You are currently viewing Episode 110: Should I Go Back to Work After Loss? with Katie Joy Duke

Episode 110: Should I Go Back to Work After Loss? with Katie Joy Duke

Going back to work or not after miscarriage, stillbirth or any kind of loss can be a very difficult decision. 

Today’s guest Katie Joy Duke was working as a successful lawyer when her daughter Poppy was suddenly stillborn. Join us as Katie shares her journey to deciding what to do next. Her advice will be helpful for anyone contemplating how to balance their healing with their career.

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So if you’re thinking about doing that, you have to. So the brunch is smooth Stones to get your tickets and to learn all about it. And peace in my pocket is smooth stones All right, let’s dive into our topic today. I wanna welcome Katie Duke to the podcast today.

Katie, it’s so fun to have you here. Thank you, Amy. Why don’t you tell us just a little bit about yourself as we get started? So, my name’s Katie Joy Duke. I am an author and a, it’s, I’ve written a memoir recently. I used to practice law. I’m a mommy to one beautiful living child named Moxie. She’s four and a half, and I have a beautiful spirit child.

Her name is Poppy Annabel, and she would be seven in October. I am just really excited to be here. My latest journey with life is. Learning how to slow down yet again as life has given me a, uh, breast cancer diagnosis. So I am, um, getting chemotherapy, 14 weeks into chemo right now. I’ve got the rest of the summer and then surgery and radiation coming up.

So very full, very beautiful, sometimes extremely stressful, exhausting lives like all of us. Yes. And I have to say, you’ve been, I mean, I know there’s hard days, but you’ve been an inspiration to watch in rocking the bald head. Thank you fully. It’s fun. I will say I just recently, so the hair thing was I was able to get ahead of it.

Like I felt empowered losing the hair cuz I was able to do something about it. But in the last like two weeks, I’ve lost my eyebrows and my eyelashes and from one girl to another. There was some breakdowns that was hard. E even my eyebrows more than my eyelashes. Cuz I look in the mirror now and I’m like, where did you go?

I can’t even see you. It’s amazing how these little parts of us, like when they go away, it just affects us. And it does. It does. Yeah. I think, but I’m getting through. I’m getting through it, of course. But yes, eyebrow break breakdowns are totally allowed eyebrow. That should be a hashtag. Yes. Okay. Well, I always start my interviews with my guests asking about our babies and a little poppy, but I want you to tell me about her life.

What are some of the memories you have? Maybe something Oh yeah. That were going on during the pregnancy, some of her features. Anything you remember. I always say gush. Yeah. The quote unquote, normal mom gets to, so. Poppy was a total surprise. I realized that I was pregnant with her while my husband and I were on vacation, and I had this intuition when I had this funky feeling on a rock when we were about to go swimming in into a waterfall, and I just thought, oh my gosh, am I, am I pregnant, poppy?

Got her nickname Poppy Seed within that week of us being on vacation. And the reason why is cuz I had downloaded one of those apps that tell you the size of the baby and she was five weeks and the size of a poppy seed. So she became our poppy s The first time I ever felt her move, I was getting my first ever facial.

It was very, I just felt like I’m like in my thirties, I’m pregnant now. I’m married, I’m having a baby, and I’m getting my facial. And I felt her. Move. And it was funny cuz at first I thought it was gas and then I was like, wait a second. I don’t think that was gas. I think that was my baby. So that was really special.

I remember that. I will always remember that I wrote it on my calendar. Poppy, super easy on me. She got her nickname, she got her nickname Bubbles. So one of our ultrasound pictures, it looked like she had little bubbles coming out of her mouth. So we started calling her bubbles. She was never super. Kiki or Punchy, and I know this now cause I’ve had two and Moxie was more.

And of course I know other moms that are like, oh my God, my baby’s just beating me up from the inside. You know, I never felt that way. Poppy was always really kind of chill. I think she was a very old soul. So she’s Adam. I’ve done this a lot. I don’t really need to, but, um, And then I would say when we found out that she would be still born and I was in labor at the hospital when we found out she didn’t have a heartbeat anymore.

I mean that of course is incredibly devastating and your audience will relate. To that experience. I think one of the things I would like to say just about Emory, I’d ask my midwives for a, a bit of narcotics cuz I, the depth of the shaking that I was experiencing or that traumatic response our bodies have.

