Wednesday, December 2, 2015

My Name is Ashley and I Delivered Twins as a Surrogate Mother.

My name is Ashley and I delivered twins as a Surrogate Mother.

Six weeks ago two precious little children were welcomed into this world to the most wonderful, loving, earthly parents - Merav & Moshe. I had the honor and blessing of carrying their twins and nurishing them to a healthy full term pregnancy - 37 weeks and 3 days!

It doesn't feel long ago that this time last year, the intended father, Moshe flew from Israel to Oregon to deliver their embryo's and begin our families journey together. A few short months later, after many weeks of IVF injections and medications, their two little embryo's were transferred and began to grow within me! Read more of the beginning of our journey here.

Merav and her family had planned to arrive the first week of October, waiting the arrival of their twins. At my 34 week appointment, just over a week before they were arriving, things were starting to progress. After I shared that news with the family, Merav called me and said she was coming to be with me right away! I was THRILLED! Of course she didn't want to miss the birth of her children and neither did I! We had a week and a half of quality time together. From manicures and lunch in the park to Merav feeling her babies kick for the first time! The time was priceless and memories were made that will last a lifetime!



The rest of the family arrived and we continued to spend almost every single day together. Our families came together so naturally! It was so beautiful to watch our two youngest daughters, close in age, play so well with each other. Although her girls do not speak english yet, it was amazing to see how children dont need to speak the same language in order to play with one another. 


They laughed. 

They ran. 

They used gestures.

They made precious memories! 

The innocence of children is so pure, tender and full of love!

Finally the big day arrived! 

October 20, 2015

-The Twins Birth Story-

It was a beautiful, yet rainy October morning! We arrived at the hospital at 8am to begin our induction. I was excited and nervous all at the same time. Both babies had both been head down until my appointment the week prior. Baby B (Boy) had flipped. My Dr was very confident and comfortable with delivering him breech but he wasnt on schedule the day of delivery! Just about every Dr that was… well wasn't going to deliver a breech baby. I was very emotional and scared. The Dr there listed all the many risks that come with delivering a 7lb breech, second twin can have. I shared my fear of having both a vaginal and a c-section recovery. With Merav delivering all three of her children via c-section, she gave me comfort in knowing that everything would be just fine. She would be by my side and we were doing this together! But most importantly she wanted me to listen to my body. She never once asked me to move forward with a c-section in order to avoid any risks to her precious babies. She knew how important it was for me to deliver vaginally and never once did she ever try to persuade me one way or another. 

We spent almost 6 hours waiting for an answer as to wether we would be able to move forward with a vaginal delivery or if we would schedule for a c-section. Finally a high risk Dr came in and told me she would absolutely deliver these babies vaginally… except one thing - She was off at 5pm! Just when I felt like there was hope, I only had a few hours to deliver the twins! I was getting very discouraged and worried. Just then my phone rang and it was MY doctor! He told me he would be there at 5pm and would deliver these babies! I was so grateful that he cared about my birth plan just as much as I did! 

Finally - It was time to get things started!



It was just after 1pm when I was given an IV and an epidural. They began pitocin and things started moving right along. About an hour later the doctor came in to break my water. I immediately began to get the "labor shakes" and knew this was it. I looked up at my husband and broke down into tears. My husband grabbed my hand and kissed my forehead. He told me he loved me and knew that I could do this. I told him I loved him, smiled and tried to get it together. The doctor checked me and ran to the phone calling everyone to the operating room. 

I couldnt stop shaking as I transfered to the delivery table, preparing myself for the many possible outcomes of this delivery. The room was white, cold and full of many nurses and doctors ready to go. I hit the epidural button, grabbed my cup of ice and took some deep breathes. Before we knew it, it was time to push. Merav stood by my side brushing the hair out of my eyes and holding me up with every contraction. Within minutes her baby girl arrived and her cry brought the happiest of tears to both our eyes. I laid back as they cleaned her up. I watched as Merav looked into her little girls eyes with tears streaming down her cheeks and the sweetest smile on her face. My heart was so full!

