2018 was one of the best years of my life, and it was also one of the most difficult. From exciting moments like moving into our new house and growing our team to, of course, finding out we were going to have a baby this spring, there were some life-long dreams happening. But with the devastating loss of our dear Lucy (our 2.5 year old French Bulldog) and going through a miscarriage, it was also a year that felt lonely, sad, and extremely heavy. There were many times that it was hard to focus on all the things that were going “right” when we were dealing with such loss.
I’ve gone back and forth on how to share my journey with grief this past year, and honestly, if I wanted to at all, but I think I’m finally ready to open up. Not from a place of looking for attention or pretending like I’m alone in these struggles – but exactly the opposite. This blog has become such a community for Austin and I that it almost feels inauthentic to not share the non-Instagram worthy moments that happen along the way. You guys are truly my friends (even if we haven’t met!) and an incredible community – one which I want to lean into when the going gets tough. Not only do I find support from sharing, but my hope is that it can also inspire others to connect, share stories, and to have this community that’s bigger than Austin and I.
I’m not totally sure the best way to put together a post like this. It’s not the most “uplifting” but it’s real and what I learned about grief this past year. So grab a cup of coffee and settle it – it’s a long one 🙂
It can be debilitating
When Austin and I first found out we were experiencing a miscarriage exactly one year ago today, it hit us like a ton of bricks. It was shocking, painful and left us feeling defeated. I’m usually open to sharing things (it’s my job after all), but I knew right away that I wasn’t ready to share this. In fact, it was hard for me to even want to work at all. Austin and I took some time and tried to “deal with what happened” but came to find out it wasn’t that easy. We live in such a “get up and go” type of culture that even accepting that I needed time to cope was hard. I’m usually able to bounce back and try again. But I knew this was different and a time in which I needed to allow myself the grace of healing. I learned to take time for myself, for Austin and I, and to shut off from the world when I needed to – and that I wasn’t a bad or weak person because I needed that time. In fact, I was simply being human.
Fast forward to October. We finally get to move into our house, after many delays, only to find out that our precious Lucy is terribly sick. After she passed, it just broke our hearts. I knew I needed to grieve and have those days where I didn’t leave bed other than to grab another box of tissues. Loss is incredibly damaging and sometimes I think we forget to allow ourselves grace during that period.
It can be lonely
Even though miscarriages range from 15-20% for healthy women in childbearing years (or almost 1/4 women), they certainly don’t feel that common when you’re going through one – at least not for me. Those around us were getting pregnant and having healthy babies…it was almost easier to focus on that than the statistics. We definitely had a hard time sharing, which made the loneliness grow stronger. It wasn’t shame, but almost this secret that we felt like I needed to keep safe. It was hard to get out of bed some days, and I know I canceled on some events or plans with friends because of it. I was so thankful to have a supportive and caring partner through all of this.
But what I eventually learned was that sharing my tragedy with other women opened myself up for support. I’ve talked to SO many women – many of you, in fact! – who have struggled with miscarriage or infertility. I’ve heard heartbreaking stories along with ones of beautiful endings along the way. And what I came out realizing with all of it is that I wasn’t alone; I just needed my time to heal and then begin to heal alongside others. Talking to my doctor, reading about just how common it was, seeing stats about success rates even when you’ve had a miscarriage, talking to other women, and not putting pressure on ourselves to try again right again was eventually how I started to feel less alone.
It certainly did not make the pain go away, but it gave me comfort to know I wasn’t alone.
If you’re going through a miscarriage or infertility, please know that you too aren’t alone and that my heart is with you. I’m here to talk if ever needed to, and I think a lot of women in this community would say the same.
A light usually surfaces
This section might be the hardest to write because I do not want to generalize grief – I don’t think you can. Everyone’s situation and struggle are different, and in my opinion, there isn’t a blanket remedy for it. So again, please remember that this is just my personal experience with grief and what I’ve learned. It might be very different for you.
As I slowly started feeling the cloud of sadness and heaviness from both losses move over a bit (I don’t want to say leave because they are definitely still there and will probably always be – which is OK), I started to find my way. The whole light at the end of the tunnel saying doesn’t sound strong enough for heartbreaking loss, but I think you know what I mean, right?
I found my ways to cope through a handful of practices. In case you’re wanting to know what those were: Praying, attending church and our small group, opening up to our friends and family, talking to a grief counselor, doing things that made me feel good, travel, giving myself enough time to heal and cry when I needed to, and eventually, this combo helped me to start feeling better day by day. (And don’t get me wrong, some days were A LOT easier than others.)
We were even blessed with the news of a healthy baby later in 2018 and that was a whole other wave of emotions. Will this one be healthy? Will I miscarry again? Is it my fault that the first one didn’t make it? What can I do to keep this one healthy? Etc etc etc. If you’ve been through a miscarriage, I’m sure you’ve had similar feelings.
