This isn’t a blog post I wanted to write, because this isn’t something I thought – or hope – would happen to me. But sometimes life has a way of surprising you.
I found out I was pregnant shortly after Christmas. As a hilarious pregnancy announcement online said, “We’re pregnant! Don’t be sad for us – it’s on purpose.” We were incredibly excited. Over-the-moon excited.
We knew there was a chance of miscarriage – there always is – but we didn’t think on it too much. We told our families. We dreamed big dreams. We basked in the excitement of it all.
I’m not going to take you through the messy details, but about two weeks after finding out, or when I was about 7 weeks along, that all came crashing down. I found myself in the ER at 3 AM, bleeding a lot and in a lot of pain. The ER doc, who I think would have rather have told me I lost a leg, delivered the terrible news to Brandon and I: miscarriage.
When I found out I was pregnant, I remember consciously thinking that if anything were to happen to my pregnancy, I’d tell people. I live with mental illness and work for a sexual assault prevention nonprofit, so I’m around stigmatized issues all day, every day. I’m passionate about bring stigmatized issues into the light. So after I recovered from two days straight of crying, napping, eating my feelings, and crying more, I started thinking: what exactly did I want to say?
I don’t have any wisdom about this. I’m only two weeks removed from one of the most traumatizing events of my life, and am still figuring out how to navigate it. After some thought, I realized what I want to say is A) this happened to me so B) you’re not alone and C) here’s what I’ve learned so far.
What I’ve Learned So Far About Miscarriage
I’ve learned through talking to friends and family that this happens far more often than I realized. Almost everyone I’ve talked to has had a miscarriage themselves or knows someone who has. For how little it’s talked about, it’s incredibly common. I – and anyone who else who has experienced pregnancy loss – am far from alone. Most of those people have gone on to have healthy pregnancies, often two or more. It sucks, but there’s hope.
I’ve also learned that it’s one of the most devastating losses you can experience. There’s no funeral, no body, no evidence that this person existed, but you feel the loss all the same: the loss of your high hopes for this new little person, the loss of your joy, the loss of a life.
If your parent or sibling dies, people understand your grief. Because miscarriage is invisible, it’s hard for others to understand. How could you love something so much you never even met, that wasn’t even a “person” yet? Gosh, if I could tell you, I would. All I can say is you DO, and the loss feels just as real as the loss of someone who walked the earth.
(We have been BLESSED with amazing family and friends who have grieved with us, but not everyone who experiences miscarriage is understood in their suffering. If that’s you, whether it just happened or happened a long time ago, I see you. And I feel your sadness.)
The process of miscarriage itself is also devastating. Watching your body expel what used to be your womb, your safe place for your little future child, is the most awful thing. It feels a lot like your body has betrayed you. It’s graphic and terrible and far from quick, a daily reminder for about a week of what you had and what you lost.
What I’ve Learned So Far About Myself
I remember early on in my very short pregnancy thinking about what I’d do if I had a miscarriage. In my mind, I had no idea how I’d go on. When I tried to visualize what life would be like if the unspeakable happened, I couldn’t see anything at all.
Fast forward to two weeks past my worst nightmare coming true, and I’m still here. I’m getting dressed, taking care of basic life tasks, and going to work every day like a normal human being. I’m still sad a lot of days. I still cry at least once a day. But, what I’ve learned about myself through this process is that I am a LOT more resilient than I thought I was. I am capable of surviving incredible grief.
Not only am I capable of withstanding the emotional pain that comes with loss, but I have been able to do it without the aid of medication. I’ve taken low-dose anti-anxiety meds since college. When I found out I was pregnant, my sister-in-law/nurse midwife told me that I couldn’t take them while pregnant, so I quickly tapered off my dosage.
For years now, medication has been my safety net. I’ve been able to rest easy knowing that as long as I take it, my anxiety can’t come at me full-force. I experienced the hardest loss of my life without medication, and I’m still standing. No panic attacks. No major mishaps.
I can’t even tell you what a victory this is.
(Relatedly, because I am a nerd, one of the things that kept me going in those first few days post-miscarriage was a study I learned about in a psych class in college. Researchers studied a group of people who won the lottery and a group of people who had recently become paralyzed due to horrible accidents. Within six months, the two groups were equally happy. The lesson: grief, trauma, and pain won’t define you forever. You’ll bounce back. And I’m getting there, very slowly but surely.)
