Entering year 29 of life | My husband took this photo of me the other day and I don’t normally like photos close up of my face—but I kept looking at it, my face through the computer screen staring back at me.
Thriving. Flourishing. Content. Me.
The woman looking back is still me, but different. Stronger, focused, compassionate, loving, healing.
I feel more ‘me’ than ever before.
The past few years have stretched me, pushed me to my limits and strengthened me. It’s been a beautiful journey, but it certainly has been a journey. Not one I expected.
I always say “God has a plan” but often in the moment it is HARD to believe that. Hard to push through the difficulty and live out the phrase “everything happens for a reason.”
Looking back, in particular on the past 2 years of miscarriage, a difficult pregnancy, postpartum challenges, a second autoimmune disease diagnosis (Hashimotos)… there were moments I didn’t think I would survive. And now with perspective, I see the plan in it all, I can so clearly see now why I went through what I went through.
My struggles have shaped me, strengthened me and made me more of the woman I am meant to be.
Although I would NEVER wish difficulty on anyone, and I certainly know many people who struggle more than I do, this was the story I was given…and given for a reason!
A personal health update
For those of you who have been following me and encouraging me for years, I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart and also share a personal health update. I share this NOT to talk about myself, but I know that many of you can find similarities with my journey. Ultimately I hope you find hope in knowing that whatever you are struggling through or celebrating, you are not alone.
My first initial weeks postpartum were perfect, my heart felt and still feels like it will burst with love, compassion, protection and comfort at any given moment, all feelings that were new to the somewhat ‘hardened heart’ me.
Motherhood truly has been the best experience of my life, far better than I ever expected.
I surprisingly didn’t gain that much weight during pregnancy with Remington (very surprising as a Type 1 diabetic) and honestly lost most of the pregnancy weight very quickly the first 3 weeks postpartum. About 5-6 weeks postpartum, I started swelling and gaining weight. I was told this was normal and not to worry about it. I also had a HUGE milk oversupply issue (a blessing but also extremely painful) so I thought that was contributing to the weight gain, which I do believe was one factor.
About 10 weeks postpartum, I knew something was wrong. I was rapidly gaining weight and felt like my legs and arms were being painfully twisted due to my entire body swelling. I went into the doctor to beg them to do blood work. I was told this was just a part of the postpartum process and I shouldn’t be too hard on myself. I knew in my heart something was wrong. They said I needed a specialist (common since we live in Spain) and that then took an additional 2 months for me to get that appointment. By this time I had gained more weight postpartum than during pregnancy.
Finally at 5 1/2 months postpartum, I was able to get blood work. My thyroid levels were off the charts! Honestly, the doctor said she didn’t know how I was standing or functioning. Through the help of a translator, she said “please do not try to have another baby, your body is in bad shape” (and another pregnancy was the last thing on my mind). I also had thyroid antibodies, which meant I now have a second autoimmune disease, Hashimoto’s.
Developing a second autoimmune disease is VERY common for people already dealing with autoimmune issues and Hashimoto’s and Type 1 diabetes are also very common diagnosis seen together. So, I honestly wasn’t surprised, especially since autoimmune disease is triggered by a “stress” and well let’s just say pregnancy is a HUGE stress on the body, even if you have a relatively easy pregnancy!
At this point, I was completely miserable, exhausted, confused and foggy and starting to deal with postpartum depression as well. Remington had been sleeping through the night since 10 weeks old but I still was not sleeping through the night (in fact, it wasn’t until about 14 months postpartum, just last month) that I started sleeping again! YAY!
Let’s just say lack of sleep is a crazy thing and impacts SO much!
Fast forward to today, July 2019 and almost 15 months postpartum.
I am healing and for the past month have felt more alive and more ‘Caroline’ than ever before!! My joy, contentment, energy, focus, clarity and passion are through the roof—and I am so thankful.
I have been working intensely and diligently on my thyroid and adrenal glands and although the process has seemed painfully slow—I’ve wanted to give up so many times—it’s so beautiful to see the journey unfold.
Know that you are not alone—the body has the beautiful ability to heal, and it certainly does want to heal, but it can take time! We naturally want progress to look like an upward slope, but often it is filled with valleys and mountain peaks. Both are apart of your journey.
Do not give up hope!
This quote from Morgan Harper Nichols has been on my heart daily recently—
“You are worth so much more than you are able to see. And beneath your many layers you are radiant with strength and beauty.”
This season of life has taught me compassion, empathy, and filled me with endless joy for the little things of life. It has taught me to fight, and fight hard for what I care about—my family has become my top priority! The struggle has given me so much perspective and deepened my faith. I have learned to prioritize and put systems in place in both life and work so that those areas can flourish—I’ve accomplished ‘more’ all while doing ‘less.’
Your story isn’t finished yet. Whether you are celebrating or struggling today, each of these seasons are apart of your life for a reason. You may not see that reason yet, but I promise you eventually will.