“I’m 15 and my belly is bigger than the other kids: ‘Ha ha! You look pregnant!’ they say. For years, I am constantly asked, ‘Sooo, when’s the due date?’ ‘Don’t forget to invite us to the shower!’
I strategically starve myself for years to come to shed off the pounds.
I’m 21 and graduate college. Instead of being asked, ‘What are your dreams? What are your goals in life? Can I offer you some words of encouragement?’ I am asked, ‘When are you getting married? When are you having kids?’ ‘Have kids already!’ ‘I’m ready to be a grandma. The clock is ticking!’
My mother dies before I can make her a grandma. I carry the guilt with me.
I’m 24, waiting in line at Starbucks when a man asks me, ‘When’s the baby coming?’ My face turns red. He doesn’t know I’m not pregnant. He also doesn’t know I’ve been struggling to get pregnant. I manage a smile and say, ‘Soon.’ Then, I rush out the door, no coffee in hand, and cry in my jeep.
All those years of, ‘Sooo, when’s the due date?’ and now, NOW, I can’t even have one.
I’m 25 and have just suffered two miscarriages back to back. I gain 40 pounds of grief weight. Again, I am asked, ‘Aw, are expecting? I love babies!’ I turn red once more. Only this time, I don’t run. I cry. Right in the middle of Publix. ‘NO!’ I shout. I’m told to calm down.
My body starts to feel like a cruel joke.
I’m 26 and I have just lost my child to stillbirth. This time, there is silence. There’s no questions. No words of encouragement from anyone. No words. Just silence. I’ve never felt more isolated. My friends can’t handle grief, so they grow further away. My husband battles silent resent. He grows even further. There’s no baby, so there’s no marriage. These weren’t the vows I signed up for.
We divorce, and I pretend I haven’t just spent the last 2 and a half years trying to create a life with him. My own life deteriorates.
I’m 27 and the grief takes a toll on my body. I’ve now lost nearly 95 pounds. I have no appetite. I still have no baby. No positive pregnancies. No husband. ‘You look amazing, Holly!’ they say. ‘You look so healthy. Have you been working out?!’ Suddenly, those distant friends aren’t so distant.
I tell them ‘yes’ when, in reality, I can barely manage getting out of bed.
I’m still 27. My husband is back. He decides he wants me, child or not. I’m 27 and I’m trying to piece my life together and stay strong. I know life is beautiful and precious. I’ve never forgotten that. So, I will never give up.
But I hope my story can help you see the weight of words, when it is words that are meant to build us up, not tear us down.
So, for now, I’d like to take a moment to use mine:
You are worthy.
You are beautiful.
You will get through this.
Keep being you.
Never lose hope.”
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