In October 1988, President Ronald Reagan Proclaimed October as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.
“When a child loses his parent, they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses her or his partner, they are called a widow or widower. When parents lose their child, there isn’t a word to describe them. This month recognizes the loss so many parents experience across the United States and around the world. It is also meant to inform and provide resources for parents who have lost children due to miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, stillbirths, birth defects, SIDS, and other causes. -Ronald Reagan
Studies have shown 1 in every 4 women will experience infant loss.
I didn’t even know this “awareness month” existed until 2015. There’s even a specific day, I believe its October 15th. Churches and local groups all around the nation come together to host numerous events to bring together women who have experienced infant loss.
If you have read any of my previous blogs, I have shared about our two miscarriages. Losing two babies back to back, after having 3 healthy pregnancies and babies. Then giving birth to our baby boy Rush Roman after all the heartache. There are so many pivotal moments in both of those losses that will forever stay with me and that have forever changed so many things for our family.
I can’t speak for anyone but me but, laying on a table and having a doctor say, “Your body has absorbed your baby” as I laid there all alone, expecting a normal sonogram that day… he made me feel like a monster. I am sure this was not his intent, I am sure he was just doing his job and telling me in his “medical terms” what had happened but, in my eyes this man had let his everyday profession blind his heart from how to deliver a broken yet compassionate message. He then proceeded to tell me my husband and my genes “obviously” did not work well together. (this was my second miscarriage) He OBVIOUSLY had not taken anytime to read my chart to know I was a mother of 3 already, to the man he said, “my genes did not work well with” Those are two moments that will never leave me. The lack of compassion, The lack of understanding. Again, I don’t blame or shun this man one bit. His reaction and quick response without any research though is a forever reminder to me to NEVER let my work become more important than the people.
Or as I was laying on the ultrasound table waiting for the doctors to come look after I had already been told they could not locate my baby. In that moment I could swear to you the room had been dead silent. Then, out of no where… a little radio in the room sounds out, “This is going to make you stronger, the pain ain’t going to last forever, things can only get better, believe me, this is going to make you stronger” It was in that moment I knew exactly what was about to happen. I didn’t need a doctor to tell me anything, God had already prepared me for what was about to come. Every time I hear that song I just cry.
Having to bury my two babies that I know are dancing with Jesus. Watching my grandmother cry and gift my babies their beautiful little caskets…. that she had had since she was a little girl. She never knew that would be the purpose these beautiful ceramic “jewelry holders’ would serve, they were perfect.
2015-2016. The hardest years of my life. You find out in those moments what you are made of. I preach and teach the gospel. I proclaim, God is good and He is a loving God. In those moments of absolute heartache you find out if you really believe what you preach. I can honestly say, there were moments I was angry at God, I can remember hitting my knees in my closet one day and just screaming and crying out, “Why, Oh Why?” Moments of anger that He did not answer my prayers the way I thought He would. Lots of emotions. I am more grateful now for His grace than ever. He knows all, He sees all, and He still loves. He knew I would question and doubt. He knew I would go through all of these mixed emotions. But I didn’t stay angry or doubtful. I processed it, I read His word and truth. I choose to believe it, even when I don’t understand it. And I hang my heart everyday on the fact one day, God will return and He will make ALL of this death, pain, sorrow, sin, and hurt RIGHT. That’s where I let my heart rest. And when I allow myself to get still long enough, I will close my eyes and I get the most beautiful image of this boy and girl holding hands. Their playing “ring around the rosey” in this tall beautiful green field. Where the greenery is blowing in the wind and there’s little white flowers. This little boy and girl are dancing, singing and playing with each other. It’s the most peaceful and beautiful image. I wasn’t far enough with either pregnancy to find out the gender but, this is the image I have. It gives me hope that I will get to see each of my babies one day. It helps my heart LONG for Heaven and the day He returns instead of fearing it.
If you want to read more about what it was like when I was actually in the midst of all that pain scroll back through some of older post and read “Stronger & Anything Pt 1 & 2” Every now and then I go back and read them to remind my heart of my faith, His kept promises and to have compassion.
After those two miscarriages Ricky and I had decided we needed to just move on with life how it was. That having another child was not going to happen for our family, at least not us physically birthing one. I still til this day have no answers as to why we miscarried, and I may not ever know this side of Heaven. But once we had decided to lay it down, we became pregnant with our Rush Roman. I consider all my babies miracles, especially after experiencing the loss we had experienced. He was the light after the dark. He was the reminding rainbow that God will keep His promise.