I was shaking so much and I was just kind of spiraling and I knew that the medicine would help. So I got a little bit of fentanyl and it helped me calm down and I ended up falling asleep and. I had something, you know, akin to a hallucination or a dream or a knowing or a message from God that Poppy was already way beyond, you know, like she, she was safe.

I knew it. And I’ve actually been reading a lot about near death experiences right now, and the way that people describe what they felt when they left their body and got close to heaven or God or wherever they, wherever we go. I knew in that hallucination, in that dream that Poppy was there, but she was not coming back, you know?

And so she was okay. It was, it’s so interesting. Cause I even knew in, before she was even born and she was gone, I knew I had I received that message that she was really okay. That it was really okay. But of course, my, my grief had not even yet begun. Right? Like it hadn’t, I was still in shock, like it was just, so Poppy was born later that same day.

And she was beautiful. She was seven pounds, 11.8 ounces and 20 inches long. And you know, one of the things I’ll always wonder is what color eye she had cuz she, we never opened her eyes. She had bright red hair, she had bright like fire, red hair. And it was long enough that I could have theoretically tried trimming some of it off, but I just, I couldn’t bring myself to that.

And we got to spend 24 hours with her. We left the next day, but she, I mean, she was just a sweet, she had, I have that I, I don’t remember what this part is called on your lips where you have that nice V shape. You know, we’ve got the little dip thing and you’ve got like the perfect little top lip, little toot toot for myself here.

Perfect. Top lip here. But Poppy had that too. So that was really sweet. Oh, and then her feet were really wrinkly and this was independent of her skin issues, but like she had super wrinkly feet and my husband has like, the wrinklies feet, bottom of his feet are just ridiculously wrinkly what is going on with the bottom of your feet.

Anyway, so she had my husband’s feet and my lips, so I would say she was winning. But yeah, she was a beautiful baby. And, and I only have, you know, we have a handful of pictures with her. But that’s been one of those interesting journeys is, you know, thinking of her for such a long time as a baby and then eventually having, you know, spiritual experiences where I realized that she was much, much more, you know, much more than a baby, much more for me.

So, yeah. Yeah. That’s beautiful. I love it. I love watching you just talk about her. Aw, thanks. And listening for everyone listening, it’s, yeah. It’s beautiful to listen to your connection to her. Thanks. Okay, well, today I invited Katie because, well, she has such a wealth of knowledge and experience, but something that I have not been through, that she has been through because I was a stay-at-home mom when I had my losses and Katie was working, so I wanted to talk about, I.

The things we have to do after a loss. Right. So tell us a little bit about what you were doing in your career before Poppy and Well, and I have to back up. So we both wanna, we understand that it is, A privilege to be able to have choices in your work and that everyone is different. Everyone’s in a different situation.

And Katie, I know that was important for you to touch on. Yeah. Real quick, do you wanna? Sure. Yeah. I mean, as I get into it, I’ll just say that, you know what my, when my husband and I met, we were both working professionals, we were both making good salaries. I was a lawyer, he’s a software engineer. And so that was of course something that was really attractive to me about him and of course me about, you know, him, about me.

We were in our early thirties. And so, you know, we entered into this marriage with the expectation that both of us would continue making good money and our careers would continue to grow and develop. And I had no ever, I never saw myself doing anything but practicing law. I mean, I went to law school. I had been a lawyer in New York City for five years before moving out to the west coast, north of Seattle.

And so I. You know, it was funny actually. I remember being in our pregnancy group and all these working moms had figured out the nanny situation or the daycare situation, and I hadn’t yet. It was weird. I couldn’t bring myself to figure it out because one, it just seemed so unbelievably expensive. I just couldn’t even wrap my head around it and I was like, it’ll just work out.

I’ll find something. Like I can’t deal with this right now. Of course, we did not end up needing childcare, but I needed a whole, I ended up spending all that money on me to recover, but you know, I just to acknowledge that. When Poppy died, I had worked on digging myself out of some financial debt I had when I moved out to the West Coast.

I’d paid off a whole bunch of credit card debt that I had living in New York City, and I’d actually saved quite a bit. So I had about $30,000 in savings. And I tell you what, I was so proud of myself because that was, All of my money. I had earned it. I had saved it. I had made sacrifices, and I had been really responsible financially.

