Category Archives: Karen

  • 4

Look for Stars

A few weeks ago I was wandering around Marshall’s, not looking for anything in particular, when a display caught my eye. It was mainly full of Easter items, but right in the middle was this adorable little mug. It was the design that first caught my eye, but as I read the phrase on it, I realized it was perfect.

When it Rains

Look for Rainbows

When it’s Dark

Look for Stars

I showed it to my husband and said “I know I don’t need another coffee mug, but I have to get this – it is so Through the Heart.” And while it does relate so nicely to pregnancy loss, it’s also taken on new meaning lately.

I typically take a few days to write my blog posts as I like to allow time for the thoughts to come together, and this one is no different. But when I was about halfway through, the COVID-19 situation escalated and I no longer felt that what I was writing was relevant. And so, this post has been sitting, unfinished.

Times are hard right now for everyone. No matter who we are, our normal lives have been disrupted. We are engulfed in anxiety and uncertainty and for some, fear. Me? I struggle greatly with not knowing what’s coming ahead. I am a planner who overanalyzes everything and I feel restless with the inability to do so right now.

But I’m trying to remind myself to “look for the stars.” My family and friends are healthy and safe for the moment. My neighborhood has come together to help one another and socialize in new, socially distanced ways. People are reaching out to help others, whether it’s sharing supplies, supporting local businesses, sewing masks, or sharing activity ideas. And of course, so many people are selflessly fighting this thing on the front line.

And a very big star for me right now is that today, Through the Heart celebrates its 7th birthday. Statistically, the number of small nonprofits that fail within the first few years is staggering, but we’ve managed to defy those odds and keep plugging along. I am so grateful for everyone who has made it possible and I believe it is a testament to the critical need for pregnancy loss resources in this country.

During this difficult time, I encourage you to find your stars. Know that we are all in this together and there will be brighter days ahead.

Category : Karen , Staff/Board Members


  • 0

A Forgotten Date

Early one morning last week, I was sitting at my dining room table, still half asleep, scrolling through my phone when it hit me: I had missed it.

This was the morning of February 7. It was the anniversary of the day we said goodbye to our daughter. February 6, 2020, had come and gone without a flicker of recognition of the day.

As I got ready for my day, I was filled with thoughts that I can only describe as a mini panic. What did this mean, that I could miss such an important day? I even had scheduled a Through the Heart meeting on February 6 without ever making a connection to the date. Did it mean I was forgetting? Did it mean I didn’t care as much? In that quick instant, I felt like a failure. How could this happen?

There was a time when February 6 was a date I never could have imagined forgetting. It was seared into my brain. And although I am confident there are snippets of that day that will never leave my memory, apparently I am no longer tethered to a date on a calendar the way I once was.

Now, I know that the baby herself will never be forgotten, but the pregnancy, the loss, and the aftermath have become more of one big jumbled event instead of a series of dates and milestones.

I feel the theme of my writing lately has been about allowing oneself some grace. And yet as much as I write about it, it doesn’t come any easier. I have a lot of thoughts about what I could have done differently over the years while coping with our three losses even though I know I can’t change the past and dwelling on it does me no good. But every now and then something will trigger a thought, a memory, and I wonder why I didn’t handle things differently.

This has been a tough parenting week for me and I’ve really been letting the stress of it all affect me. But as I thought about this blog post this morning, I realized that my toughest day parenting is still easier than February 6, 2013 – the day I walked out of that doctor’s office without my child. And regardless of whether I remember that specific date, I will always remember that day, and nothing will change that.

Category : Karen , Staff/Board Members


  • 0

A Vortex of Grief

I’ve been trying to write this post for more than 2 weeks, but the words just won’t come – at least not coherently, anyway.

January 9, 2016 was my due date for baby #2. I planned to write a blog post as I do every January 9th, but in the days leading up to it, I just couldn’t. Last year Sean & I decided that on each angel baby’s birthday, we would give them a name. The first one was easy; this one, not so much. As I thought about the process of yet again choosing a name for a baby who is not here, I just didn’t want to do it.

On that day, I told my husband that I was struggling and he reminded me of something I tell others all the time: there is no right way to grieve and there is nothing I HAVE to do.

So often with loss milestones we put pressure on ourselves to do something. Because if we don’t, it means we don’t care enough – or at least that’s what we believe in our minds. (Or maybe it’s just me that does that, but somehow I have a feeling I’m not alone.)

I’m proof that loss isn’t something you just get over. It’s not a wound that completely heals over time. It’s been almost 7 years since I began this journey and I can’t think of a more appropriate word than that: journey. So much has changed over that time. And while there has been a lot of progression forward in terms of healing and being at peace, there are also so many times when I feel I’ve regressed into a vortex of grief where I’m just trying to make sense of things until I can eventually break out again.

I had (have?) a lot of guilt about not naming the babies when they passed but that’s just not how my brain works. I need to process what is happening first, then go back and reflect on it later. Only as time has gone on, revisiting the idea of giving them names hasn’t come any easier. Sometimes I feel I messed up by not doing it right away. I am sure that at some point, Baby Kelly #2 will be named, but I’m not sure when that will be.

Even after weeks of thinking about this, I feel this piece still isn’t all that coherent, or at least doesn’t have much of a point. But maybe that IS the point – pregnancy loss is messy and confusing and scary and frustrating and overwhelming and sad.

It’s just really, really hard.

Category : Karen , Staff/Board Members


  • 0

Celebrating One Year

Today, my son TJ turns one!

