For the past two years, I have been working as a healthcare marketing consultant. Choosing this path for my career has allowed me to meet so many new people and I have been a part of many new teams. I love learning about people, working with people and being part of a team but I know that when the inevitable question “how many children to you have” arises, I have a choice to make. I can keep Harper to myself because I don’t know how the person on the other end will react to my story OR I can share her with the world and allow my new colleagues to know me at a deeper level. I am always astonished by how many people can relate when I do share her.
Of course, I don’t lead with, “Hi my name is Doreen and I have a baby in heaven.” Losing Harper and gaining an angel doesn’t define me, it’s just part of who I am. If I am talking one-on-one or in a very small circle of people in a casual environment, I tend to share my story not because I am sad or want a reaction. Actually, that’s why I don’t share my story many times. I share because I am on a mission to help others through this journey. I can’t connect with new people until I share my own journey.
This week I started a new role with a team I didn’t know at all. I have heard so many great things about my current manager, so I felt safe to share my story with him if the time arose. When I share that I have a 6 year old and 10 month old, some people do ask about the gap in time because it’s so large. Little do they know what has occurred between my two earthly babies. A river of tears (literally a river), a long and windy road of infertility, begging God for a baby, holding Harper and never wanting to let her go, letting her go, deep dark places that I never knew existed and so much love in every second of every day.
So, I shared. And do you know what happened? He shared that he lost his first daughter too. She was 9 months old and passed from cancer. We could have talked the rest of the night about our recoveries, what it was like to have more children, and how our girls changed our lives. I was blown away. I had NO idea that he would have had a similar experience, and we could have worked together for years without me knowing (and vice versa). You truly never know what someone else is battling, or has battled that has shaped them.
Bottom line is….life is all about connection. Whatever your story may be, your story is your truth. I don’t promote sharing with the intention of getting support from a stranger because that rarely happens, so I did not share until I was strong enough to stand on my own. I do promote sharing your truth if you have the intention of helping others, which is where Harper shines best.