Sunday, September 17, 2017

Even in the shadows, He stands with me

This month we would be welcoming home our fourth child. We lost this child at only 5 weeks in the womb. This was our third loss since having our daughter.
It happened a couple of weeks before my birthday.
We also got news on my birthday that my husband's grandma (and one of my favorite people in the world) died in a car accident. It was tough, I'm not going to lie. Our previous miscarriage preceded my Grandma passing away. The only comfort out of so much loss at one time, was picturing our Grandmas holding our babies in heaven.

While none of the losses were easy, the more you experience, the more...different it is. I no longer keep track of what week I would be pregnant, because this past year, I was counting two pregnancies at the same time. It was overwhelming to even try to continue to track and calculate. And eventually I just felt numb. (If you track every single week, that is amazing. My heart just couldn't handle it.)

This time is different. Every other time, I knew we would try again.
This time, I don't know.
I've received a diagnosis and am in the process of finding out more. So, right now, getting pregnant is on hold.

I am repeating a clean eating program, Nourish, which I also did right after our first loss. I would never have guessed over a year and a half later, I would still not have another child and still not have answers. I never would have guessed I would have two more miscarriages.
I didn't think the sting would still be there, watching my daughter adore other babies and wishing she could be a big sister.

I didn't think I'd be at this place. 

But here's what I've experienced and learned the past year and a half.

I have to take care of myself. It's no one's job but me to do so. 
Self care is a thing. Who knew? It is still hard for me to do, but slowly I am.

God stands with me even when I don't like his decision to not intervene. Even when I'm mad at Him. Even when I don't see where He is. He stands with me and gives me strength. He is for me, even when I feel alone.


The belief that I have control over my life's trajectory is a myth.
I can't control how many children I will have, what season they will be born in, how far apart they will be in age, any of it. I thought I could and when my plans didn't materialize, the panic and anxiety started to scream louder. At this point, none of it is going according to plan and I can't control what happens next. And I'm getting more used to it (but I still don't like it).

My worth is not in what I do. 
It's not in how much I weigh or what size my clothes are.
It's not in how much people like me or what I can do for them.
It's not in how much I accomplish.
It's not in being able to carry a child.
My worth is fixed. I am worthy because I am alive. I am worthy because I am made in the image of God.

People who have experienced pregnancy loss want you to ask us about it.
Please don't ignore it. We may not talk about it because it makes people uncomfortable, but we think about it. Every. Day.
I have been pregnant more than 20 weeks over the past 2 years, and I don't have a baby to show for it. My body still got bigger. I still got sick.
Even if you don't know what to say, just ask how I'm doing. Or listen to me. Or just sit there and say, yeah, it sucks.

PSA: 
Please stop asking people when they will have more children.
Please and thank you. :)
Many women suffer silently with infertility and miscarriage.
If you are curious and have a relationship with them, please ask in private so they can tell you WHY they don't have another child.
I know you don't mean to cause pain.
Just, before you ask someone that question the next time in public...don't.
Our grieving hearts thank you.



I can't change the fact that we won't be welcoming home a baby this month, but...

I can choose to keep going. To keep standing. To keep my heart open.
Knowing God stands next to me, holding my hand and holding me up when I don't have the strength to stand on my own.
I'll hold you someday, Baby Goodrich. All my love.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

The Rockets Red Glare, The Bombs Bursting in Air


As I watched the video, I honestly didn't think about it. Looking back, I realize just how privileged I was to not even connect the two...

This past week, we celebrated the 4th of July. This time of year is always so fun. Our wedding anniversary, my sister's birthday, and my husband's birthday all sandwich the 4th of July.
It's a busy time, but I love summer in Missouri and love to be outside, sitting in the summer night, watching lightning bugs and hearing the frogs and cicadas.

My head was hurting on the 4th this year, and the fireworks weren't making it feel better, so when we got home from our evening plans, my daughter was scared by the loud noises and we "snuggled" in my bed (ie. she poked, kicked, elbowed, and eventually pushed me out of bed).

