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Allow Me to Introduce Myself: A Broken Road to Blogging

Updated: Jan 4, 2022

Hey there! I'm Leslie -- just your average yinzer, born and raised in a small suburb of the 'burgh. I'm new to the #pittsburghblogger scene and hanging on to my 20s by a thread at 29.92 (yes… if you must know, I turn 30 this month). I am a wifey, dog mama and enneagram 3, who is currently taking a hiatus from the corporate world to pursue my entrepreneurial dreams -- aka what most of society would consider to be a severe lapse in judgement, but I'm here for it.

My inspo for finally picking up blogging after many years of discussion, was a real change in perspective following a personal and traumatic event in my life, which caused me to realize that life is too damn short not to do what makes you happy or go after what you want. I am admittedly an anxiety ridden perfectionist, and I have lived my entire life planning my next move and the contingent moves that follow. I can't even begin to relay the number of times that I have pushed things off because "it wasn't the right time" according to my idealistic plan. My life was a constant state of sequential dependency -- "after I get comfortable in my new job, I'll start the side hustle of my dreams," "once we are settled in our forever home, I'll be ready to start a family,” "when I lose weight,” "once I get that promotion," "when we have kids,"… you get the point… a lot of afters, onces, and whens according to that unrealistic timetable that I had in my head. Only to discover (much later than I wish) that time keeps moving, life throws you curveballs, and the only moment that you are guaranteed is here and now.

 

So how did I get here? First, let me preface this continued conversation by saying this was a very life-altering experience for me personally. I say this, because I understand that I am blessed in many ways, that I am certainly not the only one to experience this, and that there are others who are considered to have it much worse… and absolutely none of those facts are lost on me. In the same regard, it is also important to note that trauma and grief are not universal. We do not all experience them the same way, and they cannot (or should not) be measured or compared apples to apples. There is no set scale for the mental, emotional and physical pain that one may experience following what they consider to be a traumatic event -- meaning, there is no threshold or level of suffering that one must reach before their personal thoughts and feelings are valid. Trauma and grief are relative and unique to the individual, and with that, I just wanted to clarify that I'm sharing my story without intentions of competing, comparing, or seeking attention or pity. This blog might not get big or famous, but it just might help someone else to pick up the pieces when they find that their life isn't going exactly to plan...and THAT is its only intention. *cue vulnerability*


Long story short, within the past year, I have become part of the 5 percent. What does that mean, you might ask? According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), only about 5 in 100 women experience two or more consecutive miscarriages.

Miscarriage is not talked about nearly enough, and if you're interested in the long story and learning about my personal experiences with miscarriage in more detail, stay tuned for my next post "What They Don't Tell You".

Almost a year ago now, in mid-January of 2021, my husband and I found out that we would be expecting our first child. We were so incredibly excited, and me being me, I was equally as nervous about becoming a first-time mom. It had happened so unexpectedly fast, I just could not believe it! Just as things began to get more real for me, with the marathon of appointments, testing and ultrasounds in those first few weeks…our world quickly came crashing down in late February. At my third ultrasound (I got a few done early on because they had trouble dating the pregnancy due to irregular cycles), the technician was unable to locate a heartbeat and declared a missed miscarriage between 8 and 9 weeks. After several days spent in disbelief, tears and contemplation, I underwent a D&C (dilation & curettage) procedure, where I was placed under anesthesia, so that they could open the cervix and surgically remove the unviable pregnancy tissue. Following this first miscarriage, I had a very difficult time. Many of the people we love were bringing beautiful babies into this world, and I had never felt more isolated and alone. Even despite having a beyond supportive husband, set of parents/in-laws, and immediate friend group, it was still a struggle to accurately relay the thoughts and feelings I was experiencing, and the depressed state that I found myself in.


At the same time that I was emotionally navigating my trauma and grief, I had also become very busy at work in my corporate HR role. For a bit, it was almost a relief to be so busy that it kept my mind off things… but it was not long before my large workload consumed me entirely. Being the overachiever and people pleaser that I am (sometimes I hate being a 3), I rose to the occasion and put my health on the backburner without thinking twice. I worked anywhere from 12-14 hours a day on average -- not eating right, not sleeping right, not moving my body, not leaving the house and not seeing much of those that I love. It quickly began to take a toll on me both physically and mentally, as well as my personal life and relationships. I received a promotion to manager for my efforts, and though I was so extremely grateful for this recognition, there was still no light at the end of the tunnel. This miserable routine was repeated like Groundhog Day, and those in my personal life around me began to raise concerns. I was undoubtedly burnt out, but it wasn’t until the month of September approached that I realized the validity of their concerns, and how my life was completely passing me by.


But why did it take the impending flip of the calendar to September for everything to click?

It was the month of our original due date… September 26th. In that moment, it hit me that seven months had come and gone, and I had first off, not even noticed, having put life on hold and work above all else… but second off, had nothing to show for it, except for an increase in pay, responsibilities and progressive symptoms of burnout.

In that moment, I felt my true priorities rise to the surface overwhelmingly… with my health, my husband, and our mutual desire to start a family taking the number one spot.

