When it came time to add to our family, I realized that I had taken for granted how easy it was to get pregnant the first time around. With a toddler and busy career, I figured I just needed to slow down a bit to turn the monthly failed tests into positive ones. But month after month, the results were the same: negative, then sometimes a positive, but not for long. After the seventh miscarriage, I knew it was time to stop this craziness. What lingered after was a deep sadness, a feeling of failure, and an image in the mirror that I could no longer recognize.
I was at least fifty pounds heavier than I had ever been, so I decided to turn my attention to my body, figuring that getting back in shape would help me feel ‘normal’ again.
This was the part of my loss I felt comfortable talking about. And I did. In my role as the editor of Canadian Family magazine and then Canadian Living magazine, I felt brave speaking personally about infertility and miscarriage and penning editorials about empowering myself through exercise and clean eating. Kudos and encouragement from friends, family, and readers inspired me to run my first 5K race and show up at the gym at 5 a.m.
The truth was though, that no amount of exercise was enough to erase the feelings of total failure I felt.
I had buried most of the pain deep inside until one day—totally unexpectedly—while standing in the middle of my kitchen, I caught a TV commercial for baby diapers out of the corner of my eye. I looked at my husband and I started to cry. And I cried and I cried. I let out all of the feelings I had suppressed, and my husband (who quickly figured out what was going on), put his arms around me and held me tight while I cried what felt like an ocean of tears.
When I finished crying, I was exhausted. And only after my fourth month of boot camp and salad-for-lunch-everyday did I start to feel more like myself.
It was at that point when I made a conscious decision to stop mourning what I could not control and celebrate the incredible family I was lucky to have. Our perfect child was now seven years old. It felt like the right time to move on, look ahead, and embrace the term ‘only child.’
Vacations are the best way to reset, relax, and reinvigorate all at once. So when the three of us headed off to Maui to do just that, we also planned something extra special for this trip—a sunset ceremony on the beach that would be our family’s new beginning. Officially, we referred to it as a ‘vow renewal’, but this celebration feted our complete family and was a new commitment for my husband and I in a union, not only as deeper lovers, but more importantly, as true partners in parenting.
So this photo is from that day in March when we defined what our little family meant to us and ever since, we cherish every crazy adventure that comes our way.
Just the three of us.
Photo via Jennifer Reynolds
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