Shannon L’s Story

 “Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.” – Vicki Harrison.

Most people spend a majority of their life preventing pregnancy until they are ready. No one ever talks about the journey once you are ready though…the pressure, the excitement, the anxiety. Beyond this, there are women who desperately want a baby but battle infertility, pregnancy loss, and stillbirth. I am one of those people. I am one in four.

February 2019, I experienced a miscarriage at eight weeks… I point out the weeks just to let you know that it doesn’t matter how early it was… I lost a child. I lost the rest of what I thought my life would be. It was devastating. My husband and I buried our baby with a teddy bear, baby booties, and letters we had written. In my mind, I thought this was grief… and the closure I needed. What I didn’t know then but know now is that you don’t get closure with pregnancy and infant loss. You get a new reality and a new normal. Things will never go back to the way they were before.

Before my miscarriage, I think I only knew of one other person who had had one (even though the reality is I knew many more but was not privy). I remember discussing with co-workers…what should we say? Should we not say anything? Should we send flowers…. maybe a plant? I remember watching her as she showed up to her first work event afterwards just scared to approach her because I didn’t know what to do so I did nothing. It wasn’t until my own miscarriage that I understood that the last thing she needed was people to do nothing…

One of my sweet friends delivered a care package to my doorstep after my baby had died. It had fuzzy socks, tea, cookies, a candle, and other goodies. I felt so seen having someone recognize I had suffered the loss of a child and would need comfort and support.

After a long journey including counseling, doctors, medication, family support, and also a lot of terrible things said from well-meaning people, I chose to accept my new normal. I was a mother… just not to a living child. My life began be molded around the existence that TWO things can be true at any given time. I can be HAPPY for you that you are pregnancy and SAD for myself. I can have ANGER about why this happened to me and still have FUN at an event. The list goes on and on….but what it can be boiled down to is that I was given hope. I remember thinking after my miscarriage that I would feel that way forever, there was no hope, and didn’t see much point in living. But I tell you my friends…there is hope. There is a new normal where your angel baby is not forgotten…and you can enjoy life.

My love language is gifts and I guess that’s why my friend’s care package meant so much to me after my loss. So much so I wanted to make sure other loss moms were able to have the same experience. I wanted to help other loss moms know they are not alone and provide something others would feel confident giving to a loss mom in their life. This is how Houzz of Hope was born. An etsy shop specifically for pregnancy/infant loss support and care packages. In just a year, over 500 care packages made their way to each of the 50 states. I know I am living in my purpose and honoring my angel baby every time I drop a box off at the post office. This is my new normal.

Since starting Houzz of Hope I have given birth to my rainbow baby Noah, gotten a new dog who is training to do therapy dog work, walked with friends through their baby loss journeys, and read so many messages in my inbox about how much these loss mom care packages have meant to others. While I would never wish pregnancy/infant loss for anyone, my life has taken on new meaning. There is hope.

Facebook: Houzz of Hope

Instagram: Houzz_of_Hope

Photos taken by Tiffany Fox.

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