25 Faces: Jenna Reyna
One of my first memories of Jenna was during our freshman year of college. It was a dreary, rainy evening, and a friend and I were wandering our residence hall when we stopped in Jenna’s room. We sat down to talk and the only part of that conversation I remember is Jenna expressing how excited she was at one day becoming a mother. She told us how she couldn’t wait to experience pregnancy, to carry a child and love a little life so deeply. Her passion and desire to experience motherhood showed through that night and I was certain she would be a fabulous mother one day.
Though Jenna and I went separate ways after our freshman year, we stayed connected through Facebook. One day, I saw her share a post from her blog – The Day Our Hearts Broke. I clicked through to read a terribly heartbreaking story of how, on the eve before her 12-week mark, she had miscarried. I cried for her and her husband, I had no idea what they must be going through but I knew that this had meant so much for them. But as I read Jenna’s post I was struck by her strength; her ability to share such a difficult time in her life and serve as an encouragement to other women who have experienced the same loss in their lives.
Kate: Experiencing a miscarriage is an extremely emotional and stressful time. How did you stay strong and have such a positive outlook?
Jenna: Most of the time, I felt all but strong. It especially took every ounce of self control to make it through the end of my work shifts (I am a mother/baby Nurse) without emotionally losing control. In fact, most days, the tears came streaming down the instant I exited the hospital. However, during such an emotional low, I can honestly say that my faith in the Lord and His word brought me a level of strength and peace I was not capable of finding on my own. I found that sharing my story and being open about my fears and emotions with my husband, close friends and family helped keep me centered and afloat. It took (and still takes) praying during every moment of stress and fear. Ultimately, I do my best to remember all I have to be thankful for in the midst of my heartache. It helps to remember that each morning brings new light.
K: You detailed your heartbreaking experience on your blog. What made you decide to share such an intimate story?
J: I am someone who copes by sharing and expressing my thoughts. Keeping quiet about our pregnancy for those 12 weeks was difficult and I simply couldn’t wait to share our joy. When our joy abruptly turned to heartbreak, I still felt the urge and desire to share. I know so many others who have gone through the loss of a child. It’s rare that I care for a mother who has not had a loss of her own. Yet, our society is so quiet about miscarriage and pregnancy loss. Though I was hesitant to begin sharing, I found that opening up about my experience allowed others to share theirs as well. Not only were my posts a conversation starter with other grievers, but it helped me cope and reflect on my own journey. I also don’t want my blog to be a false depiction of life by only focusing on the happy times. Loss is real life. Though losing our first baby brought such pain, I want to look back and remember that terrible day and those awful months following. I want to look back and see how I have grown since. I want to look back and see God’s faithfulness through my immense pain. Every once in a while I re-read those posts and am brought to tears. But, my story is my story and this heartache has molded and changed me.
K: What advice do you have for other women going through the same situation?
J: A wise woman who tragically lost her full term son kindly shared the following advice with me: ‘Take your time. Grieve this loss. Don’t feel pressured to move on and forget.’ I took that advice to heart. My own heart and soul aches for any women going through the loss of a child or struggling with infertility. Both are losses that deserve grieving. I encourage women to share with whomever they feel comfortable. Find a good friend, a counselor, a support group. Share your breaking heart and allow others to love and comfort you during your hurting. Most of all, remember that well-meaning people will say hurtful things. They may not understand what you’re going through, and they never fully will. Don’t let those hurtful or heartless comments get to you too much. Each of us copes differently, but don’t keep quiet; grieve, let your heart cry, and take it one day at a time.
K: What’s next for you?
J: Five months after losing our sweet baby, we discovered that we were expecting again. Our baby girl is due to arrive this coming July! Those five months were filled with fertility treatments and pain, but this pregnancy has brought immense joy. We thank the Lord for her each and every day. I take it a day at a time and celebrate each one. Getting pregnant again has lessened my heartache, but the pain of losing a child never disappears. Though I have yet to hold my children in these longing arms, I am a mother, and my heart is happy.