Baby Girl born at 4:07pm 6lbs 11oz and 20in

The doctors then told me to relax as much as possible as they monitored baby boy on the ultrasound.  They turned the pitocin up 3x the amount it was at to keep my cervix open and ready for another delivery. I wasn't able to hit the epidrual button so things began to get intense. Very Fast! Baby boy began to drop down. I stared at the white ceiling waiting to hear the words of wether it was his feet or head that would come down. As both doctors watched on the ultrasound his position, I heard one say something about his bottom… I looked up and probably with the biggest eyes asked what was going on. The high risk doctor assured me that everything was going to be ok. She told me how great I was going and that I was a strong woman. They knew how important this vaginal delivery was to me and how much I wanted to avoid double recovery. They were determined just as much as I was! 

Finally the high risk doctor came to my side and told me to continue to be strong and that I was going to deliver this baby boy breech. Yes! He was tucked in and his bottom was coming first! I got myself mentally prepared and told myself over and over "I got this - I got this!" I began to feel more and more pressure and with basically no epidural I began to push. And push. And push. About 40 minutes went by and I was starting to feel weak. I looked over at the doctors and asked how things were looking. They reassureed me that everything was looking great and I was doing amazing. I had never been so exhausted in my life and felt like giving up. I looked at the clock and it was just past 5pm. Over an hour in labor and I knew my time was up with the high risk doctor. I thought to myself I have done the best I could and that was all I could do ask for. I gave myself the excuse that her shift was over and I could just give up. I was ready to ask for them to just take him via c-section at this point. At that moment the doors swung open and my doctor walked in dressed for delivery. I felt like I was in a movie and my hero just walked in to save the day! I felt a boost of energy and was ready to deliver with my doctor! He moved everyone aside and told me we were almost done. He said just a few more pushes, give me all you got. Sure enough, a few more pushes and all the stregthen in my very being, baby boy arrived! He began to cry a sweet little cry. I layed back covering my face in tears of joy. There are no words to describe that moment. I was completely speechless and overwhelmed with so much love as I watched Merav embrace her little boy. Her only son!

Baby boy born 5:19pm 7lbs 3oz and 20.5in


Shortly later we were off to recovery where we were given our own separate rooms. The next couple of days were nothing short of amazing! Merav and Moshe naturally held and cared for their babies and I never felt like anything was missing. Everything was whole, absolutely complete just like we all knew it would be!



Meet the beautiful twins - 
Alona & Daniel







I am so grateful Merav and her family had the next three weeks with us before going home to Israel. We spent many days with family and friends, exploring all that Oregon has to offer! 

My two little girls loved being big helpers with holding and feeding the twins. It was quite the opportunity as parents to teach our children the act of service and what it means to be selfless. They understood completely that these babies were not ours and that they had a huge part in making sure the babies grew healthy and strong. Every night while I pregnant, we would sing songs and say our prayers. They prayed for the babies and that Merav and her family would love them. What a gift they gave to their family! They were able to see how their prayers were answered! Nothing more a parent could ask for!




The night before their family left we took our girls over to say their goodbyes. Saying goodbye is never easy. One thing that this journey taught me was an increase of my love for my own children. I did not think that was even possible! As I watched Merav as a mother, she was always very affectionate with her kids. I am not the most affectionate person, as I am still learning the Israeli hug and kiss greeting! But I realized how important it really is and I wanted to show my children how much I loved them through more hugs, more kisses and more praise. Merav may never know how grateful I am for the mother that she is and what she taught me through her example!

October 20, 2015 our lives were forever changed! I witnessed many miracles that I will never forget. My life has truly been blessed! I never would have imagined how incredible this journey would be for my family. There are no words to express the many feelings of my heart! The love and support is one of a kind and I cannot thank everyone enough!  


At 4am my husband and I drove to the airport to say our final good byes with the family. It was very emotional! Our love for this family is more than I can begin to put into words. We will miss them dearly but may it only temporary as my husband and I will celebrate their first birthday in Israel next October together! 



