Today is October 15, 2015, National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. In 1988 President Ronald Reagan deemed October the month that would be highlighted to remember those precious itty bitty souls that have gone on before us. And somewhere along the way, the 15th of October became the specific day for parents to remember their babies in a special way via gatherings, ceremonies, candle lightings, and balloon releases.
“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 [October] 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.” President Ronald Reagan, 1988
Most of you know I have lost two babies, one at 8 weeks and most recently, our son Chance who was stillborn at 20 weeks gestation. I could not let this day pass without acknowledging my babies and all the other parents in the world who have walked this same road.
I pray that anyone reading this would never be asked to travel this valley of loss, but if so, this is what I want you to know. . .
As you ride the waves of grief just do the next thing. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and do the next thing that is right in front of you. Don't think long term. Think the next few minutes. Eat that sandwich. Unload the dishwasher. Take your living children to the park. Take a shower. Just do the next thing and eventually all the things will start to feel normal again.
Tell people what you need. Tell people it brings you joy when you hear them speak your child's name. Tell people your spouse is working late or gone for business and you just can bear to be alone when night falls. People will show up.
You never get over the loss, or ever fully move on, yet the grief becomes more manageable and the happiness eventually outweighs the sadness. You just learn to live with your loss.
You will never be the same, yet through God's great mercies and the army of people surrounding you, you will heal and rebuild.
There is a level of guilt that comes once the happiness creeps back in. Please embrace the happiness and resist pushing it away. This is what our Father, and your child, wants for you.
Heaven will become so real and big and this earth and all of its silly importances will fade.
The community of people who you call friends and family will surprise you. People will walk along side you, carrying you when your legs don't have the strength. People will organize food and send cards and texts and show up in so many little unexpected ways. People will come out of the woodworks showing their love and support while shouting the common thread of "Together we are going to get through this."
And just as your people surprise you, so will our Heavenly Father. He is bigger than your grief, and hurts and cries with you. He hears you. He is holding you in the palm of His hands and covering you with His feathers (Psalm 91).
He is gently reminding you that grief has no timeline and tears are not a lack of faith, just a sign of tremendous love. His ways might not be our ways, yet He is faithful to pull us through to dry ground.
He will not let you sink even on the worst of days.
He is rooting for you.
You will be stretched and tested in new ways, but you will emerge stronger. You will emerge victorious.
Hold on to His hope, dear sister.
There is so much to be found.
I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken. Psalm 62:1-2
(For resources on pregnancy loss/stillbirth click here).