My year as Mrs Charity BC 2015 was deeply memorable for a number of reasons. Of course it was amazing to be able to be a part of parades, and it was an added point of interest when volunteering, but I will also never forget that year for another reason.
It was leaving a winter photoshoot with the other titleholders that I felt my first wave of intense nausea. "Maybe I'm pregnant," I joked with our makeup artist Gwen Perkins, and Miss Vancouver Island as I navigated us down from Grouse Mountain. Thirteen days later I found it was no joke - just in time to give my mother in law the Christmas gift of a lifetime - a decorative plaque with a pithy saying on it about the importance of Grandmas that I had bought for just this possibility a couple of months prior.
My son (while still in the womb) went on to be a center piece for a couple of the photos of Miss World Canada 2012's International Women's Day Post with other title holders, and just over a month before he was born I carried him on stage in me as we gave our farewell speeches and passed on our crowns.
He may not have lived a long life - the doctors told us at his 20 week scan that there was a problem with his kidneys and because of that his lungs did not fully develop - but I am glad I could give him as full of a life as he was able to have. My pageant sisters hoped and prayed with me for a miracle, and helped me honor his little life, while he was here.
The winner of the Heart and Soul award our year, Becca Toews, shared about the impact her 2 miscarriages had on her and I know I'm not alone in my pain, as I learned from her that 1/4 pregnancies end that way.
When I went to the hospital to give birth, they put an IV in my arm so they could give me drugs quickly if I needed them. Sometimes I look at the scar it left and remember him. He was real, he was alive, and he was worth it. So many others have scars that we can't see, from abortions, still births and miscarriages, these lives, no matter how short, leave a mark on us. I am grateful to be able to carry an evidence of him on my body that I can see, and also to have all the photos and memories of him from my year as Miss Charity BC.