Category Archives: Tracy

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Until We Meet Again Grandma

My grandmother passed away on June 6th, 2020. She was 91 years young. She was a God-fearing woman and she spent her entire life serving the Lord and taking care of her family. She raised 3 boys and 3 girls, and had a hand in all of her 18 grandchildren’s upbringings. She has been present in my life from day one. She took me to school. She cooked for me. She cared for me when I was sick. Beside Bible stories, she loved watching the Honeymooners, Matlock, Murder She Wrote, Cojack and Columbo. The classics. Sometimes we would catch a late late movie and watch it together. She talked through the whole movie, trying to guess what would happen next and how it would end. Other than that, she rarely talked about her life. Every so often she would let something slip, but you had to be alert to pick up on it.

As I sit here now and think about her life, she loved children. Not only did she raise her children and her grandchildren, she was a care taker for other families while I was growing up. Every day was Sunday school with her. She sang hymns and taught bible stories. She was a patient and faithful woman. She took her time to care for those in her care. She put her whole heart into it with no complaint.

Many years ago, she shared with me that she had 7 kids. One passed away after birth. I do not recall the details that surrounded the baby’s death i.e. stillbirth, premature birth, but I remember she shared this detail of her life with me. I wonder how she coped. But as I write this and think about it, I know that she would have said to me that she found comfort and peace in God. But I know that she went through that alone. She did not have best friends. She did not have tea parties and get togethers with the girls. She focused on God and family. I know part of this was of her generation and another part of her relationship with God. As woman there is so much we hide from the world. We internalize so much pain and yet smile to the world. To know her and her love for children, I know this was a painful experience, but you would have never known it unless you asked. But she truly had a strong faith that I know she found comfort in her pain. She lived her life in so much love and joy, trying to raise all the children in her care with love, grace and understanding.

There was a time that I did not want children. I did not know how to define family. I was completely tainted by life’s hard balls. I was bruised and hurt by disappointments and abandonment. But when I met my husband, his upbringing was hard and yet he reminded me of my grandmother, someone who did not let life’s hard balls keep him down or destroy his spirit. Being around him, I saw how loving he was to his nieces and nephews, and even his coworker’s kid – he dressed up like Spiderman, climbed over the fence and  and surprised him at his birthday party. I trusted him and our strong foundation helped us get through hard times together.

There is never a parental manual you get with a child or motherhood. Lucky for me, I had a grandmother who was the best care taker. Her strength and compassion about people especially children runs through my veins. As a woman she experienced so much from losing a child to losing her husband to cancer at a young age to take care of her family as the matriarch for the last 35 years. Through the highs and lows, she continued to press forward on her life journey always praying, singing and witnessing. I realize that everyone has a different coping mechanism and it is important to have one in place so we can get through the hard times so I encourage you to review your own coping mechanism and make sure it can help you get through life’s heartaches. My grandmother was a beacon of light her entire life and I will lean on her strength and teachings to help me continue my life journey.

Category : Tracy , Volunteer Bloggers


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A pregnancy loss becomes part of you

No matter at what stage a woman has a miscarriage, the experience is very profound and should not be diminished or dismissed. It remains present in situations when she misses a period or spots unexpectedly. Any deviation from a “normal” cycle, automatically my mind questions, “Am I experiencing a miscarriage?” Since the birth of my second child, I decided not to use birth control. I have PCOS, which contributes to my periods being irregular and heavy. I track my period and it’s on its own schedule now so I am pretty comfortable with my “normal” cycle. Except last month.

When I miscarried three years ago, my body was still in pregnancy mode. I selected to take the pills and let my body naturally remove the baby. Even with my experience with PCOS, this experience was very painful, excessive, and long, but I endured through it. Once my body recuperated, I continued on my fertility journey. But the experience never leaves you and it manifested into anxiety and paranoia during my entire pregnancy. There was a time I didn’t feel any movement and I panicked and went straight to the doctor’s office. When they did the ultrasound, the tech said he was turned away from my belly, mostly towards the bottom of my back, and moving around just fine. Even after the birth of my second son, it’s a lingering feeling. A brief prick in my spirit from time to time.

But last month, while cooking, out of nowhere, I started to bleed profusely and the cramping soon followed. This is not my normal. I know my body. This is not right. I did not share my initial fears with my husband until the third day as I was balled up in a fetal position on the bed. Normally I would have called my doctor and scheduled an urgent appointment, but due to COVID19, my anxiety of the outdoors and unknown froze me. I was scared. Finally I told my husband that I was going through a similar experience like when I miscarried. Being supportive, he said to call the doctor in the morning and he slipped in if it is a miscarriage, he doesn’t want to know. He is so sensitive. I know that was his fears talking.

