I shut the world out.
Drew the curtains, cut off the phone, curled up under the covers and slept.
The tears fell...
as my body ached,
my heart ached,
my mind ached.
There was something compelling about both wanting to feel pain so I could feel SOMETHING but also longing for the pain to end.
The weeks after losing our first daughter when I was 20 weeks pregnant are some of the hardest I've ever endured.
They’ll likely be your most difficult too.
The tears will surprise you as they fall at the most inconvenient times.
The rage will sneak in when you least expect it.
You’ll be confused, angry, sad, jealous, anxious, fearful.
You’ll resent the world as it slams you back into the workforce a week after birthing, and grieving, your pride and joy.
Your heart will sink as the conversation round the internet,
the break room,
and your next girls night out...
turns to children and how amazing they are.
You’ll hate everyone.
You’ll hide and sink into solitude.
You'll wish for someone who gets the loneliness.
Someone who will take the hurt away.
Someone to offer compassion and connection.
The quiet kind of connection that slips in unexpectedly and offers you a meal, a hug, or a story of understanding.
Connection is the key to rediscovering joy again. It will unlock the door to hope and healing after loss.
But it will be awkward.
Because connection is complicated when hiding feels softer and safer.
But... you will find connection.
It'll show up in places you'd least expect.
I found it behind the lens of my camera.
My camera healed me.
It saved me.
And your camera can do the same for you.
It will provide a barrier, a wall to put up between you and the world — while also offering a different, maybe even hopeful perspective.
A few days after our loss...
when I was tired from crying so many tears...
when I was tired from staying awake at night thinking about what I had done wrong...
when I was tired from laying like a sloth all day on the couch...
I finally decided to get up, grab my camera, and take 100 steps from my front door.
That was it.
That was all I had to take.
Then, I could turn around and hide my tears again.
When my feet carried me those 100 steps I stopped, searched for one little bit of beauty in that moment, and snapped a photo.
Sometimes those 100 steps took me to the mundane and boring.
Other days the light was so perfect that I felt like my daughter must be there walking with me.
Each day taught me something and gave me the courage to step back out into the world.
And today, 10 years later...I still take 100 steps on the days that feel hard.
It's my way back to feeling present, grounded, and alive.
So....today, I'm here to walk with you as you get up and take 100 steps.
When you get there.
Snap a photo.
You may not see the beauty right now.
But the beauty is in you connecting with yourself, and your camera, and the world.
In taking that one next step.
Until you reach 100.
I've got you.
You've got this.
Author Beryl Young is the Founder and CEO of Momtography®, host of the Capture What Matters Podcast, and creator of the Illuminate Photography Workshop for moms who have experienced pregnancy or infant loss. If you take 100 steps today, come join the movement by posting your photo on Instagram with the hashtag #100stepsproject. Be part of our community of strong, connected women who are creating beauty out of heartache. ❤️