My Story IS Your Story… My Truth About Being Authentic & Transparent Inspired by My Miracle Baby Girl…

Authenticity.

What does it mean to you? I feel like authenticity and transparency are closely related and they come with a degree of vulnerability and risk. So much, that I think the vulnerability and risk actually scare people away. Would you agree?

Here is what I am thinking… I had a really tough decision to make about sharing my personal life and struggles with Olivia’s pregnancy with the world. For those of you who don’t know, I gave birth to a baby girl 12 weeks early. She was born on 7/21/14 at 7:12 pm weighing ONLY 12 oz and 10 inches. She has broken the record as the smallest baby in the hospital and the one of the smallest in the country. Today she is thriving and growing.


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The Scary Part Of The Story…

The story begins the beginning of May when I began to know that I was having challenges and things just got worse from there. I was on bed rest, unable to really leave the house except to go to the Doctor. I went from being a very independent person to asking my husband to go get me a glass of water. I felt pathetic. I was also scared out of my mind about my little girl, and admittedly a little embarrassed because it was happening to me. (Why? I don’t know.)  I was getting pretty sad and depressed and I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I was starting to close up and only a very few people actually knew what was going on. Work was my release, because I could be “me” and no one knew what was going on. They didn’t see me laying in bed with no make up on, hair on top of my head, feeling miserable. My fingers did the talking on the keyboard. I became silent on my personal Facebook page and was just living one day at a time. Talking about my situation, and not knowing what the outcome was going to be, was too hard for me to write about or talk about. So I didn’t.

But do you know what happened?

I suffered.

Big time.

In fact, one day I was the lowest I had ever been in my life. I was laying on the couch and didn’t even have the energy in my arm to hold the phone to my ear to call the Dr. My family didn’t know what to do.  I seriously felt like a bomb went off, was eating my insides, and the shrapnel from the bomb also exploded and cut through my loved ones. I hated seeing them so hurt that I was hurt. Luckily this deep sorrow only lasted about 3 days, and then things turned around.

As I got out of my slump I decided there was only one way to be. DETERMINED. My aunt reminded me of the Kate Perry “Roar” song. She encouraged me to let my inner Mama Bear out. (Look out world!)

That week, my OBGYN told us after measuring Olivia in the womb that, “Technically babies measuring this small do not survive. They are too small to get a ventilator in them.” She was so compassionate when she said it and I could tell it hurt her to tell me that. But I was determined. I looked her square in the eye and said, “We are having this baby, and she is going to be healthy.” I wasn’t sure I believed it myself but I figured that if I said it aloud I could almost speak it into existence.

Soon after that, is when I went to the hospital for the second time. (Did I mention that I checked INTO the hospital on my birthday? The only gift I wanted was a healthy baby and I told everyone.) I decided right then and there, that if I were going to be bringing a baby into this world in 4 days, I couldn’t be sitting in the hospital scared out of my mind. I needed to pull it together, grab onto the strength inside me…and from others…and get over it. So what did I do? I decided to let it all hang out.

I started reaching out. I started to tell people slowly what was going on in my life. I started posting pictures on my FB page of all the positive sayings I wrote on construction paper hung up in my hospital room. I made that hospital room the best thing ever. I brought in air fresheners, table clothes, chocolates for the nurses. I told them my story, asked them about their life…  I started doing a LOT of praying, and guess what? People were supportive. They wanted to help. They wanted to be there for me. I just needed to get past my ego and fear and LET THEM IN.

 

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I had to be transparent. I had to be vulnerable.

Some people in my life were saying, “But what if?” or “What about the people who don’t wish you well? Who would actually be happy that your going through challenge?”

My response was “I don’t care. That is their problem. It isn’t mine.” I can only live for TODAY (which is the toughest lesson I have learned the past few months) and part of living for today was admitting what was going on and almost creating a public accountability for myself.

Each time I admitted to someone what was going on it became more and more real. I checked in on Friday to the hospital, got two steroid shots for Olivia’s lungs, was put on a magnesium drip for 48 hours (blew up like a balloon), and then was scheduled for a C Section on Monday night. I wasn’t going to sit in that room for 4 days shaking in my boots – and what I did made ALL the difference in my world!

