My name is Sarah Denio and I am the founder of KindNest. My mission is to invoke empowerment in women and couples who are trying to conceive, working through pregnancy loss, and who are pregnant. Before starting KindNest, I helped adults navigate their desired career paths within for- and not-for-profit organizations. You may wonder how I came to found a pregnancy empowerment business. I would like to share with you my story.
*Please note, content herein may be "triggering" as it contains details of my pregnancy losses. I share in hopes of counter-balancing the impact of society censoring pregnancy, which can leave us in the dark, feeling isolated and uncertain, or perhaps worse yet, expecting only sunshine and blue skies. My intent is not to burst anyone's bubble, but instead to be the current floating along with you. The radiance of what follows darkness has the power to illuminate beyond imagination. May you may know that, whatever your path, you are amongst friends. If you are interested in hearing more, continue scrolling past the picture below.
I come from a large family, with my parents having a combined total of 19 siblings. I had always assumed that starting my own family would come easily to me. But instead, I lost two pregnancies in the first year of trying. Both losses occurred around 9 weeks and were "missed miscarriages," meaning the baby is no longer living but my womb had not yet begun to release the pregnancy. We found out via ultrasounds after having seen healthy heartbeats weeks earlier, and opted for D&C's (surgical procedures) both times.
The shock of the first loss was most profound. I knew miscarriage could happen, of course, but had little appreciation for the boundless capacity for love parents can have for their unborn children. The joyful spring that had been in my step from the moment I learned I was carrying new life was gone. I looked for resources in the community to help me heal, but found few. As I attempted to grieve, I felt isolated from family and friends, most of whom hadn't known I was pregnant in the first place. I searched online for what had caused my pregnancy loss and learned that 1 in 4 pregnancies ends inexplicably in loss. I also read scientific research that suggests the success rate of pregnancy after miscarriage increases significantly (jumping from 30% to 80% success) when the mother receives additional support. But I had no idea how to find that for myself.
After my second loss, my doctor said "if it happens again, we'll send you for some testing." I requested the testing sooner, (perhaps the first step in advocating for myself) and was referred to a local fertility clinic where no notable causes for my pregnancy challenges were found. While I was being seen there though, I became pregnant again, without any interventions. Since I was under the care of fertility experts at that time, they monitored my third pregnancy with weekly bloodwork and ultrasounds. Each week, I received concrete evidence that my baby was still alive and growing. Lo and behold, my first daughter was born in September 2013, healthy and vibrant. Perhaps she was bound to be part of our family regardless, but I've always wondered to what degree the additional support I received aided in her prenatal wellbeing. The seed for KindNest had been planted.
When my husband and I decided it was time to start trying for another baby (we had always hoped for two), I told myself I didn't need any additional medical support. Those prior losses had to have been a fluke; I had nothing to fear. (I didn't realize all pregnant women deserve extra support and care, medical or otherwise!) I became pregnant within a few months and that time it was over as soon as it began. It was different from the first two losses in that I didn't need surgery; I simply got my period a few days later, but the devastation was no different.
I became pregnant again a few months later and the old fear and anxiety were immediately raring and ready to go. Making it worse was the fact that I still had no idea how to find the support I desperately needed. When an ultrasound at 10 weeks again confirmed the baby's heart was no longer beating, I was presented with the same options as I had with my first two losses. I considered a D&C, as before, but knew I needed to do something differently this time. It may sound strange but, for me, the right decision was to wait for my body to recognize what had happened, which began a week after the ultrasound. Experiencing the loss at a physical level enabled me to truly grieve in a way I never had before.
What I couldn't have predicted at that time was how much I was about to learn, and how it would change my life. I sensed with urgency that I had to figure out what "support" meant for me. So, via various means and channels, I did what I could to empower myself and maintain a positive outlook. And I started to truly heal. This literally began what is now resulting in the formation of KindNest.
I looked inward and started filling my days with activities, practices and habits that encouraged me to believe that I am as capable as any woman of growing and nurturing life. I planted seeds in a vegetable garden, started daily yoga and meditation practices, and nurtured my body with periodic Reiki and massage. I fed myself nourishing foods and surrounded myself with healing energy and hope. And I began to renew, perhaps as I had never before.
Four months later, I became pregnant again. By that time, I had experienced tremendous personal growth. I can't honestly say I never worried during that pregnancy, but I was able to ensure that fear and anxiety never again got ahold of me as it had before. My second radiant daughter was born in May 2016.
Since that time, I have been on a mission to offer that sense of self-empowerment to other women and couples, regardless of the direction from which they come. I graduated from the Capital Region Chamber's Entrepreneurship Bootcamp having outlined a plan to bring together various classes, workshops and individual services that can invoke self-empowerment. I studied to become a Holistic Nutrition Counselor, Reiki Practitioner and Law of Attraction Mentor/Inner Alignment Coach. I am continuously networking within the community and have commitment from a team of amazing souls with the right expertise to support this cause. I successfully raised nearly $11K on Kickstarter in just 14 days by simply sharing this vision and story with the world.
There's no telling what the power of nurturing, healing and growth will do. This may have started as a desperate cry for help, but commences now with the knowing that every woman and couple deserves to feel empowered on their family-building journey.
That's my story. It's KindNest's story. I invite you to make it part of your story, too.