Reducing Racial Disparities
Addressing Extreme Prematurity
Eliminating Sleep-Related Deaths
Certified Personal Trainer
I was shocked when I found out I was having twins. Two babies? It took me a minute to wrap my head around that, even though my husband and I had been trying to get pregnant. We were newly married and I had been taking prenatal vitamins in preparation. But, it seemed that just as I was starting to get excited about the twins, they were yanked away. Around the fifth month of pregnancy, I lost both babies. It was unreal. I don’t have any other way to describe it. I didn’t know anything like that could happen.
What I realized in my loss was that nothing they told me was true. They told me if I had an education (I had a bachelor’s degree), if I was married, if I had health care… if I had all these things in place, the numbers say I should have a healthy pregnancy. Now, I had a healthy pregnancy before, without any of that. When I had my first child, Ethan (now 17), I hadn’t yet graduated from college. I wasn’t married. I was on CareSource insurance. I didn’t have what they said I was supposed to have. And not only was Ethan full-term, he was overdue!
And this time I planned the pregnancy. It was a no-brainer. I was married now — my husband worked in the hospital system, so we had the best health care. And you’re telling me I still can’t have a healthy pregnancy? After we came home from the hospital, I wasn’t picking up the phone for many people. But, my sorority sister, Nicole, was different.
"We have this unique position to turn it all around and be the example for the generation that’s coming up."
She had lost her son earlier that year and I knew she understood my pain. She wasn’t going to say anything stupid. She asked to come visit, along with her husband. They sat on the couch with us and they brought pictures of their son. We started talking about loss. She told me and my husband that we both had to go to counseling — together and individually — if we were going to make it through.
That conversation was very impactful and the only reason either one of us are here today. My doctor told me to wait 18 months after the loss of the twins to try to get pregnant again, but you can’t tell a grieving woman — who had one job in this entire world, which was to have some babies — not to have a baby after she failed miserably. Whether it’s true or not does not matter. He couldn’t have told me not to go and fight. To find out that I was pregnant with twins again the following year was really scary. It was shocking. I already saw what happens when I carry twins. It seemed like my body couldn’t really carry them to term.
I said, “Okay God, I don’t know what you’re doing here. You’re going to have to take the wheel.” Still to this day I don’t know how we made it. Our doctor took us in, cradled us and got us through the pregnancy. To this day I still email him.
I’m vocal about my loss because we’re not talking about this in the black community. We talk about baby showers, but we don’t talk about the hard stuff. It’s still kind of hidden because, when I bring up losing a baby, people look at me like I have seven heads. But you don’t want to find out the way I found out. So, let’s have a conversation.
Had there been no child loss, there would be no Renegade Soul. I love the personal training because it stems from the grief and it has helped me mentally be stronger in other areas. I love what I do and, through Renegade Soul, I’m also able to partner with First Year Cleveland. It’s grief recovery through fitness. It’s everything that I do and everything that I’m about. I do the Infant Mortality Tuesday posts on Instagram to share that type of information. Most of the people who encounter me know that it’s not just personal training. It’s generational health wealth.
We have this unique position to turn it all around and be the example for the generation that’s coming up. I’m only one woman, but I’ve got 16 clients. So that’s 16 families I can start with. You gotta start somewhere.
1 of 22