Meeting the Makers & Telling Our Stories: Isa's Story of Hope

by Isa Maria Seminega of Noisette Marketing & Noisette Kids

stories of hope and loss, telling your story, selling your passion, mothering, babyloss{Happy Turtle print by Noisette Kids for Ganbare Nippon Japan relief fundraiser}

I hadn’t planned to tell my full story. It’s still quite raw and very personal. I never thought I’d be ready to tell the world what brought me here but Jessika’s story made me realise that I owe her and you, the real me. As someone who tells stories for a living through marketing and PR for small businesses, I advocate telling your story to connect with others. I write stories for my clients, expressing them in a way that gains attention from potential customers and the press. Yet I struggle to tell mine.

I have always told stories. As a child used to write books in the school holidays and used to come up with elaborate ideas that I was sure would be the next big seller. I found it easy to tell stories verbally, to get people enthralled and hooked but would struggle to write it down. Eventually, as an adult, I was diagnosed with dyslexia. After all those years no-one had guessed I had a problem and my perfectionist nature meant I struggled on without asking for help. My academic success masked the daily difficulty I faced.

My journey into self-employment started with redundancy. A week before I was due to go back to work after a years maternity leave, I was told they didn’t need me back. I was devastated by despite the upset I had a seed of an idea in my head. Maybe I could work for myself? As the reality of needing to start work fast hit, I pushed the idea aside and I started applying for marketing and administration jobs.

Then I discovered I was pregnant. It was a lovely surprise and I thought it was the perfect opportunity for me to be a stay at home mother for a little longer.

At the 13 week sonogram they identified a problem. Almost instantly they noticed the baby looked small for dates, measuring only 10 weeks. The nuchal fold measurement was high and we were told it was likely Edward’s syndrome (Trisomy 18). Trisomy 18 is a chromosome problem and they said our baby was“not compatible with life”. The hospital booked us for further tests but told us I’d likely miscarry before then. From that moment nothing mattered to me more than my family, all thoughts of looking for work firmly pushed aside.

{lyrics from I Will Carry You by Selah}

I spent a week grieving for my unborn child who at this point was still alive inside me. That week felt like a thousand weeks, most definitely the longest of my life. When Joseph napped, I searched online for everything I could find about Trisomy 18 and families that had been touched by it. Crying for hours, reading their stories, scared at what was in store for us. When Joseph woke from his naps I’d pull myself together again and get on with being a Mum to him leaving the grieving behind.

I was praying for a miracle. For me that meant that I would get to hold our baby and say goodbye. I am a believer that everything happens for a reason. Rightly or wrongly, I never once prayed that our baby would not be sick. In my heart I believe that our baby was perfect. He was how he was meant to be and instead I focused on getting the chance to say goodbye and praying he would feel no pain.

By 16 weeks a scan showed our baby had died. As silent tears fell down my face I was strangely calm. We knew it was coming. It was our second miscarriage so I knew we’d get through it and we thought we knew what to expect. The hospital booked me to come back in 48 hours so they could induce me for labour but less than 24 hours later it started on its own. I hadn’t realised it would happen that fast and before the medical induction. Unexpectedly, I ended up delivering our tiny son in our bathroom.

At the hospital I got the chance to hold our son and kiss him goodbye. My prayers to hold him had been answered and I vowed that I was going to do something great with my life. I didn’t want to waste anymore time in a job I hated. If my life plan was to lose a child in this way I didn’t want it to be for nothing.

Two months later post mortem results confirmed Trisomy 18 and that our baby was a boy. We named him Michael and the hospital arranged a beautifully touching funeral for us. Seeing our tiny son’s white coffin is the most painful thing I have ever experienced.

In November 2009 a month after our son’s funeral, I listed my first marketing plans on Etsy.

noisette marketing

I’d been researching handmade businesses for years and I knew I could make a difference and help other women grow their creative businesses. Less than two weeks later I had my first clients as Noisette Marketing. Finally I was doing what I loved, combining my love for handmade with my skill, knowledge and experience of marketing and PR. My huge loss was the catalyst for me to start a business helping others.

