Sunday, September 9 is National Grandparents Day.
I became interested in doula work in my first pregnancy. I learned how magnificent the process of gestation is and marvelled at God’s intimate design. I became trained through Cascade Christian Childbirth Association, an organization seated in God’s design of pregnancy. My second birth was the first time I felt the blessing of being supported, of seeing how neat it was to advocate for myself and to see others truly participate and enjoy the journey with me. My third baby’s birth was hysterical – I practically laughed him out. Each of my children have blessed me with wisdom and valuable truths about pregnancy, gestation, birth and early parenting.
As everyone knows, it was my fourth child who inspired my husband and I to create stillbirthday.
But this story is in many ways about our fifth child.
I don’t know if it’s because she is my first subsequent child, or if it’s because she is a girl. Probably, it is both.
Grandparents Day always reminds me to be thankful for the people who came before me, to marvel at how my parents could have made such poor choices, how I was rescued from so much, but how ultimately, we are in fact still connected. It reminds me to spend time in thanksgiving over my husband’s grandparents, over how easily they accepted me as a part of their family. It reminds me to recognize the joy his parents have at being grandparents, that they adore these children the Lord has knit in my womb. It reminds me that the Lord has sewn my children into a stable, strong, loving family that will help sustain them as they learn how insecure and unstable my parents’ lifestyle is.
But, this is the first Grandparents Day that I have thought about myself as a grandparent.
I have five children – one of whom resides in Heaven. Of the four children in our home, someday, the Lord may bless one of them with a spouse, someone to join in their life and witness their struggles, and embrace and nurture their hopes and dreams. Someone, who may join them in parenthood.
This Grandparents Day, I look at my daughter, my sweet, tiny little girl, as she nuzzles up to my breast for a comforting meal. As she gulps, I touch her tiny, perfect toes. I stroke her short, strawberry hair. And I pray for her. I pray for her future spouse, wherever he may be. I pray over their future plans of conception and parenthood, and I pray – oh, how I pray – that she will never, ever, ever endure a pregnancy loss.
Blessing God’s Way is an organization that supports stillbirthday through their pregnancy loss specific Celebrating Pregnancy Blessingway, a time of honoring the baby-in-utero as the very real baby he or she is, regardless of his duration of life outside of the womb.
Besides their loving care of pregnancy, they also provide tools to teach our little girls about puberty – about the season of their life that may or may not lead to their season of motherhood.
Already, with this still nursling little girl, I have eager and excited plans to be the one to teach her about this marvelous journey – to walk alongside her as she explores this beautiful, joyful, and potentially heartbreaking season. As I see her toothless little grin, I can think of no one better qualified to teach her, and no other way better cabable of teaching her, than through the lens of God’s awesome, mysterious design.
All of this also has stirred a change in my husband, as he prepares to teach our oldest child, a strapping young man, about the season in store for him.
Together, we are prayerfully and joyously looking at this Grandparents Day as the future grandparents we may be, praying for our children and their future spouses, whoever and wherever they may be, who may join into our family someday through marriage and parenthood.
As bereaved parents, have you thought about yourself as a grandparent? Is that an area of grief, an area that needs healing? Is it an area of fear or anxiety? Is it an area you haven’t yet considered?
Will you focus on your future grandchildren on this Grandparents Day, and be in prayer over your children’s future fertility, and over your grandchildren as well?
If you are a grandparent who has experienced a pregnancy or infant loss of your grandchild, how do you celebrate Grandparents Day?