This chapter may be complete but the book has no ending. Our families are now joined together forever


*Please remember the purpose of the "My Name is" series is to open our hearts, to interact, to uplift, to support and to grow.  Ashley will be reading the comments and I know she'd love to hear from you :)

Read more stories of inspiring women in the "My Name is" series, HERE


Follow My Name is Jacy on FACEBOOK or INSTAGRAM to stay up to date and for future posts :) 

XOXO

Friday, October 23, 2015

Life Coaching GIVEAWAY



About a month or so ago, I finished my first round of life-coaching with my very first clients. 

I'll admit, I was slightly nervous. I mean, what if they didn't like the program? What if they didn't like me? What if I'm not good at this whole "Arbinger-trained life coach" thing to begin with? What if I failed? More importantly, what if I failed them?

It was intimidating and I went all sorts of insecure (don't we all?) because let's be honest, it can be SO scary to try new things! The fear of the unknown... the fear of failing…just the feeling of fear in general is unpleasant. 

Well, I am so so so SO glad that I took the giant leap and DID IT because, not only I have gotten really wonderful feedback, I absolutely LOVE DOING IT! 

Connecting with these beautiful people inspires me to do,  and BE, better. 

I feel it such a blessing to have had this amazing opportunity to spend one-on-one time with such brave, willing, open, vulnerable, resilient women-- who I now feel are my close friends. We laughed together. We cried together. I think a few of us may have cussed together? ;) We challenged one another. We encouraged one another. We became agents of positive change, together

It. was. awesome. and now that The Togetherness Project is over, I am ready for more!

That said, it's time for another Life Coaching GIVEAWAY! 


6 week package includes:


Six 60-minute phone or Skype coaching sessions
Book recommendations
Weekly challenges 
Email support in between sessions if needed



HOW TO ENTER:

Go to my website, click on the "CONTACT" page, and send me this info:

1) Your name and where you live
2) Why you're interested in life coaching 
3) What you hope to achieve

*Enter before midnight Monday October 28th. Winner will be chosen at random and notified on October 29th. Program will begin the 2nd week of November. (If you've already entered from the last giveaway, no need to rewrite it. Just send me a message in the same place listed above saying you'd like to be re-entered.)


Here's a glimpse of some of the LOVELY women I had the privilege of working with and what they had to say about the program!

LOVE YOU LADIES!


This program changed my life! I have been dealing with some very hard things in my personal life and struggling with depression and anxiety off and on. I feel like I now have the tools I need to take charge of my life and move forward! Over the years, I've felt guilty taking me-time for fear of being selfish with my time, but I see now that it is NECESSARY to make sure I am recharged, grounded, and balanced in my life. When I am doing what I need to do for me, all other aspects of life fall into a much better place, including relationships that are suffering, personal anxieties, and my abilities as a mom and friend. I am finding confidence in myself and a passion for life that has been lacking due to my trials. But I can see now that I have so much power over my life, and I don't have to be a victim to situations that have taken place. I can be whoever I choose to be, and I am choosing greatness. Thank you to Jacy and Illume Life! I am taking strides that are changing my life for the better, and I feel much more joy and peace than I have in a long time! ~K.L.


I loved my experience with Ilume Life Coaching! I went into this not really knowing what to expect, but I came out of it with a lot of personal discoveries about myself and my relationship with others. I feel that my perspective has truly been enlightened because even though my circumstances haven't changed, I look at my life differently and see value in the things I didn't before. Jacy is phenomenal! She listens so well and helps you answer the difficult questions that you might not be able to on your own. I appreciated how empathetic she is, especially at those times when some discoveries might be discouraging--she was one of the best cheerleaders I've ever had! I highly recommend her and her method for anyone who feels a little stuck and needs some help moving forward. ~K.B.


My life is forever changed because of the work I did with Jacy as my life coach.  I was able to gain the skills I needed to let go of my past traumas and change from having a heart at war, to one of peace.  When I judge myself less I, in turn, judge others less.  I learned that it is okay to be my genuine self and when I allow myself to be real, I am open to letting others in my life.  I am forever grateful to have been given the opportunity of working with Jacy. ~K.M.