Now I know there is someone reading this that has experienced this same loss but, does not have any other children. I can’t relate. I don’t even want to try. What I do want to do though is encourage you to pick up Gods word. To just read it. To just let it penetrate your heart. To remind you, He LOVES you! So much, enough to send His Son to die for you. That He will keep His promise to you. To understand His plan may look different than ours. To know that He is GOOD. He is not a God of death and sorrow but, of LIFE and joy. To know, one day, when He returns ALL will be made right. ALL the pain and hurt will be gone. I want you to know especially… I am so sorry! My heart truly breaks for you. I can’t have these conversations with women now and not weep for the heartache that is there. For so many reasons, on so many levels. I truly am so sorry for the pain you are experiencing. There is not a word or person in this world that can take it away or make it right. I pray for you though, not even knowing you. I pray a lot for all the women and families suffering this loss. I pray that Gods word finds its way into your heart and into your home and it brings you peace and comfort in this heartbreaking season. And I pray He brings you people. People that show up in the middle of the night and take you to a coffee shop and just let you cry. People that set up meal trains for you. People that love you well. People that put you in the center of a big circle of believers, lay their hands on you and just cry with you. They hurt because you hurt. People that fill your mailbox one night with letters of encouragement and specific scriptures. I pray that if in the midst of all of this you find Jesus like you’ve never found Him before.
It’s been two years since we experienced our first loss. It can feel as real today though as it did then. The pain and the holes in my heart will forever be there. Their not any smaller today than they were when it first happened. But, being years out of it it is AMAZING what I can see now, that I couldn’t see then. There are many ways looking back now I can see how God used that tragedy to draw us near. There are even somethings we were protected from because of the heartbreaking season we were in. I will share more about all of that one day, I don’t feel called to just yet. I feel like there is still so much more He is continuing to reveal to me on things that He was doing in that season that I couldn’t see then but, now and I am sure with time to come He slowly reveals to me. In the midst of tragedy it’s hard to see Him at work because let’s be honest it just hurts. That pain is really all you can focus on but, in it please read His word. Even when your eyes are full of tears and it’s hard to see don’t let the enemy harden your heart to His word. It may mean just listening to worship music and/or podcast and allowing the Word to come in that way. I was in the middle of a book study during both of mine actually. I can remember not fully absorbing what I was reading but knowing I was still putting His truth into my mind and soul. Regardless if I “felt” like it or not. There were people around me pouring out His word into me. Don’t let your heart go hard. Don’t walk the journey alone, allow your spouse to serve you. Accept and receive the help with a humble heart. Let your walls down. All things I did and wish I wouldn’t have.
It doesn’t take a awareness month for me to be reminded. I am everyday. But if 1 and 4 women are going to go through this experience it’s so important that we be mindful, compassionate and that we don’t let the women we love the most do it in the dark. If you know someone walking this journey right now. Don’t offer your words, they can’t change anything and you’ll never feel like you said the right thing. Instead, offer your time and your service. Be the hands and the feet of Christ. Let your friend cry, don’t try to relate or share a story just say you are so sorry. Show up with a meal, leave it on her doorstep if she doesn’t feel like getting out of bed. Take her children to the park or on a play date if she needs to just rest. Don’t just SAY, DO. Show up. Even without asking. And pray. A lot.
And when she does get her miracle. Rather it be through adoption, fostering, natural birth, however it may look.. YOU CELEBRATE. Bigger and badder than you ever have before. You NEVER forget how faithful He is. God has used Rush to remind me daily of this. I am in a season now of some health issues and just the other day I felt forsaken, again. Even knowing what I know, I am quick to feel like God has just left me on the side of the road. This feeling doesn’t come from Him, it comes from my lack of faith and trusting His word. But in that moment and I am sure many to come, for me specifically, I will look down at Rush and quickly remember… He is who He says He is. Rush was named “Rush” for many reasons, one being the definition was “to keep moving” there were so many days I didn’t and couldn’t get out of bed. Going through a season of not knowing if I could ever live like I once had. “Rush” reminds me, yes I can, and if anything I live BETTER than I did before. Then his middle name “Roman” comes from the verse that was given to me during my miscarriages, Gods word literally pierced my heart and changed everything with Romans 8:26- in my words… when I didn’t know what to pray, the Holy Spirit interceded for me. He didn’t need my words. He knew them. My tears were enough. I look at Rush every single day and remember that verse. So cling to it. It brought me SO much piece in moments of confusion and anger.
I don’t have to know you to tell you, if you’re reading this, and you have or do experience this heartache… I love you and I am so sorry! But, more importantly… JESUS loves you! And I promise you ONE day, SOMEDAY, ALL of this pain will be stripped and it will all be made new and right and holy. Cling to that.
With love, grace & hope.