Week after week though, we kept seeing that healthy heart beating on the monitor or through the doppler and eventually, we made it to the 2nd trimester. Our doctor encouraged us that it was safe to share with friends and family. I took a couple extra months to share with people because I still wasn’t feeling secure but eventually was able to share with everyone, including you all.
The outpowering of love and support from you guys has been honestly incredible. I’ve never felt more honored to connect with this community and I can’t thank you all enough for your kindness during this time. I’ve also chatted with so many of you who are going through something similar.
While I definitely don’t have the answers and every situation is so different, I’ve gotten a lot of questions surrounding how I’ve dealt with miscarriage, what we did to get pregnant again, steps to recovery and so on. I originally thought I might address some of those questions in this article, but I’m realizing just how long this is getting. I also think it might serve better as a post on its own. Please let me know if you’d like to see another article on miscarriage and pregnancy altogether and I can work on that. I want to be as sensitive and supportive as possible while sharing our story.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you so much for reading. While it’s obviously a very personal subject, if you have anything you want to add to this conversation about learning from grief, please don’t hesitate to reach out int he comments or DM me. I do think we can all learn from and connect though, so if you’re open to going public in comments, that might be the best place to connect.
Thank you so much for reading and allowing me a space to share.
Sara H. says
Ashley, Thank you so much for sharing this with us. Grief is a very personal experience and we all grieve differently, but by sharing your experience you have encouraged me and I’m sure countless others. We are often expected to pick ourselves up and try again (with whatever that may be) without taking time to heal and without granting ourselves some grace. I love to see a successful woman be vulnerable and remind us that we are fallible humans leaning on the grace of God. Thank you.
Thank you so much for your sweet and kind words. I could not agree with you more! Your thoughtful words truly mean so much to us!
dana mannarino says
Thank you for sharing this with us, Ashley. Everyone grieves so differently, but in some ways, it just helps to know that we’re not alone. Although it sucks that grief and loss is a part of life, we somehow grow stronger from it. Sending you lots of love!
The Champagne Edit
Thank you for your kind words, we appreciate it so much! I totally agree, you indeed grow stronger in the end!
Molly Wellsfry says
So inspired by you and this post. You are incredible and serve your followers so well. Prayers for you and your sweet baby!
Thank you so much! It makes me so happy to hear that you have been inspired by this post. That truly warms my heart!
Thank you for sharing with us. If it’s not too difficult, I would be interested in hearing more about your miscarriage and pregnancy thus far. I know you haven’t spoken much about it so I hope that doesn’t come across insensitive. I am just genuinely curious and inspired by you.
Lacey C says
I too struggled with a miscarriage and it’s such a lonely, dark place. I would be interested in hearing more about your journey to pregnancy if you are comfortable sharing. Thank you for opening up!
Grief is like a tangled web that swirls, ebbs and flows. Each day is a new day…best advice received during the darkest hours of this tangled web. No matter the situation of one’s grief, the love and support of others helps to heal the unbearable. And…His Grace. Thanks for sharing and your empathetic insight.
Kathleen @ Carrie Bradshaw Lied says
Love this post and love seeing you share more of your heart and life on this beautiful space! I know so many (including myself) are inspired by your strength, courage and honesty. Would love to hear more about how you felt ready to try for your second pregnancy and any tips you learned along the way! Love you lots sister –
Jenna @jennaashley says
Thank you for sharing! We also had a 2018 marked with extreme highs and lows. I suffered a miscarriage at 12 weeks (Down syndrome), was diagnosed with PCOS, suffered an ectopic pregnancy and lost a Fallopian tube in the emergency surgery, was diagnosed with a blood clotting disorder, and now that I’m 26 weeks pregnant, I’ve had to inject myself with a blood thinner every day for the full 9 mo pregnancy. I’m not one to suffer silently, so confiding in family and friends throughout was hugely therapeutic because everyone is so supportive and loving, and most could relate to one of those things. I also knew that when I finally had good news to share, I would share my story publicly because I had relied on an aquaintance who had shared her ectopic pregnancy story when I was going through mine. She was the only person I knew who could relate and answer my questions. I knew by sharing my journey that other girls would feel comfortable confiding in me in the same way, and that has been equally as therapeutic! Moral of the story, sharing the grief has been the best way to grieve.
Amanda W. says
Thank you for sharing your personal journey. I also experienced a miscarriage last year and can honestly say I’ve never felt grief like that before. I isolated myself and had horrible anxiety about leaving the house to do anything without my husband, a very different way of life than we were both used to. I think it forever changed me as a person and the trying again was so emotionally difficult. I’m also pregnant again and had constant fear of losing this pregnancy. Each and every doctor appointment I would walk in shaking until we were able to see that everything was okay on the ultrasound. I’m expecting twin girls in the next 8 weeks and am still in disbelief that I’ve gotten this far in pregnancy. I can’t wait to meet our little miracles and to see pictures of yours as well. I hope the rest of your pregnancy and delivery goes well! 💗
Ashley L says
Amazingly written, Ashley! Your sensitivity and grace shine through and I am so excited to see you become a mom. Four years in waiting and praying for us and I understand the grief, but while we wait, I am praising the Lord and celebrating your sweet baby! Two people who couldn’t possible be better picked by God to bring a child into this world! Congratulations!