Though thankful for the many opportunities and experiences I was afforded, I concluded that my stress level, hours and workload were not conducive to these important personal priorities, and that it was time to demonstrate that same level of dedication to myself, my wellbeing and my own personal goals. With my husband's support and our savvy savings over time, I was able to make the tough decision to resign from my role without my next play in place, which was a tremendously atypical move for me. Out of respect for my employer and colleagues, I insisted on providing an extended 5-week notice to ensure the successful hiring, training, and transition of work to my role's successor. Working up to my departure, I knew that I needed to take some time to reflect and recharge, so that I could intentionally figure out what my next move would be…fully knowing that the stress and urgency of corporate HR in my career to date, wasn't it. But if you're thinking by the end of this post that I'll have it all figured out… haha, well, you're going to be quite disappointed.


The Sunday immediately following my last day at work, we again were elated to find that we were expecting for a second time. This time around, there were zero feelings of nervousness on my end, and instead those feelings had been replaced with nothing but sincere hope and gratitude. In my head, the timing of everything had surprisingly aligned, almost as if I was meant to stop questioning my purpose, and solely be a mom in my next stage of life.

With the recent lifestyle change along with this news, I so looked forward to just focusing on me and baby with much less stress and distraction. But, sadly, again, our dream did not last long, with continued testing showing a decrease in pregnancy hormone only a week after our first appointment, at approximately 5 weeks. We had lost our baby again, but this time, we unfortunately knew all too well what to expect. Being much earlier along for this pregnancy, the actual event of miscarriage arrived swiftly, with the tissue passing naturally on my own, in our home - without the need for a second D&C procedure. Nevertheless, we were again left devastated.

For those suffering pregnancy loss, corporate burnout or mental health struggles (or potentially all three) … I see you, I hear you, I am standing right beside you.

Though I have little advice to share while still navigating the rough waters myself, I will say this, give yourself grace to feel and time to heal as you ride the rollercoaster of emotion and recovery.


Following these experiences, my perspective on life and what is truly important has changed entirely. Though I would never want to relive the series of events that 2021 threw our way, I am grateful for that single realization. While there are plenty of ways to make a buck in this world, we only get one life, where our time on this earth is limited, and our physical/mental health, family and friendships are irreplaceable. Don't get me wrong, the serious period of transition and uncertainty that I find myself in can be beyond intimidating at times (especially for the girl who has done nothing but plan and please her whole life), but I am hopeful to find power in the pivot. At this crossroads, the only thing I am certain about is the decision to take back my life after losing myself to the corporate grind and recurrent pregnancy loss, while also actively learning to live life without contingencies. Since October, I hustled to begin a seasonal pop-up business for the holidays, with the goal of dipping my toes in the entrepreneurial waters, bringing in some extra cash and keeping things light, fun and festive. With the holidays now over, I am very much looking forward to the clean slate that the new year will bring for me and my family, both personally and professionally.


Now knowing more about me and my why, I hope that you would agree that if there was ever a time to take the leap and start the blog…it's now. As mentioned before, the goal has always been to help others to pick up the pieces when their lives aren’t going quite to plan either, but at the culmination of this first post (& the first time sharing my story publicly), I think that writing will be just as mutually beneficial and therapeutic from my end, as we navigate the journey back to ourselves together. So, follow along with me as I look to reclaim my own definition of success, commit to investing in my own wellbeing and personal goals, and most importantly, re-shift priorities back to the people and things that bring me joy. If you like DIY, food, humor, home decorating, shopping for a steal, spending time with those you love, and doing good in the communities around you…I think you’re going to like it here. Thanks for #kickinitbock and keeping it real with me thus far, and I hope that you continue to stick around for what is sure to be a wild ride! As my girl Natasha Beddingfield would say… “the rest is still unwritten”. Cheers to 2022 and new beginnings -- wishing nothing but the best to you all in the next 365 :)

xoxo – les

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5 Comments


mcdermottat5
mcdermottat5
Jan 05, 2022

Pregnancy loss isn’t talked about as much as it should be. John and I lost our third baby at 14 weeks and we found out via the doctors call during a faculty meeting on a Friday. We left the meeting early and got a letter in our file for it. Sophie, our fourth, was born 12 months later.

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leslie
Jan 11, 2022
Replying to

Thank you for sharing -- I am so incredibly sorry to learn of this story. That is just terrible. But knowing sweet Sophie arrived soon after gives me hope!

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tazer.gunn26
Jan 05, 2022

I understand your pain. I had a miscarriage between my girls. My dr. suggest I talk about it and I would find out more people experience the same loss and he was right. I‘m looking forward to reading your blog…

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leslie
Jan 05, 2022
Replying to

Thank you so much for sharing. It always breaks my heart to learn of others also being in this girl gang that no one wants to be a part of, and I am so sorry for your loss. Grateful for the supportive community and those brave enough to talk about it, like you! All of the best to you and your family in the new year!

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breann.bock
Jan 05, 2022

Dom and I love you very much. And we are blessed to have you as sister/aunt. And I am here for you always. <3

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