So in the morning, I spoke with one of the nurses and she advised me to come in asap. She went over the protocols in place that I will need to follow: arrive early, come alone, and wear a mask. When I arrived, I wore my mask and latex gloves. At the pre-check in, my temperature was taken and I answered some preliminary questions. Given the green light to go into the office, I checked in and was immediately seen. After some lab work and an ultrasound, my diagnosis is fibroids. Definitely a concern to address, but I was relieved and I called my husband from the car when I left.

I share this story, although somewhat TMI, I think it’s important that we stay vocal about our health, women’s health. Before my afternoon visit, I told my coworker I was logging off early to go to the doctor and afterwards, I informed her of my diagnosis and opened up with my initial concern that I thought it may be a miscarriage. She then confessed to me that that possibility crossed her mind when I first told her because she too had experienced a miscarriage. Another layer peeled back as we continue to learn more about each other. And this is not my first time sharing an experience with another woman and finding out that we have pregnancy loss in common. It brings a sense of intimacy within a relationship, a heightened level of compassion and trust.

With the added level of social distancing and quarantine, do not allow it to bury you further into aloofness. Pick up the phone. Set up a video chat. Write in a journal. Chat with a friend. Talk with your spouse. Call your doctor. Just don’t stay silent whether in your sadness or pain. Life is still happening to and around us. Every day we are getting older and our bodies are changing. Continue to listen to your bodies and take care. Stay safe.

Category : Tracy , Volunteer Bloggers


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Truth is Revealed in the Unknown

I just completed 4 weeks in quarantine with two small boys under 5 while working full time from home. This past Thursday my eldest and I were butting heads all day that by mid afternoon we both needed a time out and I logged off and went to sleep during quiet time. When I woke up I felt like the worst mom for not being able to stay calm and collected while my son had a meltdown. And who can blame him? I think we are all on edge.

Later that night, while video chatting with my sister, she said my hair looked like the Mad Hatter from Alice and Wonderland and I replied, “It surely does feel like I am in a rabbit hole, going deeper and deeper with no end in sight.” There are many rabbit holes that we find ourselves in at different points in our life. In most cases, we are alone in the darkness, but this global COVID-19 pandemic has swallowed us whole and we are all trying to navigate this “new” landscape together. But for some of us, the struggle is ongoing and the pandemic just heightened or resurfaced many of the inequalities and social injustices that are felt and experienced on a regular basis, especially in healthcare.

When my husband and I decided to start our family and realized that after a year of trying unsuccessfully we needed to consult with a professional, his insurance provided infertility coverage. Throughout our seven years of seeking medical help to conceive, I was one of the lucky ones not to have to add the burden of finances to the pile of disappointment, embarrassment, anxiety and loss, just to name a few. But there are many families who do not have the health insurance coverage or finances to pursue this option. I wonder how many started on this path last month just to be laid off and lose the very medical coverage that would help them possibly get close to their dream of conceiving? Or the couple that finally made the decision to pursue fertility treatment just to be faced with another obstacle, COVID-19. Or the woman who after grieving a loss decided to get back up and try again only to lose coverage. It is concerning that just a month in quarantine wiped out 3 years of national employment growth and crippled many health systems. When we live in silos, we cannot see that our pain is shared among millions day to day and this crisis has lifted the curtains exposing a broken system.

For many of us who have experienced a pregnancy loss, it is a silent grieving process even among couples. When there was no heartbeat, I asked how long ago did it stop. The doctor told us maybe a week or more. There was very little growth from the last visit. I chose to take the pills and induce my body to remove my lifeless pregnancy. This was a Friday. And I took the pills that weekend and by Monday I was back at work. Life did not stop. There was no pause. There was no reset button. Plus my eldest son’s birthday was in a week and we decided to move forward with plans for a small get together and a trip to the aquarium.

I look back now and I think I wanted to stay distracted to not focus on what just happened. In our society, we live in the fast lane, working 60+ hours, trying to make that money to enjoy a better life. But when will that ever happen if we cannot slow down and just breathe? On his birthday we went to the aquarium and we were rushing to get back home to be there when the first guest arrived, but we needed to pick up the pizza and the cake. By the time we got to the house, I was completely overstimulated and exhausted and my husband exploded and I went upstairs and just started to cry. Our family and friends were downstairs, unaware of the hurt I was hiding and my husband found me and through the tears I told him how I felt in that moment. We held each other and in our pain we found strength to go back downstairs and celebrate my son’s 2nd birthday.