The last few years, I've faced several challenges in my life.  Working with Jacy helped me to take a different, more positive perspective to those circumstances.  Jacy was able to provide a compassionate, friendly environment and I looked forward to our meetings every week.  Jacy is a wonderful example to all and encouraged me to be and do something remarkable. Thank you Jacy and Illume Life Coaching. ~M.J.



Thursday, October 22, 2015

This is Courage!




This is courage. 

This is what rising above is all about. 

This is a glimpse of what 320 resilient women from 20 different states and 4 different countries (U.S., England, Mexico, and Canada) at The Togetherness Project conference looks like.

Isn't it beautiful? 

Fearlessness is NOT the absence of fear. 

Fearlessness it how we face the scary and uncertain situations in life, and who we become as a result. 

Fearless people don't focus on the OUTCOME. 

Rather, they TRUST that no matter what happens, they will COME OUT! 

Some will come out in recovering, healthier marriages…. others as single women, or single mothers… others with more compassion and empathy… others with a confidence and strength that they had no idea existed within them… others more dignified, more graceful, more humble, more bold even. No matter where you personally are in the process, quiet the thoughts that say you aren't good enough, important enough, capable enough to get through it… because you are choosing to trust yourself! 

Today, you BELIEVE that you ARE good enough, you ARE important enough, and you ARE capable enough.

Don't ever forget that you ARE DOING IT! 

You are heading in the right direction!

Thank you for sharing your brilliant and bright lights with me. 

"Because I knew you, I have been changed for good."





















I would be remiss if I failed to mention the incredibly selfless women that keep The Togetherness Project alive. It would cease to exist without them. We are wives, we are mothers (to 12 children combined, with one more due in December), we hold other jobs, and we are volunteers in our children's schools, in our churches, in our communities. The late nights, the long hours, the hard work, the tears, the stress, the absolute exhaustion of Togetherness can be VERY overwhelming at times… but it is all pale in comparison to the love, the heart, the soul, the resolve and the belief that goes into creating such a beautiful and much needed gathering place for women. Please join me in recognizing the hard work of these special women, their efforts and the great sacrifice they are making as they help others find healing and hope!

xoxo

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

LOVE YOU MORE!

I'm super excited to announce that I have been invited to be a keynote presenter at the LOVE YOU MORE SUMMIT being held in SLC Utah in Jan 2016! While registration for the event itself isn't open quite yet, to celebrate this new endeavor, there's a FREE OPEN HOUSE on October 21st in Highland, UT {details on flyer }. Sadly I will be on a plane home as it's right after Togetherness... But YOU SHOULD GO! Get your girlfriends together, enjoy a good pamper, and discover what this empowering summit is all about! 

P.S. when it's time to register for the main event (you'll be able to at the free open house and online soon!) 

use the promo code: JACY for a $25 discount off ticket pricing!

 I'll remind you as it gets closer :)

REGISTER FOR FREE EVENT HERE: http://www.loveyoumore.info/open-house/



Thursday, September 17, 2015

Rising Above: Do Something REMARKABLE!



Step 4 in Rising Above Betrayal Trauma is: 


DO SOMETHING REMARKABLE!

This is BY FAR my favorite part of RISING ABOVE! This is when you take what you've learned and give it some meaning

So here's the thing, I honestly don't believe that everything happens for a reason. In fact, my skin would crawl and I loathed it when people would say that! Because, to me (the very person it happened to), what "happened" made ZERO sense! How could there possibly be a "good reason" for this? I wouldn't wish this sort of tragedy on anyone. Ever. Quite honestly, there are still things that don't make sense to me, and I know they never will. And there are still times it just flat out hurts.

So, no, it didn't happen for a reason. 

It happened.

But, now, I get the opportunity to choose "what happens next" because of "what happened". 

After my divorce was final, I was in a total stump and remember thinking,

Is this really my life? 

Waiting day after day, hour by hour for my life to change? 

