Let's show love to all moms this(3)

#HonorALLMoms #Mother’sDay

Will you join the campaign to #HonorAllMoms on #Mother’sDay?  Let’s cherish & encourage all moms on this special day by throwing some love to the women whose hearts ache.

I’ve spoken with hundreds of women and have found that Mother’s Day is one of the most dreaded days of the year.

Mother’s Day brings with it a sunburst of jubilant images on social media. The feeds feature smiling kids serving breakfast and cute babies dressed in their Sunday finest.  Scrolling through the posts you read women heralding, “I’m so happy to be a Mom. It’s the best gift ever.”  Places of worship kindly gift flowers and trinkets to moms. Pinterest serves up all sorts of ideas for crafty projects.

And these moms have every single right to be proud.  To post pictures. To devour that breakfast in bed and to accept those heartfelt gifts.  We love those moms.

But to some ladies, Mother’s Day is a stark reminder of what doesn’t exist.   Some moms don’t have a baby to hold. They don’t have a child to dress.  And on Mother’s Day, these women are sometimes accidentally ignored.

Let’s change that.  Let’s bring these women out of the shadows and into the light of love.

Who Are the Moms who Need Extra Love & Support?

  • The invisible moms- the women who experience pregnancy loss.

Their babies died in the womb, but reside in heaven.  The terminology used to describe that trauma,  ‘miscarriage’ and ‘stillbirth,’ are deceptively simple terms that imply a slight medical procedure.  But it’s not a medical procedure and it’s not slight; it’s the loss of a precious life that a woman cradled in her womb.

For some parents, this tragedy happens multiple times. And some of these women have no living children. All their babies were born straight into heaven.

  • The dear moms- God bless their souls- who have outlived one or more of their children.

They put in the sleepless nights, tackled the pile of never-ending laundry, and miss- more than anything- the sweet, sweet embrace of their precious child.

  • The hopeful women- those who yearn for nothing more than to be a mom.

But they battle infertility.  Some have lost that fight.  Now people constantly question, “Why didn’t you ever have kids?”  Let’s pour some love on them.

On Mother’s Day these women might put on a brave, happy face or they might avoid any and all social settings. But Mother’s Day doesn’t disappear.

And you know what? We don’t want Mother’s Day to disappear either; motherhood is something to be celebrated. Life should be cherished.

So, this Mother’s Day let’s choose to love on all moms: the moms who have a precious baby they can hold in their arms, the moms whose sweet babies are in heaven, and the women whose heart desire was to be a mom.

How Can we Give that Extra Love and Support?

If you know a woman whose baby died in the womb, a woman who has lost a living child, or a woman battling infertility recognize her this Mother’s Day. Send a text message or a greeting card, make a phone call, envelope her in a hug, or send her flowers.  Use the name of her child in your conversation.  It brings women comfort when you recognize her little one.

If you are at a loss for words simply write, “Hey, I know this must be a hard day for you. I just want you to know I’m thinking of you on this Mother’s Day. You are the Momma of a precious baby in heaven. I love and cherish you.”

How Can Places of Worship Can Honor All Moms?

Offer a discrete but extremely meaningful gesture by lighting a candle or displaying a flower arrangement in honor of all the women whose babies are in heaven and those women who battle infertility.

Perhaps write in the bulletin or announce, “The flowers placed at the altar table are in honor of the mothers who have experienced the death of their child, in honor of all the mothers whose babies died in the womb, and in honor of the women whose hearts’ desire was to be a mom. We love you and honor you this Mother’s Day.”  Or say,  “The candle in the sanctuary is lit in honor of all the moms whose babies are in heaven.”

Those are just a few simple suggestions that will make a big statement of love to all women.  What other ideas do you have?


 And sweet mother…if you are at an event on Mother’s Day and the speaker says, “Stand if you are a mother” by all means…stand…and stand proudly.  You are a mother.

A woman transforms into a mother the instant she finds out that a baby is in her womb.

Mother |Noun | A woman in relation to a child or children to whom she has given birth.

Paisley Jane is the daughter of Michael and Kelly Lynn. They are holding their 18 week old babies hand. Read their story at: http://angelsremembered.blogspot.com/. Photography by http://lisaolschewskephotography.com


 

Will you join us in making a cultural change?

