On Saturday, July 2, 2011, I sat in a hospital recovery bed trying to process the day’s events. The day that started with the intention of my planning my baby shower with my sister, was now ending with my husband in tears next to me as I held our deceased daughter in my arms. Jolie wasn’t due until October 24th, but showed up a hot summer day in my sister’s living room instead. She was delivered around 6pm by her dad, as my sister frantically called 911. The house was in pandemonium, yet I felt so calm once she was born and in my arms. Breathing, wiggling her fingers and toes, EMT’s made their to the house and whisked my family away by ambulance. She passed away later that night at 9:56pm.
There was no way that this was real.
The months following were the hardest times in my life. I’d cried until I couldn’t catch my breath and my body was too weak to stand up. I was fighting for my life and often times couldn’t figure out why. I failed.
I couldn’t protect my daughter and as a woman, what was my purpose if I couldn’t even bring a child to term?
I felt worthless and disgusted with myself. On some days, I could literally feel my heart slowly shattering in my chest. I’d sit with Jolie’s urn and pray to God for answers that the doctor couldn’t give me. Why did this happen? Was I that horrible of a person? I’d sit for hours digging in my past trying to pinpoint exactly what God was punishing me for. One night I thought, “The train station is right across the street. I can just sneak out when Ken goes to sleep and end it. It will be quick. You won’t feel anything. No more pain.” But as I looked over at the sleeping husband who was doing his best to hold me together without being able to grieve himself, I couldn’t do it.
I had too many people rooting for me to end it that way.
On July 2, 2014, Jolie’s 3rd birthday, I launched an eco-luxury beauty brand named JolieBloom – a name that came to me in a dream. The name represents how much I have blossomed into the woman I am today because of the barely one-pound baby that I held in my arms three years ago. I’d spent all of her previous birthdays bedridden, but this one, I was different.
Though I was still very emotional, I felt empowered and proud of how far I’ve come in my healing.
Thanks to an overwhelming amount of support from friends, family and my blog readers who have been witnesses to my recovery, I spent the majority of the day filling and shipping out orders. I source natural, organic and high quality ingredients to handcraft bath and body products. It’s become therapy for me. I put on R&B music from the 80’s – early 2000’s, stand on my feet for hours in my work space, and make non-toxic magic for families.
I’m now in my third month of business but I know that THIS is a large part what makes me feel alive.
I’m still happily married and am now a mom to the most amazing one-year old little boy. Jolie is still very much apart of our every day family life. Her brother kisses her urn often while repeating “JoJo”. We talk about her everyday in our home and she’s been able to inspire people through my blog and now her legacy, Jolie Bloom. It’s always been my belief that everyone on this Earth has a purpose.
Though she only graced the Earth for 3 hours, I now realize just how much of a positive impact Jolie has had on myself and others.
I’ve become an advocate for infant loss awareness and a shoulder to cry on when others experience something similar to myself. I used to be embarrassed of my story, but I know that through sharing it with as many people as possible, I can help take away the shame that most infant loss moms feel.
Jolie Bloom is a manifestation of how far I’ve come.
Though I was VERY close to throwing in the towel, I made the decision that I was going to make it through. With God leading my path, my support system and my will to make myself whole again, there was nothing I couldn’t do. Obstacles don’t come our way to break us, but instead to build our character so that we can help others. Whatever obstacle you are facing at this moment, know that you WILL make it out. CHOOSE to keep going and ACCEPT that what makes you UNCOMFORTABLE AT THIS MOMENT, is NOT PERMANENT.
Pain brings purpose.
Jhéanell is a wife and MOMtrepreneur residing in The Sunshine State with her husband, toddler son and teenaged sister. Despite executing all roles at her start-up Jolie Bloom, she also candidly shares moments of her life & style on her award-winning blog Belle Jhéanell. While juggling business and blogging are exciting, it is catering to her family that truly brings her happiness.
I found Jhéanell’s blog a few years back and fell in LOVE – finding another woman of color share her life’s most intimate moments with the world. We immediately clicked. I’ve prayed for Jhéanell’s strength in the loss of her daughter since and have been AMAZED at her getting through a tough time AND blogging about it. She also supplied the What Binds Us Together Brunch with some beauty bars that you HAVE to try. Jhéanell, thank you for your friendship, thank you for being an inspiration and the epitome of making it through. As always, sending you love from NYC…