The Silent Treatment

Hi. My name is Kati, and I should be 25 weeks pregnant… but I’m not. My uterus is empty. My grief is real. My sighs are heavy.

Most days, I am fine. Other days, the waves of grief hit me over and over and over again until I am washed up on the shore, exhausted, standing over the stove, cooking dinner, and counting down the moments until bedtime — just hanging on so I do not have another breakdown in front of my kids. I know it’s ok for them to see me cry. Trust me, they have.

Do you want to know the worst part about grief? Most people just ignore it. Our society does not talk about what makes us sad. It’s too hard. It’s too painful. It hurts too much. But in this season of too hard and too painful, those grieving, at least myself, often feel like we are being given the silent treatment in regards to our pain.

I can count on one hand the number of people who continue to check in on me and how I am handling the loss of our baby. It’s no one’s fault. Truly. I don’t blame anyone. Our society has failed us and taught us that we don’t talk about such things. I’m honestly fortunate to have people that still do ask me about my pain. Heck, apparently radio stations are banning “Baby It’s Cold Outside” in fear of it lending its hand to date rape culture. That’s what we do. If its hard to messy or has the potential to cause pain or sadness, we cut it out of our lives completely.

But I just want to say, that is not the way to handle things. That is not the way to grieve. That is not the way to walk through grief with someone. Because grief cannot be ignored, at least not by the person grieving. It rears its painful head in the most random and bizarre of times, and people need to know they aren’t left to deal with it alone.

People need to know they can come to you with their sad, their mad, their glad, and every emotion in between, and that you won’t shy away from it. That you will be there for them, no matter the emotion. They need you to ask hard questions like, “How are you feeling about the loss of your baby today?” “How did that pregnancy announcement make you feel?” “What are you doing to help yourself grieve during this time?” They need the chance to talk about it, even when they don’t feel like it. They need you to acknowledge their pain without excluding you from your joy.

So let’s try to do better. All of us. I know I have fallen short in this category an infinite number of times. Let’s remember that we are all just walking each other home, and that the walk contains lions and tigers and bears (oh my!), and that together, we can face them head on.


The Oxygen Mask Scenario

A wise friend (hi Victoria!) reminded me a few weeks ago about the oxygen mask scenario. You know, the one where you are sitting on the plane, and the lovely flight attendant demonstrates how to put on the oxygen mask in case the whole thing goes down?And what is the last part they always remind passengers to do? Put the mask on yourself before helping anyone else.

This task seems easy enough when imagining a hypothetical scenario of a plane going down… but what about in the day to day of just doing life? Personally, I’ve caught myself lately (okay fine… basically my entire life) giving everyone else around me their oxygen masks and hoping I don’t suffocate in the process.

Listen. I’m a 2. According to the Enneagram Institute this means:

“Twos are empathetic, sincere, and warm-hearted. They are friendly, generous, and self-sacrificing, but can also be sentimental, flattering, and people-pleasing. They are well-meaning and driven to be close to others, but can slip into doing things for others in order to be needed. They typically have problems with possessiveness and with acknowledging their own needs. At their Best: unselfish and altruistic, they have unconditional love for others.

  • Basic Fear: Of being unwanted, unworthy of being loved
  • Basic Desire: To feel loved

Key Motivations: Want to be loved, to express their feelings for others, to be needed and appreciated, to get others to respond to them, to vindicate their claims about themselves.”

Basically — I LOVE to help others. Truly. It’s my favorite thing. It brings me so much joy and purpose. But I am really, really bad at making sure that I also help myself. I want to give you the oxygen mask first, every. single. time. Guess what happens if I do that? Eventually, I’ll suffocate.

The holidays are an especially trying time for many of us. We over extend ourselves to be at every Christmas party, bake cookies for every neighbor, attend all the classroom celebrations, and be happy every single second of every single day because #themagicofChristmas. We shove down feelings of sadness over lost babies and loved ones, singleness, not loving our jobs, missing home, etc. We brush under the carpet feelings of anxiety over family, money, lack of sleep, illness, and more. But what if this year… we didn’t?

What if this year, we were bold enough to put the oxygen masks on ourselves first? To step back and reflect upon how we can help others, without hurting ourselves. I really do believe that we do not have to feel tired, overwhelmed, and run down in order to also feel helpful. This seems to be the norm for many of us, and we brush it off by saying, “Oh, don’t worry! It’s just a season!” Well GUESS WHAT? THAT SEASON SUCKS!