In the last year, it’s become very evident that he makes our family complete.

During this time I gave away pregnancy tests and maternity clothes I no longer needed. I sold baby clothes, a boppy, and a jumperoo without blinking an eye.

I looked at pregnant ladies and didn’t feel envy or sadness or anger – I felt relief. Relief that it wasn’t me who was suffering and worrying. After so many years I finally feel like I have made it over the hill to the other side.

Maybe under different circumstances we would have wanted more kids. Maybe if we hadn’t had losses we would have. But we have 2 amazing boys who love dance parties and group hugs and are generally willing to put up with our complete nerdiness (and shenanigans, as evidenced by the pants on TJ’s head) and I am very grateful for that.

Happy birthday Goosey Goose! We love you buddy.

Category : Karen , Staff/Board Members


  • 0

A Birthday Gift

As loss parents, there is often a lot of second-guessing and asking “what if?” We’re forced to make decisions in our darkest moments when all rationality has been lost and we’re driven by pure emotion and heartache.

When I was pregnant with my first baby, we never came close to choosing a name. Sure, we had loosely discussed it, but it was never at the forefront of our concerns as we worried instead about her health.

After she was gone, we chose to cope by distancing ourselves from her. Giving her a name made her – and our loss – more real. More painful.

Over the years, I’ve carried a lot of guilt about not giving her a name. She was my child, how could I not do this for her? But the timing has never felt right – until now. There are very few things we can do for our daughter all these years later but giving her this gift may be the most meaningful action possible.

Today, on what would have been her 6th birthday, we are finally giving our child a name: Adeline Grace.

Had either of my sons been a girl, this would have been their name. But since they weren’t, it seems only fitting that this special name goes to the little girl who forever changed our lives in so many ways.

Today is a hard day as it always is, but maybe this is the year I will finally begin forgiving myself.

Category : Karen , Staff/Board Members


  • 3

Finding Your Rock

I met my friend Kari several years ago when we were both in the thick of struggling with pregnancy losses.

Last year, she sent me a rock that says “one day at a time.”  She had been given a similar rock and found it helpful, so she thought of me and searched for one.

When I’m having a particularly hard time, for whatever reason, it is comforting to take a look at that rock, read the heartfelt note she sent along with it, take a deep breath, and remember that today is just one day. It might not be the easiest day, but I will get through it.

To be honest, it really stinks to meet people because of a shared experience of loss. But I am grateful for everyone who has been there for me. They say it takes a village to raise a child but I’d also say it takes a village NOT to raise one.

My husband has undoubtedly been my rock when I need someone to talk to, someone to cry with, someone to hug. We went through loss together and will continue to go through whatever life hands us together. But sometimes I don’t want to talk, cry, or hug and instead just want a moment of peace or clarity.

Everyone needs a rock, whether literal or figurative. Some of us need more than one. Sometimes the answer is obvious and other times we find it in unexpected places.

I’d love to hear about your rock(s) – who or what helps you get through the tough days?

Category : Karen , Staff/Board Members


  • 0

The Silence of Miscarriage

“You’re not alone” is a phrase we use a lot here at TTH and in the pregnancy loss community. It’s true – when you experience a loss, you join a large group of people who have gone through the same thing. But truth is, while you may not actually be alone, it’s really easy to FEEL alone. During my last miscarriage, I was alone when I passed the huge blood clots that I can only guess contained the sac of my unborn child.

I went about my day like normal, stopping at the post office, the bank, and Target. Everywhere I went, I was just another lady, not the lady who was walking around having a miscarriage. No one knew, no one cared. We’ve all heard the saying “be kind because you never know what someone is going through” and it has never resonated with me more than it did that day.

When an elderly lady stopped to smile and wave at Ryan in his stroller, I didn’t smile back and say hi like I normally would. I didn’t know if she was judging me for ignoring her, and I didn’t care. While I did have to continue living my life, I didn’t have to be happy if that wasn’t how I was feeling. I wasn’t sure if my baseball cap masked my dirty hair and blotchy skin, but really, did it matter?

Even when we choose to talk about our losses it’s still really difficult to completely break the silence. I’ve told my story a thousand times and yet there are still parts that I have not shared. In November I started writing a blog post about grief. When I re-read the scattered thoughts the next day, I realized it wasn’t something I wanted to make public, at least not at that point in time. For the majority of us, there are always some thoughts, some emotions that are purely ours that are internally silenced.

I find it an odd struggle to determine what should be said and what shouldn’t. We want people to open up and share their stories, their heartache, their reality but we also don’t want it to be TOO messy.

A few weeks after my second loss, I was in a situation that spiked my anxiety and caused me to blurt out something I normally would never say: I told a lady that both of my children were dead. When I recall this moment, I think “Did I really pull the dead kid card?” and I’m slightly mortified.

At the same time, it was the truth. But should I have chosen different words? Should I have kept the comment to myself?

Silence is fluid. It is part of the process of grieving, accepting, and healing.  Sometimes we need to tell the ugly, horrible truth of our loss and sometimes, we just need to keep it inside.

Sometimes it’s just not that obvious which one we need.

Category : Karen , Staff/Board Members


Welcome!

If you’ve come to this blog, it likely means you have suffered a pregnancy loss of some type. We are so sorry you have found yourself here, but hope the stories of life after loss can help you on your road to healing and recovery. Remember, we are all in this together!

This site contains affiliate links & TTH may receive commission for purchases made through these links.

Recent Posts

Recent Comments

Archives

Categories