After two weeks of soul-searching, uncontrollable tears, rage, nonstop prayers and a host of millions of emotions it was time, time to share our story. Today I hit the publish button on my first blog post and shared our story on Facebook for the entire world to see. I felt incredibly vulnerable in that moment. As soon as I saw the little orange notification on WordPress signifying the post was live, I stepped away to make another cup of coffee. In that moment while the Keurig made its whirring sound and I waited for my breakfast blend, I questioned myself. Had I done the right thing? What would people think? Would friends or family who didn’t hear the story from me directly be upset? Was I in danger of work colleagues walking on eggshells around me now? Maybe this was a bad idea. I needed a walk.
I grabbed 12 pound Boomer’s leash and we made a loop around the neighborhood. I needed to clear my head. I had let down my wall. Not just with close friends and family but with every single social media friend. And all of their friends. And complete strangers. I had just given them all a window to peer inside. Hell, I was living inside a house made of glass and they could see everything. Maybe no one would see the post. It was long, maybe they’d just glance over it.
When I returned home and reluctantly sat down at the computer ready to remove the post from social media, I was paralyzed in front of my computer screen. Thirty minutes since the post had gone live and I had dozens of comments and at least 50 private messages. Some from people I knew, others I knew of, and some were complete strangers. Not to mention the number of texts. The number of people who shared their story was astounding. They had been there too and I wasn’t alone. I was shocked and suddenly comforted. I’d done the right thing. So many people had rallied around and I had a renewed faith in friendship and love.
As the day went on, I reconnected with people who I hadn’t spoken with since high school graduation. Friends who appeared to always have it together opened up and shared their stories of loss and some still struggling along the journey to motherhood. The world around me looked different. It was almost unexplainable. The miscarriage had changed me, yes. But this experience of sharing my story, of connecting at a deeper level with the women who are a part of my life, there was something about it that changed the way I looked at the world.
I spent my entire childhood at an all girls school. For thirteen years, Kindergarten through Senior Year, I was surrounded primarily by young girls who grew into strong, independent, amazing women who are making waves in this world. For all the wonderful opportunities a private school education afforded me, the one I cherish the most is the friendships that have endured over two decades of this messy life. While the education provided us the tools to go on to be successful professionally, what I remember most about those years is what I learned about the value of sticking by those that matter to us the most, about loving so hard it hurts.
When college came around, learning how to make friends was an entirely foreign experience. That had not been something I’d been forced to do since before I knew how to read. It was scary and overwhelming. I moved from Maryland to South Carolina and I didn’t know a single soul. Naturally, I was drawn to greek life where I was surrounded by 150 girls. I did find my cohorts. Or maybe they found me. Either way, they had my back through demanding finals, college boyfriend drama, greek politics (who knew that was even a thing!). We were there for first dates with future husbands, the swooning, the advice over the black dress or the purple one. That learning to make new friends thing wasn’t so hard after all. And then just as quickly as it had started, it was all over. Graduation came and went, and off we were, on our own. We stayed around town for a little while, but then job opportunities spread us out across the country and what had become normal was suddenly no more. I was happy with the friendships that I had, but suddenly I was thrown into unfamiliar territory again.
The adult years brought on more friendships, the kind that I never knew were possible. They could never replace my childhood friends or my college cohorts. But as life matures us, we open our eyes to a different kind of friendship. The kind that pushes us out of our comfort zone. The kind that involves discussions about the challenges of starting a family and the demands of being a working woman in the south. We don’t have the history, but it doesn’t seem to matter. We’re connected in a way that challenges our way of thinking and makes us better people.
As I thought about my friends and all that we had been through, I felt a sense of deep appreciation. After my miscarriage, they flooded me with cards, food, wine, texts, calls, and words of wisdom. They hadn’t judged me. They hadn’t tried to fix the intense grief. They were just there. They listened, nodded and told me we’d go through this together.
I realized that healing had come in sharing. I’d been touched in ways I’d never imagined through this experience. By letting down my wall, my friendships grew stronger and those were the connections that I wanted to devote my time and energy to. The ones that survive the test of time and remain unconditional. The ones that encourage me. The ones that remind me there is hope and lead me towards the light at the end of the tunnel.
To my tribe, thank-you from the bottom of my heart for protecting my vulnerability without judgement.
I love you,