When we got pregnant with Harper, we were not planning. We of course were thrilled; but had been planning to wait three more years. (I could not imagine waiting that long now.) I had heard of friends trying and my heart broke for those who had been trying for months and years. But of course I didn't "get it" until two months out from labor when I tasted that full longing for the child in my womb to be outside. Even then and even now I don't know fully what it's like to long for a child you haven't been able to conceive, or the unthinkable, miscarrying the child you've waited so long for. I can cry with you, try to empathize and have compassion but I don't know. I can only imagine. Imagine the heartache, and just doing that is almost too much to bear.
This weeks Ma, Jenny, has experienced the above and I'm in awe of her strength. She submitted her questions just a few weeks before finding out she miscarried, and so of course she edited her responses a bit. But the photos were taken just days after. Such an incredible mother. Her heart was to be open so that others in the same situation might not feel alone. She posted this after they found out:
"This weekend, we were supposed to announce my pregnancy with our second baby, due in October. Instead, we're completely heartbroken, mourning the loss of our baby. Friday we found out that our sweet baby's heart stopped beating and I am having a miscarriage. This is a pain and emptiness I would not have the strength to overcome if not for the love and support of my family and friends, as well as the women who have shared their own losses publicly or with me personally. In our culture, I think women sometimes feel that a miscarriage needs to be suffered in silence. And sometimes that's okay. But I don't want to be silent. I'm posting this because I never want a mother to go through this experience and feel alone. Like she's the only one who has ever felt this broken. You are NOT alone. And if by sharing my story I can bring some good out of this pain, if I can help one person feel connected and strengthened through this horrible experience, then I think it will help heal both of our hearts."
It's been two months now and she's continued to be vocal about the healing process. I'm honored to know this little family and excited for what's ahead for them!
Tell me a little about your lifestyle.
I'm 26, living life with my husband of 3.5 years and our 2 year old daughter, Marlowe. We lived in Tampa, FL for the past 3 years where I worked as a fitness instructor for Stroller Strides, a workout group for moms. We moved back to Nashville about two months ago and are currently living with my parents while we renovate our new home, a vintage 1978 Airstream! We are really excited about this new adventure of tiny house living!
I often struggle to reconcile dreams that I had pre-motherhood with post-motherhood.What are you wrestling to find time for?
Everything. Time for myself. Time to be a better wife. Time to be a better mother. Lately I've just been trying to do one thing for myself each day, even if it's just showering without having Marlowe barge in on me, or try and get in the shower with me.
Share a funny or honest or sobering moment when something happened that put you way outside your comfort zone.
The first moment that comes to mind is the day I gave birth. Not the actual birth itself, but a few hours after. I had just gotten stitched up and my husband was holding our daughter, showing her to our families in the other room. I needed to rinse off so my best friend and doula went with me. I stood in the shower and my friend, who I have known for 17 years, bathed me, and it was at that moment I realized, this is sisterhood. I was swollen and tired and sore and here is my friend, who just spent hours rubbing my back supporting me through labor and now she's literally bathing me, seeing me in the most vulnerable state, and she loves me. It was completely humbling and is an image of how we should see and treat other mothers and women. It's not always pretty but we need to support one another.
Expectation vs. Reality: Share a time when these were awfully unbalanced.
I always expected that when you wanted to have children, you'd get pregnant and then have a baby. I figured it would be easy. Marlowe was a surprise. A wonderful surprise, since my whole life I've wanted nothing more than a bunch of babies, but still, we weren't trying to get pregnant. Fast forward to this past January, we decided we were ready for baby number two. I got pregnant right away and we were so thrilled. Everything was wonderful until it wasn't. At 11 weeks we went in to hear our sweet baby's heartbeat (one that we had seen 4 weeks earlier on an ultrasound) and there was nothing. Just silence. And then sobbing. I will never forget the moment we learned we had lost our baby. I had to have a D&C 5 days later. I expected the journey to motherhood to be an easy one. I got so lucky with Marlowe that I assumed every pregnancy would be that way. These past few months I've learned the harsh reality of just how brutal and heartbreaking the journey can be. Still beautiful, but so heartbreaking.
What do you hope your children know about you? and/or What do you hope to impart to your children?
I hope they know how much I love them. How much i truly, deeply, unconditionally love them. I hope they think we're awesome for selling all of our stuff and moving into a trailer, and not completely crazy. I hope they know they're the best things that ever happened to me, even on their worst days (and my worst days). I hope bluegrass music makes their feet move, the first smell of autumn warms their soul, and they take every opportunity to sit, take a deep breath, take in the beauty around them, and realize how alive they are.
What have you done in the past week that you are proud of?
Why is this so hard? I can think of 20 things I did that I'm not proud of. One beautiful afternoon I sat on the deck with Marlowe and played for hours without looking at my phone. I am proud of that.
Her favorite quote quickly became one of my favorites too.
"Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy". -Anne Frank
Thank you Jenny for being so real with us! If you want to follow her journey or their airstream adventure, see below.
Ma Dreams is a project I started this year (2015) after having a creative craving that I felt like I couldn't quench. As a recent first-time mom I've found it extremely hard to find time for the things I love in addition to my sweet babe. I guessed that most moms feel the same. To brings us together and remind Ma's of their dreams too I started this series. Read more here: Ma Dreams.