When you see a picture, one of you or of others, do you ever wonder what’s going on behind the smiles?

Take this one, for example:

Mother with Pre-Schooler Son

With Archer (2017)

I was snuggling with Archer and snapped a selfie because I was leaving for New York City on a girls’ trip that day and was already missing him a little. Behind the smiles? Even more smiles, as I had a secret. I was newly pregnant.

I had my happy little secret in this photo, and all of the ones from our trip, but deep inside? Fear hovered. This subject is coming full circle for me since yesterday was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. Only a few short months before my trip, I had a miscarriage. And I was nervous that it would happen again.

When I look deeply into my own eyes in this picture, I feel all of my own hurt again. I was lost. There was no manual to tell me how to deal with the hurt or what to expect this time around.

If there's anything that comes out of sharing these stories for me, I hope that I can help someone going through something similar know that they are not alone.

We found out about my miscarriage at my first ultrasound. The baby had stopped growing at around 6 weeks, which is how far along I was when I left for NYC. I wasn’t scheduled for my first ultrasound in the new pregnancy until I returned from my trip.

Brad and I had talked about our jittery feelings towards this babe, who would go on to be born a happy, healthy 10 pounder we named Maverick, and I was happy to have been able to set my fear aside and enjoy my trip. When I see pictures from that time before we told anyone about Maverick, I think about my secret and am reminded that there was this little dark cloud that followed me around inside. Even once everyone knew that I was pregnant. It was there, in the back of my mind, reminding me how quickly things can turn.

I often wonder what others are going through behind what we see. Beyond the façade.

Everyone has struggles, regardless of whether they talk about them or if we can see them. I am a firm believer that the more we talk about the hard things, the more likely we are to take back the power. Now, I didn’t always feel this way, but almost as soon as I met Brad I started seeing a counsellor, and I have those two things to thank for the progress I’ve made personally in owning my thoughts and feelings.

First Photoshoot as a Family of Four (Mom and Dad with Two Sons)

This picture truly shows it all. Archer the goof, proud parents, my swollen face and postpartum stomach that I never hated for even a minute.

Katie, a blogger/Instagrammer/Influencer I follow on Instagram posted on yesterday’s day of Infant and Pregnancy Loss, and I sent her a private message following some hate she received for her belief that pregnancy and infant loss are two very different things. I told her:

“As you can’t compare apples to oranges, you also cannot compare apples to apples. Not in terms of loss, people’s paths in life or anything really.”

I think that’s the root of the problem. Where do we get the right to compare ourselves to everyone else so automatically? We think we know what someone else is feeling because we are told what they’re going through. But if we were all served identical slices of the most decadent chocolate cake, there is zero chance that everyone would agree that it was the best dessert in the world. Chocolate cake is no crème brulée (if you ask me)!

So why do we all assume we can dictate what others are going through when it comes to loss and grief? Or anything?

If we all took a step back and treated others like we do when we see a picture, I think it would be one giant step towards the peace, love and support for each other that we all deserve. Hey, there! That’s a nice smile and a beautiful picture. And then, unless you have something kind to say about what’s going on behind the smiles, just move on.

Humbled and reflective,

Anya

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