The Rainbow of Grief

Grief is not always ash gray or even midnight blue.

In the bereavement community, there is often talk about “rainbow babies” – babies born subsequently to loss.  And so much hoping and pining away for that future baby can become so pervasive and consuming that when the baby is born, there can be a moments dawning of

“I have been hoping for a person.  This person.  Not a feeling that this person would give me.”

And the weeks of sleep deprivation and dangerous levels of exhaustion are sprinkled with the comments from others reflecting the mother’s now too-far distant wishes of “at least you have your rainbow baby now.”

I want to propose something entirely radical to you today.

You are already a rainbow.

The vibrancy and beauty of the rainbow happens because each of the colors are experienced in their fullness and richness, without unnecessary intrusion from the other colors.  Their stark differences somehow seem to come together to bring a collective harmony, an orchestration of different octaves and hues that rings pleasing.

If you are new to your grief journey, the platitudes from others can seem an attempt to dump orange onto your blue, and you desperately push these attempts away with a cry “I don’t even want this blue at all, but your orange smeared into it is only making things messier, and uglier.”

Somehow, something deep in the rainbow of your very soul knows that somehow, for a time, blue is where you are needed to be.  For your own best healing and even dare I say, your own future happiness.

Then later, when you find yourself on a warm day, when the sun kisses your cheeks and the sweet wind chime of laughter is heard moving from your heart, somehow, you find you’ve moved into some kind of a beautifully light yellow of joy.

And the lies lurk as shadows.  “Maybe I am too happy.  Do I deserve to smile again?” And we try to dump the darkest of gray onto our softest yellow day.

And so, day by day, our lives look like a soggy empty place malformed by smooshy mud and weakened snow, a place that we cannot get a grip on because the smudging and smearing have gone on so far and so wide that we fear taking a step anymore for falling flat upon our faces in an ugly, distorted mess.  Again.

I want to encourage you today, to celebrate your rainbow of grief – your rainbow of healing.  Whatever color your day, your moment may be, it is yours.  It is valuable intrinsically; it doesn’t need to be dumped on or added to or stuffed into something else.

It is intrinsically valuable.  As are you.

Gorgeousness

This is one of my most favorite photos from our workshops, as we find courage and celebration in our colors and in our selves.  I so hope you consider being a part of Love Wildly, our upcoming retreat in December 2014.  It is going to be a gorgeous time of sharing, loving and healing, for all of us.

 

Rainbow Fatigue

There’s a point I hope to share with you,  but there’s a tiny bit of a backstory to get to where I’m wanting to take you.

Shortly after giving birth to my third child, another handsome son, his beloved great grandfather died.  When I say shortly, I mean, literally that same week.

Our entire family was devastated.  Not because we didn’t necessarily see it coming, but because we truly loved him dearly.

And in the midst of preparing for all of the things that come with a traditional farewell, all of the attention from everyone I loved turned to their feelings of their loss at our beloved strong man.

Standing in the funeral parlor, holding my newborn close, people who I’d never met touching my son for their own comfort.  Pulling back the blanket his mother had strategically placed to allow him to be visible but covered.  Grabbing his tiny newborn fingers, tugging them away from his face and pressing them around their fingers for a moment of their own comfort.  I stood, feeling defenseless, exposed, and ignored, in the procession of people slowly shuffling forward to have our turn to see the chilled physical form of a man who founded two generations of strong, leading men and respectful, hardworking women.

I stood, silently.  Like an empty platitude, only being offered out of social requirement.

I stood, holding my breath, waiting desperately for my turn with the man I loved, so that I could escape the rest of it.

Finally, my emotional strength collapsed, but it did before I got my turn.

I left that parlor, newborn in tow, and found the nearest little office where I could sit, collapse, and just, be.  I don’t regret standing as long as I could.  But I know I would have regretted it tremendously if I had stood a moment longer, being disobedient to the authentic love I knew I had to give.  The authentic love, I know I am to be.

Be the strong, protecting mother I know that renewed man above – not the old man behind me there in the overcrowded conference room – fought his whole life for the generations after him to be.  I was weary with being submissive to a ritual that my entire essence was rejecting.  I wanted to love, but love was being stifled by politeness and expectation.

