Happy Spring!

5 Ways I found Joy in the Darkness

It was a cold January morning in 2020 and hubby and I were looking forward to our first peek at our newest family member! I was 11 weeks pregnant and feeling pretty good. I'm normally super sick but this time I thought I'd cured it because I only slightly nauseous and mostly just super hormonal. Nevertheless we were super excited to see the little jellybean that should have sprouted arms and legs. We normally go in for ultrasound much earlier but due to insurance stuff we decided to wait until the new year. Nothing could have prepared me for the confusion that was about to take place. 

We went in and met with the NP and got the positive urine test, they took 10 million tubes of blood, and sent us off to ultrasound! We have been in this room many times and know the ultrasound tech well. We commented and joked about the new big screen in front of us. The mood was light and exciting. When she put the probe on my belly, we saw it pull up on the very large screen in front of us. We all sat in confusion for a few seconds....the very large, black sack was completely empty. I've had enough babies to know that that was not normal. I somehow said, "it's empty?" All the tech could say was, "i need to get the doctor" and out she went. Hubby and I sat there for what seemed like hours waiting for our wonderful doctor to explain what was happening. I had heard of this happening but never did I imagine it would happen to me. The doctor confirmed, I was pregnant but there was never a baby. In technical terms it's called a "Blighted Ovum." Here I was just about to enter the second trimester and it was for nothing. There was nothing there. My heart broke. 

Over the next few weeks there were so many questions. So many friends that reached out and said they'd experienced the same thing. So many dark and scary moments followed ever so closely by light and joy. I cannot describe the blessings that came but after the D&C surgery and the hormones that friends had warned me about, I felt myself spiraling into the darkness that others had described. I did NOT want to go there! I found these things to be life saving and I hope they can help someone else.

5 Ways to get out or stay out of the darkness

1. Don't look down!!!
I had been told by others what a dark pit it can be. I have experienced bouts of depression and anxiety before and I did NOT want to go there! I knew it was there, I knew it was real, but I never looked down. Only look straight ahead or up. Look around you right now. What is real right now? How are you feeling right now? Do not look down. 

2. Count my "Grateful For's"
Light and darkness cannot be in the same place at the same time. Light will always win. When we are grateful, darkness cannot exist. So, sometimes that looked like me saying things I was grateful for over and over to keep that light lit. When my kids are scared or heck, when I'm scared, especially at night, this is my magic cure. Count your grateful for's! 

3. Talk it out. This is HUGE! I would feel these HUGE emotions come up but if I let them stay inside they got bigger. If I simply said to my husband, "I am mourning the baby I didn't get to bring home" it brought acknowledgment to the feeling and then it would go away faster. It's ok to mourn. It's ok to feel feelings, but don't let the darkness stay and take over. One of the quotes I kept thinking was "Joy cometh in the morning" but instead I thought of it as "Joy cometh in the mourning." I grieved and I mourned and found such great joy in doing so. 

4. Find a hobby. Find some way, big or small, to get out of your head. Garden, write, cook, sing, paint, etc.... Behold, Aunt Mae's Odds and Ends. I had tinkered with painting for a little bit before this. I have always loved word art. But during this time I found myself doodling scriptures and quotes that brought me great joy. It was so therapeutic. I started putting the painting and doodling together and found so much light!  I knew I needed to share these things with others and even in the middle of a pandemic, I opened my online shop! I asked Hubby to help me create a space that I could do my shop out of. Being in that space, a small closet with a desk, was my healing space. I focused on painting things that brought me joy and the more I did, the more joy I felt, and the more the darkness could not stay. It was beautiful. 

5. Pray. I feel like prayer should be first, second, and last. It is a powerful gift for me. I poured out my soul to God and when I painted I felt Him with me stronger. Just because you're going through a hard time does not mean your faith is weak or that He is not there or does not hear your prayers but I invite you to do something or go somewhere else to get out of your head so you can hear Him clearer. 

These are the 5 things that blessed my life so much. I hope they bring joy to someone else who is fighting the darkness. Keep going! Find joy in your journey all along the way! 
Much love,
Aunt Mae

PS This is the pic of our dog that we got for Christmas just before our world changed. He was born just about the time we got pregnant. He is one of our treasures and reminders of the beauty and joy in life.