As a Christian, I've always taken pride in spreading that joy and being a strong witness for Jesus -- even when it's not easy or popular.
Once I hit my 40s, I was home schooling my children and -- after years of working in the film and television industries -- I was starting to see success with my own production company. And I received an answer to perhaps my most intimate, heartfelt prayer; after years of trying, I was pregnant again.
I know it's cliché, but for me, life couldn't get any better. I floated on a sense of security and peace, and at that point, my faith felt unshakeable.
And then in one fell swoop, I was blindsided by tragedy that not only tested my faith, but forever changed my life.
'That can't be right'
My family and I piled into the room with the ultrasound tech, both of our boys giddy with excitement to see and hear their sibling's heartbeat for the first time. My husband and I would marvel at the growth of our new little one. You could feel the anticipation in the room as I was poked and prodded, and we watched the screen.
After a while, the tech asked me to empty my bladder and we'd look again. Hmm, I thought. I returned, and she continued her examination.
I noticed "7 weeks" on the screen. That can't be right, I thought. I'm almost 12 weeks.
The intensity of the exam slowed to a crawl. A doctor slipped into the room. The two conferred, and slowly the fuzzy picture came into view. "The baby doesn't have a heartbeat," the doctor said gently, almost apologetically. The realization of those words sunk into my being. "No!" I screamed. "No, no, no!"
Hot tears stung my eyes, betraying my desire to maintain any sense of composure. A trickle of tears quickly became a stream. "Can you check again?" I squeaked, desperate for hope. They checked. Still no heartbeat. They ushered my sons out of the room, and my husband and I to an office for counseling. My mind was in a fog, struggling to comprehend how our lives could change so drastically in seconds. The doctor presented several options. I'm not sure I processed any of them.
Our family limped away that day, broken and bruised. My heart, and my faith, shattered.
My husband had to carry my oldest son in his arms, as my baby sobbed and asked, "Why?" We all wanted the baby so much. It was my third miscarriage, but I felt so sure God told me this one would be to term.
I just knew it was meant to be. And then, it wasn't.
A descent into depression
That was the beginning of my descent into a place of darkness and crippling pain that I've never experienced before.