How I Turned Around My Life After Our Full-term Stillborn

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“You have within you, right now, everything you need to deal with whatever the world can throw at you.” ~ Brian Tracy

Dealing with death is difficult no matter the situation.  Unfortunately, it is something my wife and I had to overcome early in our marriage.

Over seven years ago we were expecting our second child.  The pregnancy was going as planned.  The baby was in excellent health, and my wife was feeling as good as possible.

It was all good until my wife went to her last appointment before her scheduled delivery.

At that appointment, she found out the baby no longer had a heartbeat.  We also learned the baby was going to be our second son.

Later that day we went to the hospital to induce labor, and on January 27th, Christian was born.

We got to hold him for a few hours and then I had to plan a funeral.

Everything happened so quickly and those few days are a blur.

After the funeral, it was hard to go back to normal.  We had an empty nursery at the house, hospital bills for a child we didn’t get to bring home, and unfulfilled hope.

Everyday life was hard for a long time after his birth.  A bad situation got worse when we started unnecessarily buying things to fill a void, alcohol flowed smoothly for me, and my weight increased.

A year later, we were in massive debt, our marriage wasn’t like it used to be, I was unfulfilled with work, and I was in the worst shape of my life.

Christian would have only been about 18 months younger than our oldest son.  We had dreams of them growing up close, playing sports with each other, and being best friends.

With most deaths, you have memories of the departed, but with when Christian died we lost our dreams.  That was the hardest part for us.

Getting Out of the Funk

In late 2011, thankfully, we were expecting our third child.  Unfortunately, everything else in my life needed a change because I had to get our family out the mess. I remember sitting in my car during lunch and made the decision to change my life.

As I was thinking how to change, I read a quote from Tony Robbins that inspired me, “the path to success is to take massive, determined action.”

So that’s what I did.

Here are the steps I took that helped me get unstuck quickly.

Personal Development

Almost immediately I started to devour personal development material.  I wanted to learn from those who had experienced success.  Specifically, those who overcame obstacles.

Most people think this would be expensive, but 90% of personal development tools are free.  Here is a list of what I used to fill my mind and soul with positivity daily:

  • Podcasts
  • Library books
  • YouTube Videos (Mostly TedTalks)
  • OverDrive (app to listen to Audiobooks from library)
  • Blogs

Starting this habit helped me immensely.  It is the reason I was able to change careers in the middle of a recession, write a book, sell an app business, start an Amazon business, and develop my blog.

Massive Change

As I was voraciously studying personal development material, I realized I needed a change in my life.  I need something to make me a little uncomfortable.

For me, that was changing careers.

I had been in the financial services industry since graduating college but was disengaged with work for a long time.  I loved helping people with their finances (I still do), but I realized the banks were more interested in their own profits than the customers.

After reading the book 48 Days to the Work You Love, I had a new career in dental sales within 30 days!  It was the best career move I made!

This change gave me the opportunity to start over.  It was something I needed immensely.

Exercise

Though I had made mental changes, I realized my health was still an area that needed improvement.

In 2012, I decided to start training for a 1/2 marathon.  I’m not sure what sparked that genius idea, but I began training in February and ran my the race in May.

At the time, I didn’t realize all the benefits of exercise. Knowing what I know now, I would have started exercising sooner to help me get out of my miserable state of mind.

Exercising helps change your mindset.  You feel better about yourself because your body produces more endorphins when you exercise.  These endorphins are chemicals in your body that improve your immunity, helps you relax, and is a natural mood booster.

Since that race, I have kept up a pretty steady exercise program.  Currently, I workout at least 4 to 5 days a week. My workouts include:

  • Running
  • Playing basketball
  • Weight training
  • Cardio workouts
  • Swimming
  • Playing with my kids

Being Present

There is an old quote that says, “wherever you are, be all there.”

Before Christian being born (and after), my mind was always all over the place.  I thought work was the most important thing in life and I had dreams of climbing the corporate ladder.

I would put in 12 hour days. When I was at work, I would be thinking about my family.  When I was with my family, I would be thinking about work.  I didn’t even make my wife’s last doctors appointment because I was at work.

After our daughter was born, I realized I needed to be more present.  It was then I started experimenting with meditation to learn to be focused.  Currently, I try to meditate daily for 7-10 minutes.

Learning to be present, helped me concentrate more on my family and, surprisingly, work.  Due to this change, I have better relationships with my kids, my wife, and am more productive.

I’ll never forget our baby boy Christian.  It was a difficult time in my life.

However, I did learn the best way to get out of difficult times includes digesting positive materials, massive change, exercise, and being present.    Implementing all of these actions helped me rekindle my relationship with my wife, pay off our debt within 18 months, and live a life I love.

What has helped you over obstacles in your life?