How You Can Spread the Message:

  • Share this post on social media.
  • Use the hashtag #HonorAllMoms
  • Or CLICK BELOW FOR A PDF TO DISTRIBUTE to churches & organizations                                                                                              #HonorAllMoms #MothersDay PDF FILE

 

Copyright © 2015 Sarah Philpott

 

 

 

Susannah B. Lewis Guest Blogs: I’m Jealous of My Best Friend Because She’s Pregnant

Please help me welcome the amazing Susannah B. Lewis to our site as our GUEST BLOGGER.  The following article she wrote sums up a feeling many women possess and helps us wrestle with that ugly “worm” of jealousy.  The piece was originally published at YourTango We are thrilled to offer it here at allamericanmom.net as well. Susannah is a freelance writer & Huffington Post contributor.

jealous_of_my_prego_bff

I’m Jealous Of My Best Friend … Because She’s Pregnant

By

Does that make me a horrible friend?

Jealousy is like a worm. It crawls in through your ear, with a whisper. It inches over your tongue as you speak words of bitterness. It feeds on the vulnerable parts of your being. It slithers along, leaving a path of destruction in its wake. Jealousy is like a worm.

I despise worms and I despise being jealous. I hate all of the putrid feelings that are a byproduct of jealousy: the resentment and the longing. I loathe the unpleasant person that I become when that begrudging worm burrows into my thoughts, feeding and gliding and feeding some more.

My best friend is a beautiful girl but I’m not entirely jealous of her fresh complexion and long light hair. She’s petite, but I’m not entirely bitter about her ability to pull a bathing suit off the rack without wondering if she’s going to look like a can of busted biscuits. She’s kind and patient, but I’m not entirely envious of the good fruit that she bears.

I’m jealous because my best friend is pregnant.

I want to be pregnant more than I’ve wanted anything in my adult life. I have desired to have another baby for years and with each negative test that I toss into the trash, I become more discouraged and disheartened. One month, though, hope emerged with a positive sign but that very hope dwindled as the plus sign became more and more faint and the bleeding began.

I long for this baby, this child I can picture when I close my eyes, this child for whom I’ve prayed countless prayers, this child who has already been named. My longing for this child is so intense that I can barely look at a pregnant woman or new mother without feeling defeated, subpar.

But these pregnant women, strangers, who I see waddling around in elastic-waisted maternity jeans, panting across the parking lot or lugging around a car seat, are just that: strangers. They are merely passing individuals and I won’t be privy to their pregnancy milestones. I won’t have to watch them glow and share ultrasound photos or pick out nursery bedding. Their pregnancies aren’t close to my home or my heart.

But my best friend, who holds a test with a big Pink plus sign, my best friend cultivating a seed that was so quickly sown, my best pregnant friend’s jubilant news makes me feel like a stupid child who wants to cower in the corner because she didn’t get picked to skip rope on the playground.

When my friend told me about her pregnancy, my heart sank. I could almost feel it plummet into the pit of my stomach and become meal for that slimy worm.

What kind of friend experiences pangs of dread at her confidant’s joy?

What kind of best friend finds sadness in her sister’s happiness?

I do.

I’m a horrible friend. 

I stewed over her pregnancy for a couple of days but it really hit me when she announced her good fortune on social media. I watched the “likes” skyrocket and congratulations fill the comments and I began to bawl like a baby. I hated myself for crying and I tried to suppress those negative emotions but they poured from my eyes uncontrollably, like a child weeping because her ice cream cone fell to the hot pavement.

A child deprived of something.

Rejected. Unlucky. Covetous.

See, I really do desire to be happy for her. She deserves this joy in her life and I have no doubt what a wonderful mother she will be to this precious bundle, but my heart refuses to be delighted for her because I want my own bundle. I’d be a wonderful mother, too.

Selfish. Egotistical. Jealous.

Thankfully, we possess the kind of friendship where we can speak openly and honestly with one another.

As tears blinded my eyes, I typed a text message to let her know what I was feeling. I confessed it all: the jealousy and the guilt for possessing such malicious thoughts about her good news. And she replied exactly what I needed to hear because she’s known the ins and outs of my infertility and miscarriage. She was kind, comforting and most importantly, understanding.

That’s exactly why she’s my best friend. And that’s exactly why she deserves my utmost happiness.

I’ve decided to rid myself of the selfish and spiteful feelings. It may take a great deal of effort but I’ll do it. I’ll be the best friend she so deserves. I’ll rejoice in her good fortune and her sunshine, despite this rainy season in my life.

I’ll also make every effort to stave off the other pangs of jealousy that I experience on a daily basis: Jealousy over another’s job promotion, book deal, SUV with electric start, new house, lush landscaping, house-trained puppy, Facebook likes, Twitter followers, hair that doesn’t grow in the humidity, beauty, toned abs, clear skin, awards, recognition, popularity. I’m such a pitiable creature to be so envious of things when I already have more blessings than I deserve.

Aren’t we all pitiable creatures?

