Behind The Brand
Wether you are walking through a recent loss, or have been carrying grief with you for years, you are welcome here, your pain is seen here and acknowledged here. While not all loss is the same, the scars we carry are, and no matter if today has been one where you have navigated like any other or has stopped you in your tracks, we walk together. One step at a time.
About Jennifer: I was born and raised in a small beach town in the suburbs outside of San Diego, California. I have been blessed with 2 girls in my arms and 1 boy in heaven. While the ocean will forever hold my heart, we made the decision to move to upstate South Carolina in 2020 and plant our roots for good.
My Missing Piece was founded in July of 2015. Just days postpartum after losing the baby boy we had longed for and wished for, while in the thick of my grief, I felt called to create for grieving hearts like my own. But before we dive into how My Missing Piece was created, let’s go back to where the story truly begins...
In September of 2011, I lost my mother. My rock, my best friend, my cheerleader. I watched as cancer took the beautiful, confident, independent and most amazing woman and broke her in just a matter of months. She was a fighter, through every bit of her life and cancer was no different. She never once thought it would defeat her. She never once cried or showed fear. She had the most beautiful faith in God I have ever seen and even in her last moments knew where she was going.
I was newly married, and nearly 8 months pregnant with our first baby girl. My world shattered. How was I supposed to become a mother without my mother? Instead of planning a baby shower, I was planning a funeral. I went through the motions as best I could avoiding at all costs acknowledging that she was really gone.
Then, a few months later, a tiny and beautiful miracle was placed into my arms. I knew in that moment the love a mother has for her child and in that moment, grief crashed around me. For the first time I realized the love she carried for me, and I needed her. The next 2 years were filled with depression, tears, anxiety, and shutting myself off from the rest of the world. While I had others in my life I had lost before, the grief of losing your mother, so young, when you need her most, took me into the deepest grief that no one seemed to understand. I was judged for how I grieved and for how long. I was told time and time again to “just move on...”
I grieved in my own way, talking about her, sharing her. Finding friendship in others who understood the pain of grief no matter their type of loss. Little by little I began to find the light in life again, but I was changed. Because that what grief does. It changes us. We are scared, but we can learn to thrive with that scar while also giving it the care it needs.
Once we felt ready to grow our family again, it didn’t come so easy the second time around. Actually, we were told it was nearly impossible. I had already had complications after my first birth which left me having to go though 2 years of multiple ER visits, doctor appointments and hospital stays. After finally finding a fertility specialist I trusted, we held onto hope.
I was scheduled for surgery which would hopefully increase our chances of conceiving along with fertility options. A few months later, I placed a test on the bathroom counter which quickly turned positive... tears streamed down my face.
Due to the way we conceived, I was at a high chance of having multiples. We knew this going into it and were happy with any outcome. So when I went in for my first beta, my numbers were much higher than normal. It was too early to determine wether we had conceived multiples or not so my doctor continued to monitor my beta numbers. Weeks went by and by that point we were convinced we would be looking at twins possibly.
As our first ultrasound date arrived, I was calm. I had not an ounce of fear or doubt that anything would be wrong. At that appointment, we learned it was just one, but what looked to be like a healthy little babe! My HCG numbers weren’t adding up though to be consistent with a singleton pregnancy. So my doctor wanted to run more tests.
Again, weeks went by with nothing to be completely alarmed about. Until... our next ultrasound. Baby want growing as he should have been. Baby was moving and had a heartbeat, but irregular. The tests came back at that point as well and was told that I likely was having a Partial Molar Pregnancy - where the fetus develops with triple the amount of chromosomes and will never develop to full term. Along with this, my uterus was multiplying with pre-cancerous cells which additionally effects your ability to carry the pregnancy to term. (The cause for my HCG numbers being elevated) Again, my heart was shattered for the second time.
As my doctor placed his hand on my knee he said we would monitor the baby until his heart stopped beating. I still hear those words in my head over and over again. How? Why? Why this baby? I was numb.
Week after week I went in for ultrasound checks. Our baby was a fighter. (Just like his Grandma...) We had to prepare to lose him, and we knew that, but we knew we also had to love him fully every second he was with us. Each week was both a beautiful gift and also a heart wrenching reality. My last appointment, I sat in a room full of expectant mothers, while I felt not worthy of being amongst them. I was physically pregnant but knew in my heart our baby was gone. That appointment confirmed it.
On June 16, 2015 - River James was delivered into Jesus’ and my momma’s arms. While grief overcame me, I also felt peace. I cannot begin to put it into words, but I felt called to continue to have Faith, even through the darkness. We would be blessed to hold that “Faith” in our arms when our (rainbow baby) second baby girl was born in 2016.
I now was a motherless daughter and a mother without a child.
Those two labels put upon me pushed me to be a light for others in their own grief. I desperately needed to find a way to channel not only my own grief but comfort the many walking the same path that I was, who understood, without having to say a word.
This is where My Missing Piece was given life.
While flowers, curated gift baskets, and cards are a beautiful gift to receive, my focus was to create a space in which to remember the specific life missed and loved. Honoring the names we no longer often speak out loud. Celebrating their birthdays and holidays, but keeping a piece of their memory with us.
My Missing Piece was founded on pouring our hearts into creating beautiful keepsake pieces to preserve your most treasured memories along with personalized pieces honoring their life, to display in your home.
Over the years, this business has become more than just physical products, it’s a community, where you can feel you are not alone. Where you can come to for love, support and acknowledgment of your pain. We are grievers. Understanding the waves of grief that now and will forever be intertwined in our lives. We pray that whatever you may find here comforts your heart and reminds you of the missing piece you carry in your heart. - Jennifer