During this quarantine I realized that we cannot go back to the old normal. We must be able to redefine and modify our existence to address the everyday human realities that we encounter like pregnancy loss. We should be able to grieve. We should be able to take bereavement. We should be able to afford fertility treatment. It is important that we reveal our truths during this time. All the energy it takes to “hide” parts of our lives are now exposed. Our vulnerabilities are uniting us. Our creativity is moving us forward. For me writing and drawing are wonderful outlets to give a voice to an experience or emotion. Taking pictures and videos capture the now and can speak to me differently at each viewing. During this time, it is a challenge to grieve without physical touch, but let’s use our other senses to express our feelings and capture the hearts of many and stay connected. For positive change to happen, we must be accountable for each other. We must take care of each other. We must embrace our joys and heartache together and recognize that when we bind together, our collective strength can move mountains.

 

 

 

Category : Tracy , Volunteer Bloggers


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Standing Tall Through it All

For the last 5 years, I have worked from home and in the beginning it was a big shift from office life, but as I gradually adjusted to this new norm, I used this opportunity to review my work habits. I finally came to terms that I am bad at time management and I cannot multitask. I also realized that after 15 years, I need to really think about what the next 10 to 20 years in my professional life will look like and its time for me to take control. For a long time, I have regretted some life choices and felt disappointed that I did not stay true to my childhood dreams. But I don’t believe in coincidences so how can I align my life’s past, present and future?

I believe that I must be proactive in my blessings. So last October, I finally made the decision to enroll in a Master’s in Health Administration online program. With the support of my husband, I juggle being a mom, a student and a full time employee (oh yes, and wife). After the first quarter, I learned a lot about myself as an adult student like I cannot study late at night because I am dead tired with a lingering headache in the mornings (how did I stay up for days during finals week in college???). But I fell rejuvenated in my passions. And I am starting to feel confident in my knowledge and submitted work. I still need to develop a better study routine and habit, but I do give myself a few days to write a few drafts before I submit my assessments. One step at a time.

With all this on my plate, having another child does cross my mind. It’s now or never. At 40 I am only adding more anxiety and risks to my plate. My mother told me the other day I should just relax and enjoy watching the boys grow up. And I thought, she is right. Life threw me a curve ball when I started my own family and I would never do anything different because it strengthened my relationship with my husband and gave us a testimony despite our miscarriage, so I believe that where I am in my life is exactly where I need to be so I will make the best, tastiest lemonade out of these lemons. My oldest son is a few months away from graduating from pre-kindergarten. My youngest son is growing into his own little person. God has truly found favor over my life and I will continue to believe in Him. I can breathe and be still in this calm.

Where I am today took a lot of detours. Before I met my husband, I attended a bible study on Experiencing God and it revealed to me that the most important relationship is my relationship with God because it mirrors my relationship with myself and others. This crushed me because I was not taking care of myself and the relationships around me were in turmoil. I could no longer be aloof but actively present in my own destiny and instead of fear, have faith that I can morph into God’s adorned purpose for my life. Time is not against us, but works with us. Use it to your advantage and do what you have always wanted to do. Make that career change. Trust your inner talents and pick up a paintbrush and start creating your masterpiece. Share with the world your passions. Share your story. Your rebirth can help someone desperately waiting on proof that strength, patience and endurance can change the course of one’s life.

In tragedy and loss, I have learned that there are so many emotions that can either fuel us to action or paralyze us in place. Every emotion is important and as painful as it may be we need to embrace them all. We need to grieve and keeping moving. We need to cry and still console a friend. We need to laugh when watching our favorite sitcom. We need to listen when a loved one has a hard day. We need to pick up the phone and make connections. We need to breathe through the heartache. We need to keep moving to get to a brighter day and believe me they are there waiting for you.

Right now I am content and anxious about what upcoming opportunities are developing as I take control of my destiny’s narrative. I reflect on my pregnancy loss and how my recovery has led me here. I try to repurpose my pain into sharing my story and helping others around me to gain back a piece of my humanity. There will always be curve balls you will need to watch out for in life but how are you prepared to get through them? Are you going to panic and hide? Are you going to be selfish and hoard all the toilet paper? In times of hardship, our true selves will either shine or flicker. Right now is the time to show strength, compassion, integrity, and hope. We can no longer live with our heads down, but embrace our collective selves and build up our communities that are broken with poverty, homelessness, and hunger. We need to band together and promote women’s and reproductive health. We need to find our voice as citizens and demand better from our leaders. We cannot go back. We must move forward. Let’s take care of each other.