So when Poppy did die and I ultimately decided that I could not keep doing my job as a disability attorney, I had built up a cushion and did I resent? Having to spend that money on my own healing. I sure did, but that was something I was able to work in therapy, you know, the need to spend the money, like how expensive it is.

And I will say that’s also another privilege. I know it’s not the subject of stays topic, but to be able to go to therapy and have the time to, to actually do the things that are required to heal. There is nothing inexpensive about recovering from. The loss of a baby, it is extremely. It costs our, you know, our freedom, our mental health, our physical health, all of it, like it’s, and our money.

It’s so expensive to recover from one of these types of losses. So I just really wanna acknowledge that to everyone else out there that either has been through that transition or is struggling financially or wants to quit their job or transition to something else and really just doesn’t know. How they can make it work fiscally.

Yeah, absolutely. So yeah, you kind of touched on this, but that was a question I had like when you got pregnant and like you’re going through and you’re making this plan, you had planned to continue to working. I had, you know, and I, it was kind of open. I think it was open. I think both Eli and I were, I don’t know.

What if I love being a mommy? What if his mom was a stay-at-home mom? My mom was a stay-at-home mom. My mom’s. Started working, teaching preschool I think when I was in like second grade. So up until that point, and I was the youngest of three up until that point, she’d been at home the whole time with all of the kids.

Eli’s mom’s story is a little bit different, but for the most part she had been a completely a stay-at-home mom and canned food and gardened and all those amazing things that you do made their sewed her children’s clothes sort of stuff. So we were very open to the possibility that I might be like, oh my God, I love being a mommy so much.

I can always go back to work sometime in the future and just stay at home. But. I had only arranged for the three months off. I used F M L A, I had did not have any paid maternity leave through the company that I worked for at the time, so I just arranged for three months F M L A, which is the Family Medical Leave Act.

And, and like I said, had just planned on figuring it out, I. And I had talked to my boss about the possibility of going back part-time and you know, there were options. I had options. I was in a position professionally that there was, you know, there was, there were possibilities, but just none of that had been worked out.

Okay. Yeah. So I think just important to say, a lot of women love their career. Like they, you know, they want, you know, if that’s the plan, oh yeah, you have this plan and you think it’s gonna go one way, um, and. Or like we said, you have to work and Right. Need to work. Yeah. Well, and it’s interesting too because I think especially where we live at, at the time we lived in Seattle, and I think I.

At the low end of childcare, it’s 20 bucks an hour. So you have to be able to be making what, at least 20 bucks an hour. So there’s this co You mean any Iami has been through this? Every couple goes through this where you’re like, this the, the cost benefit analysis of having someone else take care of my child so that I can basically pay.

To have someone else I can work to pay to have someone else take camera, retire. You’re like, huh, I don’t know if this is really making sense to me. What if this is the only child I ever have? What if I miss out on that? And the law will always be there? So I was definitely on the fence about what I would do, but then, you know, things being the way that they turned out, you know, ask me, you know, essentially ask me the next question.

Right. Because it’s like I could go in any direction, but I, yeah. I didn’t know exactly how it was gonna work out. Yeah. So you sense it when Poppy died? Yeah. What. Did you think you were gonna do about work? Well, like I said, I’d had the three months planned. There was definitely no just, oh, dead baby, I’ll just go back to work.

There was definitely no, none of that. It was definitely like, okay, I’m gonna absolutely use these three months. I was devastating calling my boss to say, Hey, my baby did not make it like all the, you know, all these things that people just don’t think about. Well, tell us a couple, what are a couple of things you had to do?

Oh my God. Well, with work, so I, you know, I called my boss and I, you know, we talked about it and he was devastated cuz he’s a father and was so excited for us. I mean, he was so supportive and so excited and he was devastated and he was just like, look, like, take, basically from the very beginning he said, take as much time as you need.

If three months turns out to not be enough, then you can take more. And so that was really, As reassuring from the very get-go that I had a supportive boss who was not like, okay, well you gotta be back in three months. Sorry. You know, he was very empathetic. Eli had not planned really on taking. Any time off or again, we were just gonna figure it out.