I was so annoyed by the loud fireworks, because I was bordering a migraine and just wanted QUIET.

It wasn't until the next morning that I connected it.

I had watched this video by Preemptive Love earlier that evening, an organization doing front line work in places like Mosul, where people are trapped amid bombings. They were filming when an airstrike hit several meters away.




I thought of the families trapped there after the bombs.

As I was hearing the sounds "of Rockets Red Glare, the Bombs Bursting in Air," I felt no fear. (Indignant annoyance, perhaps.)

I eventually slept right through them.

And then I thought of this quote from Jesus, "To whom much is given, much will be required." And of course, Spiderman (note: I am not a superhero movie person, but Spiderman. Yes. I even "stole" a Spiderman t-shirt for a few months. It's a long story.),

"With great power comes great responsibility."




And then, I felt my stomach sink.

I am so removed from what is happening around the world and have it so good. I didn't even connect the video with what I was hearing represented in the sky that night. It didn't even cross my mind that I was hearing the sounds of bombs and war.

I like to think I care and try to stay in tune with what is happening around the world. But...really?

Because, obviously I have been given much. So muuuuch. Safety, stability, security, hope, so much love. But, am I following Jesus' example of wanting all of that goodness for others as well? Do I honestly care about the people trapped in Mosul? Do I believe they also deserve the same safety, stability, security, hope and love as me...as my daughter? Do I believe they also deserve to sleep through the night without waking in fear?

We experience so much good.

Privilege is another way to say it.
I know I AM privileged. I know the stats about race, income, where I live....But, I'm blind to it on an everyday basis and how it plays out in my life and others. 

God, show me how much else I don't see because of my privileged worldview. Open my eyes.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Our Voice

We're tired.

All of us, constantly. I hear from moms all the time who are exhausted from the activities, but more than the activities, they are tired from the information, the decisions.

I read an article recently about a mom who is so tired of it all that she's throwing in the towel on research, on finding foods and products that aren't toxic, because "We're all going to die, anyway." It all just makes us feel like nothing is ever good enough. We yearn for the simpler, easier days.

I get it. I quit the news.
It triggered the ever present anxiety already lurking below my surface and I just felt it wasn't beneficial. So I tuned it out and turned it off. Don't get me wrong, I read or listen if something big happens. But, I'm never prepared for the weather, because I never hear the forecast anymore. For me, it's worth the trade off.

When I read this article about the mom who had enough and came to the conclusion that it was too overwhelming to always be finding a better solution, so she gave up...I felt sad.

I was the same not that long ago, though. I was (am) super skeptical about everything. Lots of things smell like conspiracy theories to me.

But, then I started gaining weight unexpectedly and couldn't lose it. And I experienced multiple miscarriages and health issues. And when I started learning from people and sources I trusted, I was appalled and furious to find out there were ingredients in my food, in my household products, in my cosmetics that were linked to infertility, hormone disruption, cancer, allergies, inflammation, and more.

And scientific evidence to back it up. Lots of it.

I was reminded of a quote from Mother Teresa that has always stuck with me. "If you can't feed 100 people, feed just one."



Call it personality or conviction, I'm not sure what it is, but once I know, I can't un-know. I have to do something about the problem I now know about, with the resources I have.
My advocate heart rose up and said, "I can't fix it all. I can't change it all, but I can start by raising my voice and linking arms with others who are raising their voices. And eventually, someone will listen." I believe so strongly that using our voices matters. And I believe it is making a difference.

So I can't stop.

I've heard it compared to car seats. Not that long ago, the rules weren't as strict. Riding in the front seat, forward facing car seats (or no car seat at all) were okay. It wasn't out of negligence, it was just doing the best they could with the information they had. And as time has gone on, we've learned more and better ways to protect our kids from car accidents. So, we take the new information and base decisions off of what we know now.

I believe it's much the same with our products and food. We didn't know.
And unfortunately, I believe, that instead of protecting our health first, the industry has protected their profits first. So, instead of offering options free of harmful ingredients or chemicals that have never been tested for safety, they lost their way. They cut corners because they could, and we didn't know.