Scooping my newborn son to my breast, I heaved a sigh of relief to have before me the very task that interrupted my sleep, my own meals, in fact my every single moment for the 10,080 consecutive minutes from his birth until that very moment.  I studied his sweet face as he drank, traced the seam of his pants with my finger, and fell entirely in love with this precious, vulnerable person for the 1 millionth time since I knew he was.   I was so captivated that I stayed squarely in that seat until I heard the last hushed stranger’s awkward goodbye in the entryway behind the thick door behind me.  Then, just me and my full bellied son quietly went to the place where one of our heroes lay.  I whispered secrets to them both, telling him, both, how much I love him, and the other.

Do you know what I’m saying?

I needed that.

And I have observed something in the bereaved community, something I haven’t really seen officially mentioned but something that so many mothers have tried to articulate, a similarity in many of our stories, in our feelings, in our concerns.  After much reflection, I hope to present to you what I think this is, and if it resonates with you, I hope you know you aren’t alone.

I write this as Christmas is just a few days away, knowing our culture can build such an anticipation of what we hope – nay, what we expect – from others.  We shop for gifts for others with a nagging voice in our minds – “I hope he noticed I could really use ___.  I hope she noticed that I would really like ___.”  And for bereaved parents, our concerns run deeper than physical packages.  “I secretly dread seeing ___.  I just really do not want to hear from ___.  I do not want to face this day and I want it to move quietly behind me. ”

And then, we have the next year upon us.  A whole new number thrust upon us in such a way that it becomes a habit, even if one we despise.  “I am not ready to leave this year behind.  I do not want to whisk my feelings aside with it.”  Or, “Let’s just usher in this new year.  Maybe I can get over this year.  Maybe then I can just move on.”

Whatever struggles you are facing in this season, this is a season that can seem to automatically propel us into a place of expectation, of moving on.  It can seem the sense of discontent, of wistfulness, of longing, of anticipation can be so strong it permeates everything – the way we drive, the way we eat, how we feel about commercials, how we feel about our relationships, how we feel about ourselves.

I draw these things to your attention because there is a different kind of baby blues I see, too.  I’ll call it “rainbow fatigue”.

It’s something caught by loved ones and by bereaved parents alike.

Trying to conceive is such a commonplace expression that we usually chop it down to just three letters.  TTC.

It becomes more than learning about your body in an intimate way, or falling in love with your spouse all over again.

It, the trying, can become so consuming, that even while finally pregnant, mothers can still be so entirely distracted with the aching desire for even the very next day.  “It ain’t over (the fear) until I hear that baby cryin.”

We are pregnant and a nervous wreck and we are terrified to tell someone.

And then our “rainbow” babies are born.  Our living babies are placed in our arms.

And we spent so much time in our pregnancy following the expectation we set by our own fear that we cannot enjoy the moment, that suddenly we are presented with a person, a vulnerable person who needs us entirely, someone who has not just been hidden from our sight for nearly a year by the place of gestation, but hidden from our heart by the place of fear.

So now, once and for all, you are charged with intentionally nurturing this person you spent approximately 280 days of pregnancy hoping for, possibly physically preparing for, but not emotionally or spiritually realizing was already here, was indeed already yours.

It is a difficult, confusing place, to be thrust into the hours, days, months ahead, soothing the needs of this child you longed so desperately for, his or her cries interrupting abruptly your own thoughts as you wonder how you got so suddenly from a place of desperately aching for a child, to be granted the role of serving the endless demands of a person who depends wildly upon you.  The months of pregnancy didn’t prepare you for this.  The months of pregnancy.  Still TTC.  Still trying to conceive the notion that you are loved, that you have love to give, that you are given ordinary moments to discover your own little greatness.

I want to challenge you today, wherever you are at in your motherhood – if you are rearing, mourning, or both – that faith isn’t about obeying social expectations or how well you think you hope or even what it is you hope for in the future.

Faith is about finding value in you, in this place, in this moment, unconditionally.

May you find that faith, in this season of your life, in this year, in this very minute.

Be, present.  Discover that you can receive love, offer love, be love, unconditional.

I believe in this so entirely that I will soon be having a giveaway that will include an opportunity to invite you into practicing this in a tangible way, so stay near to stillbirthday to check it out.

rainbow fatigue

{original photo source}

 

 

Love Moves

Love Moves.