I worked around Joseph’s naps and by January I found I was pregnant again. My pregnancy with Lily exhausted me! I felt the need to draw and started using Illustrator to doodle little designs for children. Eight weeks after she was born I launched Noisette Illustration (now Noisette Kids). It’s another project close to my heart. I make happy things for children and I hope to grow the business in the future.

noisette marketing, the academy blog

For now most of my time is spent on Noisette Marketing. I’ve also launched The Academy blog to share business advice with even more people. Helping creative s achieve their dreams of making a living doing what they love is my passion. I want everyone to realise that anything is possible. Life sometimes sends us challenges big and small but it’s up to us to use our will to create opportunities. I’m constantly inspired by the creative community and love that I can be involved from both sides as a marketer and a maker.

Editors note:  I want to take a moment for us all to give Isa a standing ovation for her courage, her strong beautiful heart and feeling safe enough to share her story here. I am so honored by her generosity in letting us into her life and loss. Her compassion and genuine love for helping others succeed radiates and is what makes her such a force for good in the handmade community. Knowing this piece of her story only makes me adore and admire her more. You are amazing Isa-thank you.

I also hope you’ll join in with us as part of the What’s Your Story campaign over at The Academy. Telling our stories is hard but so much easier when we do it together!

24 comments

  1. Stacey says:

    Isa – I love this. I can’t think of any other words to express how I’m feeling about you sharing your story beyond ‘love’. Just… yeah. Love 🙂

    Jessika – This series has been incredibly eye-opening and wonderful… thank you so much for starting it 🙂

  2. Julie says:

    I feel slightly silly leaving a comment, because I truly have no words….I am speechless. Isa, you are an absolute power of strength. You have done more for me than you will probably ever know. I am honoured and thrilled to have met you. What an amazing being you are! Cheers and thank you for sharing.

  3. Priscilla (gardenmis) says:

    Isa ~ If I could reach out right now and hug you I would. Thank you for sharing your beautiful and sweet message of strength, courage, & love born in the midst of tragic circumstances. Truly inspiring 🙂

    Jessika ~ you have started something very powerful, thank you both for following your dreams 🙂

  4. Isa says:

    Thank you so much everyone for accepting me and my story. You will never know how much this means to me. It has been a hard journey but the support of this beautiful handmade community has made it so much easier xx

  5. lesley says:

    isa, thank you for sharing this with all of us. I already thought of you as someone who was inspirational, creative, intelligent, motivating, and savvy. now I add to all those, incredibly strong and courageous. Cheering you on from all the way over here in vancouver, yay you!!

  6. Joy says:

    Isa, you are amazing! You are such an inspiration to me – more that you can ever know! I know that it’s not easy to put yourself out there, thanks so much for sharing your story… Huge hugs, dear friend (and more hugs after that)!

  7. Isa – THANK YOU for your beautiful story. If you were telling me that story in person I would give you tearful hug.
    Congratulation on your new business, you are very creative. I truly believe that creativity is good for the soul and your strength is a perfect example of what it can do to us.
    God Bless your sweet Michael and God Bless you.

  8. This is a truly inspiring story. It moved me and filled me with hope and joy. You’re a great example to all of us, and remind us of the importance of living life and getting the most out of it – even at the most difficult times. A remarkable women!

  9. Patti says:

    Thank you, Isa, for having the courage and the words to share your story. I know so many will gain strength and motivation to succeed at their goals thanks to your beautifully powerful story.

    Wishing you and your family a lovely, happy life!

  10. Mayi Carles says:

    Standing ovation does not suffice. I’m dedicating my entire life to living more honestly. Thanks Isa for inspiring me beyond belief to keep spilling open + empowering others to do the same.

    My heart will always remember your story + I will treasure it forever to help me be better 🙂

  11. Isa says:

    Thank you so much everyone. Your words are too kind. I may even print these off so I can keep your words close by. You are all such giving people to take the time to comment on my story. Words can’t express how much that means to me. Thank you x

  12. Lakshmi says:

    Isa , I blame the time difference for not reading your story so late . Just stumbled onto it ! You r one of my favorite online people , so to know more about you is a blessing .

    Having been through a miscarriage myself , I can understand the grief . Mine not as tragic as yours … I can’t imagine the strength needed to rebuild your life and yourself after something so shocking. I know it took me months to even be around a pregnant woman ..
    Im so thrilled with what you have accomplished thus far and can’t wait to see the million ideas that you have come to life through your work and blog !

    Good luck to you , my friend !

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