March is Pregnancy After Loss Awareness Month. This month we are discussing Pregnancy After Loss, but also lost of jobs, marriages, and family members as you grieve the loss of your angel. In today’s episode we have Paige Johnson who shares her stillbirth of baby girl Kody McKenna while battling panic attacks and depression. Paige is a momprenuer, wife, and rainbow mom who married her high school sweetheart after college. She lost everything after losing her baby girl Kody including her business, her grandmother, her brother in law, and her husband lost his job. In this episode she takes us back on that journey to having her first born while in college, losing Kody to stillbirth while grieving the loss of loved ones, losing jobs and business, and having her rainbow baby.
Paige Johnson’s Bio
I have been a mompreneur for 5 years. I am a self-starting, go-getter and entrepreneur. I take pride in hustling my family out of poverty but also my friends, family, and just about anyone in my network. I'm a huge empath and love to meet people where they are. For me, giving back to my community of black women and mothers is my life's work. The best way I feel that I can give back is to share my story and share my resources.
My journey through motherhood feels like a long journey, but really, it's been a 6 year run. I had my firstborn son with my high school sweetheart months after graduating from Undergrad. While juggling a newborn, I familiarized myself with climbing the career ladder and getting my graduate degree. I've always known how to keep going after more- it's a characteristic of an entrepreneur. After completing grad school, we had a fairytale wedding which was the perfect segway into my wedding boutique.
The onset of my entrepreneurship took off pretty fast and my shop was becoming rapidly successful. I was a one-woman team selling thousands of custom wedding and bridesmaids dresses. Not only that but I was climbing the consulting ladder at a very prestigious consulting firm in Washington, D.C. Between the stress of dealing with Bridezillas and cutthroat consultants, I began having panic attacks (something I had never experienced before). In short, a panic attack is a series of physical reactions within your body that make you feel like you're heart is about to stop or you are dying. Once you start to feel those things, you start to become panicked which results in heavy breathing, tears, and whatever else a human does when facing death. The problem? Most panic attacks are the result of extreme anxiety. The threat can be as simple as getting the wrong order at McDonalds. For me, I was constantly being triggered by my work conditions (passive aggressiveness, harassment, racial bias, etc.)
During this time, I became pregnant with my second child, a girl who we named Kody McKenna. After learning about my pregnancy, I really didn't do anything different. I was on two medications for depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. My doctors felt that the benefits far outweighed the risks and that it would be safe to take at least one of the drugs throughout my pregnancy.
While on vacation in my 2nd trimester, I woke up to find myself bleeding heavily. We rushed to the emergency room expecting a miscarriage only to find that our daughter still had a strong heartbeat. No one could pinpoint the cause of the hemorrhage so I immediately stopped all medications. We continued through, what we thought, to be a healthy pregnancy. Still working, still running my business, still raising a toddler.
On August 28th, 2016, at 37 weeks, I woke up thinking my water had broken. I immediately woke my husband up and said "It's time!" I then proceeded to pass out! He immediately called an Ambulance who rushed into my bedroom prepared to deliver our daughter on the bed. Unfortunately, there was blood everywhere! I was immediately rushed to the hospital which was, thankfully, only 5 minutes away. I had gone unconscious and was rapidly losing blood. That entire day was just a huge blur. I was given 4 blood transfusions and heavily sedated. I woke up only to push my little girl out with the hopes that this was all a mistake and she would be breathing. She was not breathing and we spent the rest of the day holding her, taking pictures, and sharing her with our family and friends.
During my recovery, my shop was closed. We've since lost my grandmother, brother-in-law to suicide, father-in-law to a massive heart attack, my husband lost his job twice, we lost our home in Florida, essentially, we lost everything. My mother and my faith in God became a huge crutch for my husband and I. We've since given birth to a healthy little boy, started three new business hustles, and mastered the art of remaining stress free. I am dedicated to helping other women, moms, and entrepreneurs balance this part of life, because it could have very well taken me out. Sorry for the long story but every detail is could be critical to someone else's journey through loss, disappointment, and the ultimate comeback =)
Join the Sisters in Loss in DC for the Annual Sisters in Loss Brunch on Saturday, April 13, 2019! Tickets are on sale NOW!
Book Recommendations and Links Below
You can shop my Amazon Store for the Book Recommendations
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