It draws you in.  It brings you to places you never thought you’d go.

So we need to pack for our journey.

In 2014, stillbirthday is having a brand new project as part of Mothering Our Mourning.

We’re calling it Love Moves.

And we’re bringing you the suitcase.   Yes, that’s right.

The suitcase will be shipped directly to your door.  It is a gorgeous, wooden suitcase that was hand made with lots and lots of love (and purple, pink and blue).

And when you open this suitcase, inside you’re going to find a gorgeous journaling scrap book, postcards, trinkets….

….it’s going to be filled with love.

lovemoves

And you’ll be able to spend some time, looking, unpacking, touching, all the things placed inside.

And then, you’ll add something of your own.

A poem, a Love Letter, a piece of ribbon, a photo, you can place inside this treasure chest filled with MOM’s Love.

MOM: Mothering Our Mourning

Then, you’ll package up this special box, and it’ll be sent to the next mother.

Through the course of the year, we will be able to watch as Love Moves into places we ourselves never thought we’d go.  And know that we are making it happen.  Bringing real love to real doorsteps, bringing love to mothers as they open this special box and touch the items inside for the very first time.  Tangible hope.  Real healing.

 

To Be a Part

The first 12 mothers to register can secure their place for 2014.  You can register below, and the state/country will be added here.  One box, 12 different locations – and it’s open internationally.

What You’ll Do

  • You’ll reserve your place for 2014 by registering below.
  • You agree to keep the box for a total of 2 weeks within your registered month (each mother is designated for a 1 month timeframe, so we need to give some room for shipping times).  Within those 2 weeks, you agree to preserve the condition of the box and its contents to the best of your ability, keeping everything inside of the box.
  • You agree to contribute into the journal 1 full page’s worth, which can be a pasted photo, a poem, a Love Letter or other words.  This one page worth can be divided by using two different, one half pages, three different one third pages, or so forth.  In short, you agree not to fill it all up by yourself, but to save some room for the other mothers.

The wonder of this opportunity is that you won’t need to explain the items you’ve added. 

We’ll all honor everything held inside as the sacred that it is.

  • You agree to uphold confidentiality and to treasure the box and all contents with the highest amount of discernment, discretion, honor and love.
  • You see that all of the other mothers are agreeing to abide by the same expectations, giving you a very tangible way to express your love, your vulnerability, your feelings, through a safe, structured and healing opportunity.
  • You’ll pay the shipping and handling (approximately $20-$40 USD) to return the box back to Heidi Faith.   Once the box is safely returned to me, you’ll be refunded 50% of your registration ($15 USD).
  • At the end of 2014, we’ll draw a giveaway for one of the participating moms to receive the Love Moves 2014 journal for herself.

This is going to be incredible!

Join the MOM Movement.  It’s going to be transformative, healing, and beautiful.




newmom

Love Moves in 2014

 

January: Ontario, Canada

February: Alabama, USA

March: Kansas, USA

April: Missouri, USA

May: Texas, USA

June: Montana, USA

July: Queensland, Australia

August: Indiana, USA

September: New Mexico, USA

October: Minnesota, USA

November & December – we’re leaving this space open in case there are any delays in shipping, to make sure each mom has plenty of time.

MOM Love Moves Suitcase

Because so many people want to know where I f0und such beautiful things, the beautiful wooden suitcase is handmade from Hans Creations and the awesome journal is from Simply Smashing.  Both shop owners made our items especially for us.  Gorgeousness!

Facing the Mirror

Shared by: Jessica

Facing the Mirror: Gaining back my Sexuality after loss

I wanted to share with you a subject not covered very often, but a reality for many women after loss, in my own words. Warning the subject matter is of Adult content.

 

In the beginning of our relationship we had sex all the time; to be honest we couldn’t keep our hands off of each other. I would stand in front of the mirror for hours getting ready each day. I would carefully lotion every inch of my skin, brush my teeth and hair, carefully apply my makeup just right. I would slowly put on my lip gloss so not to smudge it (even though I knew it wouldn’t stay on long) and curl my eyelashes. I would place shimmer on my collar bone and pose in every way known to man in front of the mirror to make sure everything was just as it should be. I would stuff my breasts into my perfect bra, slip on my cutest undies to match, and act as though it was effortless for me to look this way. He was in love with my body; I was in love with my body.

