October 2019 / Mainly Marta :: A Motherhood + Lifestyle Blog

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Welcome

What started as a digital diary to document a newfound journey as a stay at home mom / wife has quickly evolved into my own little corner on the internet where I share all that life brings my way -- the good, the bad, and those "aha!" moments. All with a hint of sarcasm, a dash of truth and bold European wit. Thanks for following along!

NEWSLETTER

10.18.2019

I Am The 1 in 4 :: My Miscarriage Story



I feel like talking about miscarriage is so taboo. There is a certain stigma of shame and guilt that swarms around this topic — I know I felt both those things with crippling fear after my loss. With October being infant loss awareness month, I wanted to share my story & perspective of what it's like for your first pregnancy to end in loss. 

I've shared about it on Instagram throughout the past three years, but have deleted them because I felt like those words didn't do my story justice. Today, I am putting it all on the table in hopes that someone stumbles across these words and feels encouraged. 


The Loss

SIX WEEKS PREGNANT | SEPTEMBER 2015

About a month after this photo was taken, I made a trip to the ER which resulted in us going home without a baby. I had just gotten back from a vacation in Florida that was interrupted by my fears that I may be miscarrying. I was at Disney World and had started to feel cramps in my abdomen and wiped a bit of blood upon a visit to the bathroom. A quick google search led me to convince myself that everything was fine & that I was just spotting. I went on my vacation and thought nothing of the constant cramps. But the day after I came home, I woke up at 4 am and felt intense pain... I went to the bathroom and to my horror, I was bleeding heavily... I knew then, it was happening. We went to the ER because my mother insisted I go and then a huge blow delivered to a couple who had just spent the last 12 weeks excitedly telling everyone who would listen that they were gonna be parents. The doctor confirmed, there was no baby. I miscarried at 12 weeks. I had almost made it to the second trimester and the pain set in like a tsunami. 


The grieving period was a rough one for us and while my husband was an amazing support system, I felt like my body had betrayed me. Something I couldn’t explain to anyone because everyone avoided the topic and anyone who wanted to talk to me about it would be immediately shut down because I didn’t want their pity. I started wondering if my body would even be able to carry to full term and loathed the idea of getting pregnant again because what if this would become a pattern? I mean, everything seemed to intensify the idea that I wasn’t going to have my baby? 



I had recently bought this baby cheetah stuffed animal (and named her Dotty) in my excitement to collect baby things. Every time I saw it in my closet, I’d break down in tears. I asked my husband to hide it because the mere thought of throwing it away only made my heart hurt more. 

I spent a lot of time alone, praying and asking God why He would do this to me. I had helped my mother raise my six siblings and felt so angry. I knew a lot of the kinks to motherhood already. I had practiced my whole life, I was ready to be a mom, so why was I watching all my other pregnant friends nearing their due dates while I was sitting on the floor childless?

The holidays rolled around and I just felt so lost -- I turned to more prayer & more hidden sessions of tears because people just assume that you’re over it after a few weeks. No one really acknowledges your loss even though you’re tormented with the idea of blame.
 It’s swept under the rug under the guise of “this is natural” & “sometimes things are just meant to happen.” Words that were meant for comfort, but I took with a bitter heart. 

DECEMBER 2015 

The new year rolled around and I got super sick. It was the sickest I’ve ever been and in retrospect, I see that had I been pregnant, I wouldn’t have been able to take the medicine I needed to get better. That's how I console the pain to this day -- everything happens for a reason, I tell myself over and over until I feel a little bit better. 

We got pregnant again in February and then October 2016 my sweet Felix was born. I've had three successful pregnancies since our loss and there is not a season in life that I don't think about our first baby. 

I ended up giving Dotty to Felix when he was born and she now is well-loved by all three of my boys. When I see them snuggling her and giving her nose kisses, I am reminded that beauty is all around me even though I went through a tremendous season of pain when I lost our baby. Dotty is a beautiful bittersweet reminder of a baby that would have been so loved and cherished by all of us. 


I guess I’m sharing this for two reasons: 


ONE: Miscarriage is NOT a taboo subject and should be acknowledged and talked through. The emotions you feel are so raw and real. The urge to deal with it alone and to constantly blame + punish yourself should be addressed. It wasn't your fault and please know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE IN THIS

Here's something no one tells you -- miscarriage robs you of joy. 

Every pregnancy since our loss, I hold my breath until I hit 15 weeks. I never announce before the second trimester. We tell our parents and then wait. Any sign of blood sends me into an instant panic. I have bled through most of my pregnancies, sometimes vessels in my placenta burst and I immediately think the worst. Miscarriage is something that is at the back of your mind.... and it never truly goes away. 

I think of my angel baby often. It's hard to think about the fact that you lost a child even if you never got hold of them. Our mothering hearts are attached and invested the moment we read a positive pregnancy test. The road to healing is long, it's painful, but you will get there in time. 

