We’ve all been through self-defining moments. What I’ve learned, over the last few months, is that these times can be physically crippling and emotionally heart wrenching. Sometimes, the idea of getting out of bed is exhausting. And if we’re being completely honest, you have no idea how to fix it. By it, I mean you.

So, you put on a smile or at least your best attempt at appearing normal. But truth be told, you’re a mess. Even though you know that everyone means well, you hate when people ask how you’re doing or what’s wrong? The pain lingers and in some ways you’re numb.

Do you know what I hate about the word miscarriage? It sounds like I failed. I feel like I’ve failed as a woman, as a mom, as a protector, as a human being…

Throughout this experience, I’ve realized my self-worth. Up until now, without sounding overly self-deprecating, I didn’t believe that I mattered. In many ways, I felt replaceable.

I internally blame Disney. I’m kidding – well sort of. Clearly, it’s not Disney’s fault but I think my fairytale analogy will paint the picture. Child pulls the short stick and is dealt a crappy deck of cards. Their parent, usually the mother, dies but fret not they defeat the odds and overcome. I’ve always felt like my husband, my kids and my family would be fine if I were no longer around.

However, recently I’ve changed my mind. I’ve come up for air long enough to recognize my worth. The loss I’ve experienced has actually become a saving grace and a newfound guidance for my personal navigation. I’m not sure what moving forward really looks like. Does it mean I’ll be able to be around babies again without feeling like I’m going to physically be ill or will it mean I’ll be able to go through a day without crying? I’m not sure. But, not being myself has shown me how much I mean to my people. I’ve realized how much I mean to my kids and my husband.

What I do know is it will eventually be okay. Grief is messy. There’s no nice way to say it – that’s why everyone gets awkward when you discuss grief. That’s why, initially, you didn’t like Sadness in Inside Out.

Thanks to everyone’s friend Google, I’ve discovered that I’m not alone. When I’m having a rough day and need to be reminded that feeling my feelings is okay, I read or listen to inspirational powerhouses such as Justine Froelker, Jenna Kutcher or Jess Connolly.

What I’m learning is how to live my best life despite the state of grief I’m living. Here is what I have so far.

1. Appreciate the Small Things – Gosh, we take so much for granted. The extra squeeze hug from a loved one, a beautiful sunset, a compliment, a delicious meal, the opportunity to thrive in what you’re good at or the sunshine hitting your face. There are so many little things that bring us joy that we often blow off.

2. Appreciate the Ugliness – Grief has shaped me into who I am today. I don’t believe that I would be as resilient and level headed without going through the difficult times. Sometimes being in the thick of ugliness is exactly what you need in order to develop a more well-rounded perspective of how blessed you really are.

3. Don’t Give Up – I hate the word lucky because I think it’s BS. I hate when people say, “Oh, you’re so lucky to have a husband that loves you.” Or what about, “You’re so lucky to have your job.” Actually, I’m not lucky. Blessed? Yes, but not lucky. I work my butt off to have a successful career and my husband and I constantly work on our marriage. What I haven’t done is give up. What I haven’t done is settle. Crappy times put things into perspective, if you decide to keep moving forward you’ll be rewarded.

4. It’s Okay to Be Sad – We live in a society where idealism has trumped reality. Think about it. You scroll through social media seeing filtered post after filtered post. Heck, there is even a trendy hashtag #nofilter – and it’s actually a filter. What if I replied to your inquiry of how I’m doing with, “I’m struggling.” My grief has taught me to be honest and that it’s okay to be sad. I’m mourning my child, that I will never meet on Earth – it’s okay to be sad. Sadness can save us.

5. Grace – I am 100% positive that I did not understand what grace meant until I had to give grace to myself. We are all so quick to judge someone based on a few seconds or minutes. Instead of categorizing people, I am learning to listen and ask more questions.

Grief comes in so many different shades and arrangements. Presently, my grief is the loss of my baby. A baby I’ll never meet. A person I love more every day. A person who has changed my life like no one else ever has.

What can you learn from your grief?