Julie and I were very close in high school. She was one of my absolute best friends though the throng of high school drama and joy. We got along incredibly well and had so many of the same interests. Julie was (and is) the type of person that gets along with everyone because she is emphatic and kind. She knows everyone’s situation is different and respects that.
Unfortunately, after high school, we went to different colleges and only saw each other once in a while when we were home for a break. This is where I adore social media. For the people I considered a best friend; to be able to get a glimpse inside their life since I cannot be there.
Julie and her husband got pregnant years ago and reached out to try and take some maternity photos closer to the date. I was so excited to try and get this together. It’s with much sadness that I have to say she lost her first baby boy at 21 weeks pregnant. I was in shock and awe at how she took an incredibly sad situation and handled it with such grace. But, that’s Julie. Through friends, family and faith she was able to get through one of the hardest experiences of her life.
But, Julie was now a mother. She was always made to be a mother. For anyone that knows her, knows this. She now has a one year old baby boy with another one on the way. I wish for nothing but happiness for this family. Julie deserves the title of Mom of Fame in the most deserving way.
What is the best piece of advice you were given about motherhood? Did you take it? Would you give that piece of advice to someone else?
“Every child is different”
This advice is so accurate. Not every recipe works the same for every kid. Having friends with children and many nieces and nephews, I saw what worked for them and was disappointed when it didn’t work for me. Why does my baby still need a bottle before bedtime? Why is my baby still waking up during the night? Although I should remember the advice that every child is different, it’s easy to compare where your child is at. I believe it is helpful advice to mothers who need the reminder that IT’S OK! It’s ok if some things don’t work for you. You’ll find your own groove in time and everything will be ok.
How is motherhood different than you imagined it would be?
I never imagined motherhood would be this hard. I have a very helpful husband and family and I still find it difficult to find time in the day to get things done. If I’m not working, I’m playing with William, cleaning the house, or picking up where William just made a mess after I cleaned! It truly can be exhausting and every day I can’t wait for his bed-time so I can sit on the couch and relax. The funny thing is that after William goes to bed, I miss him and can’t wait for him to wake up again.
What are your three strengths when it comes to motherhood?
I always thought that I had very little patience for anything- I’m a fast walker, I drive fast, and I hate long lines. However, I surprised myself with the level of patience I have with my son. Sometimes it takes me 10 minutes to get him dressed for the day. Sometimes I make three different meals to find one food that he’ll eat. If he’s not feeling well, I will hold him as long as he wants just to comfort him. But someone driving 5 mph under the speed limit? NO.
I always try to remember that he has feelings as well and try to react accordingly. It may be hard for him to communicate how he is feeling, so I try to understand.
I always try to be goofy with my boy. We have dance parties every night and see who can yell the loudest. Even though he’s at the age where he’s an educational sponge and learning so much, I try to remember he’s a little boy and I can only be goofy like this for a short time before he tells me I’m not cool anymore.
Describe a time where you were completely overwhelmed as a mother.
As a working mother who travels a lot, it was difficult for me to get back to my career after having William. I knew I wanted to breastfeed for as long as I could, but it got to the point where I would stress about pumping in the small airplane bathroom or finding nursing rooms at every U.S. airport just for some privacy. Additionally, I would often check in with my husband and stress out about how much milk supply we had left to be sure we wouldn’t run out.
It was also challenging finding time to pump while traveling. I never wanted to miss any important meeting, or the opportunity of networking and getting to know co-workers better. Work was very accommodating of being a mother and allowed me to step away whenever I needed to, but this was pressure I put on myself. How can I be an awesome employee and an awesome mother at the same time?
All this being said, one specific time I lost it was on a flight to Phoenix. I already cried on the way to the airport for leaving my son, and my flight was delayed. We didn’t board for 3 hours after we were scheduled to leave. Just before boarding, I wanted to pump since it was a long flight and realized I accidentally put one piece of my pump in my checked bag. I cried at the airport.
Is there anything you feel that you have lost about yourself since becoming a mother? What have you gained?
I feel like I lost all my free time. The ability to watch an afternoon movie (I fall asleep if watching at night!). Meeting up with friends spontaneously. When I do have a free hour when William is napping, I am overwhelmed with the possibilities of what to do- should I catch up on laundry? Should I watch a TV show? Should I empty the dishwasher? Oh, the freedom! By the time I finally decide how I want to spend it, he’s up again!
I used to worry that being a mother would be so tiring I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on anything else. For me, it had the opposite effect. Now I am more determined to do well because it affects my son. I feel like I have gained motivation to succeed as much as possible to be a good role model and provide for my family. I never thought I would love someone so much but I would literally do anything for that kid.
What do you want your child(ren) to learn from you?
Respect, kindness, determination. I want him to live a happy and fulfilled life.
You had a late term loss and it seemed, through social media, that you were handling it with such grace. What got you through that loss and what advice and/or guidance would you give someone in a similar situation?
Faith, family, and friends.
Being a Christian helped bring my husband and I comfort. We met with our Pastor who prayed with us. We told ourselves that we lost our son on earth, but he will enjoy the glories of Heaven and we will see him again someday.
Our family didn’t leave our side. They were with us at the ultrasound, at the hospital when I delivered him, and with us every day to offer support.
In dealing with loss, we were in a dark place and having our family surround us with their love really helped.
We have close friends who went through a similar loss who were easy to open up to. It always helps talking to someone who knows exactly what emotions you are experiencing. They helped explain that grief comes in many different forms and to not be angry at each other if we are grieving differently. As a newly married couple at this point, this advice really helped us and strengthened our marriage.
To anyone going through a loss- whether it be early or late- my biggest advice is to never give up hope. I know it’s easier said than done. It’s ok to cry and it’s ok to be angry. You will go through all the emotions and that’s normal. You aren’t alone. Talk to someone about what you’re going through. There is a network of people who have been in your situation who would love to help. Grieve how you need to, remembering that this too shall pass.