66 - Not a Victim, A Voice
[00:00:00] Hello my friend. Welcome to another episode of Shining Through. This episode is especially tender and dear to my heart, but it is for you, women in the world, because I know that connecting and being vulnerable and honest brings courage and healing, and I want you to feel like you can find that on your own journey and overcome the traumas and the struggles that you've gone through.
[00:00:29] So here's me choosing to be vulnerable because I care about the women of the world. Last Friday was a really hard day for me. I started spotting. And for you men out there, I know this might be t m I, but when you start spotting when you're pregnant, it is not a good thing. And most of you don't know that we have been trying to grow our family and that I've been pregnant for the last eight weeks.
[00:00:57] We kept it on the down low. We had this great plan that we were gonna announce it to the family on Mother's Day and it was all planned out. But then Friday came. And for those of you women who know what it's like to start spotting, even if it's a regular period, it kind of alters what's going on in your life. You think, "Oh, okay, now I have to be more prepared. I have to get supplies. I might be a little bit more ornery, " and you're more aware that things might be a little different for the next few days.
[00:01:26] Well, when you're spotting, when you're pregnant, it definitely makes things a little different.
[00:01:32] And as typical of any situation where we don't want it to be our reality, the first response I had was denial. I thought, "I'm not gonna tell my husband. It's just a little bit of spotting. It's not a big deal. We're just gonna keep moving forward. " And I swept it under the rug and just went on with my day.
[00:01:50] Well, the next day things started getting a little worse and I felt really physically ill. And my husband thought, "Oh, well, it's just a really bad pregnancy day, " and I let him think that for a while. But then about halfway through the day, I opened up and I shared with him and I said, I've been spotting and I'm a little bit worried that things might not be okay.
[00:02:13] And when I said that to him, it felt like this huge anvil on my chest, a burden that I had been carrying alone was lightened, because I was able to connect and share with the person that cares the most about me and this baby. And we were able to talk and pray, and even start a fast together, that we would have God's strength and courage as we moved forward with whatever happened in the next few days.
[00:02:39] *And I am so grateful that I opened up and shared with my husband because the next day got really hard. *
[00:02:47] I woke up in the morning. I knew something was different. I had never experienced the intense changes that were happening in my body. And in my heart I knew that I had lost the baby and the dreams that went with it. And then we had to go to church, you know, like that was the next moment of our life. I wasn't a victim of it, I said, "I'm choosing to go and feed my spirit and take up the sacrament. "
[00:03:12] But there were tears behind my eyes all day. And there was a moment right after church where I knew that I was having a miscarriage. And I looked at my husband afterwards and he just gave me that knowing look.
[00:03:26] And we walked out in the car and turned on some music really loudly, and I just sat and cried with tears streaming down our face. I don't know how my kids didn't pick up on it, but we were just driving home, holding hands, crying on the way home. Well, when we got home, we put on a movie for the boys and we gave ourselves time to feel. We took a little nap first to do some self-care and just relax a little, but when I woke up for that nap, my mind was flooded with questions.
[00:03:59] Questions like, "Was it my fault? Did I push my body too hard this week? " or, "Why did I tell people, now I have to go back and tell them that I'm not pregnant anymore, and that is not what I wanna do right now. I just wanna hide in a corner and pretend like it didn't happen... "
[00:04:16] Or questions that turned into frustration or anger. "Why did this happen? God told us to try. I was done having kids. I didn't even think we were gonna try again. Why would we try again to have it fail? And then what comes next? Am I supposed to keep trying? Are we gonna stop here? I don't know if I wanna go through this again. " All of the questions came flooding to my mind. And with those questions came lots of tears.
[00:04:44] Tears that we knew well because they were trauma tears. And I have shed trauma tears enough times in my life to know when it's not just sadness. It's deeper than that. Tears that happen when your dreams die. Tears when the unthinkable becomes your reality. Tears when part of your heart that was reserved for something is now empty and feels like it will never be filled.
[00:05:15] Those tears, I knew that I needed to just let them fall because sometimes they just come whether you want them or not. Whether you're recording a podcast for the world or whether you just wanna hide. But it's important to let those tears flow.
