the bravest love of all
or how i found courage in the darkest corner.
TW: This story contains mentions of miscarriage and medical malpractice.
As soon as I saw the positive sign on that pregnancy test back in 2019, love and fear gripped my heart in a tight clasp. Every twinge, every ache, every moment of uncertainty made my mind race. As we are often advised to keep the beginning of our pregnancy journeys a secret, I felt like I had no option but to seek solace online, which did not help my nerves in the slightest.
For my 8-week appointment, my husband and I strolled into the doctor’s office full of hope. I was feeling undeniably different, my body hinting with little signs of new life growing. But our hearts shattered when there was no baby visible on the ultrasound. The diagnosis was devastating: a miscarriage. The doctor prescribed me medicine to facilitate the process. I obediently took it, enduring the deepest pain my body and heart had ever experienced. The expected shedding of blood never came. I still felt so pregnant, but kept trying to convince myself otherwise.
When I went back the following week to learn about the next steps through this nightmare, there it was in the ultrasound—my baby, holding tight. The little seed that could. She had defied the odds. Her strong will overpowered the medicine's effects, a quality that she continues to show to this day.
Remembering this moment, my body shivers. It’s still scarred by the shock of relief, gratitude, and deep fear it suffered that day. The doctors at the office were panicking. They urged me to terminate the pregnancy, citing all the possible consequences of taking the medicine they had incompetently prescribed. Surely trying to cover their bases, by swiping their negligence under the rug. But I couldn't bear the thought of letting fear dictate the fate of the miracle I had just witnessed.
The days that followed were full of agonizing worry and self-blame. What if I had unknowingly harmed my baby? The internet offered no solace; online stories of potential side effects terrified me. My husband banned me from googling anything. We made the decision to change doctors, seeking out the best medical care we could find. My husband read every available medical paper, finding comfort in statistics. I, on the other hand was inconsolable, crying every minute of every day for weeks.
My dad came to visit us in New York City to support us through this challenge. With him, I shared the many fears that plagued my mind. Confessed the guilt I carried for having harmed the precious life growing inside me. His response was a nugget of wisdom that has stayed with me since:
"You will always be scared as a parent because you love so hard. This fear just morphs into new ones as the years go by."
Fear and love, I realized then, are intricately intertwined in the journey of parenthood. Maybe it was the worry in my dad’s eyes as he tried to find a way to comfort me that shifted something inside. I knew that his words were true. And it was then I understood I would have to make this choice from this day on—between letting fear consume me or trusting the love I felt to guide me forwards. As of today, the dread hasn’t left me, but I know I get to choose every day to focus on the miracle of witnessing my little ones fill our home with laughter, cries and so much magic.
As parents, we swim daily against a current of doubts. Many questions haunt us before we go to bed and linger in the back of our minds during our very busy days. Are we providing enough love and support? Are we setting the right example? Are we keeping them safe?
Wiston Churchill once remarked, "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts." A sentiment that echoes the constant tug-of-war between confidence and uncertainty that many of us experience as parents. It's so easy to feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the task at hand. We strive to be perfect parents. To shield our children from pain and disappointment. Yet we know deep down that it's like trying to hold water in our fist. We fear failure, not for ourselves, but for the precious lives we've been entrusted to nurture and protect.
Perhaps it's this very fear of failing our children that makes us good parents. It's the constant striving to do better, to be better, that makes a world of difference. And just as we offer our children grace in their moments of weakness and imperfection, we must learn to extend the same grace to ourselves.
My daughter is now three years old. A radiant beam of sunshine. A testament to the miracle that is this life. Her middle name is Valentina, in honor of her brave little heart.
Thank you for holding tight.
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I dedicate this video to all our little Valentine’s.
The soothing piano soundtrack I curated for this, it’s what I listened to when I wrote this very personal piece. Many tears were shed, but sharing this story has been so healing.
May this video serve you as a sweet backdrop to connect with your little ones during a magical afternoon this February.
Stay tuned on Monday for Valentine-themed craft ideas, books and more!