This experience also taught me that I definitely do want to be a mom. Brandon has wanted kids since he can remember. If you know my husband, you know his love of golf, khakis, and complaining about “kids these days.” He’s already fully embraced the Dad role.
I, on the other hand, have taken awhile to come alongside him. Maybe it was my love of last-minute travels and being able to pursue my career unhindered or my fear of the whole pregnancy thing, but it took me much longer to decide I was ready to think about being a mom.
When I can’t make a hard decision, Brandon has this way of helping me choose: he puts both fists behind his back and one of my “options” in each hand. I choose a hand, he tells me which option I picked, and either I’m happy, which means that’s the right option, or I’m instantly disappointed, which means I should choose the other one.
This experience was a little like that. Only when I lost the pregnancy did I realize how much I wanted it. Now I know for sure.
What I’ve Learned So Far About God
Christians like to say “we live in a fallen world,” and when you’ve been in the church long enough, you really don’t think about what it means. Yes, there’s sin. Blah, blah, blah. Through this experience, I for the first time truly understood what that means, how horrible and awful our world is because of sin.
Don’t get me wrong; I don’t wear rose-colored glasses. I spend 2-3 hours per day at my job reading news articles about sexual assault. I know the world is a horrible place. But there’s something about experiencing such a devastating, unjustifiable, seemingly unfair loss that drives the point home: this world SUCKS. Because of sin, this world is a horrific place where miscarriages happen, car crashes kill innocent people, and all manner of terrible things befall the good and the wicked alike.
This has strengthened my faith so much, as I’ve seen first-hand what a gift Jesus Christ was and is. God knew that Adam and Eve’s sin would produce such a horrible world, but He also provided a way to escape it. He provided us a hope that lives beyond this messed-up earth. And in the days following my miscarriage, and still today, that’s all I can hold onto. Because this world is an awful place.
I’ve learned that God’s peace is crazy stuff. As we drove to the ER at 3 AM on that morning, I knew. I knew it was over. And yet, I felt a strange sense of calm. I didn’t cry, I didn’t panic. I was just calm. And anyone who knows me well knows that’s a rare occurrence, even on a good day.
Even in the days following, as I struggled with heartache, grief, and every other negative emotion in the book, I still felt peace. I knew that God was in control. And as much as what was happening to me felt unbearable, I knew that my God saw me in my grief and had a plan.
That’s not something I would have expected, because it’s not something I could do myself. I didn’t pray or read my way into peace, though I did lots of praying and reading scripture in the days after; God freely gave it. And I couldn’t have survived this experience without it.
So that’s what I’ve learned so far from this horrible experience. While it’s been unbearably painful at times, it’s also grown me in ways I wouldn’t have expected. Already in the last two weeks, I have seen flashes of God’s behind-the-scenes work as He prepares something great for us. I know it’s coming. We just have to be patient. Thank goodness we can hang our hat – and our hope – on that.
Phew. This was a doozy. If you stuck with me to the end, thanks a million. It feels incredible to bare your soul and to be heard. If you’ve experienced miscarriage, too, and want to drop me a message, feel free. Hearing about other people’s experiences makes me feel less alone and more hopeful for the future.
And if you see me IRL, don’t feel awkward about bringing it up or asking how we’re doing. I wouldn’t have written a blog about it if I wasn’t ready to talk. Really, it’s okay. <3
It’s again been a long time since I blogged. Exactly two months in fact. Oops. Now that life is a bit less crazy, I’m hoping to blog at least twice a month, if not more often. I’m putting that out in the world. Hold me to it. Anyway, I figured a good segue back into blogging would be sharing some life updates. A lot has happened in the Rosty household as of late.
First off, two days after my last post, I started a new job. I now work as the Communications Manager for The Blue Bench, Denver’s only sexual assault prevention and care center. It’s the coolest job ever, and despite going from working at home with Thor to a 45-minute commute and a full-time office job, I have never been happier.
What my organization does (because people always wonder!) is a few things. First, we help survivors of sexual assault connect with whatever resources they might need, whether it’s help finding a new place to live after being attacked by a family member or therapy services, which we also offer. Second, we go into schools, businesses, bars, and anywhere else that invites us and talk about consent, being an active bystander, and preventing sexual assault.
