Remembering Our Babies
As many of you know October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. Though I feel so privileged to work with families and babies from all over the world, I know that not every couple’s journey to parenthood is free from struggle and loss. This month we are reminded to remember and pray for all the parents out there grieving the loss of their baby or babies and honor all those little lives that were taken so soon.
Before I became a Sleep Consultant I worked in a hospital as a Hospital Chaplain. I did baptisms for babies that only had moments to live. I blessed babies that never were able to take their first breath. I held hands and held hearts of complete strangers as we stared at the precious child that they were never going to be able to take home to that perfect nursery they’d already spent hours sitting in, imagining all the memories that were going to be made. I counseled families as they agonized over the life of the perfect child and the life of the mother that could no longer sustain her own health through a troubled pregnancy. I stared with terrified mothers at ultrasound screens, desperate to explain away what we thought we saw, praying that it was just the wrong angle and that the awful news could be unheard. I made memory boxes with the wonderful nurses- angels really, who cared for these families – making footprints and taking photos and wrapping these tiny little bodies in blankets to hand them to a sobbing mother for one last time as she said goodbye. I sat with grown men as they begged for answers, as they fought back their own tears and kissed their wife’s forehead and told her it would be OK. I left those rooms aching deep within knowing I was leaving sacred ground.
Little had I known these experiences would soon prepare me for my own loss. Though I often have to pinch myself when I look at our own four kids, our family did not come to be without multiple heartbreaks. My first pregnancy: naïve and innocent, until I started bleeding and realized what was inevitably to come. The angst and fear throughout every prenatal appointment with my first daughter and then my first son. The blood test results we received as we hoped to grow our family and the news that something was wrong, and week after week of ultrasounds showing a bright little heartbeat and a moving baby until the time when there was no flicker. The rollercoaster of emotions, pregnancy after pregnancy, miscarriage after miscarriage. My faith carried me through it all; I knew I was not alone in my loss and that others have lost far more, but the loneliness and heartache that ensued after each one will never be forgotten. God was still good, God was still God and although this was not the path I had picked, it was the one I was on.
People don’t talk about pregnancy loss. People are scared to approach those that have lost a child. They are often timid to ‘bring it up’ for fear of reminding them of their pain and being unable to comfort the grieving mother. It’s understandable but still so isolating for the one who has lost. I often think of all the families I had the privilege to sit with, to pray with, to show up with on the worst day of their lives and I will never, ever forget them. They hold a special place in my heart, a holy place. No mother in the world should have to leave the hospital without her baby in her arms.
So this month we will remember all these babies, all these families that have said goodbye far too soon and we honor these lives. Reach out to a friend who has lost, pray for them and let them know you are thinking of them. Believe me the thought of their lost child is not far. And for all those lucky enough to have your babies with you, remember to thank God for them and ask Him to remind you what a miracle they truly are.