You can be the moon and still be jealous of the stars.

Jealousy is like a worm. It crawls in through your ear, with a whisper. It inches over your tongue as you speak words of bitterness. It feeds on the vulnerable parts of your being. It slithers along, leaving a path of destruction in its wake. Jealousy is like a worm.

But I refuse to let it burrow into my mind any further. I refuse to let that dirty worm make me an unworthy friend. I refuse to let it stifle my joy that should be ever-present when my best friend begins to glow and show and one day soon birth her precious and well-deserved gift.

Worms like to surface in rain, just as this jealousy worm has surfaced in the midst of my own storm. But the sun will eventually shine forth and leave it shriveled and dead.

I never liked worms.

 

Link to original article:

http://www.yourtango.com/2015263816/im-jealous-of-my-best-friend-because-shes-pregnant

 


If you need support or encouragement, please consider joining our miscarriage & pregnancy loss support groups.

For Women:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/LovedBabyMiscarriageSupport/

For Men & Women: /LovedBabyMiscarriageSupportforMenandWomen/


 

If you liked this article you might also like:

I’m Starting To Realize My Third Pregnancy Will Not Be As Easy <http://www.yourtango.com/2014237305/family-im-realizing-my-third-pregnancy-will-not-be-as-easy>
The Death Of My Alcoholic Father Made Me A Better Mom <http://www.yourtango.com/2014224990/the-death-of-my-alcoholic-father-improved-my-own-parenting>
5 Ways I Really Suck At Parenting (Oh Well) <http://www.yourtango.com/2014226532/5-parenting-mistakes-i-make-but-my-family-loves-me-nonetheless>

 

Baby Girl says “Rock”: Death has a Funny Way of Making Us Appreciate Life

I just wanted to eat the dark chocolate truffle in peace. And then finish my late-night chores.

But before I could take the first bite, I caught her sneaking down the hall. Pigtails high on her head. Pink striped pajamas on her body. Her blanket trailing behind. It was her third successful attempt. She gave a shy smile and then put her head down. She knew that she wasn’t supposed to be jumping out of her crib.

It was 10pm. I needed a shower. Dishes needed washing, I wanted that piece of dark chocolate, and I was tired of putting my babies to bed, and then re-putting them to bed, and then re-putting them in bed.

Sighing, I scooped up all 23 pounds of her one-year old body and carried her to the room she shares with her four-year old brother. Tip-toeing over piles of books and discarded dinosaurs, I approached her crib.

My intent was to once again place her on her pink-gingham sheet, sternly say goodnight, and let her cry herself to sleep.

But then she said, “rock.”

Baby Girl said Rock

The nightlight provided enough brilliance for me to see her tiny index finger pointing to the over-sized chair in the corner of the room.

I hesitated.

And I remembered.

I remembered that three years ago, after my miscarriages and after being told I’d never have children again, I had pleaded with God to give me one more child to rock.

So, I rocked her. This child that God had given me.

She fell into my body as I fell into in the over-sized rocking chair. Like a magnet, her beating heart and my beating heart met. Her tiny face fell on my shoulder and her arms enveloped me in a hug. I was glad that I had chosen bliss over chores.

Death has a funny way of making us appreciate life. Grief has surrounded my family, just like it surrounds every family. I’ve cried many tears, but I’ve also learned to smile many smiles.

Baby Girl is named after my husband’s younger sister. And in memory of her untimely and much-too-early death I will choose to cherish the “here & now” of my daughter instead of worry over the list of to-dos. Life is fragile. We aren’t promised tomorrow.

After two miscarriages, I was told I would probably never have children again. But Baby Girl is proof that dreams do come true. And in honor of this grace-given gift from God, I will choose to cherish “the here & now” of my daughter instead of worry over the list of to-dos.

The dishes can wait. The weeks worth of soiled clothing lurking in laundry baskets can wait another day. And the shower can wait. Why worry about shining the sink when I can breathe in the fragrance of my child? Because this moment- it’s something I’ll never get back.

So when Baby Girl says, “rock” I will rock.

Cherish is a choice.

Sometimes it is hard.

It means we have to stop. It means we have to be still.

It means we get to rock.

Cherishing takes Effort

A Deeper Look:

Luke 13:38-41

Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house.  And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feed and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her to help me.”  And Jesus answered, “Martha, Martha you are worried and troubled with many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Don’t we all get a bit too distracted with worry and easily forget the important work?

I’m proud to link this post up with Suzie Eller’s #livefree Thursday. 

