There are so many ways a heart can break.

Originally written May, 2017
Revised countless times

I was really looking forward to this mother's day. Really! I had spent the day prior creating a floral arrangement for my own mom (it turned out lovely). I'd sat down to write out some truly heartfelt letters to mothers in my life. And I was very much looking forward to the treat the elders quorum would hand out during sacrament, hoping it was chocolate (It was!).

But I woke up sobbing. Because my heart is a little broken.

Longing mother hearts often get chalked up to one single thing: infertility.
And that single thing has the ability to break ones heart into a million pieces a million times over. It is no joke.

That's not the only thing that can break a longing mother's heart.

Here's a list of circumstances that are often the loneliest and quietest of heart break for a hopeful  mother:
-mental or emotional instability
-the loss of a child
-physical and/or mental pain from abuse
-hopeful adoption
-being single
-a fostering mother
-past trauma
-a partner who is unsure of being a parent
-a partner who doesn't want children at all
-complicated work situations
-difficult childhood & parent relationships

*I'm sure there are many more I haven't even considered! Please feel free to add to the list.

The way that we see trials in our life can have a huge affect on one's healing. But we often look at trials in a very black and white way that doesn't leave much room for loving the person who is suffering.

Here's some ways we tend to look at trials:

"Real" trials
These happen TO you. AT you almost. They are clearly an act of God or horrible luck but can in no way be connected to the individual for blame. We can talk about these trials at church and in public, these are the kind where people bring warm casseroles to your home.

The "Trials" we "bring" upon ourselves
Maybe it's in our head (and therefore "a choice"). Or maybe it's in part because of who we married. Or maybe we straight up made a horrible decision at some point. These trials might have an edge of taboo to them. Don't expect any warm meals for these trials. And please don't talk about them. They make people uncomfortable.

The real issue with looking at trials this way is the isolation it creates. If, in the effort to be more open, we only exclusively open up about the trials that happen AT us then we end up creating a whole lot of lonely spaces. For hearts to break.

I've experienced both the happened at me trials (not being able to have kids yet...And kidney stones. My doctor assured me It's not dietary so absolutely positively not my fault!) but I've also experienced some of the others. Like the fact that for a very long time I was the sole bread-winner. Or that my mind wasn't (and sometimes still isn't) totally healthy, especially during the winter. Or sincerely not being able to afford to have a kid (especially when extra stuff is involved in the kid making process and it aint cheep!). There are some trials that are still so tender for me I even have a hard time talking to Brando about them. This is NOT the place to insert "have you read this talk" and challenge ones faith.

Trials are trials. They are hard as hell. No matter if they happened to us, at us, around us, or because of us.

This is me being raw, unedited, and straight from the heart. This isn't meant to cast shade on anyone, mothers or non-mothers. But rather, hopefully, to help shed light on heartache that the eye can't see. We will not be able to understand another's experience entirely. But we don't need to know exactly what one is going through to love them through it.

One of the best things someone has said to me was "That must be a heavy burden to carry". I felt so seen in that moment that that burden actually felt a little less heavy, almost as if that person took a bit of it off my shoulders.

Maybe we can just open our hearts a little bit. Shift our thinking from the two parties: those that can have babies and those that "can't". Understand that hearts are aching for motherhood but the reasons for the ache are many. They are complex and individual. They might not fall under the category of "infertility" but they can be their own version of heart breaking.

So now what? To be honest I'm not really sure. But definitely do this: Hug your moms. Hug your babies. And hug future moms. Love everyone. Build each other up. Take casseroles to all the people just for the heck of it. Open your heart to be sensitive to those around you. Give what love you can. It's the only way those broken hearts will heal.

P.S. I purposefully did not post this on Mother's day. Because I wanted to celebrate it. And I did (with a whole lot of embarrassing crying during church). People said the perfect things (like seriously winning talks! Women power!). I ate my chocolate and hugged my moms extra. And even though my heart still felt broken, I let the love and joy I felt be enough because this heart is breaking for a beautiful thing that I'm grateful to experience from all angles.

P.P.S. While this post is focusing on longing for motherhood, there are even more ways a heart can break. Women who don't have the desire to mother can feel the loneliest in this regard. How heartbreaking it might be for them in a culture or society that values motherhood so much.

oh, there are so many ways a heart can break!



Someday, we'll be sitting in some extra square feet with a couple more things checked off our list

and I'll say:

Remember when we were poor?

and he'll say

Which time?

and I'll say

The time we were also very rich.

And he'll smile.

and I'll smile.

And we'll think of now.

And how we had nothing to our name
and the fullest of hearts.


on finding contentment and other abstract ideas

I find myself here from time to time. Revisiting old conversations I started with myself. Many unfinished, waiting for my own reply. Most un posted. Perhaps its because I use this as culling for my own train of thought. Thought once? not worth a mention. Thought twice? Take pen to paper (or rather fingers to keys, though that's not nearly as poetic). Thought once more? And again? And then forever on my mind filling in the gaps between the necessary thoughts of getting through the day. Trying to figure it out.

wake up
pray for your day
pray for them
and so on.

