Lettered Hope

Bearing Burdens

MiscarriageJessica ScheksComment

My best friend Melissa and I recently opened an Etsy shop called Burden Bearing Baskets (BBB). Michael can verify that what I'm about to say next is true: There has been nothing in my life in that last (almost) 6 months that has come close to making me as happy or motivated me as much as this business.

As Mother's Day, the six month "anniversary" of our loss (5/15), and my due date (6/18) are quickly approaching I found myself several weeks ago hitting an all time low. I was really struggling. Not only was I feeling the usual sadness and emptiness that accompany each day, but I could feel myself slipping into a deeper depression; a place I didn't want to be in but that was too strong for me to just climb out of on my own. And I was also having so much anger. To be honest, the way I felt was really starting to scare me. I hated feeling the way I was feeling, but I truly couldn't help it.

Melissa and I have dreamed of opening a business together for probably six years or so. We've had many ideas that never even made it off paper. But as the idea for this new business was born, it lifted off the pages so quickly and in a way that let us know God was in it. It has been overwhelming in the best way!

A few weeks ago we met on a Monday at a coffee shop to discuss the ideas for BBB. After we went over some plans we left that night and started shopping for supplies. I went to Melissa's house that Friday, we put together a basket and took pictures of it, and had our shop open on Etsy by late afternoon.

I have a personal Etsy shop as well, and it took months to get a first sale. Anytime I read about starting an Etsy shop they always tell you to be patient and that it can take a good amount of time before you get your first sale. Even Etsy sellers who have really successful shops now say it took them six months before they even got one sale! So when we listed our basket we weren't expecting anything right away. But by Sunday night we had our first order!

All that next week we scrambled around to put together this basket. The basket was for a couple who had a baby that was born and passed on the same day. Their story, based on the limited information we received from their friend who purchased the basket, sounded pretty similar to Audrey's story. It was so touching that our first basket was something we could relate to.

Then we received our second order. This basket was for someone's sister-in-law who's son was stillborn (I think) last July. She bought the basket to give to her sister-in-law for Mother's Day. We include a handlettered print in each basket and the quote that was requested has been one of the most comforting quotes I have read since my miscarriage:

I carried you every second of your life and I will love you for every second of mine.

For some reason that quote just means so much to me. It makes me swell up with love every time I read it. So it was extra special to design a print with those words.

Since we've opened our shop we have had a constant flow of orders. I have no clue how much money we've made based on how much we've spent and I don't care because it is SO rewarding. It inspires me and gives me more energy than I've had since November 15th.

Right before we started BBB I was listening to a Revive Our Hearts podcast where Nancy Guthrie was being interviewed. I read a book Nancy wrote about how she lost two children due to a rare syndrome shortly after my miscarriage. And in the podcast she emphasized how important it was to begin to help others in the midst of your own grief.

As Nancy and her husband were grieving the death of their daughter, they went and did yard work for a friend who had just moved into their neighborhood and was recently widowed. Nancy said as they worked in the yard she just let her tears fall but that it was so healing. And I was feeling so hopeless on the day I listened to that podcast that I had no clue what to do. If I were being honest I didn't want to help anyone. I just wanted to curl up into a ball and never leave my apartment again. I told Michael that night about what I had heard but that I just didn't know where to start or who to help.

And within that same week Melissa came to me with ideas about BBB. It was like God dropped the answer in my lap. I still have had some HARD days since BBB started, but it has really helped to restore my hope and give me something truly inspiring and exciting to wake up for. The other day the thought hit me as I was feeling anger over my situation again, that if it weren't for both of our losses we probably wouldn't be doing this. It's possible we might have anyways, but it wouldn't be quite as meaningful for me. Not only is this meaningful, but it has been healing to me. It has been such a tangible blessing in the midst of so much heartbreak.