My job involves promoting all of that on social media, email, and everywhere else. I’m also in charge of event planning, which is new to me, and graphic design, which I absolutely love and could do all day, erryday. I’m learning, I’m growing, and I get to work every day with a group of boss women who are committed to creating a better world for other women. Like a friend put it, “You get to do a job that you like, using the skills you went to school for, and you’re actually making money doing it. That’s the dream.”
November-December 31 were insanity as I both worked my new, full-time job and finished up all of my freelance engagements. I didn’t want to leave my clients hanging so I gave them until the end of the year, which meant frantically working lunches at the Starbucks down the street from my office, trying to keep all of the spinning plates that were my life up in the air. I’ve now wrapped everything up and am excited to just be doing ONE job. This may be the first time in my career I’ve done that, hence the “now that life is a bit less crazy” comment.
The holidays were lovely. We had the good fortune of everyone coming up to Denver to see US instead of us driving to WY to see family. Christmas Day was spent eating prime rib in our pajamas and watching movies, and New Years’ was spent with Brandon’s family, exploring ALLL the kid things in Denver with our nieces and nephew.
Sidenote, Thor wore a Christmas sweater on Christmas Day. I know you want to see photos. Here they are.
We started 2019 off with getting in a car accident New Years’ Day that totaled said brand-new car. Totally not our fault and totally devastating. Thank goodness that car was AMAZING and kept us incredibly safe despite hitting another vehicle at 35 miles per hour and having the airbags deploy. 10/10, would recommend an Acura.
As usual, God is awesome and provided us with the funds from our insurance settlement to get something different, but we’re still mourning the loss of Stella the Acura. Oh Stella, we hardly knew ye.
The start of 2019 has also brought a lot of heartache. I don’t feel ready to share details yet (and not sure I will), but if you have a quick sec, we’d appreciate your prayers. We’re doing okay, but it’s been a hard year already. As one of my best friends said, “Maybe this is 2018 getting in its last word.” Darn it, let’s hope so.
That’s what’s going on with us. Excited to get back to blogging more frequently. Thor is too, he says. He has a lot of thoughts about The Wall.
I used to be so afraid of making mistakes at work. One wrong move, I believed, and I’d be out the door. I know now that’s not true, in part because the last few weeks have felt like mistake after mistake and no one’s fired me yet. I erased a client’s website data, lost forever in the depths of the internet, and didn’t respond in time to a super-negative review someone had left for another client online.
Oops. Major oops.
From working in client services for 3 years now, I’ve learned a bit about how to handle the sticky situations that arise when you have to ‘fess up to making a mistake.
As I was sitting in my kitchen this morning, drinking coffee and trying to decide what to write about, I thought about sharing how exactly I handle mistakes at work. As I sipped my peppermint mocha (yes, it’s that season!), I realized that my way of handling mistakes at work is exactly how God calls us to repent.
It’s all laid out here:
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
-2 Chronicles 7:14
And here’s how it looks in action:
1. Pray and seek His face by picking up the phone.
From one of my former bosses and now close friend, I’ve learned that the first thing you do when you’ve made a mistake with a client is to pick up the phone. Don’t email, don’t text, don’t pretend the mistake didn’t happen and pray the client doesn’t notice. Pick up the gosh darn phone and face the problem head on.
Last week, when I missed responding to a negative review for a client (part of what they’re paying me for!), my first step was to immediately call the client and explain the mistake I’d made. I HATE confrontation, but I knew it needed to be done.
When you sin yet again for the thousandth time after you told God you’d change, pick up the phone. Get in touch with God. Pray and admit what you’ve done. He wants to hear from you, and unlike a client, there’s NO way God won’t notice your mistake. He’s all-seeing like that.
2. Humble yourself by taking full responsibility.
When we are before God facing judgment, He won’t be looking for well-crafted excuses – He’s heard every one. He asks us to come before Him with humility and to be honest with ourselves and Him about our wrongdoing. Similarly, when I got on the phone with my client last week, there were no excuses. I explained what had happened and said the phrase “This is completely my fault.” And it was. I could have blamed my email or the fact I’m really busy or 100 other things, but the fact was that I was asked to do something, and didn’t.
Proverbs says it best:
Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.
Don’t conceal your transgressions. Confess your wrongdoing to God.
