“This does not have to define the rest of your life,” the doctor said as he held my hand and looked into my eyes. ¬†It was 4¬†weeks after I had lost my first baby Jackson,¬†during¬†my eighth month of pregnancy, completely unexpectedly. ¬†I remember sitting there thinking, “you are so wrong, of course this will define my life. My life isn’t even worth living anymore.” ¬†I mean, how could something like that not define someone’s life?

I had been through my fair share of tough times in my life, just like everyone else, but nothing like this. I knew¬†with every ounce of my being that if I did not fight with everything I had, that I would not make it through this. In the first weeks after leaving the hospital, I was on autopilot. ¬†It was honestly a complete haze for like 3 months. ¬†I wasn’t given much time to deal with my grief because I had to go back to work just 2 weeks after giving birth. ¬†All I remember is forcing myself to get up, go work out, shower, put some makeup on and try to do my job. ¬†I truly don’t know how I did those things,¬†but I did. ¬†I thought that if I looked at myself in the mirror and I didn’t look as terrible as I felt that it would help me get through this. My makeup became a little suit of armor for me. ¬†Something I could put on and go into the world feeling protected. ¬†That might sound crazy but it was true.

In the almost 9¬†months since losing my son, I have gained perspective. ¬†Something inside me shifted. ¬†It suddenly became so clear to me what I did and did not want in life–what was important to me. I realized that there are no guarantees in life and I didn’t want to waste the rest of my life feeling unfulfilled. I realized that I wanted to be a better person and that I wanted to help someone else going through a rough time in their life. I wanted to make someone feel better, any little way I could. ¬†If I am able¬†help inspire one woman to get through the tough days in her life then that would mean that something positive has come out of my tragedy.

Looking ¬†back on that moment with the doctor, I now understand what he was trying to say. ¬†And I will never forget those words. A tragedy like that most certainly alters the course of your life in a tremendous way, but you have a choice. ¬†You can choose to go down the rabbit hole and let those feelings turn you into a shell of your former self or you can choose to TRY¬†to make something meaningful out of the heartbreak and the struggles. ¬†Trust me–I’m not sitting here trying to say that it won’t be¬†the most difficult battle that you have ever fought but it will be worth it. Take strength from your journey–and if you can’t find the strength quite yet, take some of mine.

In March, I relaunched¬†my journey with Younique. ¬†This time with purpose, passion, determination and a deep understanding of WHY I am on this journey. I’ve been given the gift of mentoring and coaching an amazing, strong and beautiful group of women during the last 5 months. ¬†My goal is to empower them everyday–the crazy thing is by doing that, I gain¬†strength and motivation from each of them everyday. ¬†¬†Remember that everyday you have a choice. Choose to let the hard things in life ruin you or choose to make the hard things in life fuel your passion.

Your past does not define your future.