Farewell, ’14, you’ll (sort of) be missed

Keeping this post devoid of clichés is going to be rough. It seems all I’ve heard for the last 12 months are one-liners from motivational posters:

All in due time.

Keep your head up.

When it’s meant to be, it will be.

By every measure, 2014 was a hard year. We lost family members and family friends, our careers were in constant flux and, after two miscarriages, are ending the year without the child we thought we would have.

I’ve spent more time than I would like to admit feeling sorry for myself, and I don’t want to start 2015 with that same mindset. So, for sake of argument (and my sanity), let’s focus on the good stuff and send 2014 off right.

In 2014:
We ate at some of the best restaurants in the city, drank silly amounts of local beer, saw a play (my first!) at a local theater and even made our first trip to Churchill Downs.

Rhinegeist

Checking out Rhinegeist for the first time.

We went on multiple fantastic family vacations, including a trip to Las Vegas, Fourth of July at Lake Cumberland and a long weekend in Gatlinburg.

Lake Cumberland

Kim & me on Lake Cumberland

We rocked out at several concerts, ranging from Lionel Ritchie (yes, it’s true) to Panic! at the Disco, and were even upgraded to VIP for free at Bunbury Music Festival.

Bunbury Music Festival

So many wristbands, so little time at Bunbury

We traveled to see friends, had friends come to see us and spent countless hours reliving the reasons why we’re all so close no matter how far apart we are.

Detroit Zoo

Quick photo op in the Detroit Zoo parking lot.

We got to meet our new niece Brynn, who is as adorable and sweet as can be, and watched our nephew Lincoln develop his growing personality, cracking us up and melting our hearts along the way.

Brynn

My new niece, Brynn!

So yes, in 2014, we spent a lot of time grieving, but a lot of time celebrating, too. If you had asked me a year ago today what I was most looking forward to in 2014, I would have said, without a doubt, starting a family.

Turns out that’s what I’m looking forward to in 2015, but you know, 2014 wasn’t too shabby either.

All’s well that ends well, they say.

Damn. I guess one cliché snuck in after all.

Oh well. Bring on the new year.

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The secrets women keep (and why it’s not doing any of us any good)

Stereotypes say we talk; we gossip, we blab, we were born with a voice. And yet sometimes, it seems we shut up about the things we should really be talking about.

I’m here to tell you, staying silent isn’t doing us any favors.

This week, my husband and I found out we’d lost our pregnancy at eight weeks. Unfortunately, this is the second time we’ve heard similar news — it was an echo of a heartbreak we’d already suffered in April.

This Friday, I went through surgery for the second time, closing the door on our second attempt at creating a family.

Two people, hoping and trying for a child, now 10 months into the process and starting over.

Sadly, this happens more often than most people know. An estimated 1 in 4 pregnancies ends in miscarriage, but for whatever reason, we women feel the need to suffer these losses in silence.

Etiquette tells us to wait until you’re in the “safe zone” of the second trimester before sharing your happy news, should anything bad happen. But even that safety zone is a myth; too many women have suffered the devastation of a second trimester loss. The real truth is that we’re afraid to suffer those first trimester losses in the eyes of others. We’re operating under the understanding that early losses are to be mourned as a family or just as a couple, not shared with others.

It’s like we’re afraid it says something about our womanhood, about our ability to be a mother. In reality, early term miscarriages are rarely caused by any fault of the mother, but are rather an unfortunately consequence of a chromosomal abnormality. But even though miscarriage could be as common as 1 in 4 pregnancies, keeping silent means keeping each other alone in our suffering. No one talks about it, so it’s hard to know exactly how common it really is. People all around the world are putting on a brave face because they feel as though it’s not their right to burden others with their bad news.

But a burden shared is a burden lightened, and we’d all be better off remembering that. In fact, we’d all be better off remembering that:

Not all childless couples want to be that way.

Not all women who get pregnant get to bring home their child.

That just because she’s pretending everything is OK doesn’t mean it is.

That when you ask someone when they’re going to have kids, you may be speaking to someone who’s grieving on the inside.

I consider myself lucky in that I have family members who understand all too well what I’m going through. And it can work both ways: I know that discussing our first loss with my mother brought her some closure after nearly 29 years of not truly understanding her own loss. Nothing makes it easier, but knowing I’m not alone helps me continue to hope for a happy ending.

I think if we could all be a little more honest about how hard building a family can be, maybe we’d all feel a little less alone.

 

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Please be kind to each other. 

Day 70: A perfect weekend

Hey look at that, I promised you’d see me today and here I am!

Granted, it’s already after my bedtime (because I’m an old lady), so this will probably be short and sweet, but still. Hi!

This weekend was what I like to call the perfect grown up weekend. What does that mean exactly?

Remember how when you were a kid, all you wanted to do was sleep in, eat pizza and do whatever you wanted all day? That. This weekend was full of that.

You see, Darrell and I have a tendency to over-schedule ourselves. We love our friends and our families and we fill nearly every weekend with running around town or across state lines to see them. This weekend, in fact, we’d planned on heading to King’s Island with Darrell’s parents, but when that fell through we found ourselves with a completely obligation free weekend.

And it was glorious.

We slept in (until like, 8:30!), went out for coffee & pastries for breakfast, grabbed pizza by the slice for lunch and had a simple and delicious dinner of hot ham sandwiches and tomato soup for dinner. It was so beautifully simple, I could barely believe we actually managed to just go with the flow for an entire day.

Today was much of the same, and I’m so happy that I was able to actually relax, recenter, and rediscover what it’s like to live without a plan, even if it was only for 48 hours.

Tomorrow starts off a new week and I’m more excited to get back to ‘work’ than ever. I think this whole, weekend of freedom, thing could really start becoming a habit.

Hope you had a great weekend!