 

With all that loving going on it should not have been the surprise it was when we found out we were pregnant. As my body changed, he changed to. He started putting the lotion on my belly (yes even the parts covered in stretch marks) and on my feet as it wasn’t long before I became winded trying to reach them myself. My breasts grew and although they hurt I was so excited that they were so perfectly round. I felt like a hippo sometimes but he seemed to be more in love with my body than ever before. I would catch him staring and he couldn’t keep his hands off of me. His touch was more frequent but gentler. He held me like the most precious stone and we would lie for hours with our hands on my belly waiting to feel the flutters of our baby. It was magical.

 

Then, the unthinkable happened.

I did not give birth to a bouncing happy baby; I gave birth to a tiny sleeping angel. My whole world uprooted in an instant. My heart broke, but so did my body image, and my ideas on sex. I would stand in front of the mirror and think no more shimmer on my collar bone, which is where my baby should be. No more lip gloss, my lips should be kissing my baby. No more lotion or attention to detail. To me there was no point I was no longer his sexy lady, I was the lady that gave birth to a dead baby. How was that ever going to be attractive?

After things calmed down, and I had completed my six weeks physical healing time I thought I would love to just curl up in his arms again, but that wasn’t the case. The first time he tried to kiss me (in a more than just a peck way) I froze. I felt my body tense, my heart pound in fear…why would he try to kiss me? Did he not understand that our baby had died inside of me? That I was broken and unworthy? I forced myself to snuggle up into that sexy little curve of his armpit and lay there as he softly tickled my shoulder. It lasted a whole five minutes before I made an excuse to get up.

For months I would look in the mirror and critique every inch of me. I hated my body and sex was the last thing on my mind.

So many things I would degrade myself about. It’s one thing to have a “Mommy Body” but it was another to have it without a baby.

My breasts leaked for weeks and all I could do was hate it, hate my body, did my body not understand that my baby had died inside of it? Who the hell was going to get rid of these stretch marks (or proof I tried and failed as I saw them)? I finally just stopped, I stopped looking in the mirror, I stopped brushing my hair, I stopped putting on makeup, and I stopped wearing cute undies and went for granny panties and sports bras…let’s see him find that sexy.

He was respectful, and never forceful, but he also never gave up. He would tell me he loved me and that I was beautiful to him. He would still smack my butt when I walked by him and I was constantly catching him staring down my shirt with every opportunity he had.

Then one day, as I dried off after my shower, I looked over and saw my lotion bottle all dusty. I reached up and slowly lotioned every inch of my skin. I walked out of the bathroom happy and feeling a bit like a woman again. As the days went by I continued to lotion, and one day I just stood there naked in front of my mirror staring at my new bereaved mother’s body. I first looked at my eyes, and I thought they looked so hallow and sad. So, I put some shadow on them, stuck my eyeliner pencil in and drug it across, I then topped it off with a bit of mascara. It felt good.

The days turned into weeks and I slowly got back into my routine of primping, but I still could not let him touch me.

Then, a breakthrough! I looked in the mirror, again naked, and I found myself speaking out loud (thankfully no one was home but me). The words just rolled out of my mouth “I am sexy”.

 

My lips were not just meant to kiss my baby that was gone, they also helped create him, they were a way to show my lover I still loved him, that I still found him sexy, and that it was good he still found me sexy. That the shoulders that were supposed to hold my baby could also hold kisses from my man. That my skin was a bit lose in spots but it was feminine and beautiful. That I was beautiful. Yes, my baby had died inside me but that was just a part of it. My body also created him through love and sex with my man. That we as a couple had made love to create him, that we had made love before him, while he was growing, and that we could make love again. We were a power couple and we could get through anything together. I spent the next couple of hours getting back into the bathtub, shaving my legs, lotioning every inch of my skin, brushing my teeth and hair, carefully applying my makeup just right, slowly putting on my lip gloss so not to smudge it, curling my eyelashes. I placed shimmer on my collar bone, made a few poses in the mirror to make sure I still had it. I stuffed my breasts into that perfect bra with undies to match.

