Monday, September 15, 2014

Brave Like YOU

[Blog entry created by Lisa Yager]

Please tell me you read/sang "brave like Ashley" to the tune of "Moves like Jagger" by Maroon 5. Oh, you didn't? Just me? Okay...
If you've been reading Ashley's blog regularly or have the pleasure to know her personally, you are aware that her journey with CF has been marked by great strength, courage, and joy. In sum, matchless bravery. She truly breathes bravely.
I have always coveted Ashley's bravery. Perhaps you have, too. I considered myself weak in comparison to her seemingly limitless courage and overwhelming power to fight CF. Bravery is her default and I envied this trait in my dear friend. Don't we all want to be brave like Ashley? (You sang it that time, didn't you? Yes!)

I assumed I would never possess such bravery and strength. I  assumed I was weak and less capable of handling life's bleaker moments and harsher challenges. I could never be brave like Ashley.
I was wrong.

Like Ashley, I have kept a secret from the world.
Infertility and the battle to conceive a child is a real and often silent struggle for many. My husband and I kept this chapter in our lives a tightly held secret . The secret first began to elicit surprise and pure joy when we told our closest friends and family that we were expecting a child. In time, the secret became a copping mechanism to hide the associated shame and frustration. The emotional toll was often unbearable. I didn't feel brave. Weakness prevailed as each passing month brought a negative pregnancy test. Strength and bravery seemed out of reach.
And then, it arrived.

A positive pregnancy test. Blessed (yet, unpleasant) pregnancy symptoms followed.

And then, it ended. Just shy of fourteen weeks pregnant, after two successful doctor's visits, I lost the baby.

The unexpected and tragic end of my pregnancy was traumatizing. Yet, through the physical pain and dreadful details, I found an unexpected amount of courage and strength. Suddenly, I was brave.
I am still processing this journey; the physical and emotional pain are still far too real. Grief has not begun. Yet, one item is for certain. I am brave. Far braver than I ever imagined. I choose to believe that this strength has always been inside of me, just waiting to be found and applied.
You are brave, too. Even when weakness prevails and the world seems dark, you can be brave.

Perhaps bravery comes when we need it most. Whether we are fighting daily to protect our body from the dangers of CF, dealing with infertility and miscarriage, or just struggling with the ups and downs of life, we are all brave. Braver than we ever dreamed possible.
When the physical and emotional wounds have healed, the journey to conceive will begin again. And I will face it with bravery. Will it be easy? No. Will this bravery always come naturally? No. Am I scared beyond belief? Yes. But, I have found an unknown strength and the bravery to tackle whatever may come.

You can too. You can be brave like.......  You.

Have you found your inner bravery?

Note: Infertility and miscarriage impact many. This experience is my own.

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