I didn’t have my heart broken until I was 33 years old. Before you roll your eyes, hear me out.

To me, a broken heart means you struggle to get out of bed. You question the reason for your existence. You constantly wonder if it’s worth it. You find yourself crying because you feel lost and can’t shake the feeling of being jaded. You’re scared because up until now, you thought the worst has already happened – and now you’re faced with a harsh new reality that you know will leave you irreparably different.

Two months ago, I had a miscarriage and lost my baby. I’ve accepted, I will never be the same. No matter where the pieces fall, they’ll never come back together the same way. But I’m beginning to slowly realize, that might be okay.

I am the least nostalgic person you’ll meet, but this loss has left me with a desire to be nostalgic. I read somewhere recently, that you alone create your own hope – no one else is going to do it for you. As basic as that may sound, I needed a reminder.

Create hope. Create a memory. Not necessarily because it’s a coping mechanism, but because I want to recognize the wonderful little person we lost. The newly emerged nostalgic in me is stuck. Despite the loss, there is no obituary, no bereavement days for a miscarried infant, and your medical record will code this loss abort.

There won’t be a first step, first word, the first sleep-through the night or a first embrace. But, there will be a last – and I think the key to living, is building from the lasts.

Throughout this whole experience, what has truly blown my mind is the taboo disclaimer attached to miscarriage. We do not hesitate to share the news of a loved ones’ passing. Yet, there’s a social stigma attached to losing an unborn baby. It’s awkward for people to console you because they don’t know what to say. The reality is there isn’t anything they could say to make it better or take away from the loss, but the fact that the baby wasn’t birthed into the world makes everything fuzzy. And that’s exactly why I feel compelled to do something about that.

Did you know 1 in 4 women have a miscarriage? When I heard that number repeatedly from doctors, I was astonished. How can this be so common, yet never discussed? Even amongst the women who’ve suffered.

Friend, whether you are the mother who lost your sweet baby or the father who wept for your lost one and felt disconnected because you didn’t experience the physicality of it all, you are not alone. Or maybe you’re the strong friend, who just listened and cried because you, too, already loved this little person. I’m here to tell you, I get it. There is a tribe of people that understand.

I am a strong believer in reasoning. That may be the Enneagram-five in me or the fact that I’ve been through a lot before this. I look back on the last 15 years of my life and realize the only way I got through all of that is because of the amazing people the Lord has strategically placed in my life. I say strategic because these friendships are instrumental during key seasons and my overall development as an individual.

Without these people, I would not be the person I am today. My core family unit is not blood-based, it’s cultivated by His strategy. My husband is my high school sweetheart – and if you knew how unromantic I am, you would laugh that I referred to him as my sweetheart. The strong women, in my life, who adopted me as their work daughter has been instrumental in me maturing and becoming the mother, I am today.

Then you have the casual run-ins that we take for granted. Those unique happenings, that only a bigger power could’ve planned. The pastor at my church that told me to move, when I thought I couldn’t. The work contact that also experienced a miscarriage and thought enough to send comforting words and a special package. The friend who sent the softest blanket on the planet because she knew I needed that – a hug from miles away.

It’s important to recognize that you’re not alone. You’re not alone because others have gone through and are going through the same heartache – and the others are standing in your corner, holding you up. I’ve accepted that this is life, but the way I respond to the good and bad is the difference. It’s not going to be easy. In fact, it’s going to be hard as hell. But if you’re willing to move and recognize the blessings in your life, you can grow.

For me, this means my sweet baby’s life will live on through these words that I write, the grace I give others and myself, the desire to love more intentionally, and my willingness to never settle.

So, friend, breathe, embrace your pain, create hope and purpose for the mess. No one else will, but that’s okay because you can do this.