[00:05:32] And boy, they flowed and flowed and flowed, and my body just processed that grief. And then my husband and I took some time to connect with our kids and finish the day as a family. And I was so grateful to have him by my side, processing that grief.
[00:05:51] Even after the kids went to bed, we turned on one of the movies that helps me process grief (called Finding Neverland) and I just bawled and balled and balled because I knew I needed that outlet. I knew I needed that connection to myself, to my husband, to my grief, and to my God, even though in that moment I didn't necessarily want to connect or feel all of the feelings, but I knew I needed to. And then I went to bed and I passed out exhausted.
[00:06:22] Then like so many of us who have gone through traumas, the next morning I had to pick myself up and go through a regular day: get my kids off to school, go pick up some groceries, make sure my email to the amazing women on my list was ready to go out, that they expect from me every single week.
[00:06:41] *Life doesn't stop just because you're in trauma.*
[00:06:44] But I did take time to do self-care and try to stay connected until a moment that caught me off guard. You see, every Monday on the way to pick up my son from school, I call my little brother and chat with him because Mondays can sometimes be hard to get your motivation going, and we have a commitment to help each other really stay motivated on Mondays and the energy from that call usually helps my week be better overall. But this time, I went to pick up the phone to call my brother and I did not wanna call him, because I wasn't in a motivational Monday mindset.
[00:07:21] I was in grief and I had a decision to make. Do I hold it in and pretend like we're fine? And yeah, let's talk about how awesome this week is gonna be and all the motivation we're gonna create today. Or do I tell him what's going on? I hesitated because we hadn't even gone to the doctor yet and I didn't know what all happened and I didn't wanna burden him with that news or ruin his week cuz you know, it was supposed to be a motivational Monday. I also didn't know if he could relate to me. He doesn't have kids yet and it was really vulnerable. And the social norm is you just kind of sweep it under the rug and you don't really talk about it if you have a miscarriage.
[00:08:00] We know that it happens all the time, but people aren't really talking about it much. And so that social norm was pulling at me. Should I hide it? I don't know what should I do? And then I set a quick prayer and connected to what was authentic to me. And I wanted to share with my brother because I knew that vulnerability and connection bonds people together and I didn't wanna feel separated from him and withhold that part of me. I wanted to connect with him. That's what Mondays are really about for us.
[00:08:36] So he answered the phone and said, "Hey, happy motivational Monday! How are you today? " And the tears just started coming. And I said, "Honestly, little brother, I'm really having a hard day. " And then I shared with him the journey that we had walked the last few days. And it was so beautifully connecting. It brought that growth for me and for him, and he was able to share with me some trauma that he'd experienced that I didn't even know about.
[00:09:06] *I was so grateful that I shared.*
[00:09:10] And it gave me courage to keep sharing, keep connecting, keep reaching out, especially the next day when we went to the doctor's appointment and there was no heartbeat on the baby. And the doctor invited us to tell our children what was going on.
[00:09:29] And that was really hard for me because I've got four little boys that don't really understand things. And why would I give them that struggle? Why would I make them feel that grief when we could just pretend like nothing had happened? I could hide it. I had done it on Sunday. They didn't know what was going on.
[00:09:46] But there was a little piece of me that knew that they do know, they have seen.
[00:09:53] *They haven't said anything because I haven't said anything, but what message was I sending them by not sharing what was going on?*
[00:10:04] So my husband and I prayed about it and tried to decide what we felt was right. And we got a clear, peaceful feeling that even though our kids didn't even know I was pregnant we needed to tell them what happened. And so on the way home, my husband had the idea to pick up some cookies that we always eat when our children were born. And he took a bite of that cookie and just cried.