The topic this week was “why worry?”  My take is…why worry when we can choose to cherish. 

http://tsuzanneeller.com/

Live Free Thursday

Giveaway Alert!  Yes, Ma’am!  I’m about to giveaway a scrumptious book.  (UPDATE: CONGRATS TO OUR WINNER!  BE ON THE LOOK-OUT FOR FUTURE GIVEAWAYS)

Giveaway| Devotions for a Healthier You

Giveaway| Devotions for a Healthier You

I’m a bit smitten.

In Devotions for a Healthier You- Katie Farrell, a former nurse turned lifestyle blogger at the Dashing Dish,  advises me to: eat scrumptious foods in moderation, slow down, focus my soul upon the words of God, and cherish life!

Ladies…this devotional, which includes meal plans, prayers, and recipes, isn’t about a diet filled with Kale and self-deprivation. It’s a way for us to feed our mind, body, and soul.  And it’s beautiful.  The pictures are scrumptious.

Katie says she “believes that much of her passion in the kitchen was developed as a part of the healing process she went through while recovering from eating disorders. She believes the recipes she creates are inspired by God in order to bring health and enjoyment to readers.” Kudos to her for using her experiences to transform the lives of others!

The recipes she creates focus on clean eating, gluten-free and sugar-free recipes.

I’m especially excited about the Brownie Batter Overnight Protein Oatmeal. Chocolate. Sugar Free. Yes, Please!

The Sparkling Strawberry Slushie also piqued my interest. Come June, we will have a bumper crop of ripe Strawberries that need to be used (or frozen for later use).

Women of all ages will devour this book. Mom, Grandmother, Single lady, whatever….this book has cross generational appeal.

The exciting news is that I get to offer it to you! For free! Enter my contest. I’ll randomly choose one winner & I’ll send that lucky person a copy of the book.

I’m thrilled to be a part of the Blythe Daniel Agency (not only do I get an agent, but I get my hands on books to pass on to YOU!).

Consider joining my All-American Mom Facebook Page  so that you can stay updated on future swag:)  I usually write about the grievous topic of miscarriage and pregnancy loss, so I’m pretty excited that I’ll get to offer you all something a bit more lighthearted (as in book giveaways) once a month.

How to enter the contest:

1). Visit my blog  at  http://www.allamericanmom.net.

2). Enter your email list in the “subscribe to our mailing list” located on the right side of each blog post.

3). Then, like or share the Facebook post so that I know you followed the directions.

4). On Tuesday, March 17th I’ll announce a winner on my All-American Mom Facebook Page

 

All the best to You,

Sarah

Giveaway| Devotions for a Healthier You

Giveaway| Devotions for a Healthier You

strawberry

I need you

I Need You: How to Support a Loved One through Miscarriage & Pregnancy Loss

I need youI Need You: Support After a Miscarriage & Pregnancy Loss

Tonya brought boxes and boxes of Chinese food, Leighann brought a dozen hot, still-gooey, straight out of the oven cookies, Amber brought the most delectable chocolate cupcakes I have ever eaten (& offered me her uterus), Chrissi brought a beautiful flower for me to plant and Mary sent me the most heartfelt letter via email because she was hundreds of miles away.

I didn’t want them in my house. I thought I wanted to be alone. But like good girlfriends do, in they pushed. There I sat with my eyes swollen and my stomach contracting with pain. Their eyes were soaked with tears, too. They hugged me & loved on me & then departed. Words were sparse but love was abounding. I needed them.

My husband cried. He listened. He pulled me close to his chest and wrapped his arms around my body. He fielded phone calls and told people I didn’t want to talk. He protected me. He told the sweet people at my church not to mention anything to me in a public setting. She’s just not ready to talk. Private yes, public no. Please pray. He told me how much they cared. He took me to the doctor. He made sure I ate. He let me mourn. He mourned. I needed him.

My brother called. Every day. He left messages. He sent texts. I’m just calling to check on you, Sis. I needed him.

My mom, dad, father-in law, mother-in law, and step-father in law each offered to babysit my son. They took care of him while I layed beside the Kleenex box in my bed. I needed them.

The strangers on the internet understood.  The ones in the support groups and chat rooms  were brutally honest.  The bloggers who wrote about their losses gave hope. I needed them.

My Professor at University nodded her head and said I’m sorry with her gentle glance when I entered class for the first time after my loss. I needed her.

My girlfriend’s husbands hugged me. They squeezed a bit harder when I placed my head on their warm shoulders. They didn’t utter a word, but I knew they cared. They told my husband they loved him. They asked my husband if he needed to talk.  We needed them.

My doctor and the nurses at the office hugged me. Their cheeks were landing grounds for tears. One nurse sent me a text the next day telling me she was thinking about me. I needed them.