And I think a, a lot of this actually is because of our specific situation where we were boyfriend and girlfriend. When we found out that we got, well, we had just gotten engaged. I mean, for those two people who end up reading the memoir, which I hope everyone does, is we found out we were pregnant with Poppy one day after I got engaged.

So it was a whirlwind. And then we got married 13 weeks later, and then we were married for six months when she died. So, Eli hadn’t planned on taking any time off, and then we decided actually before we left the hospital that he would apply. He would also apply for F M L A and because we were newlyweds and we were just, we were madly in love with one another, we just needed to spend time together.

So he ended up taking 12 weeks of F M L A. As well, so that we could just be with one another and that we could heal and recover. And we ended up going on this amazing road trip and we traveled a bunch and we were basically escaping, like, you know, in many ways we were bonding, we were escaping, we were getting the heck outta dodge.

Like we cou. We just couldn’t, you know, we, we needed to escape our home with the nursery and like everything, so, When the time came for Eli to go back to work, that was actually really devastating cuz I hadn’t been alone in over three months. I’d been like his constant companion like we were. I mean, I couldn’t even, we lived on a busy street.

In Seattle and he, we had to park on the street and he had to walk around the car in order to get to the driver’s side. And every time he did that, like I always just imagined some car would come out of nowhere and kill him. Yeah. There was so much anxiety about me losing everything. Like it was just this like falling apart of everything.

Like I was, I felt like I was just losing. Everything. My, my life was just completely crumbling. And so when it came time to call my boss and be like, I don’t, I’m not ready, like I just wasn’t ready to go back after three months and he gave, we, we figured out another month and then I was an attorney. I was a Social security disability attorney, so I.

All of my cases were assigned to me by the company that I worked for, cuz people would hire them. What happened essentially was that we decided that after four months we, he would start putting people back on my calendar and I would be employed again. So I started getting cases and files and so I just worked at home and then I went to court when I needed to and it was really hard because I.

Well, social security disability is inherently a stressful job, and being a lawyer is stressful, but representing people who have been deeply traumatized by whatever series of their own losses that they’ve had, whether it’s physical or mental illness, or combination of both, and then losing their dreams and losing their finances and losing their relationships.

It was really tough work and I was always very committed to representing the whole person. And so when I tried to go, well, when I did go back, the starkest difference was that the, the sort of the built up persona, the protective shields that I had around me. Before Poppy died where I could be the lawyer and hold space with all these people and be also the hardball in the courtroom if I needed to be and, and every, and know all the rules and all the laws and super fast thinking like we’re gone.

It had all vaporized. Gone and I found myself like reading these people’s stories and just being like, oh my God, that happened. You know, I just like reading like psychological evaluations, which was all part of my work. I read everyone’s medical records, every single page. I mean, in some cases had a thousand pages of medical records that I would comb through to, to really understand their case and be able to argue on their behalf.

And so here I was. Disabled. I was disabled. I was a disabled person representing disabled people, and it was the hardest thing I had ever tried in my life, especially those women that I was representing who were dealing with anxiety and depression and things like panic attacks. Because for the first time in my life I was like, Oh, I don’t just theoretically understand what a panic attack is.

I have had them now, like now I know what it is like to have for no reason at all. All of a sudden, I cannot breathe. I feel like there’s an elephant sitting on my chest and I’m going to lose my mind because I was, I had started having panic attacks, so I was just a different person. And for anyone who reads the book, and I know you obviously have it, that there were a few clients that showed up on my roster who were angels.

I really truly believe that they were messengers and their stories helped me see very quickly that if I did not stop and take care of myself, that I too would become. Disabled that I would not recognize myself anymore. That I would be so divorced from my own essence because I was trying to push through and felt this, I have to do this.

Like I have to keep working. I, you know, cuz we think we do. We think we do. We’re taught to think we do. I mean, good grief. I went to law school like, I didn’t go to law school to not go be a lawyer. You know, it’s, that was my mindset, like my identity was deeply wound around being a lawyer because you know, in America especially, I know other cultures are different, but like you go out, you’re having a cocktail at a bar, oh, hey, what’s your name?

I’m Katie. What do you do? Mm-hmm. What do you do? I’m a bereaved mother who can’t focus long enough to get anything done. That’s who I am, you know? No. You’re like, no, I’m a lawyer. I’m a lawyer. Oh, you are? Wow. What kind of law? And then someone drops some obnoxious lawyer joke and you’re like, I’m not that kind of lawyer.

