My name is Jennifer Johnson-Allums, or Coach Jennifer. I am the CEO of Royal Queendom Enterprises LLC, and the founder/creator of the Loved & Lost project.
I created this project to support women who were like me... This project is for the "2011" Me. The one who experienced both the loss of a pregnancy and the loss of an infant in the same year. The one who felt lost and weak, like I had been stripped of every ounce of control I had over anything in my life. The one who didn't know anyone else who had ever really gone through this type of loss, and the one who felt like something was wrong with me as a woman...
I was 22 weeks 4 days pregnant when I gave birth to my first child, Malachi Omari Allums. He was born early due to incompetent cervix (the inability of my cervix to support the weight of a baby). Malachi lived for just 3 beautiful hours. I sang to him. Kissed him. And held his tiny 1 lb 11 oz frame in my hand until his under-developed lungs exhaled for the final time.
Honestly, after that happened, I was at a point in my life where I had no more desire to live. My mental health struggles with depression and anxiety over the years had NEVER brought me to a lower point than I was at after losing my son Malachi.
After a few months, the doctors gave us the green light to try again. All of this is through fertility treatments. I have PCOS, so just getting pregnant itself was a process. When we finally got pregnant I was thinking this would be our miracle. Our redemption. But about 8 weeks into the pregnancy, we were proven wrong when the doctors could not find a heartbeat again. Or the baby. I was rushed to the hospital, given the diagnosis of an ectopic pregnancy. After a week or so of going back and forth between "You had a miscarriage" and "You have an ectopic pregnancy" and "The baby is still there and it's fine," the pregnancy ended. Somehow. It was all a blur. Another jab at my heart. And another thing to perplex my brain.
So many children out there with parents who don't care or can't support them or don't want them... and here we were, the "ideal" picture of a family living the so-called Dream. Married, Both college graduates, Homeowners, Living in the suburbs (opposite of where we grew up), No other kids from previous relationships... On paper, we were what we've been taught to be the formula for success. In my mind, we should have been the FIRST stop the stork made when he was delivering babies. But that's not how life works. You don't get great rewards simply because you fit into the box. Life dishes everyone their share of struggles, some more than others at times it seems. But the bottom line is, no one is exempt!
With every loss, you're going to hurt. The pain will be extreme. That's normal. There's no way around it. So if you're going to have to go through the pain anyway, why not at least search for some sort of purpose in it? [silver lining] My motto is: DON'T LET THE PAIN BE IN VAIN.
They say death comes in threes... and I assume that to be true in this case. Because 2 months after losing Malachi and then the next pregnancy, my grandmother (my last living grandparent) died. Devastation took over, once again.
But later I thought about something... If I had been pregnant when my grandmother passed away, that wouldn't have been good for me or the baby. In fact, I may have even miscarried due to the overwhelming emotion and stress from my grandmother's death. And even losing Malachi, as hard as it was, it made me a more patient, grateful, loving, and intentional mom for my Rainbow babies to follow (Jenesis Corrine and Zahari Elyjah).
I am who I am today because of what I went through. My children are who they are today because of my experience with their big angel brother, Malachi. My parenting style was affected by my loss (in the best way). Before, I was ready to just be a mom; but after the losses, I became ready to be a GREAT mom! I didn't know if I'd ever be able to birth my own children, but I was still determined to use my experiences to help someone else.
We need to talk to each other. Share our stories. Share this website. Post on social media in October, which is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Let it be known that the sisterhood is out here! No one needs to experience the loss of their child and feel like no one else understands what they're going through. This is the ultimate purpose of Loved & Lost!
Coach Jennifer Johnson-Allums is available to speak or facilitate workshops on the topic of pregnancy and infant loss, coping, and supporting loved ones through their loss. To inquire about booking: CLICK HERE