[00:10:30] And it was a sweet, tender moment watching him hand those cookies to each of my children that day and talk about the beauty of celebrating life and about what we've been going through and why mom's been having a hard time lately and been sick and been working extra hours the past few months in her business so that everything would be ready for the baby. The baby that wasn't gonna come anymore. And when we shared this with our children, my sweet little four year old looked up at me and said, "Mom, that's sad. " And I said, "Yes, sweet boy. It is sad and it's okay that it's sad. And it's important for us to understand what to do with sad feelings. " And we talked about grief when we talked about sorrow and the importance of joy and sorrow and how they can't be without each other. And then we even watched Inside Out as a family and talked about what they were experiencing in their own little lives and processed some things that they were holding.
[00:11:34] Then there was a moment where my sweet 10 year old boy burst into tears. And I tried to get him to tell me what was going on and he didn't wanna say, and he wanted to hide, and he just told me he needed a alone time.
[00:11:47] And I put my arm around him and said, "It's okay to be sad. Whatever's going on, you couldn't share. " And he looked up at me and he said, "Mom, I got sick. And then you got sick and then we lost the baby. And I thought you were pregnant and I was so excited. What if me getting you sick made you lose that baby? "
[00:12:11] And my heart just melted. And I was so, so glad that I had told him what was going on and shared with him vulnerably so that he could feel like he could share that fear with me too. And I told him it wasn't anybody's fault. It wasn't my fault. It wasn't his fault. The doctor said it even started to happen weeks ago before we got sick. And it was okay and it wasn't his fault.
[00:12:36] *How many of us go through trauma and we feel like we're to blame or we have some sort of shame that festers inside of us and we never really give it a voice?*
[00:12:47] One of the women I connected with as I was telling them about this miscarriage shared with me that she had had a miscarriage once when she didn't think she wanted any more children and she was unexpectedly pregnant and she felt upset about that pregnancy. And she ended up miscarrying and it was so traumatic for her thinking that she had caused it and she'd never really processed that. How would that experience have been different for her if she had opened up and shared that fear like my son.
[00:13:20] I'm so grateful that I opened up and told him so that he could share with me too.
[00:13:27] *We both found more healing and more courage because we connected through the grief.*
[00:13:34] And that connection gave me courage to tell the other people in my life that knew that I was pregnant— which very few people knew— and it shocked me how many of them said "Me too. " Woman after woman that I shared my experience with over this past week has told me that they had a miscarriage or they'd struggled with infertility and how much harder it was than they expected. It definitely was the same thing for me.
[00:14:03] *I thought it was such a normal thing that it wasn't a such a big deal, but it stopped my world and it was definitely traumatic. *
[00:14:12] And hearing their stories, so many of them hadn't really opened up and shared much, or they hadn't processed what it was that they had experienced.
[00:14:21] One woman told me that she was on a sports trip for the weekend away from her husband, away from her family, and just had her one young son with her when she started miscarrying. And she had to drive that long trip home by herself while in physical pain and tears just streaming down her eyes, praying that she could make it home.
[00:14:42] Doing that drive alone was so hard for her.
[00:14:47] Even my own mother who I knew had two miscarriages, told me a story I had never heard before. One of her miscarriages happened when she was camping, without a supportive husband, and she ended up processing that physical and emotional trauma curled up in a tent.
[00:15:09] So many of us curl up in the corners of our lives and experience trauma and the people who are close to us don't even know. We think it's too personal, like we shouldn't share, or we should be able to lean on the people close to us, right? Our spouse or maybe one or two other people. But we shouldn't burden other people with our trauma and then they're gonna ask questions and we don't have to follow up on those questions... and they may look at us differently.
[00:15:35] *And the social norm is just to keep it quiet, to suffer in silence. When we do that, we pull in and we disconnect from the people around us and from our reality. *
[00:15:51] We end up trying to go through life like we're not affected and it honestly feels like we're half dead. And then when we finally get to the point where we have to process the trauma, we often go and find professional support that isn't part of our everyday life. And then we feel like we have this other identity that people don't know about us, and they only truly know half of who you are, half of the deep sorrow that you have experienced.
[00:16:21] *My friend, your experience matters and it's okay to share it. Whatever pieces you want to share with whoever you want to share.*
[00:16:34] It doesn't have to be your whole story or share it with the whole world, but you can reach out and connect, grow, find courage, and find that healing when you choose to step into the light.