But no, I’m a lawyer. I’m a good, you know, I’m a good lawyer. I care about people. So I had to, it was excruciating and I kept a lot of journals. Um, After Poppy died and in one of them I just, I could find it somewhere, but it’s just like that day of just, I think I’m, I think I might leave my job. You know? It was just like I was like two or three weeks into the whole thing trying to go back.

I also went back at a reduced schedule, so they didn’t give me a full caseload like I had been used to. They gave me like 50% and it was interesting because I thought that was going to be easier, but in some ways, It didn’t, I mean, it didn’t make a difference at all because any work for me at that point was too much work.

Like I just couldn’t, and then I, one, one thing I will say is that I remember with certain judges, like once I had decided to resign, and I can tell you a little bit about like those conversations that I had with Eli and sort of the negotiations and the understanding that like I needed to do this. There were judges who were sad to see me go and were.

Were congratulating me on taking the time for myself that they really acknowledged that I was doing something that most people don’t do. One judge in particular was just like, Katie, honor the fact that you are choosing yourself over your job right now. And that was really big. I needed to hear that.

Well, and I think for people listening, if you don’t have that in your life, You might need to be that person for yourself, you know? Yeah. Like it’s a big deal. And like you said, I love how you explain it is your identity. A lot of times our jobs are who we feel like we are. Yes. And then grief just like smacks you in the face and you have to.

Re-figure out who you are. And so it takes a lot of courage to be able to say, I’m gonna go into the unknown instead of just going back to the grind that I, you know, oh my gosh, yes. And such a grind too. And I mean, I think I was probably, you know, wearing my stretchy fancy pee in the pod maternity pants when I went to that last hearing.

Like I, I still had to put on those, hadn’t lost. The baby weight. I mean, there were just, there were so many things of just like showing up, just like those conversations of the people who hadn’t heard through the grapevine that Poppy had died and were congratulating me like in an, in a work environment where I’m like, with my client next to me and I’m like, we should talk later.

You know? I wanna be like, uh, there’s no baby. Please don’t, please don’t talk about this. Right now, because my client’s gonna be like, what? You just had a baby? And I’m gonna be like, oh God, I ca yeah, I did, I did just have a baby. She’s dead. Ugh. You know what I mean? It’s just, it was these constant, you know, life and, and it’s, and it was nobody’s fault, but it was just, it’s the fallout, right?

That it’s the fallout that people who don’t go through this type of loss, Thank God. Don’t have to think about, well, can you tell us a little bit about what was that thought process like? You’ve kind of, it really beautifully illustrated what it was like and I think we can all feel that. Yeah. You describe it so well.

Thanks. What was that thought process where you finally were like, should I stay or should I go? I mean it, I think again, it was these messengers, it was these other, it was these other, Other my clients that were basically like, I will end up like this because I saw that they were the people that had tried to push through.

So this is a, I was in a extremely. Unique situation. I mean, I think probably I could say one of a kind, if there was another disability attorney out there who also went through a stillbirth like mine, then she’s, she can jump in this little circle here, but I saw in front of me what it looks like. When you don’t do the things to heal after a tragic loss, and the particular story is this one woman whose son was tragically murdered in like this gang shootout, and he wasn’t even in the gang.

It was like one of those things, wrong place, wrong time, and he was her only child. And. He died and so she got three days bereavement from this clerk job, like I think she was like a data entry or something, and three years later she’s sitting in the courtroom with me and I’m looking down at my notes and I’m looking at, it’s like it’s depression, it’s anxiety, it’s panic attacks, it’s P T S D.

And she eventually had to leave her job because all of these things were the fallout from her son dying and her inability to cope and her lack of therapy. She hadn’t been able to, not only could she not afford therapy, but she couldn’t afford to take the time off to go to therapy. The only time that she could ever afford the time to go to therapy was when she finally got fired or quit her job.

So I just look at all this and I’m like, oh my God, this is my story. If I do not stop and slow down, this will be me. I knew it to be true. And I could not ignore the signs. And had I chosen to ignore the signs, it would’ve led to more pat panic and more anxiety, cuz it would’ve been like that evil monster lurking around the corner that I was just waiting to attack me that I actually knew was there.

