20 July 2011

{big jumps} Hope Whispers By Becky

I cannot put into words what it means to me to have Bec guest posting on the blog today. She does not have a blog of her own (yet), so it took some convincing on my part. She and I have been to hell and back many, many times in the course of our friendship, but we always emerge stronger together. She sat with me on the bathroom floor of a crappy hotel in NYC as I sobbed over the death of my grandma, and she talked with me calmly as she drove through a blizzard in the wee hours of morning when I was in the hospital with what we thought was pre-term labor. She has been my biggest cheerleader and knows me better than I know myself.

Get your tissues handy. I have read this piece multiple times already and can't contain the tears each time. I think Bec has such an eloquent way of sharing her heartbreak and how she used the pain to live bigger and better. Please make sure to give her lots of comment love!


 For some people, going after dreams seems to come, if not easy, then at least somewhat naturally. This has never been the case for me exactly. When Tahnie asked me to write a blog post for her series about taking jumps, going after a big dream, and silencing your inner critic, to be honest, I panicked a little.  Despite a lovely and encouraging text from the lovely and encouraging owner of this blog, my inner critic has always been a bit of a loud mouth, and this was no exception. All I could think was, when have I EVER taken a big jump or chased my dreams? Suffice it to say, I have a history of being a little hard on myself.

So I took a breath, smacked my inner (brat) critic around a little, and rejoined reality. (Sometimes she just needs a little physical persuasion to keep her quiet.) Through much gentler eyes, I was able to see that chasing my dreams is exactly what I have dedicated the last several years to.

I think it’s fair to say that I spent the first half of my 20s floundering…and I promise that isn’t just my inner critic speaking. I depleted the better part of a decade waging a war against my past and myself, leaving very little time to spend thinking of the future. I took college classes with little direction, frequent and short-lived ideas for what I wanted to do with my life always sputtering to an early and untimely death, only to be replaced by other ill-conceived and directionless designs.

Those few years for me were a little like traveling through the Grand Canyon on foot. After a sharp and rocky fall to the bottom, I had just begun to scratch and climb my way out when three short minutes sharpened my upward trajectory.

One white stick. Two pink, positive lines. Terror, laughter, and joy in equal measure. We still aren’t quite sure how we got pregnant (well we know how, but you know what I mean), but I remember every moment of how we got unpregnant. It took a week or two to sink in, but my fiancĂ© (then boyfriend) and I quickly adapted to the idea of what we lovingly referred to as “our next big adventure” (we’ve seen a few too many romantic comedies). A life that had once seemed both fantastic and somehow out of reach to me was suddenly so very real. I suppose this post could end there; that was, after all, quite a big jump. But unfortunately it was not a soft landing. It became clear very soon that the possibility we had not even considered (which is so amazing to me now that pregnancy loss is a part of my very core) was in fact a reality. We had what they call a blighted ovum or anembryonic pregnancy. (It’s a bit of a misnomer really. If you actually research the science, they believe that in many cases there was once an embryo that simply did not progress, but I knew very little about any of this then.) I am still amazed today at how you can be in a moment so afraid of having something, and in the next instant doubly terrified of not. In only a few short weeks I had become a mother, a change that once undergone cannot be undone, but it was being undone in every way that mattered. And then, on Mother’s Day 2009, it all ended as abruptly as it began.  

The only really beautiful thing about personal tragedy is how we rise up against it and fight back. Sitting in that hospital stretcher on a day meant to be a tribute to mothers everywhere, even my Morphine-enhanced mind could not have imagined that THIS is what it would take to transform me into a confident, steady, capable woman who is able to take care of, not just herself, but others too. Yet that is exactly how it went.

In the two short years following those events, I found a way to focus the manic emotion and energy that plagued me in the past into building a future for myself, my soon-to-be husband, and our many future big adventures. It was the proverbial wake-up call, my very own “get it” moment. I had come so very close to doing one of the most important things I am ever going to do with nothing but tons of excuses and little direction. It was like taking the blinders off.

And so I leapt. I applied and was accepted last year to the Johns Hopkins Diagnostic Medical Sonography program and have spent the past 13 1/2 months completely overwhelmed and absolutely loving it.  I discovered not only a career, but a passion, which is something I fully realize I am so lucky to have. I learned early in the program that I have a love for obstetrical ultrasound; a field that I know all too well to be laced with both tragedy and wonder. My own loss has made me acutely aware of how personal the pregnancy journey can be, regardless of whether or not the pregnancy is a healthy one. I think and hope that this has prepared me for a career of helping women through their own journeys.

And now I have other dreams to aspire to. Dreams of white dresses, first dances, and I Dos. Of a home with a mud room streaked with tiny mud footprints. Of kissing my husband in bed on lazy Sunday mornings. Of traveling any and EVERYwhere. Of a long career with some failures, overshadowed by many successes. Of loving myself in spite of the sometimes deafening protests within. Of being stronger than I have ever been before, even in the face of life’s inevitable heartbreak.

And the biggest dream of all: A future. Happiness. Life.

Now let’s not waste our time,
Now let’s make the most of every breath we take
The most of every second we’re alive
Oh, cause we’re alive
(good charlotte)


  1. Oh man, where do I even begin! Thanks you so much for sharing your story and your hope. I am having my own year of heartache (miscarriage in March & a second in June with a D&C, and last week I spent my 10 year anniversary hemorrhaging in the ER and having to have another emergency D&C)I am not quite sure what lesson I am suppose to be learning. I am scared and frustrated and not sure how to process all this. I know this is just a chapter of my life that when I look back I will have endless signs of growth but right now I am still so open and raw. It was a comfort to read your journey and to see how someone becomes who they were meant to be after such events. I am still not yet ready to own all of this yet so pardon my anonymity. My heart is still healing and I will share my journey soon enough. Thanks for lending me yours in the mean time.

  2. there are so many things i wish i could say, but i don't know where to begin. so i'll just say that i miss you, bec. times a million. *hugs*

  3. I love this. You're story is so beautiful.

  4. Hello, I'm a new gfc follower :)

  5. Very different and beautiful story.I am also a follower:)

  6. Anonymous: I am so sorry to hear of your losses. I don't think in the midst of all that it is possible to identify any sort of lesson you are "supposed" to be learning. In my opinion, it is perfectly okay to feel like all of those cliches are a bunch of crap, especially right now. The most important thing is to let yourself feel what you are feeling, it is how we heal (probably another cliche, but it's the best I've got). Beyond that, try not to be too hard on the people in your life who say really stupid things like "it was what God wanted" or "it was for the best because miscarriages mean something was wrong with the baby" or, my favorite, "everything happens for a reason".. yes, you will want to punch them. But try not to because punching people hurts.

    It gets easier. But in the meantime, I suggest lots of wine, tears, and Jack Johnson's "If I Could" to help ease the pain.

  7. Jana Banana: I LOVE YOU. EMAIL ME, LET'S TALK! littledaybreaker@gmail.com

  8. Chris, Chavonne, and Cheap Baby Favors:

    Thanks everyone, I really appreciate it :)