life unexpected

My Love/Hate Relationship With Autumn

It’s been eight years. Eight. Most days, I live my life and don’t do much reflecting on that crisp autumn day that changed my life forever. But on days like today, just as crisp, I’m reminded. Isn’t it interesting how certain smells and scenes can jog our memory in an instant and take us right back to a place we’d rather forget? Autumn has always been my favorite season of the year. The changing leaves, pumpkin spice everything, sweater weather, Halloween, my birthday… I love it. But eight years ago changed my love for this season.

I was a 16-year-old junior in high school. My biggest worries were honors classes, dances, student government and football games. I didn’t look outside of myself often. It wasn’t until I was sitting in the ER being told that there was a little life growing inside of me, that I was forced to step outside of the selfish person I’d been for so long. I remember walking out of the hospital. There was a chill in the air and there were people going about their business, talking, laughing, and enjoying life. Didn’t they know about the news I’d just received? Couldn’t the world just tell right away? How was I ever going to feel normal again? How was I ever going to laugh again? It was the biggest blow, and I knew my life couldn’t be the same.

For the first time in a long time, I’m living back in my hometown.  I drive around my town and can remember exact spots where I threw up in the gutter, where I went on walks to cool my head, where I sat terrified of the future. If you’ve been pregnant, you know that you inherit this magic super sense of smell in your first trimester. In those first months of pregnancy, the most prominent smells were dead leaves on the ground, fall themed candles and lotions, and popcorn. If I smell any of those things today, I’m reminded of that time (and some of the smells still make me feel nauseous). Stepping on a bunch of fallen leaves would bring back memories wherever I lived, but now that I’m back here, it’s flooding back like a broken dam.

It’s been eight years filled with new fall seasons, new memories- happy memories. That baby in my belly is now a vibrant, beautiful 7 1/2-year-old girl. Even still, I don’t think I will ever experience an autumn that doesn’t take me back. I have a love/hate relationship with this time of year for this reason. I hate going back to that time. It was the scariest thing I’ve ever gone through and I wouldn’t wish it one anyone. At the same time, I love this time of year for all the obvious reasons, but also for the fact that it’s a great reminder of how far I’ve come in my life. Eight years ago I was at my lowest low. Today, I’m at my highest high. Change and redemption are possible and I love this time of year for reminding me of that.

This year, with sharing my story, I’ve had the opportunity to talk with so many girls who are currently in the same situation I was. I want to share some thoughts with those girls and any person who can relate. When I found out I was pregnant at 16, I thought my life was over. Eight years may seem like a long time, but it’s really not in the grand scheme of things. In eight years I went from thinking my life was over, to going through experiences that shaped me as person. My life was not over.

If you or anyone you know is going through a difficult season, just know that there will be better ones. There’s a light at the end of every tunnel, even if you can’t see it.

Love you all.

My super cute dress // Lively and Jo Boutique