You know? So I, that really was the clincher, like it was those other people. And I say all this to say that if anyone is listening, let me be the messenger, right? Let me be the angel who has been through it too, to say you, you don’t have to. Keep working and you might not know how you’re going to make that.

Work. You might be like, this is the scariest thing I’ve ever done in my life. But I can tell you what resigning from my job as an attorney was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. But it was like equally empowering and equally disempowering. I was so empowered to say, you know what? I’m going to do this.

I’m doing this for myself. I’m doing this for my future. I’m doing this for the possibility of having a future child. I’m doing this for my marriage. There are so many, like I’m doing this for the possibility of actually being able to return to work, to be a lawyer that feels good about the work that I’m doing, instead of just.

C minus. I mean, I was an a plus lawyer and everybody knew it and I had a great reputation and so I wanted to get back. I don, I can’t even say get back, right? Cause that’s such a thing about, oh, let’s get back into our bodies and let’s get back to who we were. It’s like, no, I needed to figure out who I was now in the moment.

And then if I wanted to come back, I knew that there was always a possibility that I could, I didn’t ever end up going back to law. But I knew what I wanted was to not feel like I felt anymore, but I also understood deep within myself that I had to slow down and actually be with the feelings that I was having, the incredibly uncomfortable feelings I was having and process them before anything else could happen.

And that’s sort of where the transition, that’s where I was really able to. Sit in the muck of the transition, the space where the space between one thing ending and another thing beginning. Cuz I had no clue what I was gonna do next. I had absolutely no clue. My roots as a lawyer are very much important into as to who I am professionally at this point.

Because, you know, I practice law for 10 years and I care. Yeah, yeah. And again, I love how you describe that because, I mean, we might not have been in your exact situation, but I think there is kind of that list of just what are the ripple effects of me? Yes. Stopping working. What is this gonna mean? What am I making it mean about me, about my future, about my family, about my potential future career?

All of the things that even reminded me of, I have a friend who. Was a stay-at-home mom, but struggled with postpartum anxiety and depression and very severely, and chose to go to treatment, like to leave her family. So quit her job as a mom to take care of herself so that she could. Come back. Yes. Right.

So whatever you’re doing. Yes. Sometimes it’s like giving yourself that permission to pause what’s not working or Yes. Make a change. Yeah. I think for each one of us, we just have to evaluate that, you know? Yes. What is, what’s gonna be unique for most important. Yes. And it’s gonna be unique for everyone.

It’s gonna be unique for everyone. Yeah. It’s scary, but like you said, you might not know how it’s gonna work, but I think both of us would agree. Like. You can make it work or you can trust that it will work. Yes. If you’re feeling really strongly one way or the other. It is, it’s true. I I, the year that I left lawyering, I was almost making a hundred thousand dollars a year.

That was, I was so proud of myself. God, I’ve worked so hard. I was so proud of myself. You know, but I, and I’ve never come close to making that money ever again. And, but yet every single penny that I’ve earned as a life coach now, and other things that I’ve chosen to do, and now my book with, you know, the royalties that I get from my book, you know, it’s just, I’m proud.

I’m so proud of. Who I have become and the choices that I’ve made and can, and continue the sacrifices that I’ve made. And it’s hard. I miss that money. You know, I miss that sort of, some of that prestige, but I just, it’s really just surrendering to the process and trusting that all of this is much bigger than me and the choices that I’ve made that I can sit here on this podcast with you, Amy, and connect and hopefully touch the hearts of other mommies who’ve gone through loss.

Because I’m willing to tell my story. And help validate other people’s stories and other people’s struggles, and because of that, feel more love and more connected to people all over. Yeah. Yeah, it’s just amazing where life takes us and yeah, where we plan. But no, I don’t even know what, you know what’s so funny, as you say that word plan, I think back and I’m like, what did I plan?

Honestly? What was I thinking? What was I, what did I think? You know? And you and I were talking before we started recording about watching this movie, persuasion Yesterday, and there was this one line that she says, this main character at one point where she says, they don’t tell you when you’re. When you’re young that things aren’t gonna work out the way you planned.

Or she said some, she said something about like that when you get older, like it isn’t what you expected. And there was something. So for me, I could have just stopped watching there and meditated on what that one line. Cuz I thought to myself, I’m 41 years old now. I’ve got stage four metastatic breast cancer.

