Originally posted October 2019
Wednesday’s are my favorite! Because that means I have a new inspirational story for you. This story might also require tissues. When I met Heather and heard her story, I was so impressed with her and her ability to follow the inspiration that she needed to help heal. I know you will LOVE Heather’s journey. Her beautiful Aria was born one day before my son Jared. I definitely had my heart-strings tugged as I was reminded of the precious gift of life.
Heather is a wife, a mother, and a friend. She is a former dance teacher and studio owner and still holds dance parties in her car and kitchen! She loves to write, create, and spend time with her family. She lives in Utah with her husband of 21 years, and her three children – ages 20, 16 & 14. She is also the mother of one angel baby, Aria Dawson, who was born still on May 19th, 2011. Through her heartbreak, she has been able to find the rainbow in her storm – a gift she inherited from her mother – and she now wants to help others find their rainbow too. She believes that everyone has a spark, and by sharing hers- she hopes to inspire you to discover your spark as well. She decided to take a chance and to chase her dreams, and she’s excited to motivate others to do the same.
I belong to a club. Not one that I would have ever wanted to join. But, one with many members. One that does not discriminate race, class, age, or circumstance.
Eight years ago I joined a group of women who are stillborn Moms.
Too many women suffer in silence because this topic is so uncomfortable. Others don’t know how to help with the grieving process; people don’t know what to say. So this often leaves the Mother feeling alone. I am grateful to have this opportunity to share my experience with the hopes that it can help someone feel not so alone.
You know the saying, “Nothing will ever be the same after this.” Everyone has a moment that you know changes your life. That day becomes the date that you determine the time — your life before that date, and your life after that date.
My date is May 19, 2011. The only day I was able to hold my daughter, Aria Dawson Herbert.
I was in my third trimester of my fourth pregnancy. I went in for a Dr.s appointment, and my baby no longer had a heartbeat. I was admitted to labor and delivery 3 hours later. After 10 hours of labor I delivered my baby girl. A baby girl I wouldn’t get to bring home.
That night, at 11:56 pm. I delivered Aria Dawson. No one was in the room with us. It was just me, my husband, and our daughter. That moment was the single most spiritual moment of my entire life. I felt so loved and so comforted. I know that Heavenly Father was in that room with us. He was there to comfort Jason and me, and to take Aria home with him. I know that with every fiber of my being. When it was time time to push we didn’t call for the Dr. or nurses because I wanted to keep that moment sacred.
We were able to spend a few hours with our baby. Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep came in and took pictures. A group called S.H.A.R.E came in and did molds of Aria’s hands and feet, and helped us to dress her. I got to hold her. I sang to her. She looked just like her big sister. Jason gave her her name, and we prayed together. Then, when I was ready, the funeral home came, and he took her.
How do you say goodbye to your child? How do you say goodbye to all of the hopes and dreams you had for that child?
How do you live life AFTER?
After the painful healing from giving birth and letting my milk dry up. After the month of not wanting to leave my house. After quitting my job because I couldn’t possibly be a good cheer coach to my girls when my heart wasn’t in it. After I stopped going to church because there were so many babies there. After I cancelled activities with friends because I didn’t have the energy to pretend to care about what was going on in their lives, and I didn’t want to talk about mine.
After the months of pulling away from my husband. After the months of being mad at God. After the months of hiding my tears from my kids. After the repeated attempts to tell everyone, including myself, that I was okay. What do you do after?
It took me about a year from the time I had her to the time when I was authentically happy again. It’s been over eight years now, and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of her. What she would be doing, what she would look like, what kind of little personality she would have. What her laugh would sound like. I always know exactly how old she would be. She would be in second grade right now. She would be excited about Halloween. She would probably have 3 different costumes picked out, just like her sister did at that age.
After turns into a beginning. The beginning of a new normal.
May 19, 2011 was my date. Life before and life after.
My life after was hard for a long time. And I still have my days. But mostly my after is beautiful. My after is better than my before, because I love more now. I celebrate more now. I see more!
My after turned into the beginning of me living and celebrating my life. My after led me to start The Sweet Me Project. The Sweet Me Project is a place to inspire others to live with gratitude. I offer journals, notebooks and other products to encourage celebrating life! I created a life workbook that promotes reflection, growth and gratitude. My after helped me to discover my passion for helping others celebrate the little things in life.
The thing about having your heart broken is it has to grow bigger and stronger to repair itself. My heart is bigger and stronger now. I see people differently. I see life differently. I see myself differently.
We were able to spend a few hours with Aria before the funeral director came to take her, and I promised her that I would live a happy life for her.
Before May 19, I was a happy girl. I was content. I was satisfied. My life was good, no real complaints. But I didn’t really live FOR anything. I just did my day to day. I never tried anything new. I wasn’t adventurous. I was just happy with getting by. I had a life, but I was truly LIVING it.
After May 19, I try not to take things for granted. I push myself. I try new things. I see that this great big world has things to offer ME. I am worthy of great things. I can do great things. I would have never in a million years had the courage to create The Sweet Me Project before. I now realize the importance of showing up in life.
You’ll never get over the heartache and trials you’ve had to endure. Your heart will never “recover.” But you can rediscover!
Rediscover who you are. Rediscover your dreams. Rediscover life! Bring energy to it. Bring urgency to it. Bring purpose to it. Love bigger. Love stronger.
Bad things happen, but time doesn’t stop. So often I wanted a time out. I needed to catch my breath. The rest of the world was going about their days like nothing happened, and I was sitting there thinking, “I just lost my baby!!” I just needed everything to stop!
Haven’t we all had that moment? When things seem to be spinning out of control, and nothing is going right? And all you can think is, “I just need it to stop!” But, time is cruel. It doesn’t stop or even slow down for anyone or any circumstance.
Time Keeps going, so you have to keep growing.
You have to keep getting up. You have to keep trying. Some days I got up to get my kids off to school just to get back in bed until they got home again. And honestly, that was ALL I could do. And that was okay. And after a few weeks, I was able to do a little more. Little by little your happiness will grow. Day by day, step by step, you’ll grow more.
Your after can be better than your before. You just have to decide to keep going. Don’t give in. Don’t give up. Keep growing your happiness.
You might ask yourself, “How can I ever be the same?”
I know I did. I remember thinking that life would be completely different now.
How could life be the same after losing a child? How could my heart ever be the same after such a loss? How will I ever be the same person that I was before? How will life go back to the way it was?
I’ll tell you, I’m not the same. But, “Nothing will ever be the same” doesn’t have to be a bad thing.My date was May 19, 2011. And nothing is the same.
Heather’s Sweet-Me Project is a labor of love. Heather shares so many things on her website. Her year long planner is beautiful with each month having a specific trait to focus on.
This month, October, is Courage. It’s only $5 to download! Such a great deal! Let’s finish this month strong with prompts on courage.
Heather also was diagnosed with Celiac’s disease as an adult and loves to share yummy recipes like her gluten free banana streusel bread!!