I made it again look effortless,

and then I let him love my body again,

I loved my body again.

Both On My Heart

Shared by: Erin

Mothering your mourning while mothering your “twinless twin” is HARD.  It is a delicate dance of sorrow and joy.

Here is Grace and Baylie, twins, still together.

 

Waiting to Exhale

Pregnancy after loss is often called a “rainbow pregnancy”, although you might not see the color just yet.

It can feel quite a lot like “Please, just get us both through this alive.”

It can feel like you’re waiting to exhale.

For encouragement and strength for your journey, please visit our Getting Pregnant Again resources, articles and stories.

 

 

From the Chasm

I am in a chasm right now.  I have been sinking into it for months.

It began, I believed, by an inappropriate growing of my own expectations of others.  After all, issues like self-righteousness are things we are all vulnerable to.

I began facing this sliding with a deep intention to check my heart for any festering expectation of others I might find there, even as simple and rational as the expectation might be, and to actively work on surrendering such distraction from the heart of love I want to embody.

This worked.  I have been able to find some things in my heart that I haven’t liked to see.  But I don’t think they were very disproportionate or in any way over exaggerated.  I’m just simply confessing here that I am just a real person, with a real humanitarian hope and simple faith in the goodness of others.

What I’m saying, is that each of us, we want to feel that our efforts are making a difference, and we start to gauge that expectation against standards we begin to espouse about the status quo or those who may impact it.

So, self checks are really important to our maturity and to our discernment.

This intentional inspecting of my motives or expectations of others helped me to even further deepen my humility, and for that I am so thankful.  One thing I know that we all need, as anyone who steps into the sacred space of birth and of death needs, is humility.  I tend to nearly fully believe we could never have enough of it.

But this process, as enlightening and enriching as it was, still, was insufficient.

Somewhere, still, my heart was still growing more and more heavy.  More weary.  More, forlorn.

Some sort of a parasite had secretly found it’s way into my spirit, and it was growing, festering, it was gaining weight and strength off of my very essence.

Spiritual cancer.

And the platitudes began.

And the issues that I thought I had begun to reign in through my intentional efforts were proliferating, were bursting at the seams.

And the fear of this truth has been enormous.

These are some of the roles that I have:

  • I moderate all comments made onto every story here, because as much as we’d like to envision a world where there wasn’t infant death, there are those whose mental unwellness rises in them an evilness and a dark desire to bring more hurting to others.
  • I oversee all of the programs and ministries here at stillbirthday.
  • I moderate all comments made onto every post made at our facebook page and in our facebook group, for the same reasons mentioned above.
  • I mentor individuals and provide doula support to mothers and families.
  • I co-teach our doula program.
  • I work actively to raise awareness of pregnancy and infant loss in general, and of our many programs and resources here.

People who I believe ought to have at least a basic understanding of the language of grief have turned a deaf ear on my pleas for awareness and recognition of the magnitude of all we bereaved parents endure.

People reject my suggestions, my insistence, my cry for more awareness of all that we all endure.

And as much as I am involved, these things are about all of us.

I have always made myself as absolutely available as I possibly can, through multiple means of communication, so that anyone can have access to me with any thoughts, concerns, questions or ideas they may have about pregnancy and infant loss support.

But as I’ve continued to slip into this chasm, weighed by this invisible parasite of my joy, of my peace, of my healing, I have become increasingly aware that instead, I have only been open to finding unexpected and additional hurtfulness and even cruelty.

I don’t really want to elaborate because I don’t want to trip anybody up, but the issues of negativity, of minimization, of negligence, are pervasive and they are persistent.

And I assure you, an offense against any of us is an offense against all of us.  We are all, in this together.  We each bring something so significant just through sharing our stories, our truths, our tears, our hope.  I do not bring anything more than you do – but I have felt more exposed, more criticized, more aware of the legalism, judgment and discrimination of others, than at any other time in my life.

So here I am, starting way back at the beginning.  Undoing two years of effort, two years of fighting, two years of being strong.

I act professionally.

I act graceful.

I act strong.

I fulfill all of these roles, but none of them define me.

I am mother to a deceased baby.

I am not strong.

I don’t have anything fancy to bring.