What did I expect? What did I plan? What was I like? What? You know, like at this point it’s, I mean, my theme song. Christina Perry, who I’m sure you know and others will know. She has, she’s a mu, a musician and also has had both miscarriage and stillbirth, and she just released this new album I recommended to anybody.

But this first song, it’s surrender Everybody go listen to it. And I’m telling you right now, that is my theme song. Surrender. Surrender. I just, I just can’t, I can’t grip in, I can’t, you know, I gotta loosen these talents on whatever I thought. Was supposed to happen, what life was supposed to be like. And I also do wanna acknowledge this in this moment, that my life is beautiful.

I love living. I love my life. I love my husband. I love my home. I love my doggy. I love my daughter. I love myself. I love myself. I love myself so much. I love you, Katie. Joy. I love me. I love my mommy and my daddy who’s passed away. Like I, I love my community. I love all you breathed mothers listening to this show.

I truly do. I just, There’s so much to be thankful for and you know, I mean life is hard and it is not what we expected, but let’s figure what is it girls? What is it that we actually expected? Let’s be real. I don’t know what I mean. Did we expect, like what the magazines, you know, obviously there’s like, you know, we get.

I have a four and a half year old little girl, and you know, she thinks that like you kiss a boy and then you marry him because that’s what Disney showed her. And I’m like, oh honey. I’m like, fingers crossed. You kiss a whole bunch of people before you choose which one you’re gonna marry. I’m like, you know, I’m just like, what?

Because we get taught these things and we get inculcated or with all these ideas of what life is supposed to look like, but. I’m here to, you know, shatter that glass with all of the other ladies who already Yeah. I think we’re all there with you. Yeah, we’re, nobody needs that. Everyone’s there. Well, I love where this conversation has taken us and you.

I love the how open you are. Will you just tell us really quickly the name of your book and where people can find it? Yes. My book, my memoir is called Still Breathing, my Journey With Love Loss and Reinvention. You can find it on Amazon. It’s in ebook and paperback. You could order it on Barnes and Noble if you want to.

You can ask your library to get it. I think there are lots of ways that you can request books in your library. I would love to see my book in every library so that people could read it for free. You can follow me on Instagram at Katie Joy Duke. You can check out my web website. Katie Joy I kept it easy for everybody.

Nice. And I will link everything down in the show notes, but thanks. But I loved your book. It’s beautiful. Like it’s beautifully written. Thank you. And it’s a beautiful story. I saw a lot of similarities to my story, so. Oh good. I’m so glad. Yeah. We’re putting it out there cuz that’s, I mean, that’s a big deal too.

It was a labor of love. It took me six years to write it. I had to go back over and over. And for all of you mommies, I will say that, you know the, you know, people ask me like, why did you write this book? What was inspiration? And I always say like, I. First and foremost, I wrote this book to save my own soul.

And then as my soul began to be saved, I had to go, gosh, am I still writing this book? And then, then it was like, why? What’s my why? And then I thought about the 24,000 mommies every year who have stillborn babies. Plus, I mean, let’s then throw in miscarriage. So good grief, the millions, and you were my why.

You know, like. Realizing that people needed to be validated and needed to know that they weren’t alone. And so every time I went back and then by the time I got to the point where it was just like make or break last year, 2021, where I was like, I gotta get this thing done. I gotta, I gotta birth this baby that I’ve been working on for six years now.

I did the math cuz again, I had to go back to my why. I was like, why? And I realized, wait a second. Okay. It’s 24,000 every year in the United States. States alone. That means since Poppy had died, there had been 125,000 stillborn babies. I was like, that’s a lot of mommies. That’s a lot of daddies. That’s a lot of careers.

That’s a lot of identities. That’s a lot of expectations and it’s a lot of change and transformation and transition, and so. I was like, okay, I’m going back. Going back to my why and realizing that this book needed to be out there. It is just one more example of another, of a mother who loves to write and process and word and wanted to give that as a gift to everyone.

Yeah. Amazing. Well, thank you so much for being here and for all that you do. Thank you so much. Are you tired of feeling like your baby’s death was somehow your fault? Go to Smooth Stones and get my free mini course. How to Stop Blaming Yourself After Loss.

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