This was originally published with the title Broken and Scarred? How To Find Strength And Meaning Again on One Idea Away in 2017. This year, it felt right to post it on Small Town Leadership, too.

Many people scoff at those who want more meaning in their lives and seek to make every moment count. I don’t scoff at these desires because I understand exactly what it feels like to have experienced wasted moments in life. There was a time when I was simply going through the motions and checking the next thing off of the list.

Wake up, rinse, and repeat. 

Then one day, something happened and slapped me straight in the face and said: “wake up, make this day count”. My wake up moment was a miscarriage in 2011. I was already visualizing the pregnancy announcement–Baby #2 to make an arrival on 11/11/11! Joining big sister who was born on 10/10! 

Then the moment came when something didn’t seem right. I began experiencing signs that I understand now are indicative of a miscarriage. I called my husband. He asked if we should call the doctor. We agreed to wait and see if my symptoms continued. I went on with my day and attended a networking event that night, in a complete haze the entire time. The signs continued.

We called the doctor that night (a Friday) and she said there wasn’t much we could do at that point. We could wait things out through the weekend and she would see me on Monday. When the signs continued throughout the weekend, we made the decision to go to the emergency room on Sunday morning. Patience isn’t something we had at that moment.

Then everything changed.  

During that ER visit we learned that there was no heartbeat. My pregnancy was at eight weeks and the doctor estimated that the baby did not live past six weeks. We were able to let things unfold naturally and I miscarried the baby. It was a very tough time, both because we lost the baby, and also because we hadn’t announced the pregnancy. At the time we felt that there was no way to share what we were going through except with a close circle of friends and family.

After I returned to work, the thought stuck in my mind was: the baby lived for six weeks. I thought about my life during that six weeks. Was I doing meaningful work? Was I making a contribution? Was I happy at work? The answer to all of those questions was “no”. That’s when I looked at myself in the mirror and said: “you will make every day count.”

Live every second. Love every minute. 

From there, I started pursuing different work. I said “yes” to opportunities more often. I shared this story with people I trusted. I ended up getting pregnant a few months later and we had our beautiful, second daughter eleven months after the miscarriage.

Even at this writing, 8 years later, nothing has been the same since her birth. I changed roles at work (twice), took on the leadership of the women’s group at my company, became a professional coach and started Small Town Leadership. Through all of this, I’ve remembered that my baby – the one who lived six weeks – gave me the greatest gift I’ve ever been given in my 30’s. A gift to make every day count.

Life Lesson: Don’t discount someone’s desire to find more meaning in their life. They have a story that you can’t imagine. They are hiding scars and withholding triumphs that you may know nothing about. 

Now ask yourself: What have you done in the past six weeks? Has it meant something to you and others? What could you do in six weeks to add more meaning to your life?

These are the things I talk about with my coaching clients. If you are curious to have your own conversation – no matter how broken or scarred you feel – reach out to me HERE.

Natalie

Natalie

Small Town Leadership Founder; Natalie believes everything she needed to know to succeed in her career she learned by growing up in a town of 600 people. As a Certified Professional Coach and award-winning public speaker, she helps her clients and audiences make wherever they are feel like a small town. She lives in Dublin, Ohio with her husband, Rob, a professor at Ohio State and two little girls.

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