When I'm fretting the small (but stressful) stuff as a new mom to twins, I occasionally encounter news that gives me a serious jolt of perspective about what's really important in life, and the kind of person I want to be.
The latest dose of such perspective comes to me by way of a sad—and also inspiring—news story.
Jessica Herbert was pregnant for the third time, and about halfway along, when she learned that she had brain cancer. And she learned that the rare strain resulting in a four-inch tumor was incurable.
Of course she was devastated by the tragic news at first. But then the 30-year-old mom did something brave beyond measure: She decided to live her remaining days with positivity and as much joy as possible. That outlook could both benefit her own health, as well as make things as simple as possible for her husband and two daughters, ages 3 and 5.
"I have so much to be grateful for," Jessica told Today. "My goal for the future is to stay as positive as I possibly can and make the most out of my time with my family and loved ones. Our goal as a family is to spend as much quality time together as possible—time is all I can give my loved ones. I want to create as many memories as possible right now, while I'm still feeling well."
To that end, her brother and his wife set up a YouCaring fundraising site, attempting to raise $30,000 toward travel and memory making. (They've nearly met that goal.) They've already been to Disneyland and a beach hotel in California.
"I do not take anything for granted anymore, each moment is a gift and we have no idea when the gifts are going to stop coming, so we have to cherish each one," husband Eric told Today. "Jessica is hands down the strongest woman that I have ever met. She inspires me daily to be a better person, better father and better husband."
While they enjoy their remaining days, the family also gets ready for the arrival of their baby, a third daughter. A C-section delivery is scheduled for tomorrow. Afterward, the mama to three will begin chemotherapy and radiation.
"Our real hope in all of this is that we can help to inspire people to stay positive and never give up no matter the situation," Eric said.
Done and done.
Jessica's story serves as a lesson about gratitude and fortitude—a great reminder for all of us moms and mamas-to-be.
Photo: Courtesy of YouCaring