The whole point of me sharing this journey with you is to firstly inspire you if you have a dream you have been wanting to go after and need that extra encouragement, and secondly so I can be real and transparent – I don’t know what is next around the corner in this journey, what obstacles I may face or what triumphs will occur, and I also just believe that adventure is best shared. I appreciate all of your support and cheering me on. It is so encouraging in keeping me going, so thank you…
For those who are only joining in now or missed bits along the way, here’s a little catch up on where I’m at:
Earlier this year I resigned from my role of more than 6 years as Creative Director of a boutique marketing agency, to dive completely head first into this fashion adventure. I have since travelled to Italy where I collected my first prototype of my shoe concept.
Some may assume we had been saving for months or years to do so, and to be honest – that would have been a good idea! I was working in a demanding role, in a small team where all of the creative responsibility was on me. Don’t get me wrong – I loved and am very proud of the work that I created there and I’m grateful for the opportunities I had to work with some of the best and most incredibly talented people in the industry. But there wasn’t any more room left in me to express my own creativity. At the end of each day the tank was empty and although I was creating every single day, it wasn’t the same – creating under pressure isn’t always as rewarding. Plus, I had my shoe concept sitting there in the back of my mind that I so desperately wanted to explore and I couldn’t focus or put the time and energy required to make it happen. So on the Australia Day long weekend in January I decided I would resign and pursue this dream.
This was of course exciting and daunting all at once, but I was committed and I had the full support of my husband Andrew. The plan was I would take on freelance design work through Zandelion for cashflow and spend as much time as I could dedicated to my label. I gave my employer 2 months’ notice so they had plenty of time to find my replacement and it also gave us time to plan and prepare. However, sometimes we can’t always be as prepared as we would like to be…
Only a few weeks after my resignation, we found out we were pregnant. We were over the moon and filled with so much joy and love instantly. And boy was it tricky going to work every day without being able to share our news, and all the while thinking if we had known this was going to happen so soon, I probably wouldn’t have resigned!
After finishing up at my job, we had a number of meetings with some potential investors and key business people, all the while knowing we were pregnant and feeling slightly unsure whether to mention it yet, as we were after all still in the first trimester. But I couldn’t help thinking “Am I being dishonest by not telling them upfront?”, “Would they even be interested in my business idea if they knew that I was?” – all of these questions raced around in my head.
I have to be honest, a lot of my business research time was spent researching everything baby related instead. It was hard to refocus – there was just too much excitement in all areas of life right now. We knew there was a conference coming up in Europe in June for Andrew, and I needed to tee up meetings with manufacturers in Italy so we could travel together on the one trip. As it got closer, I wasn’t having much success in firming up a contact and at 10 weeks pregnant, I didn’t really have a lot of energy. But the conference was only 8 weeks away, so I really needed to get my act together if we were going to go. We had spoken with our GP and she advised that if we were to travel, then during the second trimester would be the ideal time, so timing wise it was perfect.
Two days after my birthday, on the 1st of May we had our first scan with our obstetrician – our excitement and anticipation was on another level. There was so much happening all at once. We hadn’t been able to contain it all, and had told our family and a few close friends that we were pregnant and were having a scan in a few days. It was ‘risky’ being before the 12 week mark, but everything just felt right. Sharing our news made it all the more joyful knowing our little one was already so loved. They eagerly awaited to hear the news of our scan.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t good news.
I had what is called a blighted ovum – an early pregnancy loss that occurs when the fertilised egg implants but the embryo does not develop. Although it had stopped developing at about 6 weeks, my body didn’t realise this and had kept changing and preparing for a growing baby, so I had all the other symptoms of pregnancy and no indication there was anything wrong. It also meant that I had to go in for surgery two days later.
