Pregnancy after loss is hard. The nine months before Asher was born were exhausting. I had a new house to fill and to decorate, a slew of doctors’ appointments to schedule and attend, and the demands of work to keep me busy. Surprisingly, I welcomed the distractions. This way I wouldn’t have to think too hard about what was really on my mind, that deep fear lingering beneath the surface… Would I get to take this one home?
The instant Asher was born, I was overwhelmed with relief. I crazy sobbed; it felt like years of emotional weight had lifted from my soul. I felt lighter almost instantly. It was just gone, disappeared, dropped, adios, bye bye. See Ya! With his birth, I could finally let go of my fears of losing him like I did Adeline.
Over the past few months, while at home on maternity leave, I found myself reflecting on how the experiences of the past several years have impacted me.
And, boy, have they left their mark.
One of the first things I noticed was how negative my thoughts had become.
I’ve asked myself several times in the past few months, “When did I become such a negative thinker?” At the core of my being I’ve always been an optimistic person. What happened, I wondered? I started feeling guilty for having so many negative thoughts. What a vicious cycle, thinking negatively about your negative thoughts! Seems crazy, right?
I realized today that in less than five years I’ve experienced more life-changing events than many people do in a lifetime, some good, some amazing, and some down right catastrophic. All impactful.
In less than five years, I’ve experienced:
⁃ 4 bosses
⁃ 4 different job titles
⁃ 2 moves
⁃ Gained a step-daughter
⁃ Transitioned to work from home
⁃ 3 international vacations
⁃ 2 surgeries
⁃ 1 stillborn daughter
⁃ Loss of my dad
⁃ Creation of a blog and a website
⁃ 6 Fertility treatments
⁃ 1 Early Miscarriage
⁃ Begun the Adoption Process
⁃ Got Pregnant Unexpectedly
⁃ 1 Son
That’s A LOT. No wonder I was tired and some negative thoughts crept into my life. It hasn’t been a breeze, but it’s been real. I’ve learned so much about myself in the last five years, so much about what I want out of life and how I want to live my life. The challenges we face do not have to destroy us; they can lead us towards a new, and even better, self.
Looking back on all this now, I realize I am so much stronger than I ever thought.
I didn’t just survive all these experiences; I have allowed them to help me grow and for that I am so thankful. We will all experience challenges, trials and hardship. The blessings come from the opportunity to grow through them. People say “life is a ride, a path, a journey, a rollercoaster…” Whatever you call it, if you allow twists and turns to direct you closer to your true self and enjoy the ride you’ll find what is the true human experience.
My mantra for this year: “I will hold space for periods of calm and periods of complete destruction, for within the destruction comes a rebuilding of something new, something different, something better than what was there before.”
What have you experienced in the last month, year, five years? Did you accomplish something amazing and forget to reward yourself? Did you experience a loss and not give yourself time to grieve? Have you been beating yourself up for not doing that one thing, whatever it may be, yet didn’t celebrate the 15,000 other things you did accomplish? What have you learned about yourself as you’ve moved through these experiences? I’d love to hear what you’ve learned in the comments below.