What I Really Learned:

During this time,  learned that I have a high drive to be strong and inspire people. I always knew I got a natural high by motivating, inspiring, and challenging others… but oddly enough knowing that I needed to shine my light and show the world how I could take on this challenge, be brave, ask for help when I needed really taught me a big lesson about myself. I get strength through my community. Knowing that I am not alone. Knowing that so many people are thinking, talking, praying, keeping the hope made me want to keep talking, praying, and keeping the hope. I felt like I had a responsibility to continue to CHOOSE to be positive.

It helped me become determined. It created this synergy that blossomed inside of me that truly surprised myself. It was this burst of I CAN DO THIS and IT IS GOING TO BE OK, and I really believed it this time. It got me through it. For the first time in my life I constantly felt like God was next to me those few days… I felt Him stronger than I ever had in my life. I felt so loved, and overwhelmed and speechless at the support that was coming our way.

All this, because I had the gonads to actually be real. Tell my story. Not be afraid of the “what if’s” or what people might think…Basically, not have a filter.

I could go on for days and days about this topic, but what’s my point?

My Story IS Your Story, In Your Business…

Your business is a creation that you have built yourself. Don’t forget to leave the “business” side sometimes and get down to the real YOU in it. Don’t be afraid to bare your heart, share your personal life, tell your story (over and over again because not everyone see’s it the first time), stand up for a cause, keep updating people on a saga that is going on. Often times businesses are so stuffy that they forget to be human. They forget that, we, as humans have flaws and struggles. By putting them out there you are actually connecting with people because they are seeing your vulnerability and compassion.

Admit your weaknesses. Admit your faults. Acknowledge that you are not always perfect will go a long way and help people be able to relate to you more and feel connected. We gain intimacy with others through venerability. If we can’t be venerable…can we really be real?

In Your Personal Life…

Let’s get outside of business for a moment. In your personal life, you don’t have to be perfect and you don’t have to go through things alone. The recent death of Robin Williams actually comes to my mind. Everyone needs a support system. Now, I am not saying that you have to be like me and put it all over facebook, but it is important to take the time OUT of your business to still have a life. Nurture relationships, connect with others, celebrate life, and give yourself the time to heal the things that need mending. Call up your friends and family and help them and let them help you. We are social creatures. We were not meant to go through things alone. I can not stress that enough.

I ask you that you try to be more real in your life. More authentic. More transparent. I think some of us get caught up in “keeping up appearances” and don’t let our guard down too much. Or, we just share surface type things. This is all to say that I am not endorsing bitching and moaning or complaining. Sure, you can have your “poor me” spout, but it is important to pick a time to GET OVER IT and move on.

Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real and some would say that fear is from the devil. Bible says says that “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 2:7 So when you are scared, it isn’t coming from God. I would argue that it comes from the Devil.

(Yes, I just swore and then quoted the Bible. This is me in all my imperfections….)

I have so much that I want to get off my chest that I have been reflecting on… I hope you will continue to take this journey with me.

Tell me your thoughts – where do you draw the authentic/transparency line? How do you do this in your business? In your personal life? Or perhaps, why DON’T you do it more often? Is it because of the reason I have stated above? Sound off below. I would love to hear from you!

13 replies
  1. Maureen McCarthy
    Maureen McCarthy says:

    Bella,
    You continue to amaze me, with all your stories I learn so much from you. This is just another eye opener that you share with us all. You are one of the strongest women I know and I love the fact that you are so honest and personal with all of us. I have learned so much from you. God bless you and your family and my he always hold you in the palm of his hand. Olivia is going to be an amazing girl and she will take after her mom in so many ways. Keep up the great work that you do because you have so many people cheering you all on!!!
    You ROCK!!!

