A Story of Mama Endurance (Mesothelioma Awareness Day)

I know very little about cancer. I’ve been lucky enough to have never lost a family member to cancer, and have never walked alongside someone while they were fighting it.

I have a friend who survived testicular cancer. I didn’t know him until after he was cancer free, but even now, fight to imagine how difficult it must have been for him and his wife.

I have a good friend who’s mom recently died of lung cancer. It was the worst thing that I could imagine, and trying to comfort her felt so empty. My words failed to do the situation justice. I did my best, but always said “I don’t know what to say, but its ok if you just want to cry.”

I know a lot of people, and many of them have very personal stories with cancer. Cancer never stops being a ruthless bitch, and I never stop feeling a tug at my heart strings when I hear about it. It doesn’t just make me sad, but in equal parts makes me angry. It is unfair, and doesn’t show any mercy.

Today, is Mesothelioma Awareness Day. Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer that attacks the lungs and abdomen. I received an email from Cameron Von St. James, just asking me to read his story. I had just put my sweet girl down for her afternoon nap, and was catching up on emails. I read it in a moment where I actually had a moment to sit and read.

Cameron’s wife, Heather, was diagnosed with mesothelioma just 3 months after giving birth to her daughter, Lily.

Tug.

Her story of faith and hope is completely inspiring. I struggled to put myself in Heather’s shoes…fought to imagine what it would be like to be given that kind of news a mere 3 months after giving birth.

Fighting cancer, while doing the first year dance with a newborn.

Can you imagine it?

It is mama endurance at a level that I can’t wrap my mind around.

I’m happy to share that Heather is 7 years cancer free, and now, alongside her husband, seek to bring awareness to Mesothelioma by sharing their story through various platforms.

You can read more about Heather and her husband here.

Mesothelioma is preventable. Educate yourself about asbestos exposure here.

Consider sharing their story, and bring awareness to this disease.

The Lovely Life (Stuff -n- Things)

I’m not really in the mood to blog.

But, some other people have been blogging, and I’ve been reading & gathering inspiration in other ways, so I’ll share those things with you instead.

Around the Internets

Surviving Whole Foods by Kelly MacClean (You’ll laugh so hard you’ll cry, and maybe pee)

The Habits of Supremely Happy People

One Handed Recipes for New Moms from the Vintage Mixer

First Day of Pre-K by Brandy (WHO I MET IN NORTH CAROLINA IN REAL LIFES!) Her post about Landon’s first day of Pre-K made me laugh. Hilarious and full of snark.

Books:

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne Valente (So good and playful. I am loving it)

Parenting with Love and Logic

Textbooks about Organizational Behavior and Academic/Career Advising because #graduateschool.

Sidenote: Have you heard of this new thing called Oyster? Unlimited book rentals for $9.95/month. My husband received his invite and is giving it a try this month. The concept seems pretty genius to me.

Music:

Local Natives

Empire of the Sun

Imagine Dragons

The Civil Wars

Fashion

Madewell’s Barnwood Boot (making the wait for Fall weather, almost unbearable)

Anthropologie’s Chiffon Trim V-Neck (I bought the grey, and want to live in it always. I think I need every single colorway)

ThreeBirdNest’s Cozy Bow Headband (I bought this one in grey, but really, I think I could find a place for every single one of these in my fall wardrobe)

Inspiration

anneworldofoctobers

(Pin via Simply Happenstance)

Reconciled

I just got back from a 10 day vacation in North Carolina. Much of those 10 days were spent on Wrightsville Beach with my sweet little family, soaking in precious moments, and sun-rays. The timing of this little getaway could not have been more perfect.

My heart needed it.

I was feeling less and less like myself, and when our plane touched ground back here in Utah, I  felt like I got my spirit back.

A week or so after my miscarriage, my sweet friend Hannah came over and brought me lunch. I hadn’t sat down face to face with a friend since everything had happened, and much of our time together was me crying, and then changing the subject, and then coming back to it to cry again. I expressed to her that my heart and my head were having a hard time reconciling. I shared with her this feeling of guilt. Guilt about trying to forget, and guilt that I didn’t know how to properly process. She made a point to not say anything to encourage me one way or the other, expressing that she didn’t have the answers, and was in no position to counsel me, but was just there to validate my feelings, and listen. But, after I spiraled around the same thoughts over and over again she said:

“People who participate in the abortion debate don’t realize that in guilting women who have abortions, they are also guilting women who have miscarriages.”

Deep breath.

We weren’t talking about abortion, but we were talking about baby loss. I know that I didn’t do anything, and that wasn’t what we were talking about at all. It was that, I have seen pictures of little 10 week old babies in billboard sizes, and those images couldn’t be wiped from my brain. And as I sought out the appropriate way to process and grieve, and place all of my misplaced feelings, I couldn’t stop thinking about THOSE pictures, and THOSE arguments.

And so, oddly, it seems that abortion shaming, also made me feel shamed. Because what they say is that it was a baby that died, and that was something that I just couldn’t get over. I couldn’t feel better about it. I couldn’t think about the fact that I lost a baby, that I didn’t get to hold. I couldn’t stop thinking about lost time. Not being able to teach that little one how to ride a bike, or tie it’s shoes. And then I’d feel guilt about calling it an “it” because it didn’t ever become a girl or a boy, but should I be calling it a she? Because I thought maybe it was going to be a she? And what about those baby names that we had settled on? Do we need to throw those out? Were those names reserved for “it”? If I get pregnant again, am I going to feel like I took “it”‘s name and gave it to another baby? If I have another baby, is it like I’m replacing the one that we lost?

See what I mean?

I was feeling guilt because I wasn’t sure if I was grieving right. And I’d get all mushy and sad over things that I wasn’t even sure I believed.

Here are the facts:

My body sensed that something was wrong with this potential life, and it stopped making it. While I carried the baby until 10 weeks, it stopped growing at 6 weeks. I didn’t lose a child. And yes, had the pregnancy continued, it would have been a beautiful little baby…

but, it wasn’t.

I mourned over the potential of that little life. I mourned over the little baby hands and feet, and how excited we were that we were adding another little one to our little family. I felt sad about all of the excitement that we had, and how we were now experiencing sadness that we never thought was possible.

But, remember that thing called hope?

I can have children. I’ve had one. She’s perfect. And, while I’m pissed off that we had to go through something so terrible and traumatic, I don’t need to keep mourning. I was mourning over potential life, as if I lost my ability to create it. I didn’t. At the time, it was painful, and sad, but I think now, I have perspective.

My body did what it was supposed to do.

I didn’t lose a child. I could think that way, but then I don’t think I’d be able to keep moving forward. So, it may seem like a cop out, and maybe it is, but I don’t really care. I don’t think I’ve taken the easy way. I think that I processed and grieved the best that I could. And, now, I think I’m settled. Reconciled.

There is still the potential for life, and I want to grab hold of that, and stop obsessing over if I’m doing this right. I’m flawed. But, I don’t think Jesus is mad at me for trusting that my body did what he made it to do.