Jessica Emich – RESILIENT A.F.: Stories of Resilience


I was diagnosed with a serious autoimmune disease. They said I may end up in a wheelchair and advised me not to have another child.

After a long and somber conversation with the doctor, I was handed a bottle of pills and a pamphlet. Before my hand even reached the door handle to leave, I had already decided this would not be my story. 

When I was a teenager, I would often have pain in my hips. I just dealt with it and chalked it up as residual misalignment from being a gymnast for many years. As I got older, through my college years, it bothered me so much at times that I would occasionally walk with a limp. I did not like that as I was healthy and active! 

Fast forward to my adult years. I was married and the mother to one little girl. I wanted another, as I am a triplet, one of three sisters, and I have an older brother. Family and siblings mean everything to me. We tried for over a year to get pregnant. Throughout this time, the pain in my hips was happening more often and felt more severe. I finally decided to see a doctor, which led to many tests and concerned looks. Eventually, they diagnosed me with a serious autoimmune disease. “It will only get worse,” they said. “Pregnancy is not a good idea,” they warned. And on and on. But a loud voice from deep within me said-No freaking way am I settling for that reality.

So there I was, having gotten my Masters in Nutrition, a trained energy worker, a yoga teacher, athletic, a wife, a mother, and a diagnosis. I felt shame that I had what I thought was the knowledge to heal from something like this. These things helped, but nothing really worked to heal me completely. I felt defeated but also determined. I started to think about the energetics of an autoimmune disease- the body attacking itself. I got very real with myself. I began tuning into my body. I began tuning into the places that hurt. I leaned into the pain. I saw myself when it all began. The messages were coming in loud and clear. This stemmed from my lack of self-love, my abandonment of self-acceptance, my overriding feeling of needing to be “perfect” to be worthy. 

Why did I have these feelings? I grew up in a loving family. I had a husband that adored me. I had a healthy baby that brought me so much joy. As I allowed myself to dive into the depths I normally avoid (without even realizing it), I realized that I wasn’t really letting my life nourish me. My heart was armored. I was not allowing myself to feel. I was in full protection mode.

Step by step, I started to open, to let the armor down, to feel. It had to begin with how I truly felt about myself. For some reason, I always had this feeling that I was not enough or not worthy of having a gigantically amazing life. I know that this stemmed from my not loving and accepting myself. Once we learn to love and accept ourselves, we can receive that love from elsewhere. From everywhere- nature, family, community, pets, strangers. Everywhere!. But it begins within, and it begins with the self. 

So, how did I learn to love myself? Several ways. I would picture myself during my early teen years and love her back to life, to fullness. I reframed all the things that I started judging myself about. I began seeing her as courageous, sensitive, and beautiful.

I began to drop into the wisdom of my body. It moved me from my overthinking mind into my feeling heart. I began to learn a new language- the language of the body. I listened, lovingly, patiently. Things began to bubble to the surface. I practiced softening in the wake of it rather than denying the experience and lodging it in my body. I began to understand that I am so much more than my physicality, stories, and programs. I started to unshackle myself from the past and become present, like really present. I began to see how life was gifting me everything in my path to open me to my true essence, my divinity. The divinity that we all are that everything is. I started to get a bird’s eye view, which helped me see the wonder and beauty of my experience. I fell more and more in love with myself. I fell more in love with everything around me. It was a rebirth of sorts. A new perspective

Presently, I am in a whole new body. I no longer have symptoms of that disease. As I raise my two daughters, I continue to practice feeling my heart and opening to presence. I began to let my life evolve me rather than trying to overly control it.

Step by step, I started to open, to let the armor down, to feel. It had to begin with how I truly felt about myself. I practiced rising to meet what arose in my life with presence and patience.  I let it be the medicine in my life for healing and opening deeper parts of myself. 

Physical and emotional pain can be a portal to awakening us to our wholeness if we let it. Healing is a journey – a beautiful journey because it is the journey toward knowing ourselves more deeply. And the more we know ourselves, the more we inevitably love ourselves and understand and embody our divinity. 

As we lean into our challenges, letting them evolve us by listening deeply and slowing down to be present with our pain. Recognizing this is our being calling us toward awakening to more parts of ourselves. 

This is how we become our own healers and connect to our true essence. And that is living a life filled with love and freedom. It begins within.

Are you ready to share your story of RESILIENCE? You can do that HERE.