Maybe you’ve visited stillbirthday before.
Maybe you’ve clicked the share your story tab, and thought about finally releasing it – the tension, the years of shame, the decades of self-torture and silent grief.
You’ve read articles like our recent “In Twenty Minutes” and it opened up that scarred over scab, and dug a little deeper than you thought it would.
But then you read another story, a story from a bereaved mother, and you become filled with jealousy, shame and hesitation all over again:
She seems like such a better mother than me…
Your pain mounts and you prepare to flee, as you tell yourself that a place like stillbirthday is a place only for mothers with recent losses - not mothers like you.
It’s not for mothers like you, who flushed and walked away. Who allowed yourself to believe that the experience was nothing more than a period, or that your pregnancy loss was a “mess that cleaned itself up.”
It’s not for mothers like you, who were terrified at the prospect of raising a child…
…who were at least a little but probably enormously thankful that the decision was made for you, that the tiny baby was taken before you had to figure out what you were going to do.
…who haven’t seemed to care, until now.
You tell yourself defeatedly but confidently that stillbirthday is not a place for mothers who needed time before they could look at their grief, before they could feel their grief, before they could accept their grief.
To you, I say,
It’s time to see that
- You are welcome here.
- Your feelings are valid.
- You are not bound by shame.
- You and your experiences are safe here.
- You are invited to embrace the healing that awaits you through the journey of exploring your grief.
- It is never too late to open up, to share, to explore your feelings, to be a part of our community.
- Your baby is safe.
- Your baby loves you.
- You are worthy of love and respect.
- You belong.
- A pregnancy loss is still a birthday - it doesn’t go away. It is a part of you. Because it is a part of you, you are invited to be a part of stillbirthday. You don’t have to face this alone.
- You are not alone.
Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! Isaiah 49:15
Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close. Psalm 27:10
These passages are not in scripture to bring you shame and condemnation. They are there to bring you hope. They are there, because they happen. Parents do face experiences and situations in which, at the time, it seems like the only thing they can do is to push the reality of their parenthood away. These passages are in scripture to encourage you that the Lord has always embraced your child, and that you are always welcome to embrace the reality of your child as well.
Did you have a pregnancy loss years ago, and you’ve never talked about it? Have you begun to feel a stirring of emotions recently, as you reflect on that season in your life or that experience in particular?
One stillbirthday mother is celebrating her daughter Hannah’s tenth stillbirthday, by inviting others to perform an act of kindness. In so doing, she is proving that the reality of her child lives even if her child doesn’t, and that even ten years later, her child can impact the world in a positive, healing way. There is a Hannah in scripture who also mirrors this sentiment: she achingly and desperately wanted the experience of pregnancy and childbirth, and made an enormous bargain with God, just to have these experiences. Ten years later, that child, Samuel, didn’t legally belong to her, wasn’t considered her child any longer, but his birth alone changed her life and his positive impact was still a part of her.
Stillbirthday accepts the invitation to be a part of Hannah’s tenth stillbirthday, to discover that time doesn’t have to bind you in shame, but that time can bring with it the opportunity to find the freedom of sharing, of reaching out, and of healing that you deserve.
Stillbirthday extends the invitation to you:
It’s never too late for you to feel the positive impact your child has on you, and on others.
To help encourage you to see that your experience is not bound by shame or condemnation, stillbirthday invites you to share your story. From now until the end of September, all stories that are shared at stillbirthday from mothers or other loved ones who just needed time, will be entered to win the book Becoming a Woman of Freedom by Cynthia Heald, a book that further encourages you not to be bound by the shame and hesitation that rob us of opportunities to find healing.