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Nov 12, 2023

The Period at the End of a Sentence

Rachel McCrickard, LMFT

CEO and Co-Founder

Hi friends,

Some of you might remember a Mondays with Motivo I wrote a while back about a pregnancy loss I experienced last October.

Getting pregnant wasn't in the plans for me and Warren, but when it happened naturally, we were beyond excited. I remember feeling like my future felt brighter and even more significant.

Not long into my first trimester, I had a miscarriage. For those of you who have experienced pregnancy loss - you know the kind of deeply personal grief that comes with this type of loss - the grief for something that could have been.

After the miscarriage, Warren and I thoughtfully considered whether or not we wanted to try to get pregnant again. I know many people who feel a bit definitive about their thoughts on having children - either they know, without a doubt, that they want to be parents, or they know that they definitely do not.

Warren and I have always been a bit on the fence about it. We've always said, if it were to happen, we'd embrace it, and if it didn't, that was a-okay too.

We eventually decided that we liked our life just as it is, mainly because I really (really) like to sleep, so Warren decided to make it official by having a procedure done last week.

Maybe it's poor form to talk openly about a reproductive surgery so I'll be discreet and say that the procedure starts with "vas" and ends with "ectomy."

One of my closest friends (and Motivo's Chief Clinical Officer, Dr. Carla) sent me a supportive Marco Polo on the day of the surgery to welcome any feelings the procedure might be bringing up for us.

She said, "I know you feel good about your decision to not have children, but this still marks the period at the end of a sentence, which I want to acknowledge."

Per usual, she was right on target.

In fact, as we drove to the appointment, Warren casually mentioned something about the fact that he has hazel eyes. I have hazel eyes too, so this prompted me to immediately google whether or not our child would have had hazel eyes.

Google said there is a 99% chance they would have, which made me feel equal parts closer to and sadder about the child we lost.

We spent a few quiet minutes in the car just allowing ourselves to feel the loss of what might have been.

I've been reflecting on this idea of "the period at the end of a sentence" a lot the last few days. No doubt that it can come in may forms: the empty nest of grown children who move away, the loss of a loved one, the sunset of a marriage or important relationship, moving on from a job.

Acknowledging a loss that occurs without our choosing - such as the end of a life or being let go from a job - brings its own understandable journey of grief and loss.

But perhaps a less expected journey of grief comes from an ending that you, yourself, prompted - such as the decision to not have children, to leave a marriage, to move to another part of the country, or to distance yourself from a friend.

Dr. Carla, in her wisdom, knew that this type of "chosen loss," is a loss nonetheless - one that is important to name and acknowledge.

I find that these chosen losses are often the ones that tend to sneak up on us a bit. I suspect I'm not alone in saying that thoughtfully choosing to go a different direction still bring a variety of feelings to the surface - such as inadequacy, failure, regret, sadness, or a longing for what could have been.

I'm curious - can you relate to this feeling?

If so, I find Dr. Carla's advice to be very helpful. Simply acknowledging any feeling that might come with the period at the end of a sentence, is often the very thing we need to keep moving forward.

Warmly,

Rachel

Warmly,
Rachel
Rachel McCrickard, LMFT
CEO/Co-Founder, Motivo
rachel@motivohealth.com

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