Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness: Blogher

Infant and Pregnancy Loss

 

Today I’m at Blogher sharing my post on Infant and Pregnancy Loss.

Please join me as I honor women who have stretched their souls with love for their child and now live with the pain of having empty arms.

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To The Mom Whose Arms are Empty: A Love Letter

 

Infant loss

 

The nursery is empty. There are gifts still piled in the corner, a hand-sewn blanket draped perfectly over the handed-down crib. A soft, brown bear with a blue ribbon tied smartly around his neck sits expectantly in the rocking chair. He waits patiently for the little boy who will one day carry him tucked under a chubby arm until he is worn and frayed from wet kisses and hugs.

You stand at the threshold, numb with the enormity of it all, absentmindedly placing a protective hand over your belly which is still swollen from the space he held and stretched, wondering if the tears will ever stop.

What do you do when wide open spaces have been made in your home and heart but now sit empty, filled with nothing but sorrow and a constant reminder of what could have been?

I know it’s been a month and now six and soon a year and you still feel the weight of him in your arms. Still remember every crease that circled his wrists and the little feet and tiny toes that were supposed to walk onto a football field and dance with you at his wedding. When he died, every dream you had for the three of you instantly slipped away with him and there is a part of you that wishes you were gone too. While life has moved on all around you, the loss still leaves you gasping for breath-and if you’re honest-the blackness that comes during sleep has become a welcome friend. Until the dreams come and you’re startled awake, his scent still hanging in the air until that, too, is gone.

You are a mother without her child and it is so unfair.

There will be no sleepless nights when his first teeth come in.

There will be no fear at his first high fever.

There will be no party for his first birthday.

He will never grow heavy and grow out of your arms.

Yours is a pain that isn’t big enough to name although the world wants to label it with stages. It makes us feel better, to put your grief in a box and pretend it away. The first smile we see on your face actually fills us with a {guilty} sense of relief because maybe now, with that one hesitant smile, you’re finally ready to move on and leave him behind.

We forget our own humanity in the wake of a child’s death just for the sake of our own comfort and for that I am so sorry. For some reason we think we have to make it better for you by having the perfect thing to say while knowing you must be tired of the platitudes. The Hallmark card nonsense that won’t bring your baby back and sometimes even makes you feel worse, like you’re supposed to suck it up and look forward to the next pregnancy because lightning never strikes twice.

We want to be there but be don’t always know how. But we want to.

I hope you know that our sorrow for your loss has nothing to do with pity and everything to do with our love for you. That we pray and weep alongside you because your grief is a living, breathing thing. We desperately want you to know that there can be healing-even in this-and want to walk arm-in-arm with you. We want to be a reminder of His love in the depths of  this despair while understanding that our words may ring hollow when you see his empty crib.

Right now a gentle reminder of His love and mercy may seem like a cruel joke as you pack boxes of unworn clothes and choose to close his bedroom door. Someday soon we hope you find comfort in God the Father who now cradles your precious boy in His arms. We hope that even in your pain and grief you cry out to Him who gives and, yes, even takes away. We might not understand the scope and breadth of your baby’s absence, but my God, we want to so desperately.

And while we want to give you a reprieve from the exhaustion of getting out of bed and putting one foot in front of the other, there is also an unspoken understanding that parts of this journey must be done alone in the quiet moments when God slowly weaves together the broken parts of your soul. That this journey is now a part of who you are. The person you were before is not gone but unequivocally changed and this new you might be harder and maybe even unwilling to fall back into the pettiness of everyday life. Because before there were bills to be paid and plans to be made for a future together and now there is just nothing. It feels like there is nothing even in the middle of all of the love and support and prayers.

And that has to be okay for now.

When I call you tomorrow and ask how you’re doing, it’s not because I think you’re falling apart. It’s because I want you to know that you don’t have to go through this alone. I may not know what to say, but I know how to listen and maybe you need to scream or sit quietly with someone who knows your heart. But most importantly, I want you to know that your precious baby and your love for him, isn’t forgotten.

If it seems like we forget to say his name it’s because we think we’ll add to your pain. Please remind us that the tears come anyway, that the ache hasn’t receded and acknowledging him, saying his name out loud, is a reminder that you are still his mother and that he was REAL. He’s not here but he was and will always be your little boy.

That even though your arms are empty you are every bit a mother, forever in love with her child.

 

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. This post is dedicated to every parent who has lost a baby at any age and any stage. God bless you all.

 

 

april

Living Thanksgiving as an Attitude, Not a Season

There aren’t many days that go by when I don’t consider this life. The seasons are slowly changing here and as the weather cools and leaves change, I find myself predictably nostalgic. Maybe it’s because Christmas is coming and already my mind wanders to the Christ child swaddled in a manger. Maybe it’s because the kids have gotten bigger right before my eyes and suddenly I’m keenly aware that our years together, truly together in this home, are numbered. Whatever the reason, this year I have tried to impart thankfulness and acknowledging blessings on the hearts of my children. It’s not easy. They-like myself-are quick to seek instant gratification or turn to electronics instead of their Bibles. We live in a time where there is constant movement and distraction and by challenging them, I realize that I also challenge myself to focus on gratitude. As summer surrenders to fall, THANKFULNESS is on full display at our house. Soon we will enter into a season adorned with turkeys and pumpkins and family, but here, I want our focus to be in and Up. Recognizing our blessings by committing them to the Thankful Treeto share and then acknowledging them through prayer.

 

Tree.JPG

 

It took a bit of time but this idea was loosely based on something I saw on Pinterest. I took a vase I already had, filled it by alternating dried beans with fall colors (I used green lentils and white navy beans from the grocery store), and then added flowered branches I bought on sale at Hobby Lobby. All of the tags and labels around the vase and for hanging on the tree I did myself using  PicMonkey, *card stock, craft scissors and twine.

Definitely a weekend project when there is down time but totally worth it! I love the result and can’t wait to fill this tree with God’s blessings on our lives!

School Smart Paper Edger Scissors – Set of 6 – Assorted Colors

Stripes Paper String by Tim Holtz Idea-ology, 5 Yards of Each Color, 6 Colors, TH93043

50 Sheets Brown Kraft Fiber 80 lb Cover Weight 4 X 6 Inches Cardstock Paper Photo | Card Size by ThunderBolt Paper

*this post contains affiliate links

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