October is a month that hits a little differently since 2019. It was 3 years ago this month that we lost our first pregnancy due to miscarriage, about 2.5 years since we lost our second pregnancy due to miscarriage (during a global pandemic), and about 1.5 since we had our daughter, Caroline. Needless to say, it’s been a crazy couple of years navigating these difficult seasons. Therefore, every October I get painful reminders of what the last couple of years has held for us.
If I’m being honest, it’s not the pregnancy losses that hit as hard anymore. While that was difficult, it’s hard to imagine I wouldn’t have Caroline if either of those pregnancies had been successful. Somehow, that has given me some peace about our sweet angels. Not everyone feels that way, and I 100% respect varying feelings regarding past pregnancies. However, that’s how I feel personally. The truth is, ever since my first miscarriage in 2019, my body has never felt the same. This new reality has really taken a toll on me both physically and mentally over the last couple of years.
Every day feels like a complete battle with my body. Joint pain, extreme fatigue, mental confusion, vertigo, memory issues, severe headaches, weight gain, hypothyroidism, and depression. The list feels like it trails on forever. I’ve seen countless doctors for help and nobody seems to have an answer to any of it. “Everything looks normal,” they all say. I’m only 32 years old, I shouldn’t feel this badly, right?
I started running back in March to hopefully help make me feel better. It’s been helping a lot, but as the cold weather sets in, my joint pain is returning with a vengeance. Not only that, but back in August I had an EXTREME case of vertigo. It completely knocked me off my feet for 3 full days and I ended up in urgent care. I could hardly get out of bed during that time because I was so dizzy. It kept me from running for over a month and still hasn’t fully gone away.
A year ago, I was diagnosed with postpartum depression. For months I thought the things I was feeling were completely normal for a new full-time working mom of a newborn. Household chores completely overwhelmed me to the point where a laundry basket caused anxiety. Without going into too much personal detail, my anxiety was through the roof and it was really impacting my life. I was paranoid about the most random things, and it really took a toll on my mental health.
Almost 2 years have gone by facing these difficult seasons, and it’s been a frustrating journey. We live in a world that tells us to “choose joy” like we have control of that. Those same voices are the ones who are telling us to be grateful for what we have because someone else has it worse. During the pandemic, we were encouraged to see the positives out of an absolutely horrible situation. After my miscarriages, I was met with well meaning but hurtful comments. Examples being, “it was God’s plan,” and “well there was something wrong with the pregnancy, so it’s actually a good thing.” Sometimes, we’re faced with awful situations that are really, really hard. I’ve learned it’s okay to feel how you feel, even if it’s not a positive emotion. This is how I’ve learned to give myself grace during difficult seasons.
It’s voices like these that I’ve had to work hard to drown out while going through my struggles. Let’s face it: the last few years have had zero room for toxic positivity. While I do agree that it’s important to be grateful for the things we have, that doesn’t mean that we have to always be happy in a situation. Life can just be downright hard and sometimes it’s all we can do to just get through it.
Finding Support During Difficult Seasons
For me, it helps to have a goal to keep me pushing through the tough days, mostly it’s my daughter. I want to be the best mom I can for her. Sometimes there are days when it’s incredibly hard to show up because I’m so mentally exhausted. On those days, I have to try really hard to push away feelings of failure. My husband has been an incredible support during these times. I always make sure to tell him when I’m struggling so he can help give me some space to recover from a bad day, and he always steps up to make it happen. I can’t stress enough how important it is to find someone who is supportive in this way, even if it’s not a partner.
So if you are currently facing difficult seaons, whether it’s the passing of a loved one, losing a pregnancy, struggling through IVF, finding out that you’re not able to have children, or that you are terminally ill, please know that you are justified in feeling however you feel about it. Surround yourself with people who are supportive and caring towards your situation. It’s okay if you’re not “choosing joy” through your struggle. I see you. Your feelings are valid. Your struggle is real, and I hope that you are able to find peace in the friends and family who give you love and support.