[00:16:51] Satan loves darkness and he loves silence. When we keep quiet and we hide, that silence breeds loneliness and hopelessness, overwhelm and shame, self pity—all of these feelings feed off of silence. And it grows that darkness, that weight that we carry, and it's harder to find the light.
[00:17:19] When I chose to share with my mother, and she told me about some of her experiences, it was really emotional. We cried a lot. And the next morning she even called me a blubbering mess and I felt bad that I had handed her that trauma. She didn't know I was even trying to get pregnant, and it was a lot of emotion for her to process, and I honestly felt bad.
[00:17:39] But then later that day, she called me back and she said to me, "Thank you so much for sharing your burden with me. I spent all day writing in my journals and thinking about my own experience that I realized I had never really processed and healed. I didn't have the tools back then to realize how traumatized I was, and how hard it was to go through that alone. " And then she shared with me that she had reached out to multiple different places that day to find healing, to process her trauma, and that she found some insights that were so beautiful to her.
[00:18:20] She ended by saying, thank you. "Thank you for sharing your journey so I could heal mine. "
[00:18:30] *When you choose to vulnerably share, you create more healing for yourself, for others, and for the world! *
[00:18:42] What part of your story needs to be told? Are you suffering in silence or keeping things to yourself? Have you maybe never told somebody about something traumatic that needs to have space to heal?
[00:18:58] It may be a trauma that you're experiencing now or it could be a trauma you've experienced in the past, a miscarriage of your own or infertility struggles that are so painful. Maybe it's abuse that you experienced or watched a loved one experience, cuz it's just as traumatic to watch someone you love be abused as well. Maybe it's a betrayal or an addiction that you are trying to heal and overcome. It could be the loss of a loved one, a friend of family member, or a dream that you had that has died.
[00:19:34] There are so many ways that we experience trauma.
[00:19:39] One school counselor said to me once, "I used to help prevent trauma from happening in these kids, now I help them process it. " We live in a world that has changed and we all experience trauma: faith crises, unemployment, illness, loss, grief, sorrow, trauma. We experience these feelings and the women who come to me with their burdens, with their fears, with their struggles, or even simply just feeling worn out, trying to keep going on the healing journey —they all experience these feelings. Feelings of grief, denial, anger, loneliness, fear, regret, sadness, hopelessness. So many of us have experienced these feelings. My friend, I know you've experienced them too, and you are not alone.
[00:20:46] *You don't need to suffer in silence. Silence helps no one.*
[00:20:52] *What you give voice to has the power to change your life and change this world. *
[00:21:00] *Don't be a silent victim. Be a courageous voice.*
[00:21:06] Your story deserves to be heard. And if you choose to break the silence, it's not about getting attention or vulnerability vomiting, like Brene Brown warns. No. Choosing to break the silence, connects us to truth, connects us to people and connects us to God. Because we're willing to find His healing and to move forward on the journey together.
[00:21:37] We are not meant to journey alone. And I am so grateful for the courageous women who have shared their stories with me, both this past week and in past traumas that I've experienced, because it has offered me hope.
[00:21:53] Hope that I'm not alone, because I know I'm not. And neither are you.
[00:22:01] Don't be a victim, be a voice.
[00:22:04] And if you need someone to hear your voice, it would be an honor to sit in that with you. Please let me know if you need a safe place because you deserve to be heard. To connect. To grow and heal and find that courage.
[00:22:25] You deserve to shine through. Let's journey together. Have a blessed day.
[00:22:36] Healing is possible. If you feel stuck on your healing journey, you do not have to stay there. I've created an empowering quiz that helps you know exactly why you're stuck, what phase you're at in your healing journey, and gives you three simple things you can do right now to help you move forward. All you have to do is go to www.thelightcoach.com/quiz and take this free five minute quiz.
[00:23:07] I promise it will help you move forward and create that life of peace, hope, courage, and joy that you want to live. It simply starts by taking a quiz and seeing what's possible. I can't wait to see what you create next.