Waiting so that it can begin once again? 

Waiting for the opportunity to pick up exactly where I left off, when life was good- before it was so suddenly ripped away from me- but this time with a new husband? 

One day, I was sitting in my therapist's office (Maurice Harker) and the interesting thing about that day is that I didn't want to talk addiction, infidelity, trust, triggers, etc. I wanted nothing to do with what had landed me there in the first place. I wanted something different. Something more. 

"So, what do I do now, Maurice?" I questioned.

Maurice leaned back in his chair, smiled a little smirk and said in his calm and reassuring voice,

"Do something REMARKABLE!"

"Uh… Like, what?!" I asked

"Whatever! It doesn't matter. Just make sure it's remarkable to you! Pick something you're passionate about and GO DO IT! Use your gifts! And while you're at it, pick up the book The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino."


5 years later, I can tell you that those 3 words:


DO. SOMETHING. REMARKABLE. 

were absolutely, positively inspired. Divinely gifted to me. They were the piece that I had been missing. They forever changed the course of my journey. They enriched my life in the most unbelievable of ways.

I believe these words were meant for me.

I believe they are meant for you, too.

No matter what is it, pick something that is remarkable to you and DO IT. It can be within yourself, within your home, within your community. Just pick something and GO! And when you've accomplished that, pick something else and GO!

Rinse, lather and repeat "remarkable".

I've come to know amazing women who couldn't run a mile, who are now running marathons, Ironman's and Ragnar races.

I've come to know beautiful women who have lost up to 100 lbs with the only goal being to better their health.

I've come to know compassionate women who are hosting healing retreats for women specifically in betrayal trauma.

I've come to know bold and brave women who, with help of their local government officials, are shutting down brothels in their neighborhoods and helping sex trafficked victims.

I've come to know resilient women who, along with their husbands, are publicly sharing their truths about this addiction stuff.

I've come to know powerful women who are publicly sharing their own painful truths about their own addictions.

I've come to know selfless women who are serving others in big, beautiful ways but do so totally anonymously.

I've come to know courageous women who are recovering in their marriages after deep deep betrayal.

I've come to know fearless women who are divorced, single moms, and are giving love a second chance.

I've come to know bright women who are choosing to be single because they love discovering who they are.

Do you see this? Can you feel it?

AMAZING people are doing REMARKABLE things! They are ALL AROUND US and ALL of the goodness they're creating and DOING are results of really crappy, challenging, painful, unexpected circumstances.

Isn't that WONDROUS?

Magical.

Just like diamonds.





















My "remarkable" has slowly evolved from blogging anonymously, to blogging publicly here on My Name is Jacy, to creating The Togetherness Project, and now to being an Arbinger Trained Life Coach. All of which has led me to the most impactful part of it all: meeting so many incredible, inspiring and beautiful people had I not known otherwise. 

My "remarkable" has also offered me a second chance and a new perspective on this whole love and life thing. I'm remarried to a wonderful man, we're doing the blended family thing, we welcomed a perfect baby boy a few months ago, and our home is full of happiness and hard and everything in the middle.





















As I reexamine the last 5 plus years of my life, I never would have guessed in a million years that this is where I'd be today. No way, no how. But I am... and it's awesome. I've said it a  million times before but I'd never trade it.


DO SOMETHING REMARKABLE!

Because you can.


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Rising Above: Change Your Perspective

Once we regain enough stability and strength, it's time for Step 3. Before I move on, please remember there is no right time table for this shift. Don't jump the gun. Don't sweep your pain and feelings under the rug. Don't skip Step 1 or Step 2.

For me, this profound shift kind of came naturally- although I think it's important to put emphasis on kind of.  After 18 months of self-nurturing, I got to a point where I knew something more was needed to keep propelling me forward. I was oxygenating like crazy, but I still felt stagnant in a way. I was doing physical things that were helping me cope, process, and feel better, but my mind was still  trying to convince me that I was worthless, that I somehow deserved this, that I would be broken forever, that life was totally unfair, and that I would never ever be happy again.