3. Turn from your wicked ways by making a game plan for change – and taking the first step.
When I make a mistake with a client, I always make sure to lay out a game plan for how I’ll avoid the same issue in the future. It rebuilds trust between myself and my client and the exercise of thinking through a plan helps me ensure I won’t make the mistake again.
Before I got off of the phone with my client, I told her that in the future, I’d set up email alerts so that I’d see negative reviews as soon as they happened, helping me respond to them more quickly. I also emailed her later that day to let her know I’d not only set up email alerts, but that a review had come in that afternoon and I’d already responded to it.
I’m not saying you should make a game plan for how you’re going to magically overcome your sin – that’s not at all what the Gospel is about! Instead, I’m saying you should make a game plan for how you’re going to rely on God to help you turn from your sin. For example, let’s say you really have a problem with swearing. Maybe your game plan is praying to God every time you get frustrated and are tempted to swear, and also avoiding going to football games with your friends since that’s where you tend to swear the most.
Once you make a game plan for turning away from sin, TURN! Do something tangible as soon as you can to get things rolling in the right direction. Today, I felt really convicted about not giving my time to God. I repented like I’ve outlined here, and then what did I do? I yielded my afternoon over to whatever God had for it, instead of making plans for the day. A plan without action is nothing but words.
When I started freelancing as a marketer, I expected to learn a lot about life and about working with people – not so much about my relationship with God. It’s funny how He can use anything as a teaching opportunity. While I’m no pro at repenting, I’m hoping that you and I – by thinking about repenting in this way – can make some progress toward it. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll make less mistakes at work this week. Fingers crossed!
Hi everyone! It’s Thor here. Mom’s letting me take over the blog again.
Last time I wrote about being made fun of about my lack of thumbs, but you know what else is a real pet peeve of mine? When people say it’s easy being a dog! Does anyone KNOW what I do in a day? I am an incredibly busy guy. To prove it, I’ll take you through a day in my life.
6:00am: Mom gets up. Why does she need to get up so early? I wonder. I consider getting up with her, but know that dad’s not getting up for awhile. I decide to stay snuggled in.
7:30am: Dad gets up. Sigh. I guess I better get out of bed. I get up and IMMEDIATELY start bugging Mom to go outside. When a guy’s gotta go, a guy’s gotta go!
7:32am: We go outside for our morning potty walk. I am deathly afraid of those convenient dog poop stations at our apartment, so Mom has to bring her own poop bags. I don’t care. She doesn’t know how dangerous those poop stations are, even though I’ve tried to tell her like 100 times. It’s hard to get through to her, you know?
7:40am: Now that I’ve pooped, it’s like I have ALL THE ENERGY. I feel like a new man, so I start running around the house chasing Ball, my orange ball/low-key best friend (besides Mom of course).
7:50am: Mom and Dad are eating breakfast, so I must also eat breakfast – they say family mealtimes are critical to healthy family relationships, and I believe that. I carry small mouthfuls of food from my bowl to Mom and Dad’s bedroom floor and eat them there. Idk, I think food tastes best eaten off of carpet.
8:00am: Tired. Naptime.
10:00am: Haven’t bugged Mom in awhile. I don’t really NEED to pee that bad, but I can’t have her forgetting that I exist. I make whining noises until she takes me out. SUCCESS.
11:50am: Dad always comes home around noon. I know this, so I start circling the door, listening for the sound of his car door.
11:51am: Where is Dad? I get antsy. He is probably dead. It’s over. I’m fatherless.
12:05pm: DAD IS HOME OMG HI DAD WOW I MISSED YOU WHERE WERE YOU AT WORK WOW THAT’S COOL GOSH I’M GLAD YOU’RE NOT DEAD HIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII HELLO HI HI HI
12:20pm: Me, Mom, and Dad all eat lunch. You know, I’m starting to wonder if they feed me the same thing for every meal…hmm…
12:45pm: Dad goes back to work. I go back to napping.
2:30pm: It’s time for my afternoon check-in with Mom to make sure she’s paying attention to me. More whining, another walk outside.
3:00pm: Riding that post-poop energy burst, I get Mom to chase me and Ball around the apartment while I growl and snarl and sound super scary. I AM super scary, you know. That’s why Mom and Dad named me Thor. Duh.
3:20pm: Tired. Afternoon nap.
4:00pm: Mom went to get the mail, so I go snack on the vertical blinds in her office. So chewy. So fun.
6:00pm: Mom leaves for her workout class. I die inside. She is never coming back.