My best friend forced me to go on a weekend getaway. Just the two of us. It wasn’t fancy. Just a hotel with a pool. We were the oldest people slipping down the waterside. She even brought a book to read. She hates to read. We laughed we giggled. She asked how I was doing. I needed her.

I need you to know that you can’t take away the pain. Tears will still pour from our eyes & our hearts will still ache. But I need you to know that we need your love.

We are comforted that you recognize what happened: our unborn baby, and the hopes and dreams we had for this particular child of God, died.  Yes, as believers we will meet them once again in Heaven, but, In this moment and time, we are sad, we are confused, and we might even be angry.  Above all give us permission and space to grieve.

“Rejoice with those who rejoice; Mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15).

Folks, I know it is hard. You just don’t know what to say.  I was lucky three years ago, when I had my miscarriages,  that the people I did confide in showed amazing love and compassion. I hope every family receives such gentle support. Here are some tangible ways for you to show your love.

Ideas for Offering Support to Someone Who Has Experienced Miscarriage or Pregnancy Loss

  • Hug
  • Pray
  • Say I’m sorry
  • Send a letter, email, or text expressing your sincere condolences
  • Flowers
  • Don’t bring it up in a public place. You can nod, whisper I’m so sorry, or gently squeeze our hands, but please don’t ask us about our loss right before the company business meeting. Talk to us in a private place.
  • Respect us if we don’t want to talk
  • Listen if we do want to talk
  • Let us grieve
  •  Drop off food
  • Offer to babysit our other children. Ask us twice so we know you are serious, but don’t force us if we say no.
  • Gift a book: Miscarriage Resources & Links
  • Educate yourself: Miscarriage Resources & Links
  • Ask us if we need anything from the store. There are physical side effects to pregnancy loss
  • Gift this book: Love You Forever. The story was written to commemorate the author’s unborn child.
  • Give an angel ornament or some other token of appreciation.
  • Ask our partner if he needs to talk. Listen.
  • Invite us to dinner or coffee the weeks after our loss. Invite us to talk. Listen.
  • Lead people to Stepping Stones Newsletter
  • Visit Miscarriage Resources & Links
  • Choose your words carefully. Read What Not To Say To Someone Who Had a Miscarriage
  • Invite your loved one to join Loved Baby Facebook Group
  • Understand that you can’t fix it

 (Compiled by the Loved Baby Sisterhood)

xoxo

THANK YOU for caring and for showing your love to families when they go through this grievous situation.

Join our Support Group:

Loved Baby Support & Encouragement Group

Will you also consider adding your name to our email list?

Live Free Thursday

image

Rainbow Babies

Rainbow stories make my heart delight!

Tonight, a precious family made public their news that they are expecting a double rainbow (twins).

After my second miscarriage I was told I would never be able to carry a baby to term again. One year later I gave birth to my precious rainbow! She is now 20 months old.

Some rainbows arrive via adoption, some rainbows grow in your womb, and sometimes a rainbow is finally being at peace with the possibility that you might never have children.

Let’s rejoice that we serve a God who doesn’t keep us in the storm, but carries us out to the sunshine.

Do you have a rainbow story?

imageJoin our closed facebook group if you want to give or receive support or encouragement.  https://www.facebook.com/groups/LovedBabyMiscarriageSupport/

Loved Baby M

Loved Baby Miscarriage Support and Encouragement Facebook Group…Please Join Us

I invite you to join the new Loved Baby Miscarriage & Pregnancy Loss Support and Encouragement group on Facebook.  Your privacy is one of my main concerns…this is a closed group.  Only the people in the group can see your posts and comments.

You might have lost your unborn child today, last week, or fifty years ago…. if you want a place to talk…a place for understanding….a place for hope….please join.

It’s a safe, non-judgmental, faith-based peaceful place for support and understanding.

Click Below & Ask to Join OR search for the group on FB.

Loved Baby: Miscarriage Support

Loved Baby M

 

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4.

Much Love & Best Wishes,

Sarah

What Question Should We Stop Asking Couples?

              So, when are you going to have a kid?

image

Do you want more kids?

Are you finished having kids? 

Why don’t you have any kids?

When we reach a certain age, these questions come directed at us with sniper-like speed. They are asked by the sweetest, most well-meaning people ever: the little old lady who sits at the end of our church row, the older-widowed gentleman who is behind us in line at the grocery store, and the man at the party who doesn’t know a follow-up question to “what do you think of the weather.”

But, these questions are also asked in a taunting and teasing manner. You know the ones: “So, when you are you and Vanessa going to get that baby making started? Do you need me to tell you how it works?” ( wink, wink) says your husband’s business colleague in the middle of the company party.