This is when the time came that I knew I MUST change my perspectives of a few things if wanted to continue to rise above. This leads me to...

Step 3 in Rising Above Betrayal Trauma: Change Your Perspective.




There are 4 points to this step- 4 ways in which if you change your perspective, LIFE can change for the better!

#1: Change How You View Happiness, Healing, and Recovery

They are NOT destinations. 

They are JOURNEYS!

I hope that I never make it seem that I have this whole "rising above" thing figured out. I don't. Not even close. Overcoming hard things takes time. Overcoming even harder things takes even MORE time. I plan on having the task of "rising above betrayal trauma" to be a life-long gig- something I will work on day in and day out, for the rest of my life. Ugh! That seems daunting, huh? 

Remember my friend Julie (she's in the red and she wrote a piece for my blog that went viral a year later? You can read it HERE)? Well, she helped the daunting task of finding happiness seem a little bit more attainable. 




















This is what she had to say,

"I've told this to my widow friends, my divorced friends, and my friends who are going through tough stuff like you. Look, your easy card is gone. It was taken out of your deck on your discovery day, just like mine was taken out of my deck when I found out my husband was killed. It's not even in the deck for play anymore and it is never coming back into your hand. Life after tragedy is HARD for EVERYONE! But it doesn't mean that you can't find happiness IN the hard! If you stop looking for life to be "easy" I promise your happiness will come that much sooner! 

Pick the HARD that will make you the HAPPIEST and give it your all!"

Isn't that amazing? It was like she hit me over the head with a 2x4 that day.

Bottom line: you won't wake up one morning forever happy, healed or recovered. Not going to happen. But you sure as heck can wake up with determination and resolve each day to find moments of happiness, ways to keep healing your heart and soul, and the steps you need to take to continue working your recovery.


#2: Change Your Perspective of Adversity

This is a powerful tool that I learned from Hyrum Smith. 

Adversity is crappy and painful! It throws a big, huge, awful, hideous wrench in life! It ruins it! Adversity (for lack of a better term) SUUUUUUCKS! But, wait!? What if adversity doesn't ruin everything? What if adversity has a positive side? What if adversity can change my life for the better?  Read this poem and see if you can feel its magic:

A diamond in the rough is a diamond, sure enough,
And before it ever sparkled it was made of diamond stuff.
But someone had to find it or it never would be found,
And someone had to grind it or it never would be ground,
But when it's found and when it's ground,
And when it's burnished bright,
That diamond is everlastingly giving off its light.

So… what's so miraculous and magical about this? Diamonds are formed in the Earth's mantle only through EXTREME HEAT AND PRESSURE! 

Well, the same is true for the human being. The most profound human beings I can think of are those who are enduring and overcoming extreme heat and pressure from unwanted adversity: unimaginable hardships, strain, sadness, difficult change, trials, illness, addictions, etc.

This is why the "My Name is" series is so well-received. Because we, as human beings, LOVE triumph. We LOVE witnessing people do the amazing and unimaginable. We LOVE watching people give their light, when it seems like the easiest choice would be to give in and let the flame die.

This is the power of changing you perspective of adversity. Because maybe, just maybe, this experience isn't just brutal heat and pressure? Maybe this awful experience is creating something even brighter within you? Something that has always been present in you, but never would have been discovered without adversity?


#3: Change the Way You Look at Your Personal Hardship

Instead of thinking,

"How this happened "TO" me…"

try thinking,

"How this happened "FOR" me…"

Write a compare and contrast list and see what you discover!

5 years ago, my "TO" me list was lengthy. My "FOR" me list had nothing on it. Zip. Nada. There was NOTHING good about what had happened. Nothing.

Fast forward to present day.  After a lot of CONSCIOUS EFFORT, work, therapy, and changing my perspective, my "TO" me list has maybe 2-3 bullets on it; there are just a few things I can't quite shift perspective of yet because it still hurts, I'm still mourning, and I still don't understand. The bullets on my "TO" me side may last my entire life and, quite honestly, I think that's okay. But what I am most surprised by and most pleased with is my "FOR" me list. It brings me to tears thinking about all I have learned… all I have become… all I hope to be because of something so so so so SO crappy and hard. This list of how it had changed me for the better would go to the moon and back and probably beyond. 

