
There’s not some big inspirational message here. Really. I don’t have a ton of positive things to say on the subject yet. I don’t really even have a very cohesive thought on it either. I’m mostly scared to openly share this. I’m scared of what you’ll think. I’m scared of not being at my thinnest after this fall. I’m scared of feeling pressured. I’m scared of you thinking horrible things about me. I’m afraid to let you down. I’m afraid you’ll be annoyed I’m not just giving you a recipe. I’ve just already piled so much of this onto myself, any more of it would just be too much.
The few things I can see that were “good” takeaways:
I quit my job. I immediately felt like I started seeing things from different eyeballs. Screw not being happy. Screw not doing what you want to do in a way that makes you feel purpose and joy. Screw tolerating something that drains the life out of you, stresses you out, and makes you feel small and insignificant. Life is short. Life is hard enough already.
I quit a job I wasn’t happy at anymore to give my dream job my best shot. Justin, to the rescue again, assured me that jobs will always be there. My dreams can come first sometimes. Not that I needed his approval, but damn does it feel good to have someone who gives me wings to fly but a home to come back to. BLESS HIM. Now I wake up every single day, and even in light of what happened to me, I feel like I wake up in the best dream ever. Because I have the best job ever. I love my life and it’s feeling okay, and feeling honest, to say that again.
The funny thing is, since this happened, countless other incredible things has happened to me both in my life and my business. Sometimes I can’t even believe so many great days followed one of the worst. I think the good things were meant to be to help me find new inspiration and a new drive to continue on. It worked. I’m more inspired than ever.
I’m REALLY glad I won’t be going into labor anytime soon. Even being halfway dilated was horrible and the most extreme physical pain I’ve ever felt. I can wait on that. (This was a lighthearted joke, no rude comments, OK?)
Life looks a lot different than it did before this. I’m trying to find a new routine, a new normal and a new center. I felt like this was the push I needed to start prioritizing the things I really love in life, and about my life. And it maybe strengthened my resolve and confidence to be able to shout it from a rooftop instead of shying away from it.
The one thing I don’t like to do when life hands me heavy hands is to drown with them because I’m clinging on so tightly. I’d rather just let it go. I do it with people and things and opinions and mindsets. It’s easier to let it go, or find a way to use it to serve you or serve others. Just as growing up obese wasn’t something I wished for at the time, now, I can see how dealing with my residual anger and being freed to speak openly about it has helped me and others like me. As much as I wish this didn’t happen, I also know some day I might know why it did.
Love you. Thanks for being here.