Tisk, tsk, tsk. Neither Emily Post nor Amy Vanderbilt would approve of such banter as appropriate. I’m sure it is mentioned in their etiquette books between the chapters of “how to address a wedding invitation” and “how to fold a napkin.” To put it simply, “baby makin’ ain’t a topic for small-talk.”

IT’S JUST A SIMPLE QUESTION. WHY DO YOU HAVE TEARS IN YOUR EYES?

The reason questions related to procreation can be uncomfortable is because a large percentage of couples face the reality of infertility or pregnancy loss. For these couples, their heart’s desire and the timing of God fail to intersect at the same point. It can bring with it angst, sadness, and confusion. These couples have learned that creating a child isn’t as easy as making a dinner reservation, and they don’t necessarily want to share their personal details with the man standing behind them at the grocery line. It’s not that they want to keep this a secret; it’s just that they don’t really want to unleash real, raw emotions in the middle of Publix. A deluge of tears might spill down aisle 5.

WHAT ARE WOMEN REALLY THINKING?

Let’s examine the thoughts of ten women when they are asked the innocuous question: “Are you going to have kids?” You can read how emotionally laden such a simple question might be:

???SO, WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO HAVE KIDS???

Woman THINKS
Woman SAYS
Oh, how I wish I could have more babies! But you know what- I didn’t choose to have that emergency hysterectomy that stole my uterus from my body.  
No, I think we are finished.
We’ve been trying for two years & have lost four babies due to miscarriage. Yes, we want more babies, but it’s not working out.  
We will see.
I check my temperature every day, my husband is on-call for when I ovulate, and I have seen 36 negative pregnancy tests. We would have a house if it weren’t for infertility. 
We will see.  
I delivered a precious still-born child last year. I’m too afraid to start trying again. I’m not over that loss.

 

We will see.
Yes, sir we do want kids. We have visited every fertility specialist on the east coast and right now I’m on my third round of IVF.  
We will see.
Can you not see the dark circles under my eyes? I’ve been up all night for 13 months! I’m tired, I’m tired, I’m tired! My husband doesn’t help at all. I barely have time for a shower, much less time to make another baby.  
We will see.
You are going to call me selfish if I tell you the truth. You are going to argue with me. But the truth of the matter is, my husband and I just don’t want children. I’m not less of a woman if I choose to be childless.  
No, I don’t think so, but we will see.
We are researching adoption options now. Just want to keep it quiet while my husband and I prayerfully consider the options.

 

We will see.
I can’t just snap my fingers and get pregnant! We’ve been “trying” for a year. Nobody told me if might be hard. I’ve got an appointment with the doctor next week to find out the details of my husbands “sperm count.”

 

We will see.
I’m eight-weeks now! But, waiting to announce until we tell my family. I’m so excited!!!
We will see.

As you can read, this simple question can trigger a variance of emotional responses for many women and couples.  Fertility issues are invisible burdens that many couples bear; we should acknowledge that possibility before asking such a personal inquiry.

Questioning in the middle of the grocery store- not okay. Questioning over a cup of coffee during an intimate conversation- okay. Questioning in the middle of church “hand-shaking” time- not okay. Questioning in the middle of a private conversation at church-okay.

We should definitely give grace and forgiveness to acquaintances whom inquire about such personal matters. Many have a motive of pure kindness and are not privy to inner struggles. Also, opening up to other people about struggles and fears can be extremely helpful; it is through conversation and vulnerability that we find out that others might have faced similar circumstances and might be able to offer us hope, wisdom, and kinship.

Those of us with fertility issues might also consider responding with the truth-  even if the question-asker is put in an awkward position.  Responding by saying, “Actually we do WANT children, but we have complications with fertility.  Do you mind praying for us?” Answering this way can be powerful, freeing, and makes a social statement that infertility and pregnancy loss are not topics of shame.

But as a society we should all stop using the question of children as small-talk. Only ask if you are prepared for a real answer and ready to provide a listening ear (or a slap in the face).  Likewise, let’s all  (men, I’m mainly talking to you) make a concerted effort to stop teasing people (mainly your fellow guy friends) about having or not having kids.

Readers, repeat after me, “I will stop teasing people about whether or not they have children. I will stop asking acquaintances if they want more or any children. Instead, I will ask about the weather or their summer vacation plans.”

And we all say, “Amen”.

So, what’s your favorite small-talk question to ask someone? And, what’s your favorite way to answer the “Do you want to have kids?” question?