Just love.  Just dignity.

Just an imperfect attempt to reach out my hand to find yours, that we might walk a little stronger on this journey that I know I have been stumbling on.  My journey has not been graceful.  My poise has been clumsy.  My smile has not always been steady.

I am hurting.

And as I slip into this chasm, I lean hard into the few things that I know I can count on – spiritually, emotionally and maybe even physically.

I touch the walls in this darkness, admitting I am here.

I remember the deep release of a full, cleansing breath.  I wonder when I will have that once again, but even in the wondering, I am believing that I will.

I trust dawn will come.  I wait for the sun to kiss my skin and for peace to warm my bones again.

I have recently closed my personal facebook page and facebook is in the process of converting it, and I know that this step itself has hurt people, people who do mean a great deal to me but some of whom have erroneously believed that their heart to help will be enough to help.

This decision was done purely to limit my exposure to the endless attacks against the dignity of the bereaved.

And these things come from the most unexpected of sources.  Religious organizations.  Bereavement organizations.  Medical establishments.   Those who espouse particular birth philosophies or beliefs.

What I need right now is to treat myself as I do all of the mothers whom I have the blessed honor to serve.   Being real, admitting that I am not strong, is messy.  Complicated.  Frustrating.  Additionally painful.

But I am here, crying out from the chasm, speaking into the shame, the loneliness, the overwhelm.  Heaving as I wearily and clumsily drudge through the mess.  Begging you to forgive me if I have hurt you by turning away, to tend to my own broken heart.

I have once again become pregnant with grief.  Those who know me didn’t need to wait for my announcement – somehow, they could see something tightening, they could see something new growing, they could see me changing.  It has become visible, noticeable.

I know, that at the end of the laboring, I will give birth to healing.

The reality of what I carry won’t just disappear or just be undone.

But it will transform into something beyond just who I am.

I know, that like the most intense labor, it is when you believe that you cannot endure anymore, that you truly are almost done.

Please, allow me to be gentle on myself, as I labor.

Please, be patient as I stumble.

Please, wait for me.

My mourning needs to be mothered.

 

 

 

 

{photo source}

 

 

 

I Knew

Told by: Karin

At 32 years old I had had two normal births and pregnancy has never been an issue. I was in a new marriage and we both wanted a baby, so when we found out that I was pregnant the joy was amazing.

I knew exactly when I got pregnant so I know that exactly at 12 weeks I started spotting. It started while I was at a friends house, and I knew. I just knew. I had been working as a Doula for 6 years and I was seriously considering becoming a midwife, so I knew.

So I just sat quietly for a couple more hours at my friends till my husband came and picked me up and I asked him to take me to the hospital. They did an ultrasound and it said that my baby was only 6 weeks, when they said that I knew. They tried to comfort me saying that maybe I had my dates wrong, but I knew.

The (because I am Rh-) they told me I would need a Rogam shot, I broke down. My husband didn’t understand why a shot was so upsetting to me. He couldn’t understand that the only time the give those shots is after birth and during a miscarriage. I hated the nurses and the doctors because they wouldn’t just say the “m” word. I hated them because they treated me like a child. They kept saying “if this is happening” I knew it was and they continued to discount what I knew. The offered to let me stay and have a procedure, I declined and told them I would just go home. I just wanted to be alone with my baby when it was born. I didn’t want those lying, overly nice doctors to touch my child.

So I went home, and my baby was born in the middle of the night in my bathroom. Because she had died at six weeks there wasn’t really anything to see, but oh the pain it took to bring her into the world. Truly while I was heart broken, I was okay. Until “friends” began to question weather I was ever pregnant in the first place. Asking weather I lied for attention, all because the couldn’t understand my decision not to have a D&C. They couldn’t understand why I couldn’t let doctors rip my baby out. I was alone with my pain, because as much as my husband loves me he was consumed in his own pain and loss. Miraculously three weeks after I lost the baby I ended up pregnant again. I didn’t find out until I was almost 18 weeks because I assumed my lack of a period was due to my loss.

