You truly never know when an opportunity will come your way and you will be able to share your experiences in life to help others. Bad things happen to all of us, but to be able to take a devastating time in life and reach others who may be going through the same thing can be hard, but very rewarding. Kyla Sapp, Mrs. North Carolina American 2022, is using her current platform to speak to women who have experienced infertility, pregnancy loss or postpartum depression letting them know they are not alone.
When Dreams Become Reality
Kyla Sapp, a native of Versailles, Indiana, began competing in pageants in 2006 in the National American Miss system. Eventually, Kyla would be a contestant in several pageants over the years, including the Miss America Organization in 2015-2016. Once Kyla and her husband, Spencer, moved to Kernersville, she was thinking about getting back into pageantry to help introduce her to other women who were in a similar phase of life – married, full time job, with or without children, who love the sisterhood that develops in pageantry.
“After finding excuses for more than three years to not get back into pageantry, one day, I went to Mackenzie Jade’s, a prom dress and pageant dress store in Concord. It was one month out from the Mrs. North Carolina pageant, and needless to say, I walked out with everything I needed to compete. The next day, I signed up and paid my fees. From there, it was just like riding a bike. I really got back into the groove of practicing my walk, poses and working with a pageant coach for interviews and onstage questions. I felt the importance of being my most authentic self, knowing one day, my daughter might ask me about being in pageants. I bore my soul to the judges and went on to share my story on stage, moving on to compete for Mrs. American last August. At Nationals, I competed with women from across the country and was humbled to make it into the Top Six, with my roommate and close friend, Mrs. South Carolina American, Krisdee Clark, crowned the winner. With the platform I have for the year, I want to share my personal story of surviving pregnancy loss and postpartum depression,” said Kyla.
An Unimaginable Grief
In March 2020, Kyla and her husband found out that she was pregnant, only to learn during an exam that there was no detectable heartbeat a month later. “The loss of my pregnancy was an unimaginable and different kind of grief. We were grieving something that we felt we never really had in the first place. It soon became a grieving of the pregnancy milestones that we would never have and the birth and the first steps our baby would never take. I needed to withdraw from family and friends to begin to make my way through my grief. Many women, including myself, feel like their body failed them; there’s a shame and guilt that women often have after the loss of a pregnancy. A few short months later, we found out we were pregnant again, and I felt the entire nine months that my body, which was supposed to be a safe place for a baby, wasn’t safe, and I remember wishing the pregnancy would go by as fast as possible so I could have my baby in my arms,” Kyla commented.
Kyla and Spencer now have an 18-month-old daughter, yet her loss still holds a place in her heart and mind.
“There’s isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t wonder who our baby would’ve been. I still wish I could hold him or her, stroke their hair, and tell them how much I love them. I still grieve that loss with every milestone our daughter hits. I know other women and couples aren’t so lucky and can experience more than one pregnancy loss. It’s important to me to make sure that other women know they are not alone. I’m in talks to partner with an organization, the Missing GRACE Foundation, out of Minnesota, as well as a similar nonprofit in Texas, where both of these associations offer support to women who’ve experienced infertility, pregnancy loss and postpartum depression,” stated Kyla.
The Happiest Time of Life to the Depths of Depression
Not only did Kyla experience pregnancy loss, she survived postpartum depression after the birth of her daughter and it nearly took her life.
“Many women lose their life to postpartum depression, and there’s a stigma, as well as a lack of resources surrounding it, much like pregnancy loss. I plan to partner with the NC Chapter of Postpartum Support International and am currently connecting with medical professionals to make sure there are ample resources for women struggling to overcome the grief associated with pregnancy loss and to survive postpartum depression. Most women are afraid to ask for help, or they don’t know where to turn. But, there are support groups and resources to help pull women out of those dark places and get them back to being the best versions of themselves,” Kyla said.
Kyla hopes to continue sharing her story with other women letting them know it’s okay to ask for help. “Personally, I feel that even though it’s sometimes difficult to talk to other people about, in my heart it does my baby a disservice not to share my story,” commented Kyla. “And, when I do, I just picture him or her up above, looking down, beaming with pride saying ‘That’s my mom!’”