In this episode, I chat with my friend McKel about several things. First we started out talking about how she found out that her dad was actually her step-dad. She later did find her biological father and several siblings. McKel shares about a very toxic and emotionally abusive relationship she was in. She was pregnant before marriage and once she did marry, she became a Military wife. McKel shares the struggles that come along with that. She also gets into her anxiety and lastly, a miscarriage she suffered.*

McKel grew up an only child. She lived with her mom and step-dad, but she didn’t know he was her step-dad until she was about 13 years old. During an emotional conversation, her mom explained the situation. They later divorced.

After High School, McKel attended SUU and then planned to join the National Guard so they would pay for her to go to Law School, but those plans fell through. She moved around quite a bit and had different jobs. She ended up finding a job in West Valley City as a waitress.

McKel was living with some friends, including a girl whom she entered a relationship with. It was a very emotionally abusive relationship. The girl would always control McKel and was never happy for her when anything positive happened. McKel didn’t realize how bad it was until their friends would say and point things out. McKel also didn’t know that her family did not like this girl at all. Eventually, McKel ended the relationship and began talking to her now-husband.

McKel Wahlstrom - Quote 1

McKel got an assistant manager job at a new place and she loved it. She thought she might make a career out of it, but after getting arrested for a DUI on a work trip, she lost her job. McKel was super depressed at this point. Her mom had moved to England and remarried. She was still living with the girl. The girl was still very emotionally abusive, to the point where McKel would lie about seeing her boyfriend (at the time – now husband). That caused problems in their relationship because he felt she was ashamed to be with him.

McKel Wahlstrom - Quote 2

Soon enough, McKel found herself pregnant. When she told her boyfriend, he said that he wanted to be a part of the baby’s life. He didn’t want McKel to have an abortion or give the baby up for adoption. McKel was unsure, but did end up having the baby and is so glad she did. McKel and her boyfriend ended up getting married, as well.

In between all of this, McKel sought out her biological father and found him. She ended up meeting him a couple years later and has found a handful of siblings, as well.

After McKel had her baby, her husband was sent to Texas for training. She knew she couldn’t afford childcare while she worked her two jobs in Utah and didn’t know anyone in Texas that she could trust while she worked. She and the baby ended up moving to California with her husband’s family. He was only supposed to be gone for 6 months, but it ended up being 13 months.

In January 2018, they moved to Georgia, per his orders. They were able to buy their first house and were so excited to be there. As soon as they got there, they learned he was scheduled for deployment that July. He was gone for 6 months and missed all the major holidays. That’s when McKel noticed her anxiety really kick in.

One day, McKel kept going through all the worst-case scenarios and recognized that she probably needed some help. She called and made herself an appointment. McKel thought she was just going in to talk it out and that would be the end of it. But instead, she met with a psychiatrist and he diagnosed her with anxiety.

McKel Wahlstrom - Quote 3

Once McKel started taking the medication, she really noticed a difference in her life. “This is how life can be? I’m not worried about every little thing all the time.” Her relationships with everyone have improved so much, as well.

McKel became pregnant again and was so, so excited. She and her husband were together at the time (meaning living in the same place, unlike the first time), finances were not a problem, she had saved many things from her first baby, etc. They told their family, but the whole time, McKel felt like something was wrong. She asked for an ultrasound and the 9 week appointment, but they said they’d do it next time. At her 11 week appointment, the midwife could not find a heartbeat, so they did an ultrasound. The tech could not get a good reading, so they did it transvaginally. They were unable to find a heartbeat, still. McKel was taken to another room and the midwife told her there was no baby. She learned that she had an oblighted ovum.

Listen to the full episode to hear all the details.

*Please note: this is the guest’s story. Their story is how they perceive it. It is not my judgement or responsibility to determine whether or not this story and the things said are true. Please be open minded when listening to/reading these stories.

Dakota’s episode
-McKel’s favorite book: Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
McKel’s Instagram
-McKel’s favorite product: Ancient Owl Cold Cream
-McKel’s playlist recommendation: The Vampire Diaries soundtrack
-My ending song recommendation: Smoke by Florida Georgia Line (listen on the Hard Knocks podcast playlist on Spotify)

Remember how far you’ve come, not just how far you have to go. You are not where you want to be, but neither are you where you used to be. – Rick Warren

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