Tanya Jahr says
Thank you so much for being brave enough to be vulnerable and transparent about an issue that it’s so important for more women to talk about. We began trying for a baby when I was 28 years old and suffered 6 consecutive miscarriages before the birth of our first daughter. We suffered another miscarriage after she was born but then went on to have healthy boy/girl twins via IVF. We went through this years ago at a time when social media was just beginning to be a thing and women certainly didn’t talk about miscarriages. It was so isolating. I felt incredibly alone and would have loved to have more support from other women who understood. Seemed like everyone around me was getting pregnant and having babies. Like you, one of the things I learned from my experience was that it showed me how much I was loved by others and it helped me open up to accepting support from others. I vowed to remain open about my story so other women don’t have to feel alone like I did. I also like to share my story so women know that there is so much joy on the other side of infertility. I would never change or rewrite my story because any other pregnancy on any other month would have resulted in different children than the ones that were meant to be mine. This baby is special and soon you will understand all the reasons why this is the one that was chosen to be yours ❤️
Hayley Larue says
Love this, Ashley <3
Blondie in the City
Thank you so much, Hayley! We truly appreciate it!
Lynn Thompson says
I’m sorry that I have something to add, but in the realm of grief, with a very tough diagnosis for my husband, brain cancer, I’m finding that I am grieving the loss of what my expectations were for our retirement. I’m finding that grief, mixed with thankfulness for each day we have together is an unusual combination, but grief makes me more thankful for what I have.
We are so sorry for your loss. Thank you for being so wonderful. We will continue to pray each day for the best of health and strength for you and your baby. There is an Irish quote I love that deals with grief: Death is a heartache no one can heal, Love is a memory that no one can steal.”
I would appreciate a message/post from you on how to be a supportive friend from your perspective when someone is dealing with grief. I worry about saying or doing the “wrong” thing and sometimes I find that some individuals don’t say or do anything for fearing that they will do the wrong thing. There is a balance in being supportive and giving space.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your kind and thoughtful words, and for sharing that beautiful quote! It is lovely.
That is a great idea that I would love to write about in the future! Thank you for that great recommendation!
Amy D says
This post really helped me today. I lost my mom as a child and just lost my grandmom, who became my mom, a few weeks ago. It has been the hardest month of my life. I struggle with just getting thru a day. So weird when i am out I have this feeling of grief yet everyone is moving at normal pace around me, hard to pick that pace back up.
Thank you for being so open and sharing such intimate emotion. Truly makes me feel “not alone”. I pray for a happy and easy delivery of your sweet new baby. Enjoy these moments as they go so fast.
Love and light <3
Jen E. says
Ashely, thank you SO much for sharing. This post honestly couldn’t have come at a better time for me. My husband and I experienced a miscarriage in November and the grief from that is still so present and something i continue to work through. I also just found out that i am pregnant again. While i am thrilled at the possibility of finally being able to be a mom and start a family, i can’t help but be terrified that this pregnancy will turn out like the last. I’m on a rollercoaster of emotion to say the least and reading your post has helped me feel less alone. I don’t know anyone else who has been in this situation to share with an be understanding so even though we are not personal friends, i appreciate your honesty and willingness to share! Wishing you and your growing family all the happiness in the world!
Thank you for this raw and emotional post. It’s very well written and from the heart. I too experienced a miscarraige with my first and it broke my heart. My husband and I felt very blue for several months. I got pregnant a year later, and people kept telling me that I should be happy and “it was all ment to be”. Of course I was excited about the new baby and I am so thankful for her. But it didn’t take away the hurt and loss from our first. I am so excited for you and Austin. Best wishes on this new chapter!
Grief is a tricky thing. You never know when it’s going to hit. You are brave to share and I know you have inspired so many. Thank you for your honestly and courage.
Thank you so much for your sweet and thoughtful words. They mean so much to us!
Rith Kue says
Thanks for sharing this story! First off I hope you have a healthy & happy rest of your pregnancy. So glad you opened up and shared how you were able to move forward! My husband and I went through infertility & failed IVF treatments and after some much needed time off we were able to conceive naturally and now we have a 3 & 4 year old who keeps us very busy and our hearts very full! Congrats again and good luck with everything!
I would love for you to share more about your journey to becoming a mom. I am going through a tough couple of months with a at least 12 -15 friends expecting in months ranging from May to September. Thank you for sharing that it’s okay not to be okay sometimes 🙂