Life has shown Jana Anthoine that she was truly put here to help, to listen and to be compassionate to others while at the same time being articulate, funny and a source of strength for her family. It is my great pleasure to have Jana guest posting today on Look Who Found the Marbles. Here is her story:
You know how sometimes you are going along in life and you’re looking for “something?” Something that will fix you or fill a void? Something that will make you feel happy or complete?
You know how sometimes you’re looking for that thing and you find a calling instead?
In the first months of 2003, I was busy preparing for life with a newborn, with our first child due in June of that year. We had huge hopes and dreams and plans that included all the happiness we could handle.
On May 21, 2003, our son was born. He came a few weeks early but we welcomed him with open and eager arms, ready to get on with our lives and futures. On June 14, 2003, only 24 days after his birth and one day before his due date, he would gain his wings and we would become “Parents Of The Baby Who Died.”
I won’t write about how this changed everything, because I figure you can imagine – even if it’s just a tiny bit. One of the biggest things this event made me realize was that I wanted to HELP people.
If there was a way to help, I wanted to do it. I volunteered. I served on several Boards of Directors for various organizations. I donated items to the PICU for the families, mostly REAL KLEENEX for parents who had tears to wipe (I didn’t want them having to wipe them with the horrid standard-issue tissues they give out). I advocated for Group B Strep awareness. I talked til I was blue in the face and then I got tired.
Our second son was born and time passed. Wounds healed and life became easier. The hole was still there and the need to help was still there. I hadn’t found what I needed to COMPLETE ME and make me feel like I was living up to my potential.
Until I met Becky.
One day Becky (from Mommy Wants Vodka) put out a call for “stories for a new site” on Twitter and I thought, “Heck yeah, I have stories!” so I emailed her. The rest, as they say, is history!
After Becky’s daughter was born with a previously undiagnosed neural tube defect, an encephalocele, she took to her blog and wrote her heart out. And then she realized that there were others with stories – stories that needed to get out, be heard, shared. There were stories that people were too scared to tell because of the stigma attached to them. There were stories like mine that just begged to be told.
Becky and I hit it off like Captain and Tennille or Macaroni and Cheese (she’s the cheese, obviously). In September 2010, her brainchild Band Back Together was officially launched.
In the year since it’s inception, the 1300+ posts have shed light on mental illness, have provided hope for those suffering, tugged at our deepest heartstrings and shown us all that WE ARE NOT ALONE.
It’s also proven to me and countless others that MY STORY makes me who I am. My story makes me enough. My story is the one thing I own in this world. Good, bad or ugly, it’s mine and nobody can take that away. And good, bad or ugly, someone else can learn from it.
I have found my place. It’s doing what I’ve longed to do for a long time.
Becky has found her place, as have many others who help us on the site.
We are helping by providing a safe and supportive environment for those who feel like they don’t have a voice to shout from the rooftops.
We’ve found our marbles!
For more information, visit Band Back Together (www.BandBackTogether.com) to read or submit your stories. We can also be found on Twitter @BandBackTogether and on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/Band.BackTogether.
Jana Anthoine is a stay-at-home-mom who is only *slightly* addicted to the internet and computer. She busies herself keeping up with her fabulously funny son, Henry, and her husband Jason. Jana is also the mom to a beautiful angel, Charlie, who graced this Earth for 24 days. His death has shown her what she was truly put here to do-to help, to listen and to be compassionate to others. Jana has been an advocate for Group B Strep awareness for the last 8 years and will continue preaching about it until she takes her last breath. She has also served on the Board of Directors for the Ronald McDonald House of Central Georgia and The Children’s Hospital at the Medical Center of Central Georgia and is passionate about children’s health-along with chocolate and sangria. Jana is second in command at Band Back Together and couldn’t be prouder! You can follow her other antics at Jana’s Thinking Place or on Twitter.