6:30pm: DAD’S HOME! I tell him about Mom and how she left forever. He doesn’t seem alarmed. What is wrong with him?? Obviously I love her more.
7:45pm: MOM IS HOME ALSDKJFALSJFLASDJFLAKDJF WOWOWOWOWOWOW HI MOM HI HI HI HI YOU KNOW WHAT I DID WHILE YOU WERE GONE THAT’S RIGHT I CRIED HI MOM YOU ARE SO PRETTY HI I LOVE YOU HI HI HI HI HI HI
9:30pm: This is my gosh darn bedtime and I don’t care what anyone says – I AM GOING TO BED. I go to Mom and Dad’s bed and flop down. No one is there to turn down the sheets so I sleep on top of the covers. It’s not that comfortable, but whatever.
10:00pm: Mom and Dad finally come in and pull back the blankets so I can get under and snuggle by their feet. I love snuggling with Mom and Dad. It’s the best!
12:00am: HI MOM. I shake my collar just to remind her that I love her and I am in her bed snuggling by her feet. She doesn’t look impressed.
5:00am: Repeat. Does she know how loved she is??!?!?!??
6:00am: Time to start it all over again.
Exhausting right?? And I don’t even have THAT much going on – imagine if both of my adult humans were home all day AND we had a cat to chase! Gosh, I don’t know how I’d do it.
I hope this makes you think. Next time you meet a dog, don’t just assume they’re napping all day because they’re lazy. Thank them for all of their hard work, making their humans happy and keeping them busy. We’re unsung heroes, you know.
Have you ever felt like you have every reason to be joyful – but just aren’t? That’s where I’ve been at lately. God’s been coming through for us in amazing ways (see my post about our new car) and life is good, but I’ve been struggling to feel okay, you know? I just feel like there’s a cloud over me, like I can’t quite pull it together in every aspect of my life, and it’s exhausting.
I’ve felt this especially when it comes to eating. If you’ve known me for awhile or follow me on social, you might know that I’ve lost almost 50 pounds in the last two years, all through following Weight Watchers. While I am forever thankful for WW, I recently decided to move from Weight Watchers to eating a paleo diet, in the hopes of transitioning from weight-loss mode to sustainable-life mode.
Before I quit WW, I really thought I’d finally worked out a healthy relationship with food, and now it was time to take off the training wheels and enjoy a healthy lifestyle.
Not so much.
While I thought that quitting Weight Watchers and no longer tracking what I ate would help me feel less restricted and less stressed about what I ate, it’s actually done the opposite. These last few weeks, I feel like I’ve been thinking way too much about food: what’s in it, what I should be eating, what I shouldn’t have eaten, etc.
Because I’m not tracking points, I’m constantly worried about whether or not I’m eating too much protein or fat or sugar. This makes me automatically go into “Omg I’m going to gain back all of the weight I’ve lost” mode. Not a good place to be.
Lately, I’ve been on a worship music kick, primarily this playlist. (I’ve been exclusively alternating between listening to this, a Max Lucado book I’m reading, and The Best of Jason Mraz. Random, I know.)
Anyhow, when I was walking to the gym last week, the lyrics to the song “Freedom” by Jesus Culture & Kim Walker-Smith popped into my head:
Where the Spirit of the Lord is
There is freedom, there is freedom
Where the Spirit of the Lord is
There is freedom, there is freedom
Come out of the dark just as you are
Into the fullness of His love
For the Spirit is here, let there be freedom
Let there be freedom
I have this bad habit (I think many Christians do) of excluding myself from scripture that seems too extreme. I’m not wicked; murderers are wicked. I don’t need freedom; drug addicts need freedom. You know? That stuff is for people with real problems.
But as I walked and sang this song to myself, it hit me: I was feeling imprisoned by food and my relationship to it. But I didn’t need to be – I already have freedom!
Galatians 5:1 – It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
While I’m still struggling to work out what life post-WW is going to look like and what a healthy relationship with food is, the idea of freedom in Christ has brought me so much comfort and joy through this last week. I am not chained to anything in this world because my God has overcome the world, and with His help, so can I.
Whatever you’re going through, whatever you might feel is imprisoning you, whether it’s a relationship, an addiction, a temptation, sin, or something else, remember – there is freedom! God already kicked down the prison walls and set you free. You just need to leave the prison behind.