After returning from our vacation, I’ve spent this week riding the third trimester high and feeling extra grateful for my husband, Mitchell.

We started dating when we were only 16 years old, but I fell pretty hard for this *super cute football player* and never really considered dating anyone else after that. Yes, we were young, but no one I met ever came close to grabbing my attention the way Mitchell did. I can’t say that I was mature enough to think about him as the future father to my children, but I had an incredible example of a strong father figure in my life, thanks to my dad, and Mitchell seemed like the total package from the beginning. When you meet someone you love that young, you have a lot of growing up to do together, and it can cause some bumps in the road.

We had plenty of bumps figuring out our relationship through high school, college, and beyond, but I always knew we had something that would be almost impossible to shake.

Shannyn and Mitchell maternity photos - 28 weeks pregnant

Author’s Personal Collection/Shannyn Hanson – Photo Credit: Victor Chito Photography

Losing Sophie and navigating this pregnancy is like taking a sharp turn over a speed bump going 40 miles an hour. Our car can make it across in one piece, but that bump hits you hard and fast and it may be tricky to figure out where the damage is afterward to continue running at 100% again.

Mitchell was everything I needed and more immediately after we lost Sophie.

I could not have asked for a stronger partner through it all. However, in the months following, the waves of grief, as well as the ways we chose to cope, were so different. We had both just lost a child, but our feelings manifested in entirely unique ways. Our communication and patience with each other were being tested to a whole new level and we were learning what each other’s grief looked like. Some days were really, really hard on us.

Shannyn and Mitchell maternity photos - 28 weeks pregnant

Author’s Personal Collection/Shannyn Hanson – Photo Credit: Victor Chito Photography

I believe we’re through the thick of it now, and thankfully, we’ve learned so much about how to take care of each other that I believe we fixed our car and upgraded a little. Mitchell is my perfect balance most of the time. He is strong when I feel completely broken, he is patient when I am impulsive, and most of all, his hope has been unwavering through all of my skepticism. He has allowed me to sink into my grief on days when I need to but he also challenges me to push through the grief and take back control at times.

Shannyn and Mitchell maternity photos - 28 weeks pregnant

Author’s Personal Collection/Shannyn Hanson – Photo Credit: Victor Chito Photography

It brings me to tears knowing that I will never get to see him laugh with Sophie, play with Sophie, or grow with Sophie.

I wish she was here to celebrate Mitchell with me, but I’m choosing to believe she is playing a part in our son’s continued growth. I’m looking forward to this day next year and hopefully, we will be celebrating him with slobbery kisses and diaper changes.

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