But as time goes on, we are learning more. And as we do, we now know better. So, I've chosen to take what I know now and do the best I can with the information I have.

For me, this means speaking up. It means using my vote, both in government and with my dollar to say, "It matters that you aren't putting people above profits. And we deserve better."

So, for the moms out there who just can't anymore. I get it.

And I will keep fighting on your behalf, too.

Just do me a favor, and tell me the weather forecast when you see me. 💗

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Poop

Yes, I'm writing a blog post entitled "Poop".
My daughter ends everything with a bodily function name, lately. "Mommy poop," "Tastes like toots," even at night when we sing before bed she sings, "Jesus loves the little poooop." I know, it's probably sacrilegious, terrible parenting, and poor manners. But, my husband and I can't help but LAUGH!

I have decided in the last few years that perfection is unattainable. Don't get me wrong, I strive for it ALL. THE. TIME.
I would love to be perfect, I'm not going to lie, I imagine it and try for it every day.

The perfect mom whose child eats broccoli and salad at dinner and sits quietly. (HA)


The perfect work at home mom, who wears cute clothes, makeup and showers every day. (No, I did not just workout. This was my outfit for the day.)

The perfect woman, strong, independent, great cook, clean house, exudes fun and confidence, has pinterest worthy crafts every day and juggles it all seamlessly. (I just can't.)

As I've shared before, my life hasn't taken the turns I had written into my plans from when I was younger. It messes with me, a lot! Something a good friend spoke into me was that we are not defined by what we accomplish or do. We are defined by who we are. God's children, made in His image.


His yoke that is light is such a relief to my soul. Maybe my friends' yokes would also be lighter if I didn't try to appear perfect.


Because, let's be real. Some days, I count down the minutes to bedtime. Some days, my grown up living room is covered in toys. Some days, we eat "pantry meals" out of anything I can find because we don't have groceries in the house. Some days, I just want to take a nap and leave the clean laundry in the basket. Some days, we watch more than our fair share of Daniel Tiger.

An excuse to just give up or quit caring about anything? No.

But, this is my only life on this earth with these people (until eternity). And every day I try to remind myself that it doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful. And isn't it? Wonderful?



AMEN. (Poop.)

Friday, May 26, 2017

Ever Wonder?

Ever wonder why things happen like they do? 
Three years ago I was pregnant for the first time. I had no idea what my life would look like in three years. 
I knew I was so sick! (Any other puke every day of the first half of pregnancy people and feel like you were going to the rest of the time?) I had a great plan to have a little girl with a head full of hair that looked just like me. ;) And another great plan to have her sibling by the time she turned two. 
Sometimes our best laid plans don't pan out. I did get a spunky, fun loving daughter full of more joy than she can contain. She still has barely enough hair for a pony tail and runs the house as an only child. Oh, and she's the spitting image of her daddy. 
A blessing in disguise is that through my trials with pregnancy losses after our daughter, I've learned so much about what we eat and what we put on our bodies. 
Did I think we would ever be people who bought organic and checked product labels? Not in a million years. 
But, you don't know what you don't know. 
Now I know how amazing she is with teensy pigtails, laughing out loud, looking just like her daddy. 
And now I know more about what we consume on a daily basis that affects her little body and ours. So I choose the best I can for today and pray for wisdom and grace for whatever the next three years bring. 






Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Coming Out From Hiding

I don't post many pictures of myself online. Does anyone else think they'll start posting pictures after they lose weight or when their hair is fixed...or when they are wearing a bra?
I heard recently that our online presence is a legacy in and of itself for our loved ones after we are gone (or old).

I've had my own legacy hunting adventures, looking for the presence of loved ones after losses I have faced in my life.

So, dear loved ones who are seeing this in the future,
I'll be showing up more in the realest way possible. (I'm sure you'll get your fill of pony tails and yoga pants.)

I hope you see how amazing life is. Even though the days are long, it's going by so quickly. Sometimes things are messy, but I still get glimpses of the beautiful in the middle of the mess.




To leaving a legacy.

Jess