Finding joy in the tough times

Joy, for me, is more than just being happy. It’s a much deeper emotion and one that isn’t just linked to happy times. Some of my most joyful moments have been during the most difficult times of my life.


My pregnancy with Jessica was an incredibly joyous time. This might sound strange given that we found out about her heart condition at 20 weeks and were told that the chances of her survival were extremely low. Despite all the heartache we experienced during that time, there was also joy. The future was too scary so we lived in the moment and we enjoyed the moment. Every little kick, every wriggle was doubly precious. We treasured every one of them, making the most of our time with Jessica whilst she was still in the womb because we didn’t know whether that would be all we had. We drew comfort and strength from our faith, from the love and support of those around us and clung to the hope of a miracle.


Me looking at my bump when pregnant with Jessica - "Finding joy in the tough times"

Going for in-utero surgery at 28 weeks’ gestation to give Jessica a chance of survival was scary. I was so grateful that I would be awake throughout the procedure. The thought of being put to sleep feeling Jessica’s movements inside me and been woken to bad news was my worst nightmare. The overwhelming feeling of joy and gratitude when that surgery was successful was amazing. We had been given hope. It was the greatest gift we could have been given at that time. I remember waking in the night and feeling Jessica hiccupping as she woke from the anaesthetic. I thanked God fervently for giving us the miracle we had prayed for, for giving us hope. It was an incredibly joyous moment.


The moment when Jessica was born and we heard her cry for the first time is still possibly the most joyful moment of my whole life. The overwhelming relief that Jessica was alive. That she looked reasonably pink, that she was crying and appeared to be so much more well than we’d ever dared hope she’d be. Our precious, beautiful girl. And then that moment when she was placed on my chest. A brief but oh so precious cuddle. Breathing in that wonderful newborn baby smell and feeling her nuzzle against me filled me with overflowing joy that could only find expression in tears.


A tearful hubby looking at me having skin to skin with Jessica in the neonatal unit


Sophie’s arrival too was a joyous moment but not quite as overwhelming. It was calmer, more serene – a peaceful arrival in a birthing pool at home. Beautiful and thankfully much less dramatic than her sister’s arrival and much less of a whirlpool of emotions. Those beautiful serene moments of snuggling my newborn baby next to me in the pool with my big girl standing there, so excited to meet her baby sister for the first time are just wonderful memories.


Me holding Sophie in the birthing pool with hubby and Jessica looking on


And now, my biggest joy is watching my two beautiful girls together. To see them grow and develop and learn more about the world around them. We still live in the moment; the future is still uncertain but to be here now is a blessing.


Jessica pushing baby Sophie in the swing


Linking in with mumturnedmom for this week’s Prompt – “Joy”


26 thoughts on “Finding joy in the tough times

  1. Beautiful words and all those emotions (including, of course joy) so well described. This really did choke me up, given that we had a traumatic birth due to pre-eclampsia and hellp syndrome. Like you, we really are grateful every single day. #ThePrompt

    1. Thank you – so sorry to hear that you had a traumatic birth and hope your little one is doing well now x

    1. Thank you – oh yes, there are so many emotions around birth, not always good ones admittedly. The last picture is one of my favourites – such a lovely moment with them playing together 🙂

  2. Louise, you and your family bring so much joy to others, too. Those of us who stand alongside you and pray are so blessed to know you, Michael, Jessica and Sophie

    1. Thank you so much Cathy – we are so blessed to have the love, support and prayers of so many friends and family members x

  3. What a gorgeous post. I nearly wrote about the overwhelming joy I felt after giving birth – ‘joy’ just doesnt seem a strong enough word to describe those emotions does it? Seeing my boys’ sibling bond also brings me so much joy too. I love the photo of your girls, in fact all the photos in this post just ooze love! #theprompt

    1. Thank you Maddy – yes that moment when that little one arrives can be such a hugely overwhelming moment, I can honestly say I’ve never experienced such depth of emotion at any other time. So glad you liked the photos too, they are some of my favourites x

  4. Oh Louise, the description of the surgery and the joy and tears at the birth of your eldest combined with the look on your husband’s face in that photo just made me well up completely! I wanted to steer a bit clear of focusing too much on the birth experiences for this week’s ‘joy’ prompt but actually, you’re right, these are two of the most joyous moments I’ll ever experience! 🙂 X #theprompt

    1. Sorry for making you well up – my pregnancy with Jessica was the first thing that came to mind with this week’s #theprompt – there was just so much joy despite all the heartache and difficult moments. So glad your two births were joyous moments too – so amazing when that little one enters the world x

  5. Your husbands expression in that first photo is just so wonderful, truly joyful. What a wonderful post, looking for the joy in the moment and in hope was a very strong thing to do, although I imagine the only way to do it. Your happy ending is perfect. Than you so much for linking to #ThePrompt x

  6. What beautiful photos and a wonderful post. Your husbands pride and joy is totally evident in both photos. I love that your older daughter got to meet her baby sister so soon too. Thank you for linking to PoCoLo 🙂 x

  7. This is such a lovely post – I’m so glad that your eldest daughter was OK.
    My eldest son was stillborn at 41 weeks, although I didn’t see it coming or have any preparation I treasure the memories of my pregnancy with him – In the end that is all I have.
    The pure joy of both my daughter’s safe arrivals is something I will carry with me forever.
    I love the picture of your girls paying together, it reminds me so much of my own. It’s truly a gift isn’t it.

    1. Thank you and I am so sorry that your eldest son was stillborn. I am sure those memories of your pregnancy are so very special as a result and I am so glad that both your daughters arrived safely x

  8. What a gorgeous post lovely! The photo of you and your hubby just after Jessica was born says it all. Gorgeous pic of the girls on the swing too. It’s so important to remember things to be happy about during the tough times, because it makes coming out the other side that much easier #sharethejoy

  9. Louise this is such a joyful post! I’m practically in tears reading your amazing story – isn’t it remarkable that surgery like this is even possible? Unfortunately after a traumatic c-section with our IUGR daughter at 36 weeks in China I was immediately knocked out with morphine and so didn’t get to experience skin to skin with her straight away, but I WAS able to with our son and your post has brought those memories back so vividly! Thank you for linking up at #sharethejoy – hope to see you again next week x

    1. Thank you – the in-utero surgery was amazing and we are so grateful that we had that opportunity. So sorry that your C-section with your daughter was traumatic but so glad you were able to have skin-to-skin with your son. Lovely to link up to #sharethejoy, thank you for hosting.

  10. What a heart-warming description of finding joy even in the midst of truly challenging circumstances. Thanks so much for sharing, it was really wonderful to read about the joyous moments you managed to find even when things were so uncertain!

    1. Thank you – it was a very tough time but there was so much joy too and it is lovely to see how well Jessica is doing now.

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