 

 

Category : Tracy , Volunteer Bloggers


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The Next Journey is Brighter

“So this is what 40 looks like,” my mother said sarcastically in shock when I walked through the door with a new nose piercing. She didn’t press the issue and we went about our evening as usual. For a long time I have contemplated getting a nose ring as a cultural symbol. In many Indian cultures a nose ring represents marriage and fertility. Since 2012, my husband, Anthony and I started our journey to parenthood and this path has brought us much joy in the mist of loss and hardships. So to commemorate my 40th birthday, I chose to set the stage for the next decade and start this chapter with me in control of my own narrative by doing something that marks a new path of renewal and rejuvenation within me.

For me, 2020 is a year of reflection and celebration. Ten years ago I met Anthony when I was in a place of heartache and brokenness. I had no clear vision of my future. I had lost hope in relationships and I was conflicted within myself. The first night we met, he told me that he was looking for his wife and mother of his kids. I quickly laughed and rolled my eyes because I had not imagined myself this way. In that moment I was emotionally drained and my dreams were mostly abstract. With my heart guarded, Anthony asked me to trust him in love and I gave it one more chance and took his hand and he has kept his promise to me ever since.

Anthony reads my blogs and I love how he embraces our family as a whole. Since I wrote about her namesake Genesis, Anthony refers to her by name now. It surprised me when he first said her name. To be honest, I have not said it outside of writing it because I didn’t know how it would sound, but Anthony just embraced what I was feeling and made it real by adapting it to our daily lives. And it does make me smile. Just by using her name, it encompasses our journey and shared experience between us. It has brightened a painful experience and it has definitely helped us move forward with healing. For two years I have postponed finishing a family tree mural in my son’s room, but now I have much more peace and plan to finish it. Now I have a place for her sonogram to be seen by everyone because it’s important that her existence as limited as it was on earth is acknowledged and included in our family tree.

I look around me and I am surrounded by so much love. Purposefully God has blessed me with boys and a dotting husband so I can experience love where I thought I was tainted and dishonest because of my insecurities of abandonment. I was scared to have a girl because I didn’t know if I could help her navigate this world, but I know now that she would have the love and protection of her father and brothers and I feel at ease knowing that she would be loved and know true love from her conception.

For some months now I have contemplated whether we should try again for another child. What is my motivation to have another child? I remember when I scheduled my c-section for my second son I was asked if I wanted to tie my tubes and I said no because I feel a sense of guilt for finally being blessed with children. Is it wrong of me to feel like I am ready to move on and revert this energy to my own self care now? This sounds selfish to me like I am somehow disappointing women who are currently struggling with infertility and loss. My thoughts are flooded with questions. Does it mean if I move on that I am turning away from or trying to forget my own pregnancy loss? Why am I relating loss with not living? At what point is it okay to move forward and start living in comfort and peace?

For me it is important to share my story. It is amazing to me how many women have experienced pregnancy loss and infertility and yet our voices are mute in the public health discourse. I reflect on my journey and it fuels me to help those around me. Maybe its a comforting word, a listening ear or using my voice and platform to advance the conversation on women’s health and our well being. There is so much more that needs to be done and maybe that is where I can be useful and channel my energy.

My health is important. I am 40 now and I need to take care of me. Having another child does not change that fact. So my goal is to take care of me so that I can be the best version of me for me and my boys (hubby included). I want to experience their own growth and grow as a family in our experiences together and as individuals. I want to concentrate on their milestones and focus on their individual needs. And most importantly, start taking care of me. I am taking it one day at a time and each day brings new revelations. I am excited for what this new decade has in store for me and my life view is much more clearer.

 

Category : Tracy , Volunteer Bloggers


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A New Day is Here

On February 21, 2020, I will celebrate my 40th birthday. Life has definitely thrown some hard balls my way, yet I feel like I am living my best life ever. This year I want to focus on the simple things. Like the saying goes, stop and smell the roses…or lilies. I am tired of carrying my anxieties and regrets into a new year. When I look back 10 years ago on the eve of my 30th birthday, I was at a crossroad. This was not my first time at that place, but I was completely empty, no reserves left to keep up the facade that life was good. In that moment I could continue down a dead end or take a leap of faith and make a change. I decided to jump into the unknown.