 

Best wishes & Much love,

Sarah

 Sarah is an experienced qualitative researcher. Drawing upon her own experiences with miscarriage and the experiences of 30 women who have shared their stories of loss, she is currently writing a book: Loved Baby: Helping you Survive the Silent Turmoil of Miscarriage.  

If you found this post helpful, please consider sharing, tweeting, or emailing it.

I invite you to join our closed support group on FB.  Just search for “Christian Miscarriage Support.”  Ask to join the group and we will welcome you.  Here is the link:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/1545960365658280/

FERTILITY FACTS:

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/infertility.htm

Fertility problems are quite common. According the CDC, about 11% of women in the United States have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term.

Men are not immune: based on a 2002 survey by the CDC, 7.5% of all sexually experienced men younger than age 45 reported seeing a fertility doctor during their lifetime—this equals 3.3–4.7 million men. Of men who sought help, 18% were diagnosed with a male-related infertility problem, including sperm or semen problems (14%) and varicocele (6%).

           

Miscarriage & Pregnancy Loss: Your Anguish is Worthy of Tears

Hannah cried. She wept. Month after month. Year after year. Weeping. Sobbing. Tears spilled from her eyes. She couldn’t eat; her appetite vanished. Her heart grieved. The life-giving part of her body: her womb-was closed.

Elkanah, her husband didn’t understand her suffering. What’s the matter, Hannah? Why aren’t you eating?” (Samuel 1:8) He continually questioned why she was so sad and why she couldn’t eat. He didn’t understand the yearning that couldn’t be quenched.

A mother. That is what Hannah wanted more than anything to be. Although her husband doted on her and loved her, his culture dictated that he must marry another woman so that he could have a family. Hannah was unable to provide children, so he took an additional wife. Humiliating. Shame. Jealousy. Then, as if her barrenness was not punishment enough, as if seeing her husband’s new wife give birth after birth to precious babies was not anguish enough, the new wife provoked Hannah. She made fun of her and relentlessly teased her.   But Peninnah made fun of Hannah because the Lord had closed her womb (1 Samuel 1:6).

Sweet, sweet Hannah-whose heart was already in such despair was now beyond tormented. Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord (1 Samuel 1:10) No wonder she couldn’t eat. She cried out to God for help. Psalms 13:12 tells us that hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Hannah had a sick heart; her longing for a baby to cradle in her arms had not yet been fulfilled.image

Her story is like so many of ours. Those of us who have had miscarriages, late-term loss, or battled infertility can understand the longing of Hannah. Just like Hannah our hearts have ached, our lives have changed, and we find that others don’t quite understand our pain. Sweet Hannah, who lived over 900 years before Christ, could probably sit with us and cry over a cup of tea as we recount our stories. I imagine we would have much in common with this female biblical great-who at one time was full of great anguish and sorrow, but after many years of longing was able to give birth to a child and praised God saying My heart rejoices in the Lord! Oh, how the Lord has blessed me! (Samuel 2:1).

I cried, too. The disease of infertility was not my reason for sadness; I instead struggled with two miscarriages that occurred within three months of each other. Miscarriage is common. At least 15% to 20% of all known pregnancies end in the loss of an unborn child before 20 weeks. Miscarriage is the number one pregnancy complication. Contrary to popular belief that a miscarriage is the effect of stress, heavy lifting, or something one controls such as caffeine consumption- a miscarriage is most often the effect of a chromosomal abnormality.   Jenny, one of the brave women who shared her story with me, described a miscarriage as a life that was lost. Even though I never held those babies they were mine and I acknowledge them. Over one million women in the United States have a miscarriage each year. Although it’s widespread, miscarriage is a life event often shrouded in secrecy, seeped in misinformation, and brings much sadness to a family.

After my miscarriages I, like many other women, vacillated between periods of depression and anxiety. Women are at an increased risk of these two psychological disorders after pregnancy loss. I mourned the loss of two babies that I wanted to hold, embrace, and comfort. I felt guilty- as if I were solely to blame for not being able to bring my child to term and then I felt intense confusion over whether or not I had the right to feel sad. Un-desired pregnancy loss is greatly minimized, but yet the sanctity of life is celebrated in our Christian communities. People would tritely say, “well you can always try again” but I was mourning the loss of a specific baby- a baby whose life began at conception.

Some women who shared their stories with me, such as Lynda- a devoted Christian- tried for years and years to have a baby. Following Lynda’s diagnosis and struggle with infertility, she had two miscarriages. Lynda wrongly thought, God must not want me to have a child. I must not be good enough to be a mom. Each day, for four years, Lynda would fall to her knees, cry tears, and beg God for a child. Throughout her turmoil she put her faith in the Lord and realized that he had a specific story for her life. For all the earth is the Lord’s, and he has set the world in order (Samuel 2: 8).