The thing is, 5 years later, that I struggle to share because of guilt or shame or whatever, is I still miss my other child, I still cry because I never got to feel her move inside me or hold her in my arms. I never go to celebrate or grieve her 6 weeks of life. I was made to feel guilty because of my choice to go home, I was shamed because I was pregnant but still sad about my loss. I feel like my pain is worth less, because I wasn’t as far along as others, I am trying to heal those wounds today and I am trying to mother my own grief.


 

The Delicate Dance

Written by: Kristin

I have daughters.

6 that I am certain of in fact.

There are 4 running around my house. Helping with chores or the  babysitting, one is cooking, another is coloring. I even have one jumping on a trampoline, as though trying out for the circus.

I have a daughter with heavy chipmunk cheeks, wavy brown hair, and that signature stork bite at the nape if her neck all my children posses. She used to hiccup every night at 10 pm! How funny!
She lives with Jesus.
I try to imagine the splendor of her days.

Then there is my 6th daughter I’m certain of. She is tiny,under 3 pounds right now, but so strong. I feel her responses to my pleas, ” hunny, kick for mommy, let me know you are well. ” Soon enough, I’m hoping to hear her cry – to be given the gift of comforting her.

All of of my children, are subsequent children. Both sons and daughters.

Loss has always been an aspect of my children’s existence. But now, just now as it has been so deep, ongoing, recurrent has the blanket truly unfolded on us. The precious fragility of life is too well known.

Over the years, I’ve questioned my responsibility to my daughters in my response to loss. I’ve been aware of the impact on their present and future lives. I’ve tried to model trust in God, His goodness and love is not dependent on circumstances.
I’ve wondered why they too must endure so much, wishing I didn’t need to see them being refined with me.

I am trying to come to a place of peace. I don’t know or understand the mind of God or His plans. That is ok.

It is a beautiful, delicate dance to mother these daughters through the days we are given.

I will lay on bed rest while my oldest daughter mothers me. She will feed me, give me injections, and brush my hair as she listens to my heart. I will see the effect of deep tragedy behind her eyes and trust my God mending her broken places with pure gold.

I will assure my middle teen that she is allowed to live. To move forward and experience life. That panic grips her and comes out as rage, she is safe to unload it on me.

My crazy 9 year old cannot bare the pain or truth that death is part of life. Distraction and denial has been her safety net. I catch the glimmer of fear in her face from time to time not wanting to know what sometimes happens. I strive to reassure her that she is safe and life doesn’t always end in loss.

The 5 year old misses the sister she longed to stroke and mother herself. She fiercely protects her memory, wants visions of what she might do in heaven, and says the things we all think.,, ” I wish we could do it over,, I wish we could see her again,, I hope this baby doesn’t die when it is born. ”
She guards her heart, and needs long periods of time in silence, cuddled close to my side.

Why have we lived this together?What will their life bring?
Will their hearts break twice, once for their own loss and again watching their children suffer the effects?

It isn’t for me to know. For now I gratefully accept they are here. They are with be now. They are the answer if when God said,”Yes”.

Stillbirthday invites you to learn about our Love Letters collection and to share yours with us.

Love Letters to My Daughter

Love Letters from Mothers to Our Daughters.
Stillbirthday Sisters
Stillbirthday Sisters, have a very, very special and important place in our stories.
If you are a stillbirthday mother, and you have a surviving or subsequent daughter, have you thought yet how your loss(es) might become a part of the way you think about or pray for your daughter’s future fertility?
The way you broach the subject of fertility with her, even?
This certainly includes the fertility of your son’s possible future fertility and his partner as well, but this collection of Love Letters is specifically about Stillbirthday Sisters, and about Stillbirthday Grandmothers.
Stillbirthday Grandmothers
It can be so heartwrenching, to seek to protect your daughter, while she is giving birth to her baby who is not alive.  Grieving your grandchildren while also aching for what your adult children are enduring can be enormous, and your pain and feelings can often seem overlooked or forgotten.  In this particular collection of Love Letters, you can write to your daughter, speak to her courage, her grace, and your love for her as you have an intimate view into her broken heart.
Love Letters
Mothers, you are invited, to write a Love Letter to your Daughter, and we can hold your letter at stillbirthday.  You can include your thoughts, fears, prayers, and hopes you might have for her. You can write your letter just by using our sharing tab.
This gorgeous photo was featured at Birth Without Fear
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