What does the mother of two dead babies look like?

This past weekend I had an amazing, once-in-a lifetime opportunity and I wanted to tell you about it. One of the women I’ve met through Bschool is an incredible, top-tier photographer named Tanya Malott. She saw my story in one of the Bschool groups and reached out to me, and we instantly clicked. She is amazing.
This past weekend, she offered a day of FREE headshot photos to anyone from Bschool who could make it to the shoot. I pounced on the opportunity. She got access to this glamourous photo studio in Manhattan owned by Heike Grebenstein – who makes jewelry that is simply gorgeous and she arranged for our hair to be done by the incredibly talented Joshua Barrett, and fellow Bschooler, celebrity makeup artist Michelle Coursey did our makeup. I mean, the whole thing was like a dream.
But beyond all the pampering and how fun and inspiring it was to was to meet other bschoolers face-to-face, something profoundly emotional happened to me that day, and that’s really the reason I’m sharing this story….
After getting my pictures taken, I was talking to one of the other women there and I found myself telling her a story that I’ve been meaning to share with you but just… haven’t. So, I’m sharing it now.

After the twins died, everything in the world just literally became gray. It was all I could see. I’d wake up in the morning, my face puffy from the tears that had dried on my cheeks the night before. I’d drag myself into my closet and pull something out that felt like I felt. Something gray. Something brown. Something stained, ripped, dirty, overwashed and ill-fitting. I really didn’t care. I’d walk from the bus station to my office, sometimes crying the whole way. Not caring that people were looking at me strangely. “If they had two dead babies, they’d be crying too” I said to myself.

I’d get to the office and do my work, feeling like shit, looking like shit. I wasn’t worried what my coworkers thought of my appearance. That just never occurred to me to matter.

Then, one day, my boss unexpectedly called me into a sales meeting. The women who sat at the table looked polished and fresh in the bright display lights of our showroom. I stood before them, completely mortified. I remember clearly what I was wearing that day. Jeans that were unwashed and way too big, saggy on my tush with an actual patch in the seat to cover a hole. Gray sneakers. An olive green t-shirt stretched over my muffin top and post (dead) baby belly with a graphic of The Beatles stretched across my chest. Over that, I wore a brown vintage button down polyester shirt. I believe it was missing a button. My hair was in a messy, unwashed ponytail.

My boss introduced me as the head of design. “The genius who makes magic happen.” he said. I stood before them feeling like something that crawled out of a sewer. I pasted a smile on my face and answered their questions. When I walked out of the room I thought to myself “Well, they’d look like shit too if they had Two Dead Babies.”

And when I heard myself think that, that’s when I knew. Enough Was Enough.

It was up to me to make the choice to sink or swim, and I decided to swim. The only way I knew to start was with the outside. And so I did- No more gray, no more heavy disgusting clothing. I was going to infuse my outside with color and shine that was so bright and so bold it could break through the wall of gray that surrounded me. And, you know how that story unfolds. That decision ultimately found a name, and it’s name is The Muchness.

When I look at pictures of me before the twins, I feel like it is a different person– a naive, innocent, opinionated girl I no longer know. And when I’ve looked at pictures of me after, it’s felt like a kaleidoscope of bits and pieces of me in the middle of some kind of reformatting process.

This weekends photo shoot felt like a culmination of that journey and that decision to swim. Tanya knows my story and understands the path I’ve traveled to get here. She saw my dress and it was her suggestion to take pictures in this setting. Pictures of a woman who has not drowned in her grief, but has been able to push through to a brighter, even more beautiful place of light & joy. I mean, really. Who wears a party dress in the bathtub?

I looked at the pictures Tanya took of me- beautiful, incredibly muchy pictures of a woman with two dead babies, who has found happiness and beauty and joy again. And those pictures Tanya took, they were pictures of a woman I do know. The woman I am learning to see myself as. Me. 20120703-105429.jpg