Why, hello there! Thanks for coming by. Would you like a cup o’ tea? Let’s sit a while, and I’ll introduce myself.
My name is Jessie, and at 30, I’ve experienced just enough of life, grief, and parenting to know that I have so. much. more. to learn. I have two (and a half) kids. “Fireman” Andrew is four, and Louisa, exuberant and sweet, is two going on 20. Our tie-breaker is due in November. Spoiler alert: it’s a boy! My husband, Stephen, is an engineer through and through, as well as a wonderful dad. Last summer Stephen brought Frank, a 1972 firetruck with a working ladder, siren, and horn home to join our family. I can’t tell who loves him more, Andrew or Stephen?
Stephen and I were both home schooled, and we grew up together. It’s truly a high school sweetheart love story! We can finish each other’s childhood memories. In the fall of 2011, Stephen found a house in Bingham Farms. It was a foreclosure that would need a lot of work. He bought the house (I didn’t see it!) and proposed to me the next week. We spent the next eight months making the house livable, finishing school (I finished my undergrad degree, and he finished his Master’s at U-M Dearborn), working full time, and planning a wedding. On a beautiful spring day in May 2012, we were married in downtown Detroit. For the next three years I worked for a consulting firm in Ann Arbor, and we traveled.
New Life + Loss
In the fall of 2014 we were traveling abroad when I started feeling sick. I popped into a drug store in London for a pregnancy test. Our adventure was just beginning: there was a baby on board! A few months later, I left my job in Ann Arbor and began working at Care Net Pregnancy Center. Later that summer, Andrew made his entrance by emergency c-section due to a traumatic birth. When we left the hospital, we went straight to introduce Andrew to his great-grandfather who was dying of cancer. He passed away two weeks later. We joke that our children are the antidote to times of grief in our family (after all, holding a baby is good medicine!). When my daughter Louisa was born, we had three months to share her with my father-in-law before he passed away. I’m hoping our third baby breaks this trend!
Starting motherhood in a time of loss made it hard for me to realize that the dark, lonely thoughts I was experiencing weren’t normal. It took until December (and a visit to the ER for severe intrusive thoughts of self-harm) for me to recognize my experience for what it was: postpartum depression. I was referred to a mental health day program at Providence Hospital. Thankfully, the doctors there were able to stabilize me quickly with medication and therapy. It took several more months of treatment before I began to feel like myself, but I was on the road to healing. Now I look back on that time of suffering and see grace through and through. God brought me to a place of deep need and then began restoring, confirming, strengthening, and establishing me in my faith and purpose in life.
Adding to Our Family
Through the process of healing, I came to a point where I was willing to trust God with getting pregnant again. Almost as soon as the thought was vocalized, I had a positive pregnancy test just before Andrew’s first birthday. What can I say, we take the “rip the bandaid off” approach to spacing children. They’re 20 months apart. Louisa was a scheduled c-section, so we kept the gender a surprise. I promised myself I would wait until she was two before even THINKING of more children, and, just as we began asking the question, lo and behold it was answered for us. I found out I was pregnant again on her second birthday. Watching my children get excited about the baby in mommy’s tummy has been such a blessing!
Passion + Purpose
This fall we are beginning our home school journey with Andrew in Pre-K. Our home is right in the middle of the city but surrounded by woods. I was born and raised in the Detroit area, and I love how you can find these little sanctuaries of woods and wildlife throughout the metro area. Deer visit us every day, and the Rouge River is in our backyard. I plan to capitalize on this outdoor space as we school at home by leaning heavily on the developmental benefits of playing outside and a good read aloud. Homeschooling gives me purpose at home with my children.
Through my experience with postpartum depression and obsessive compulsive disorder, I discovered a passion for helping other women navigate through mental health. As a mom, it is so easy to overlook your own boundaries and need for care. I strive to live intentionally, seeking beauty, and loving one another. I am so thankful for each day, knowing that life is a gift, and I don’t want to waste it.