TWO: There is power in prayer. For me, the idea that I was alone was probably what had me going in a downward spiral. People tried to console me with words that felt empty as others avoided the topic altogether. Prayer was the only way I was able to channel all my frustration and hurt. I was able to talk through all my feelings + vocalize my anger & that’s what I love about God. He allows you to pour out your bitter heart without judgment.

Trust me when I say it wasn’t just crying softly. Tt was streaming my pain through hot tears & harsh words knowing that He was there holding on to me as I was so out of control when it came to my thoughts and emotions. In those very moments, as strange as it sounds, I felt the most loved. #godisgood even when life is not the greatest, a lesson I am reminded through every hardship this life hands me. 

In short, I want all my mama friends to know that my inbox is always open. If you need a friend to listen as you pour out a heavy heart and if you want someone to share in your joys or just someone to pray with you, I'm your gal. I am here for anyone who needs a friend. 



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10.08.2019

The Blog Hotline :: The Scoop On International Giveaways


Y'all know, I am always looking for ways to grow the gram & blog. That's not something I hide or am ashamed about. I try all kinds of methods, try to find hacks, and invest time in educating myself on what works and what doesn't. annnnnnd then, I share my findings with you via this little series because I like to be transparent.

++ I bought into an international giveaway, so you don't have to ++

I'm here to share my experience -- the pros and the cons of that experience and if I'd buy into one again. I've had several people reach out to me and ask how it went, so I thought I'd just blog about it rather than message everyone individually. With each segment, I'll explain my thoughts / reasoning going into it.

The Giveaways 

I bought into two giveaways -- one that projected 3K and one that projected 10k-20K gain. While skeptical, I wanted to see if they delivered what they promised. In essence, that little boost sounds amazing to get on your feet. I also bought these giveaways a few weeks apart, so I could watch the numbers closely. 

The Price

K, the prices are ridiculous and expensive. There is nothing more to it -- they suck.

& with these awful prices, the giveaway brands sometimes provide a disclaimer saying that they can't guarantee the gain because it's just a projection and that buy-ins are taken at your own risk. Others promise to promote the giveaway until they hit the projected gain, so that's kind of reassuring.

I worked on several collabs that were paid to place in a "giveaway fund" for this blog post, so mom, if you're reading this, don't freak out, I'm not a money waster.


The Results

3K projected gain got me around 700 followers.

10K to 20K projected gain barely scraped the barrel with a 10, 500 gain. 

The Aftermath 

So, none of the giveaways projected correctly. I did gain some, but then again, not as much as I hoped / expected, so that is a huge disappointment in itself.

But, you're probably thinking that now that I've got all these new followers, I should be happy right? meh, I'm finding myself not that happy with these results because, with both giveaways, more than half of the people unfollowed me. Now, I expected a few hundred to unfollow as all giveaways have unfollowers afterward, but when the buy-in is so high -- that's unacceptable. 

Another thing I noted is that my engagement rate took a big hit with my engagement numbers. I went from 4.59% to 2.35% which is a big hit. The thing is -- engagement rates are so important when you're a creator and are looking to collaborate with brands. The higher your rate, the more likely you're gonna score a collaboration!

While it's known that the higher your numbers are, the lower your engagement rate will be, I found that the large scale numbers gained in a giveaway impacted my numbers in a negative way and I'm still recuperating from that hit. 

Final Thoughts 

First, if you ever see someone that increased followers and it seems like they grew overnight like Jack's bean stock, they've purchased an international giveaway -- I am 100% sure of this. It's the only way especially with the algorithm making it harder for micro-influencers to be seen. 

If they're growing fast and they haven't done a giveaway, then they are either super-rich and are sponsoring every single post with a large budget or they're a celebrity. Honestly, that's the only way I can explain it. MAYBE, they've found the key to fast engagement without these things, but I find that hard to believe because I have researched and researched this topic pretty thoroughly. 

In all honesty, I used to think that great content produces massive growth, but you guys -- it doesn't. Sorry to burst the bubble, but great content produces a quality following and steady growth over time. it's naive to think otherwise and in all honesty, a quality following is better than a big number in the long run. 

Secondly, I would not recommend buying into a large scale, international giveaways & I personally won't be buying in ever again because it's not worth it. You get a BANG for your buck at the beginning, but then the bang dwindles and they have your money and you're back where you were in the first place. 

If you're wanting to grow, smaller-scale giveaways that are niche-oriented are a great tool, but my favorites are follow for follow threads, follow trains and follow loops because you're getting support and supporting others too -- which is what Instagram is all about.

So yah! That was my experience with international giveaways. I hope this helped answer any questions you may have had about them. If you'd like to know anything else, my DMs and inbox are always open!

As always, thanks for being here, I appreciate you!









MINI DISCLAIMER: 
I'm not nagging or ragging on BIG giveaways, this was just my experience with them! If you had a different experience, I'd love to hear your take on them. 
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