And the more I think, the more I feel i've figured IT out, whatever it might be, the more it feels as if it's something physical almost as if I could hold it in my hands. That it has shape. That it takes up space. And then


it (sorry to tote a trope) slips through my fingers and turns back into something abstract.
and I leave it. Because I'm afraid that at my core, I might just be lazy. (what is a terrifying thought).

and then! after a pause, or break, or a full fledged neglect, I find it back in my hands. Solid! Complete. Answered.

Why now? Do I deserve it? Does it matter?

I'm not sure. But I hold it because !!!! and also, because things come and go. And that is okay.


Photo by Lizzy Pinkney. I've never thought my mole so beautiful!



I'm able to hold light in one hand and dark in the other. Hope and hopelessness. Happiness and despair. Freedom and weight. Bright and dull. The contradictions don't contradict. They live together. They are the closest to whole. Give permission to feel it back and forth and simultaneously. I do not have to choose.


5 things I hope to remember next November

It's spring.

my tulips have grown, (I counted 156 at their peak!), and already withered. It's stormy today after a week of scorching sun (and a sunburn to prove it). I'm getting up early in the mornings without an alarm. I'm breathing easier now.

*I'm writing this for future Claire. Scheduling this to post sometime next year when I think I'll need it most.

the easiest time to talk about dark days is when you aren't having them. Which is why I'm talking about this now.

I have seasonal affective disorder. S.A.D. I've maybe had it always just a little bit but only in the last 3 years has it been obviously so. You can google it. or maybe you've heard of it. But basically my body/mind have a direct and negative response to the colder/darker winter months. Depressed is a strong word. Sad is a trite one. The best way to describe my experience with it would be total unabashed bummed-out-ness. At least that's what I liked to call it when it was happening. But then a few weeks ago I woke up so happy and it was such a true contrast to the feelings I'd had for months that it scared me. There were some really dark days there. Those first two words might be more fitting.

It's hard to be on the inside of SAD. It's also hard to be on the outside, watching people you love and not knowing how to help them. So I write this for me, for anyone going through seasonal affective disorder, or for anyone witnessing this in someone's life. Here's some things that I've found to help and hope to remember when next November rolls around:

1. THIS TO SHALL PASS. You hate hearing it in the moment because what you are feeling is soooo real and so heavy it feels like it's a constant. It is real. It is heavy. But it's likely not forever. The sun and warmth will return. Maybe someday they'll get rid of stupid daylight savings. Christmas AND your birthday are coming up! This will pass. Time always does.

2. Follow the LIGHT. Literally. get yourself out of bed and face the sun ASAP. Close your eyes and look through your eyelids and let that un-namable color soak through. The one that's pink and purple and black and burning at the same time. The light is your friend.

Also, happy lamps/lights are a real thing. Pull yours out from storage. Wipe of the dust. Put it at your desk and USE IT. It won't make you "happy" but it will energize you to some degree.
Energy = motivation = productivity = satisfaction = happiness.
It's a process.

3. BABY STEPS. give yourself an attainable checklist and pride yourself in any little thing you can cross off.

wake up. check
get out of bed. check
eat something. preferable a food that energizes you (grapefruit). check.
go on a walk. check
smile. check

clap for yourself when you do anything productive (which when you have SAD can be "getting out of bed"). I'm serious. Take you hands and slap them together. And if that feels too silly, youtube clapping sounds. you deserve affirmation.

4. TALK. It's hard to talk about "it". So don't make that your immediate goal. Just make communication the goal. touch base with someone. Text someone. Have a communication line out in the world SOMEWHERE. Isolation feeds SAD in the worst ways possible. It's easier to be alone. Reach out in some way to someone, and if you can, try and talk about the hard stuff. Maybe talking for you needs to be more serious, more in depth. Look into therapy. Look into groups. Most communities have some type of program that is accessible/affordable (many free). Talk talk talk. I've gone to therapy off and on since I was 7. I'm hopeful I'll still be going when this is posted in November marking over 2 years of nearly weekly therapy. Yup. talk.

5. Lastly, this experience does not define you. Your feelings, chemical make-up, pre-disposition, whatever. These things are not YOU. They don't define you, they don't determine you. They are things. You are not things. You are something more and greater than this. Talk to God. Or whatever your high-power belief is. Know that you are your potential and your potential is unlimited.

*There are many different forms and levels of SAD and depression. I'm of course, no doctor. Professional guidance is always a good idea. These are just things I've found to help me in my situation. I'm not anti-medication either. I just haven't taken that path, yet. I'm open to it. I have found taking vitamins (B12, Vitamin C, etc) to be helpful. Also eating clean when all I want is fries (my form of "comfort food"). I'm also not 100% hippie but I do like my Grapefruit essential oil. Calm down. I'm not claiming it healed me. Grapefruit is my happy spirit fruit. The colors, smell, and taste truly brighten my mood. So maybe it's the placebo effect but damnit, If the placebo works for me then great! All in all its about finding what works for YOU. Take the time to figure it out because you are worth it. Joy is worth it.