This excerpt is from Catherine McNulty’s book, The Gifts of Grief.

“I wanted to give up the struggle and not try again.”

 Trying to get pregnant again after the loss of Jackson was a difficult decision. After all, why would anyone want to submit themselves to all the pain and trauma that we had just been through? We’d have to be crazy right?

I guess I was. My desire to be a mother was stronger than ever. After all, I was still a mother; I just no longer had a son to hold and care for. Because of who I was, I had no choice but to try again. It was a decision that terrified me, but one I knew I needed to pursue. I just couldn’t give up. I couldn’t and wouldn’t fail. I didn’t want my story to end this way.

Risk of failure wasn’t the only thing that propelled me forward. More than anything, I felt guilty that my body had failed me. In some ways, I felt as though I had failed my husband, Jim and denied him of everything he had grown to want and need. More than anything, I desired to give Jim the child he deserved.

Jim felt differently because, like most men, he was far more pragmatic. During our many conversations he’d say, “Why would anyone want to open up the potential to have something like this happen again?” or “What if we have a miscarriage again?”

His take was a practical one that made a lot of sense. It was his belief that we should cut our losses and move on with our lives. I understood his pragmatism, and, in many ways, he was right. He reminded me often of the life we shared. We had a great life that was more than enough to make us happy. Without the responsibility of children, we would have the freedom to create the life we wanted. We could start over and create a dream that didn’t include children of our own. We could go on multiple vacations a year and bask in the luxury of ocean side retreats. We could buy a boat and go wherever we wanted. We could live life free from stress and responsibilities. It could be really great and at times, it did sound attractive. We have friends who chose not to have kids and they’re happy so we figured we could be happy too.

I did spend time considering this option but no matter how hard I tried to be practical, it just wasn’t the right decision for me. I wasn’t ready to give up and I didn’t want to create a new dream that didn’t include a family. The loss of Jackson had left a hole in my heart that only a child of my own could fill.

With the end of my fertility lifetime looming, I moved forward one step at a time with the single goal of getting pregnant. I was driven to move forward but, in many ways, paralyzed with fear. Finally, after many, many months of trying to get pregnant again, new life brought hope into our world and helped us to seek out the light amidst the darkness. As our previous loss haunted us, we fought to save the life of our next son, Mason Peter, one day at a time while on bed rest.

I’ve learned a lot from the experience and pain that brought me to this place. Today I am in a place where I now live with more love, meaning and wisdom on my purpose in life. I am here to help you and let you know that there are tools to help drive you forward, and a process and a method that will allow you to transform your grief and have a life that inspires you.

Catherine McNulty

After losing her infant son in 2011, Catherine embarked on a journey to do more than survive grief. The loss forever changed the trajectory of her life and sent her looking for meaning and purpose for the life she was given. She channeled the love for her son into her own healing, self-growth and personal empowerment. Today, she has created a framework to grief that disrupts conventional ways of looking at loss. She challenges her clients to step outside of a victim mindset and regain control of how they navigate grief. She teaches how to grow through grief and encourages speaking openly about grief to break down the walls of silence around grief. Catherine lives in San Diego with her family where she speaks, writes, and offers coaching to those who want to do more than just survive grief. She is a board member of Empty Cradle and volunteers at Miracle Babies and the Ronald McDonald House. Her business, Grief INSPIRED supports those who are grieving and guides them to create a new normal that honors the ones they’ve lost.

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