    Reply
  2. Antoinette
    Antoinette says:

    You are such a blessing. God makes no mistakes and He knows exactly who you are and how perfect you are to be Olivia’s mom. I only found your site a week ago, and there is this incredible dynamic strength that you bring to the table.
    God bless you and keep you. May He shine His face upon you and your family. Thank you so much for sharing.
    I know that nothing is impossible for God and He has shown that to me so many times.
    Again, thank you
    Antoinette
    ps. yes, I am the one who designed my own logo that alarmed you. It’s ok. 🙂

    Reply
  3. Jacki Tait
    Jacki Tait says:

    You ARE an inspiration to so many! I have been following along and find Olivia to ALWAYS be in my prayers. And I find myself checking in with you on Facebook or your blog – always happy when I see how God has you and your family in the palm of His hands.

    Yes, getting real about our journey IS what makes all the difference. The Bible tells us that people will know HIM by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony. Reading your testimony as it unfolds is amazing. Keep the faith and stay strong. And if you ever need someone to pray with, I’m here for you. XOXO Jacki

    Reply
  4. Jacki Tait
    Jacki Tait says:

    You ARE an inspiration to so many! I have been following along and find Olivia to ALWAYS be in my prayers. And I find myself checking in with you on Facebook or your blog – always happy when I see how God has you and your family in the palm of His hands.

    Yes, getting real about our journey IS what makes all the difference. The Bible tells us that people will know HIM by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony. Reading your testimony as it unfolds is amazing. Keep the faith and stay strong. And if you ever need someone to pray with, I’m here for you. XOXO Jacki

    Reply
  5. Cheryl Nicholls
    Cheryl Nicholls says:

    You are strong, you are creative, you are smart and you are a leader. You are brave, and you are inspiring. You own two successful businesses, you are a wife and now you are a mom. You give of your time and your advice freely. You are always providing wonderful ideas, advice, and motivation. You have shared experiences in your personal life that are so inspiring. Your little daughter is a miracle. But she is also strong like her mom, and that is helping her to thrive and survive. Sharing is hard for some people – sometimes they are seen as needy. But I have found that, once you do share, people are so compassionate and always show that they care. I have never met you – and I probably never will. But you have definitely impacted me and for that I am thankful. You have opened me up to new ideas, and made me aware of options I did not know I had. All I can say is – thank you Bella! You are pretty amazing!

    Reply
  6. Kathryn Robair
    Kathryn Robair says:

    Bella,

    Your story brought me to tears. I’m not religious by a long shot, but I wish you and Olivia nothing but a bright and healthy future together.

    I’ve only known you through your FB group for a short while, but you have been an inspiration to me. Thank you for sharing your story and reminding everyone that most people are kind and supportive.

    All the best,

    Kathryn

    Reply
  7. Tanya
    Tanya says:

    Hi Miss Bella! Just had a chance to read – Thank YOU for sharing your story. What a great reminder- we can’t always do it alone and nor should we. The power of sharing and bringing others into our “space” is very powerful and directly related to the outcome of that experience- I believe. If we’re not true to ourselves, how can we be true to our surroundings – the people we let in – the direction it goes – whether that be in our personal or business life. There’s nothing to be ashamed of, whatever is going on in that moment. I think we’re a lot alike in our thought process. Although I still have lots to work on. Acknowledgment is the first step. Owning your weaknesses and making an effort to work on them is second. I’m proud of you for stepping out of your comfort zone and taking a chance. It’s why you and Olivia are where you are today. I truly believe that. The universe is very powerful.. you reached out to the universe and look at all the people YOU brought in.. people you don’t even know, that care and want the best for you. Cheering you along the way ????. Your strengths & courage have shined.

    To your question… Recently with my moms Sarcoma Cancer diagnose, clients and friends have truly appreciated letting them in, sharing photos and our journey. They appreciate there’s life outside of work and we’re all going through something. It helps to talk. It helps to know others care and WANT to hear. Like you say – we’re human and when you give clients/friends a way to connect with you (other than what you offer service wise) people will be drawn to your energy and your true authenticity.

    Why I let out people who bring negative energy into my world. We attract people a like. I gravitate to positive people, inspiring individuals, people I look up to and can learn from.

    So happy to be a part of this journey with you Bella – you will get through this… you ARE getting through this ????

    Big Hugs
    xoxo ????

    Reply

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  1. […] 3. Be transparent. Transparency breeds vulnerability which breeds intimacy. I wrote about it here: http://jumpconsulting.net/2014/08/26/authentic/ […]

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