We were heartbroken. There were no words to express it. No one or no thing can prepare you for this. Miscarriage is common – 1 in 4 confirmed pregnancies in Australia end in miscarriage, and blighted ovums make up 44-55% of all miscarriages. So scientifically/medically speaking, we weren’t in an ‘uncommon’ circumstance (and thankfully it also means there is nothing wrong per se for future pregnancies). But statistics don’t comfort you, it wasn’t common or normal for us, and the fact remained we had lost our little one – the one we had been planning for, had hopes and dreams for, and were infatuated with for the last two months.
Andrew rang our family to repeatedly explain it all, whilst I sat there numb. The next day I had a new business meeting planned (for a Zandelion client), “Should I postpone it?”, “What if I lose the work – and the much needed income – if I don’t make it?”, “If I don’t go, what will I do all day, sit around and be miserable?” – so I decided to go and keep myself busy. I can’t remember a lot of that meeting, but I am sure glad I made notes.
The day after that was the procedure. And then two days after that… was probably the biggest meeting of my life to date. As I mentioned earlier, we had meetings with potential investors about my shoe concept but these meetings were only fairly broad discussions to date – I’d still held my cards close to my chest. However, I had been getting ready to present to them my big idea, the actual concept. It would be the first time I’d shown anyone outside my family. I had the same thoughts and questions race through my mind – “Should we postpone?”, “But it’s been booked in for months…”, “What if we don’t have the opportunity again?” I don’t think there is actually a right or wrong decision here. We could have postponed it but we didn’t, so two days and two very late nights (finishing my presentation) after my procedure we met – for 8 hours straight. It sounds crazy now thinking back to that – “how did I do it?” – but I guess I was determined not to lose hope for another dream. Was it worth it? Absolutely, because although we are still in the process of sourcing investment, they gave us good things to think about and consider – like taking a trip to Italy, getting on the ground to meet with potential suppliers, and the type of things that other investors will want to see. And it also gave me a distraction, which really just postponed the grief that I needed to process afterwards.
After some weeks of recovering physically and emotionally, Andrew left for work one day and said “Babe, today is really the last day to set up a contact in Italy, if we are going to make it in time for me to book and get to the conference too.” Without too much pressure, he said “So let’s see what you and God can do today…”. Wow, well I wasn’t sure what could possibly happen but glad he didn’t put it all on me! After a number of emails that day to various places, I had an email response from one within 3 hours, and we ended up on a Skype video call at 10:30pm that evening. And well, let’s just say from then it accelerated and we were booking flights 8 days beforehand! So I guess that explains why it may seemed so out of the blue and all of a sudden that we were flying across to the other side of the world. We loved our trip and it ticked off all our objectives, but the pictures only told part of the story. We were doing ok considering, but still hurting and desperately wanting to be pregnant again.
Why am I sharing this?
Because although someone’s journey from the outside may look all dreamlike and perfect, particularly in this social media age where the best of the best moments are shared and blogged about, it’s not always so rosy. My entrepreneurial adventure so far has been amazing, but life certainly hasn’t been without its moments of heartache or pain along the way.
One thing I have learnt in all this is that life is meant to be shared. We weren’t created to be alone, but to be joyful together in the good moments, to grieve together in the sad times, to support each other in stressful times, and to just be together in all the other times in between. I am so thankful we did share with a few close family and friends before we received our sad news, because we had support following so we weren’t grieving alone.
Why am I sharing this today? October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. And I know we aren’t alone in having gone through this, as noted by the statistics above. It’s my hope that if you’ve experienced something similar, that you can surround yourself with trusted loved ones so that you are as supported as we were in dealing with the grief. May you also experience heaven’s peace and comfort too, as we did on our journey. ❤
ABOUT THIS PICTURE…
We bought some chrysanthemums on Mother’s Day in May – just after we had our miscarriage – and planted them in our garden. One of them has just come out in flower in October… we’ve chosen to take this as a sign of hope!
If you are going through a loss, and need support please don’t hesitate to contact SANDS. They provide support, information and education to anyone affected by the death of a baby before, during or shortly after birth. Someone is available 24/7/365.
Follow the Journey
I’d love to share with you what inspires me and what I learn along the way… Join me?