Content Warning: Miscarriage and Infant Loss

By: Justine, Maven Member 

Justine found compassionate care at Maven as a new mom while she was navigating the highs and lows of her journey to parenthood. This is her story, in her own words. 

As a new parent, there is so much information thrown at you—from your providers to the Reels on your Instagram feed. While it’s not often discussed openly, it’s hard to identify the “right” ways to do things, and it’s easy to blame yourself for any perceived setback or failure.  At the end of the day, like most, I just want to be a great mom and give my daughter the absolute best. 

This is my story: as a Maven member, parent, and person.

I’m the mom to a 14-month-old little girl, Amariah Grace. She is, without a doubt, the most incredible, silly, fun baby girl.  Her dad and I are so in love with her—the greatest joy in my life is learning to be her mom. 

But our journey to parenthood was long, and not without a lot of pain. 

Navigating trauma while trying to conceive 

When we began trying to grow our family in 2019, I quickly had two painful first trimester miscarriages. This is not uncommon; miscarriage in the first trimester occurs in about 10 to 15 percent of known pregnancies. While I was not alone in this, many women who have miscarried share the same feelings: I walked through those experiences living in fear, wondering what I did wrong. 

Then came our third pregnancy. When we made it through the 12-week appointment milestone, my husband and I rejoiced. We thought we were in the clear. I was showing. We began getting the nursery set up. Our hearts were full!

Halfway through my pregnancy, my water unexpectedly broke. I delivered my first daughter, Selah, stillborn. That loss wrecked me in every sense of the word. I felt defeated. All my life I had wanted to be a mom, be able to hold her, and dream of her. There was a life I had envisioned, and then to have all of that taken away in a second meant unbearable pain. 

This was in February of 2020, just a few weeks before the world shut down. We felt so alone. It was one of those times where my husband and I had to really cling to each other. We knew we had to hold on to hope, but that was easier said than done. 

That season came with many hard days, days when you feel like you cannot pick yourself up off the floor. I'm so thankful for my friends, my family, and my husband being a rock through those times. 

Looking back now, that experience made me who I am. My daughter Selah has made me a better mom for my daughter Amariah.

When we started trying to conceive again, we were less successful. Every other time I had naturally gotten pregnant pretty quickly. After several months, I was referred to a reproductive endocrinologist at IVF Michigan. More hard news: I was diagnosed with low ovarian reserves. This meant it would be difficult to get a healthy embryo—and it would be a miracle if we got pregnant. 

But a miracle did happen. After two egg retrievals, we did our transfer and had a successful pregnancy. Our baby girl Amariah Grace is here. Being her mom is everything I could have dreamed of and more.

There is something in my heart that just has so much more gratitude for this season because of the pain that I've walked through. After coming home to an empty nursery for years, now I have a messy nursery full of dirty diapers and clothes. I am so thankful for that experience because I don't take the little things for granted. I see each day as a gift to be embraced. 

When you've been through loss and really hard seasons on your journey to parenthood,  you think you should be really good at it when you do become a mom. You think you shouldn't have hard days, and you should just know what to do—and that's not the case. I felt like I had to do everything perfectly because this was my dream. This was my miracle girl.  And so when she wasn't sleeping through the night, and when we were struggling to wean, and trying to figure out eczema, there's this pressure on my mama heart to get it right, to be perfect and it was so hard to give myself grace. 

Discovering Maven

My employer offers Maven to all employees, and I learned about our access to Maven from a friend and colleague after the birth of my daughter. When I downloaded the app, I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting into. Then I started looking through the resources. I video-chatted with a lactation consultant, a pediatrician, and a sleep consultant. And they were all covered for free! When I realized this, I recognized what a gift I had received. Maven saves me time and  money, and helps lower my stress levels. 

When Amariah had some fluid drainage in her ear on a day I had to go into the office, I panicked. But then I remembered I could talk to someone at Maven. I scheduled a quick appointment with a pediatrician and went into a conference room. We video-chatted through the Maven App, and I explained the situation. The provider told me that it sounded like her eardrum ruptured, and that if I take her in today to see a doctor, they'll just put her on antibiotics and she'll be fine. 

Finding your virtual village 

That’s a perfect example of the feeling Maven gives me: Instead of frantically Google searching, I just talked to a provider, they gave me what I needed, and I made the right decision. It's every parent’s dream to have an expert in your pocket who gives you good advice, and it's not Instagram and it's not someone else or friend or family. They are real experts who care about you and your family.

It’s not like it used to be, where generations of women—mom, aunts, and grandmothers—lived with or nearby their families to educate and help each other out. Now, when we have a mom question or need advice, we turn to a search engine and miss out on human connection. That is where Maven does a beautiful job offering both convenience and connection. I needed a community of people around to remind me that I'm not alone and that my struggle was real and valid, but I can overcome it.

Motherhood is messy, and magical, and having a larger team of professionals with me on the journey makes me feel that much more supported. 

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