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  • Writer's pictureBryana Clover

Practicing what I preach 📣

**Trigger warning** I discuss pregnancy and miscarriage. Please prioritize your self-care pass on this blog post if this has any potential to trigger you. You deserve protection.

I’ll be honest with you—at times, it’s really hard to practice what I preach. I preach bravery. I preach self-care. I preach vulnerability. I preach REST as an act of RESISTANCE for BIPOC. I preach these things because I hold all of them to be important truths to how we navigate this mysterious and beautiful and sometimes ugly world. And that’s just it, I’ve never promised 24/7 roses and sunshine in my work, because that would just be encouraging denial. Most of us have subscribed to denial (at some point(s) in our life) as a survival mechanism. The truth is, we all have a shadow side. And for those of us actively engaged in justice and advocacy work, we often forget that we ourselves require healing and care.

There’s a lot to my shadow side, and not all of it is for public consumption. But, I want to share something personal with you, as an act of courage and support to anyone who needs to hear it. For most of my adult life, I have measured my worthiness by my productivity. My ability to balance a million things, and do them well. The more I did, the more worthy I became, and the more accolades I received. I STILL have moments when I find myself almost-believing this lie.

In October of 2019, I had a miscarriage. It was early-on, so we hadn’t told many people about the pregnancy. I was knee-deep in a demanding Corporate job, and Troy and I were still navigating parenting to a toddler. We grieved in silence. We only told a few people. I didn’t take any time off of work. I just. Kept. Moving.

In July of this year, we found out we were pregnant again. We hadn’t been actively planning, but it came to both of us as a welcomed surprise. August rolled around, and I started having similar symptoms as my October 2019 pregnancy, and I began to get scared. After many blood draws and pee-samples and ultrasounds and doctor’s visits, we were told I was miscarrying again. Except, this time, my body didn’t recognize the miscarriage. I had to have a D&C procedure. At this point, emotionally, I lost it. It’s as if I was grieving two losses all at once. My miscarriage from 2019, and now another one?!? Instead of keeping this one to ourselves, we shared our loss with friends and family. We were met with so much love and care.

With the exception of one client presentation, I cancelled all my meetings. I slept. I rested. I meditated. I slept some more. Even though my body was going through the self-care motions, my mind was still plagued with: “Bry, you have so much work to do...suck it up and keep moving.” and “Bry, clients don’t want to hear about your miscarriage...everyone has issues they are dealing with, you aren’t special.” I believe part of those voices in my mind were coming from the lack of care and empathy I received from my doctor when I had my October 2019 miscarriage. It was met with: “These are really common. We call them chemical miscarriages. Some women never even find out they are pregnant.” It was dismissed. So, I thought, I don’t deserve to grieve this loss. I Must. Keep. Swimming.

It is now October, and my grief comes in waves. I’m learning to listen to my body, and give her the rest she needs when she needs it. I deserve love. I deserve care. I deserve rest. I hope my story and reflection is a timely gift to some of you today. How many other women and families are grieving alone? Are dismissed by their doctors? I also know that statistics in America paint an ugly picture for Black women's’ experiences with the healthcare system.

I believe we can be a force for CHANGE in the world when we share our stories, and we get in proximity to others’ stories and experiences. Who, in your life, may need a note of love and encouragement today? Do YOU need love and encouragement today? Let’s spread the love...and let’s continue to fight for those who are labeled unworthy and unloved because of the color of their skin. ❤️

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