This season, I am going to sit back and reflect on what I need to do for myself in order to love others well. I want to figure out healthy ways to love and help others, while still remembering to put the oxygen mask on myself.

How are your oxygen levels?





the drawing

As many of you know, our family recently experienced the loss of my father-in-law, as well a late miscarriage of our baby, due March 2019. Needless to say, there have been many tears in our household in the past few months.

Grief is so weird, you know? It truly ebbs and flows like waves. One minute you’re walking along the aisle in Target, drinking your PSL, and checking out the latest and greatest from Chip and Jo. The next, you’re sobbing your eyes out in the Home Depot parking lot because the thought of picking out mums that will inevitably die is just too much to bear.

The worst part of grief, for me, has been watching my kids experience it. Annie, my precious, sassy, spunky, heart of gold girl, has taken the loss of her precious Woot and our sweet baby very hard.

After my father-in-law passed, Annie was adamant about attending the funeral service. She sat through it like an angel, even wrapping her arms around her daddy at one point and telling him that it was okay to be sad.

When I told her the baby had gone to Heaven, she screamed out, “NO!” and immediately started crying. The two weeks following that were horrible. The girl wouldn’t eat. She barely slept. Her smile faded. It was all just too much for her sweet, 6 year old heart to handle.

I took her to see one of my greatest friends, who just so happens to be a pediatrician, to make sure there wasn’t anything physical barring her from eating and causing her constant stomach ache. During that office visit, Annie opened up to Dr. Dorsey about how sad she was about her Woot dying. She also talked about how sad she was about losing the baby because she would never know what it looked like (I laughed out loud at this, since all of our kids look the same), and that she was so excited to have another baby to play princes and princesses with.

When Dr. Dorsey asked Annie what she thought might help her not be so sad, Annie said she needed pictures of Woot to keep with her at home and at school. She also had the idea to draw a picture of the baby so she could imagine what it would have looked like. I immediately ordered pictures of Woot for her, and the following morning, after yet another sad and horrible breakdown, she drew this picture:

Here’s what you need to know about this picture: Amelia was one of two girl names on my baby names list on my phone. I hadn’t shared that with a single person, not even my husband, Chip. When I saw that Annie had written, “our baby Amelia” on her drawing, it literally took my breath away. With tears in my eyes, I looked at her and asked her why she had decided to name the baby Amelia. She stared at me and simply responded, “because that was her name.”

We did not do any genetic testing. We did not find out the gender. For us, it would not have provided any more closure or healed any wounds. To me, our lost baby will always be baby Amelia, and this picture will always be a priceless work of art to our family.

the catalyst

So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword. -Exodus 17:10-13

This is my favorite story in the entire Bible. It’s such an accurate depiction of how we all need community and help and friends that come running when we call.

On Friday, September 21, 2018, Chip​ and I found out that we lost our baby. There aren’t words to describe the heartache, so I won’t try. There’s no “at least you have…” statement that is going to fix it. The fact is, we lost a child. It isn’t the way it’s supposed to be.

In the midst of our great sorrow, I can still identify the goodness of the Lord. The timing of my doctors appointments. Switching to an OB that I’m honored is not only my doctor but my friend. Friends that I text and say “no heartbeat. Take off work.” and they come running. Friends with new babies that send cookies and pizza. Friends that know that comparing their pain to ours is not helpful. Friends that come and just sit, and let me cry. Friends and family that pick up my kids from school, watch Charlie, and just let me escape. Friends that I can text with infinite four and five letter words who respond with, “you’re right. Satan is SUCH A BITCH.” Sweet friends with babies in their bellies than I can 100% geniunely say that all I feel for them is joy and hope that they won’t shy away from letting me experience their joy during this time. Friends willing to walk me through the specific details of what’s to come with my DNC. A trip to Chicago perfectly timed for next week where I can heal and escape and laugh and eat and drink with my husband and best friend. For years and years I’ve prayed for community, and you know what? Ours is the best. And that is an answered prayer.

Annie asked why God would take our baby, as she wailed when we told her the news. I explained that God did not, in fact, take our baby. He healed it. God is the author and creator of every good and perfect gift from above. Satan is the root of all evil. I know that God is weeping with me in my tears. He’s just as sad and angry and heartbroken as we are. And you know what Annie said, instantly? “You’re right, mommy.” Oh to have faith like a child. My prayer is that one day I can honestly say and feel those truths I told to my 6 year old deep down in my heart and soul about this. But I’m so thankful to have Aarons in our corner holding our hands up for us as we fight to heal and recover in the meantime.