One of the things that was holding me back was a false belief that things could not get better. I had convinced myself that this was as good as it gets. And how sad it was! I knew that this is not the life I dreamed of when I was a little girl. I was in a toxic relationship, in between jobs, a thesis away from graduation, and just miserable. I told myself that I was not meant to be a mother and when asked about kids I joked that family and kids were at the bottom of my to-do list when in actuality it was on my top 10 list that I wrote in my journal. I allowed people and circumstances to dictate my day to day. I was existing not living.

Life is full of hardships, but how we respond in these moments will not only define us but refine us. If you are not getting better in the good and in the bad, then you need to reevaluate your place in life. It is important to stop and take a look around you. What can you modify? What can you remove? And most importantly, what new can you bring to your life to rejuvenate it? In my case, it was mostly the people around me I needed to leave behind because to reinvent myself I needed to surround myself with self-sufficient individuals who will build me up and not tear me down. I was getting older and needed to put away childish things and focus on being mature and taking control of my life.

Fast forward 10 years and I am happily married with 2 handsome boys. I graduated with my Masters degree and just recently enrolled into another graduate program. I am more confident in my professional life. Getting to this point in my life was hard, but it was on my terms. I understand that I must be an active participant in my blessing. I must get up when I fall. I must ask for help. There have been disappointments, but a lot more blessings. And that is what I want to focus on this year. I look around me now and I have so much love embracing me. I look at my oldest son Titus who will start Kindergarten this August and I am amazed how fast he is growing and learning. He teaches me something every day like did you know about the Zebramosa?  Yes. This is a real fish. And then there is my rainbow baby Roman who truly is our angel boy and brings sunshine wherever he goes. Did I have this all planned out 10 years ago? No. Is it better than I expected when I took that leap of faith? Absolutely.

Even though its been 10 years, I am still healing from the past pains and heartache. Everyone heals differently in their own time, but do not become captive by it. Use it to fuel your passions and goals forward. If you are grieving, join a support group. If you need a helping hand, schedule an appointment with a therapist. And I find that I am my own worst enemy, so start journaling so you can remind yourself of who you were, are and designed to be in God’s eyes. The sun rises every day no matter the condition of the day, rain or shine. Isn’t it time that you take back your sanity, your heart, your mind, your soul, your spirit, and your life? Like an artist, get a new canvas for 2020 and start creating a new masterpiece of your life.

Category : Tracy , Volunteer Bloggers


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What’s in a name?

Genesis Kerrah. I had already picked out her first and middle names. Even though it was too early to confirm, I am very sure I was carrying a girl. This was confirmed by my stepdad’s dream of a little girl running towards him in the playground. Happy. Carefree. Identical to her older brother. We were so excited to meet her. But at 10 weeks I miscarried and the dream was the only proof of a life not yet lived. Since then I have welcomed my second son Roman and I cannot imagine life without him. He fits perfectly into our family. It’s an alternate universe I never imagined for us and I am overwhelmed with joy and love.

Genesis. I love this name. It’s commanding. “In the beginning…” I believe in the power of one’s name. I believe it contributes to your life’s purpose. At first I feared having a girl because of my personal insecurities and damaged past, so I needed to believe that she would be a ground breaker in whatever she was designed to be and do in this life. A seed was planted within me once she started growing inside me. And it has never left me. She did prepare us. She was destined to exist not for me, but for Roman.

Roman is a little guy with a big presence. He is very daring and adventurous. Literally I pray not for one, but an army of guardian angels around him. “God wrap him in spiritual and physical bubble wrap!” But God did something better. He gave him Genesis to be with him always. How do I know this? Roman seems to carry himself like he has his own personal guide. Someone who is in his ear and by his side. He shows no fear. He struts around with so much confidence. I know that he does not get that from me with my worry bee self or his big brother who is shy and sensitive. And even though he is the youngest, I know he will be the one to protect his big brother because he has someone watching over him at all times. I know she is here with us. It’s a feeling that warms my heart and spirit.

It is just recently that I have started referring to my little angel as Genesis. I realized that I was holding on to her name. Her name is not just for me, but for her and embracing her rightful place within our family. She is more than a sonogram on my desk. And even though the little angel figurine provides a tangible and visual comfort, “Genesis” gives her power to exist beyond the dream. When the boys get older, I want to share with them that they do have a sister named Genesis and she is with them always. They can truly believe that they are never alone. They can find comfort in praying and speaking with her because they got a heavenly insider. They can refer to her by name and so can I.

 

 

Category : Tracy , Volunteer Bloggers


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!

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