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It’s Your Turn Series, Part 2: Post 5 “Our Life After You”

I met Alyce through email. She had been following my journey on Instagram and I had posted asking for people to share their story and speak up about health. I had many come forward with stories of weight loss, but I also had the chance to learn of stories of mental health.

I remember sitting in the kitchen at JP’s parent’s house when Alyce’s email came to my inbox. As I read her words, my eyes filled with tears and I had to call JP in, so I could read it out loud to him. I said to him that I couldn’t believe that people like her felt they could share with me– I didn’t feel deserving.

I had to read her email a few times before I responded. My response went like this:

(five days after email was received) I’m sorry I took so long to respond. When I first saw your email my heart just broke. I didn’t know what to say and I didn’t want to say the wrong thing. I am not a mother and I never intend to be, but I believe that for those who truly want that role- they are greatly deserving. I am so sorry that role was taken from you. I am sorry the role of father was taken from your husband.

Over 22 messages, we connected, we talked about our day, she shared photos of Cara and as I look back at them, I’m in tears all over. We finally exchanged phone numbers.

Here’s Alyce’s story.

April 18, 2017 I reached out to Cristina after watching her story on Instagram wanting to hear our stories. At that particular moment in my life I needed someone to listen, anyone who would. It went a little something like this…

My story isn’t fitness related, but it is about health, mental health. February 10, 2017, I gave birth to our first child, a little girl named Cara. My husband and I found out at 22 weeks that she had severe brain abnormalities and there was no idea of how much time we would have with her. She was born early, at 36 weeks and 3 days, and passed away on February 15, 2017 just five days after she was born. We know she had a form of musculardystrophy, but they weren’t sure what kind, they said in 12 weeks we would getsome answers from our genetics testing we had done when she was born.

Fast forward to today, December 3, 2018, we still have no definite answers as to why our daughter was born with the abnormalities she had. Over the last 22 months we have endured more than most couples could imagine. I’ve personally struggled with anxiety, PPD, and grief. Some days are better than others, some days you don’t want to do anything at all, and it’s okay to not be okay.

August 9, 2018, I decided to start sharing our journey with others through a blog; ourlifeafteryou.wordpress.com.

I think what my husband and I went through is important for others to know, even if your story isn’t quite like ours. We went through something unique, but we can sympathize and empathize with people who have lost children. I have shared three parts of our story so far, and my next post will be “The Third Trimester.” I goaled myself with writing on the blog twice a month, when I shared my “Second Trimester,” it was well after my planned days.I struggled immensely with putting those thoughts and words on paper, because every time it is told, its relived. I’m sure you can imagine the pain we went through and continue to go through each day, and sometimes writing it down is draining.

I will say that right after losing Cara I never imagined sharing my story with people. Of course, if people asked me about children Iwould mention her but sharing my story online where strangers can read never crossed my mind. More people than you think go through something like this and never share, that is why I think it is so important for my voice to be heard. My experiences to be written down for others to follow and maybe help someone else one day. After I get this last trimester on paper, I will be sharing resources I wish I knew about when I was pregnant as well as some I learnedabout after Cara was born and passed away. I am currently a volunteer mentor with “Hand to Hold,” I get paired with someone in the NICU or who has experienced a loss similar to mine. I lend an ear and share resources when I can, and am just here for them as I wish someone was for me/us.

We don’t know what our future holds as far as other children, as we recently went in for more genetics testing. I will continue toshare my journey and how our life is unfolding after the tragedy of losing a child and the struggle to get my “new” life on track.

I guess my point in this post is that, not all struggles or transformations are the same.

Sometimes they aren’t seen but felt. It took me a long time to decide to share our journey and even though I agreed to share it, it doesn’t make it easier to write the posts.

I still struggle with having to sit down and relive the moments again while sharing with others. That’s why it takes me longer to get it all down, but once I write, I just keep going to finish the post in one day.

It’s good to know when you need a break, or what might trigger you, sometimes writing is the trigger and you just want to avoid it. I also know, by sharing my story I can help someone else, I can show them where I am today and the things we have done and continue to do to preserve Cara’s memory.

“I wanted to write down what I felt but somehow the paper stayed empty. And I could not have described it any better” – wtm

Alyce

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