I recently put out a call on Facebook for more If They Only Knew submissions, and was swiftly reminded of how powerfully that project brings out the bravest moments within the authors, and how it resonates with readers who are able to feel connected through the gift of woven words reflecting the lives being lived all around us, some of them even within us.
I behold much love and admiration for the many people who have inspired me over the years … even to the tiniest, most invisible of them all, angel baby Sophia, who through her loss sparked the idea for the If They Only Knew project: some of my favorite work encompassed as a magazine column and, soon, a book series.
As we graciously share stories of our many truths, we have the power to create more peaceful, harmonious communities—and we have the power to change the world. These anonymous pieces allow anyone and everyone to step into another person’s story as though it were their own. When we see, or read about, another person persevering through a difficult moment in their life, we tend to feel alongside them. That’s humanity in a nutshell: walking alongside one another.
I invite you alongside me as I share the moment that brought this project into existence:
Usually, when you are put on bed rest during pregnancy, you are hoping to save your baby from early delivery. But there was no saving my baby. I was 14 weeks into my pregnancy, and had begun breaking the exciting news that my new husband and I were expecting a baby. Some people were giddy for us. Others thought it was insane. Our little baby would be the exclamation point on our newly combined family of nine children—five from his previous relationships and four from mine. But we hoped a bouncing baby girl—we were sosure “she” was a “she” we named her Sophia—would bring everyone together, harmoniously.
I had been hemorrhaging off and on for a couple of days. My midwife recommended I continue to “allow nature to take its course” and rest in bed while my body processed out the miscarriage. While my body worked to discard my ghost baby. But I was a working professional, leading a nonprofit and planning a large, regional event. The event was two weeks away and I was scheduled to receive a city proclamation during a city council meeting on behalf of my organization’s work in the community. A city official had botched the previous years’ delivery of the honorary document—and I had let my disappointment be known—so they were expecting my presence this year.
I sat in the audience, a little shaky, waiting to be called upon. The bed rest earlier in the day had helped slow the bleeding and I had assured my husband I was okay. I tried to be brave, to not worry about the possibility of hemorrhaging again—which would have sent me straight to the emergency room—to avoid thinking of the baby. This was an important event. I was losing the baby; I wasn’t going to lose this, too.
My name was called and I was invited to speak. As I presented to the council members and a packed room of attendees, I focused on smoothing out my jittery voice, on breathing slowly and deeply in and out, on calming the booming heartbeat in my head, on presenting with confidence … and pulling from those deep regions of courage I knew I had in me. I listened as the proclamation was read aloud, once again focusing on calming my breathing, my heartbeat, and those nerves while gently holding on to the podium so no one could see my shaky hands. I thought of the tiny dead baby inside of me, the heartbreak, how certain people would be relieved by the news, the impossible task of combining a melting pot family, the unrecoverable death of an idealistic dream. As I looked out at the council members, and as I felt the presence of a full chamber room behind me, tears burned the corners of my eyes and I wondered … If they only knew.
We are Spokane Coeur d’Alene Living magazine, and we are Spokane and Coeur d’Alene. Please find me on Facebook or Twitter—and hop over to “like” the Spokane Coeur d’Alene Living magazine page—to stay connected between press dates, and to share your thoughts, stories and life in real time.
If you would like to submit a snapshot moment of courage and perseverance as an anonymous If They Only Knew piece, you can visit iftheyonlyknew.me. I look forward to the great honor of sharing your stories with our community and beyond. Our stories are humanity’s great neutralizers, they soften us to the plight of others and to the plight within ourselves … our stories—our existence and experience in this world—matter, and they are meant to be shared.