Reading the account of Hannah in Samuel 1, and seeing how much space is devoted in the bible to chronicle Hannah’s sadness over not being able to provide a child for herself and her husband offered me relief and gave me permission to grieve. The verses showed me that God recognizes this unmet longing for a child as a reason worthy of tears and anguish. Hannah’s despair is featured in the bible. To me, this makes our sadness authenticated, makes it real, and gives us permission to grieve. It’s okay to be sad, and it’s okay to cry.

Over the course of a year, 30 women, of varying ages, have shared with me their miscarriage stories. They are stories of loss and longing and of hope and comfort. These strong women have shared how they trusted in God through this period of mayhem in their lives. Trusting in God doesn’t mean they didn’t mourn- oh they did mourn and continue to mourn the loss of a loved baby. Debra says of having a miscarriage, those were the darkest times of my life and my marriage.

But, their common sanctuary is that they struggled with the turmoil by reminding themselves that God is in control; they prayed for the peace that passes understanding. These women are prayerful that by sharing their stories you can be comforted.

The book I am writing is to walk you through our collective experiences with our miscarriages and in some situations- our late term losses. It is filled with narratives where you can read how we coped and how we felt the days, weeks, and years after our losses. Alix says that after her miscarriage it felt like nobody cared. Grace says that I felt so alone when I had my miscarriage. The book is to make you to understand that we care and that you are not alone. We are your sisters in Christ and we have felt pain similar you are now experiencing. Researchers say “grief reactions to miscarriage are common and similar in intensity to grief following other types of losses” (Brier, 460). Throughout the book we will invite you to mourn with us, as we mourn with you. As God’s followers we are called upon to rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15). Likewise, we hope that you soon find joy and peace. Sadness, anger, and anguish are the season of life you are now in, but please remember, “that though weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalms 30:5). Though it may not seem possible now, please remember that the American College of Gynecology (2010) says, “most women who have gone through a miscarriage later go on to have, healthy, successful pregnancies.”


 

Loved Baby Journal Prompts:

Read Samuel 1. Underline the words in the chapter that describe how you feel. For example, 1 Samuel 1:10 says, “In her deep anguish” Do you feel anguish? Have you “poured out your soul to the Lord? (1 Samuel 1:13). Look back over the words you have underlined. Isn’t it remarkable how grief and sadness over an unborn child are universal feelings that transcend time?

Give yourself permission to pour out your soul to God. The priest, who watched Hannah cry, thought she was drunk she was so distraught. It’s okay to be distraught.  Grief must be grieved.

Re-read Samuel 1: 5. The bible says that Elkanah loved Hannah even though her womb was closed. God doesn’t love us any less if we don’t have children. Don’t love yourself less. Likewise, your spouse doesn’t love you any less if you didn’t bear forth a child. Don’t mistake disappointment for lack of love. Invite your spouse or a trusted confidant to read Samuel 1 with you so they can better understand the thoughts that are permeating your mind. Mourn together.

 Best wishes & Much love,

Sarah


If this post has been helpful, I invite you to share it on facebook or twitter. Please click the “Follow Me” link to receive the blog posts via email or follow me on twitter @SarahLPhilpott. Please pray as I continue to work on the book.

“Loved Baby: Helping you Survive the Silent Turmoil of Miscarriage”

I invite you to join our support group on FB.  Just search for “Christian Miscarriage Support.”  Ask to join the group and we will welcome you.  Here is the link:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/1545960365658280/

Why Am I Blogging About Miscarriage?

Why Am I Blogging About Miscarriage? 

I live a GREAT life and am an extremely HAPPY person.

So why am I starting a blog about an uncomfortable topic most of us would much rather evade?

There is a really long story that goes into this answer that involves God highly encouraging me to write a book about miscarriage. And by highly encouraging, I mean he pretty much hit me over the head while I was ignoring him  (I did pray to him pretty hard for guidance about my spiritual gifts….don’t knock unless you expect an answer is my take-away from this).

Go ahead, roll your eyes. I used to always roll my eyes when people would say, “God Told Me To”  (said in the voice of Morgan Freeman).  But then, a series of events happened that made it absolutely evident that writing about miscarriage should be my ministry.  Some people are called to fight Ebola in West Africa …I mean, there are worse things he could have asked of me.

So, a year ago, I created a private online environment of thirty women willing to share their miscarriage and late-term loss stories so that I could weave our narratives together in a book intended to reach the hands of women currently experiencing loss. Healing, laughter, and crying have been going on in the Loved Baby support group for almost a year.

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