This particular shift takes time and it's okay if nothing is on your "FOR" me list right now. But the goal is to find just one thing… one simple thing… and then, in time, add another to it…. and another…. and another…. As you do this, you will be amazed as you watch your "TO" list shrink and your "FOR" list grow :)


#4: Change the Way You See Yourself

Get a clear picture in your mind of the most inspiring/strong/incredible people you can think of. These are some of mine:

Elizabeth Smart~ We all know her. We mourned her abduction, we rejoiced in her rescue. She survived the unthinkable and she is a beacon of light and hope around the world.
















Helen Keller~ She's in our history books, and rightly so. She conquered life as both deaf and blind with optimism, endurance and courage.
















Stephanie Nielson~ She was burned over 80% of her body in a small plane crash. She describes the emotional and physical pain of the accident and its aftermath as nothing short of horrific. She encourages people all over the globe to fight for life, no matter how hard it is!



















ALL INCREDIBLE WOMEN OVERCOMING INTENSE ADVERSITY, RIGHT?!

Well I have one more person I'd like to add to this list..

My mom, "V"




















Now, if my mom knew she was included among these remarkable people above, I know that she would feel improperly placed there and very inadequate. She is one of the most humble people in the world and she'd never think she is inspiring or triumphant. Never. She'd tell you she'd just a regular ol' person. Ordinary.

Here's the thing. In the late 70's and 80's, my mom carried, delivered and ultimately buried 4 babies between 21-32 weeks. My sister Janet was 4 lbs and lived almost one whole day. She died of heart complications. My brother Jared was 2 lbs and lived almost one whole week. He died because he was just too small, his little body sustain life. My mother talks, with tears in her eyes, about the moment when they placed her "sleeping" infant in her arms for the very last time. His light brown hair was parted to the left, and she couldn't help but notice how much he looked like his daddy. The other two babies were still born and never received names.

During a time in her life when all of her friends and neighbors were having children back to back, and bringing their newborns home from the hospital in joyous occasion, my mom would come home from the cemetery, after burying her babies, broken hearted, in a wheel chair and to an empty nursery. Time and time again.

So, yes, Mom… you ABSOLUTELY belong on this list!

And here's the best part…

SO DO YOU! 

Every single person reading this BELONGS on this list! 

WHY?

Because physical and/or invisible scars make no difference in this whole "rising above" thing. Our stories might not be heard and acknowledged on a global level, we may not make history books, our scars may not be visible enough to tell our story so publicly, we may not have memorial services to grieve and remember the ones we've lost…. but pain is pain, betrayal is betrayal, and trauma is trauma.

And you know… Strength is strength. Healing is healing. Courage is courage. Fighting to overcome is FIGHTING TO OVERCOME, no matter what our hardships are!

The same strength that lies within these women listed above, and the people in your life that most inspire you, lies within YOU! It is innately present within YOU. It exudes from YOU!  We must STOP minimizing our pain, our hurts, our trials. we must STOP comparing them to others… and we must raise ourselves up to the same level as these extraordinary women and recognize our OWN strength  worth, value and resolve! Because YOU are no different than they are.

You can do hard things, just as they can. 

You ARE doing hard things, just as they are! 

You have the ability to rise above, just as they do. 

You ARE rising above, just as they are!

Don't ever forget that you are equally as EXTRAORDINARY as the people you admire most! 

WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER!

My favorite quote goes something like this:


You are beautiful.  And beautiful people do NOT just happen.

This week I want you to do something for me… and it'll be hard work! But I want you consciously think about just ONE of these shifts every day this week… just one. And I want you to DISCOVER what happens inside of you as you shift your thinking. Even if it is a small spark, revel in it. Revel in your ability to CHANGE how you see happiness, how you see adversity, how you see your own trials, and how you see yourself.

So much love.

xoxo

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