A Rainbow in the Making

In October of 2019, in honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, I released a rainbow collection for my brand, Hey Mavens! I have been openly sharing about my story of loss, and infertility, and through that openness, I've connected with so many beautiful women from across the country who have their own stories to tell.



--- content warning: the following post contains content about pregnancy, loss, and infertility ---


Keri and I met in college. She and I took a poetry class together on the second floor of an old brick building in Boston. The heat was almost always too hot, and the structure of the class made for a kind of faux-intimacy that wasn't fostered in the same way in the rest of our art school curriculum. We'd read our poetry out loud once a week, get a little feedback, and then wait our turn to privately meet with the professor. There were a lot of long silences, and a strange kind of vulnerability between us as we only really got to know each other through our work. On the final day of class, we all presented out best pieces by standing and reading aloud in front of the whole group. Keri brought a CD of her music. She played it, and I sat in awe of her. Her parting gift was a copy for each of us containing her song, Alabama, which I listened to on repeat until the iPod I'd ripped the song onto got left on a plane, or lost in a move, or something.

I never expected that my path would cross Keri's again, and certainly not in this way. But there's a certain kind of silent bond you gain with women who have experienced the same longing as you. When I encountered Keri again on social media, some eight years after the last time we'd seen each other, I was saddened to hear of her story and heartened to know that neither of us were alone in our journeys. I'm honored to share Keri's story, and her beautiful photos below. She is wearing the Rainbow Stripe Wrap Bralette and matching High Waist Undies from my Rainbow Collection.

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My loss story starts with a birth. The birth of my daughter, Juniper, in 2017. She was easy to conceive—only a couple months of trying. I was expecting longer conception journey.  Harder, more complications. But nope, not with her. 

Once she was 1, my husband and I were ready to start trying to conceive again. Again, easy to conceive. Another positive pregnancy test after only a couple months of trying. I’d be a mom to two sweet babies in 9 months—May 2019—one week before my best friend/fave cousin got married. I’d either have a one week old, or be SUPER pregnant for the wedding. Pissed-off-leave-me-alone pregnant. Get-this-baby-outta-me pregnant. Fine by me, as long as I was at the wedding and had my baby by my side (or, perhaps still inside). I’d just keep my fingers crossed that I wouldn’t go into labor during the wedding! 

4 weeks after my positive pregnancy test, I experienced spotting, and then bleeding, and then cramping. I knew what was happening, but I called my midwife anyways. The same midwife who delivered Juniper, who I very much respected. She told me “1 in 4 women experience pregnancy loss, don’t worry, one loss is not a problem, you’ll get pregnant again”. This was my first miscarriage, and I wasn’t worried. 

8 weeks later, another positive pregnancy test. A few weeks after that, miscarriage #2. I don’t even remember anything about this loss, because now is when I start emotionally shutting off from expectation or hope or excitement. All I remember is that I had told favorite cousin that I was pregnant, and several weeks later, without asking, they knew I wasn’t anymore. (Drinking cocktails together may have been a solid clue). 

Fast forward to May 2019. Favorite cousin is getting married next week. I’m at my future cousin-in-law’s bridal shower, realizing that I should have had a baby in my arms (or belly) right about now. That wasn’t a super happy thought, but—exciting news! I got a positive pregnancy test the morning before! I’d be a mom again! Just a year and a half later than I initially thought. I didn’t drink the whole wedding, because I was pregnant again! And while cautious about getting optimistic, convinced myself that this was “the one”, the pregnancy to end my miscarriage streak. Because I had already experienced two previous losses. And once you’ve had three consecutive pregnancy losses, you’re not considered typical anymore. Something must be wrong. That definitely wouldn’t be me.

I lost that pregnancy a week later. I didn’t even cry, not because I wasn’t sad, but because I was numb. Secondary infertility was not something that I ever saw coming. 

I still haven’t had my rainbow baby. I’m waiting to meet them. And I don’t know when it’ll happen. But until then, I will prance around in these rainbow undies to support moms who hold their babies in their arms, moms who haven’t met their babies yet, and moms who have lost their babies too early. We are tough shit, don’t you forget it. 



Keri's ceramic work can be found at Sift Ceramics. She is standing in front of the work of Lindsey of Fettle and Fire. What we can't make with our bodies, we create with our hands. Our rainbow babies may still be waiting for us, but there's a rainbow in the making we do as artists.

XO,
Annika

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