Why I No Longer Say, “Happy Memorial Day!”

I’ve been guilty.

I’m thirty-three years old- a good patriotic southern girl with a firm respect for our military- but it didn’t hit me until last year that the words “Happy” and “Memorial Day” should never coexist in the same sentence.  

why I no longer say

I was at a family member’s BBQ. A wonderfully kind and compassionate family member was gravely bothered. Someone had called her out for saying “Happy Memorial Day.” She was concerned that she had offended someone.

I rolled my eyes. “Don’t worry about it. They are just being overly sensitive!” I assured her.

And I went back to watching my kids splish and splash in the blow-up pool.

But I couldn’t brush the issue aside. And neither could my other family members. We debated and quickly realized the error of our collective ways.

For thirty-two years I  gorged on hamburgers, devoured home-made ice cream, and wake-boarded and inter-tubed all day long on the river. As a show of respect for the day my Dad always purchases a brand-new American flag to proudly display on our dock.

It is a day where we enjoy our freedoms. And let people know that we love America.

But, I’d never really even paused to consider what Memorial Day is really all about.

The full gravity and solemnity of this day – the day that is set aside to honor the men and women who died in combat- had somehow escaped my consciousness.

My Poppa was a WWII veteran. He lied about his age when he enlisted so that he could serve the great US of A. He was the youngest Sergeant General in the Army.

He never really wanted to talk about his time of combat. He once confided in me that still, at the age of 80, he’d wake up with nightmares. He was stationed on the European front. Normandy. The Rhine River. Concentration Camps. I can’t imagine the atrocities he witnessed.

My great-great grandfather was a WWI veteran. I have, in my possession, tattered postcards that he sent my great-grandmother while he was overseas. In one of them Grandpa Tite wrote that if it hadn’t been for a field of turnips he would have died of starvation. That’s right. He stole turnips from a farmer so that he could live. I can’t imagine the atrocities he witnessed.

A young combat veteran, who did time overseas in Iraq, recently approached me and told me how hard Memorial Day is for him. How immensely uncomfortable it makes him for people to thank him for his service. He’s home now, with his family. But he lives with the vivid memories of his colleagues and superiors dying in combat. Dying to save him.

I can’t imagine the atrocities he witnessed and now can’t forget. “Don’t thank him,” he implores. Instead Remember the fallen soldiers and their families. He says, “Thanking a combat veteran on Memorial Day has always seemed awkward and somewhat hurtful.”

And then I see the images, floating around social media, of young widows- with clenched faces- lying on blankets atop the flower-covered graves of their husbands. Some of these women have babies in their laps- babies that will never see the face of the very father who died protecting all of our freedoms.

And just this morning I read brutally raw and honest commentary, published by the Chicago Tribune, titled I’m a veteran, and I hate ‘ Happy Memorial Day’. It’s powerful stuff. Read it.

I get it now. I’m sorry veterans and family members of the fallen.

I shouldn’t have ever said it.

I’ll say it all day long on the Fourth of July. I’ll thank you on Veterans Day. But today I’ll refrain from the word…because…

There is no “Happy” in “Memorial Day.”

It’s a day of remembrance.

Today is a day where we should pause, pray, and give gratitude to the 1.3 million brave men and women who have died to protect the very freedoms that we are privileged to enjoy on this beautiful day.

 

The National Moment of Remembrance Act

Today, at 3PM EST, take a moment to stop.

It’s a time that is set-aside for us all to pause, reflect, and honor all the brave men and women who died in service.

 

 

 

 

TO THE DEAR MAMA WHO THOUGHT GETTING & STAYING PREGNANT WAS GOING TO BE EASY

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I was in my early twenties- a young idealistic newlywed, when my best girlfriend and I planned our lives. To be detailed we were sitting in my silver Honda Accord on our way home from a work road-trip in Nashville. She was driving us homeward and I was scribbling away. We deliberated for three full hours and we figured our husbands would go along with whatever we wrote down on that scrap of paper.  After-all, the most important thing was for us to be on maternity leave together.

It was a list we could easily, or so we thought, check-off. On both of our lists we included (along with specific dates) graduate with our advanced degrees, get a puppy, conceive a baby, deliver baby, maternity leave, return to work. The most taxing decision was the best month to give birth.

“We’d have a tan in summer,” one of us would say.

Then the other would counter, “Yeah, but it’s just so hot! We’d sweat so much.”

“But I don’t want a baby in January. January is peak flu season.”

We finally decided that giving birth in April would be ideal.

            We were both blissfully ignorant. It was the type of conversation that would make my blood boil today.

            Both of us graduated on time-check! Got our new puppies on time- check!

But then…when it came to conceiving babies I learned that you can plan and execute all you want… but it is completely up to God as to whether or not a child is conceived and whether or not you have a healthy full-term pregnancy.

Cause making babies is not a check the box type of endeavor.

I look back and roll-my eyes and want to slap my naive self.

            We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9

Getting pregnant- I used to think was an effortless, fun, and physically uncomplicated procedure.

I mean, if it wasn’t easy, then why are pharmaceutical companies bursting with pregnancy prevention options? Why are women making “choices?” It must be harder to prevent pregnancy than to ‘get’ pregnant, right?

Television shows depict countless numbers of teenage moms saying they wished they had just “crossed their legs” and other television shows depict mothers having a dozen or more children with the greatest of ease. My girlfriends and I used to sit around and chat over chips and spinach dip saying things like, “When do you want to have a kid?” and “I forgot my birth control yesterday. Hope I’m not preggo!”

It was as if we could as easily schedule the introduction of a child into our families as we could make reservations for dinner.

I mean just get under the covers or on top of the covers or in the back of the car. It doesn’t matter…sperm meets egg and a baby is conceived, right?

But, that is not the entire story. Conception and birth is a precious God-ordained biological equation. Our bodies are not an Easy-Bake-Oven!

This wasn’t a part of my plan

When infertility, miscarriage or stillbirth strikes, most of us find ourselves in a state of shock and denial and have no idea what to do with the array of emotions that immediately begin descending upon our minds.

“Getting pregnant” might seem easy for everyone else, but for us it can be challenging and riddled with anxiety.

And intense grief.

We learn about IVF, charting our cycles, sperm count, and progesterone. Some of us become introduced to the anesthesia, the procedure of a D&C, or live through the pain of an ectopic pregnancy.

“This wasn’t part of my plan! I thought this was supposed to have been easy! Isn’t having a baby a part of “happily ever after?” Why can’t I just sleep with my husband and then nine-months later deliver a crying baby?

Sigh.

I’m sorry Mama- an easy, carefree pregnancy is not our reality.

And those of us who have experienced loss or infertility are now changed souls.

I am no longer naïve. I look at those mamas with their swollen bellies and I realize the sacredness of what is being allowed to grow in their bodies. I also look at them with jealousy. I wish I too could have that blissful ignorance.

I miss the baby that I cradled in my womb.

I also miss carrying a baby in my womb and not shaking with fear every time I look in the toilet bowl.

I want to be in control! I want to know the end-game.

But I have to surrender that desire of control. I am not the one who creates and sustains life.

I am not in control.

You are not in control.

God is in control.

God is the creator of our universe. God is the creator of our children. God decides whether those babies will be born on Earth or born in heaven. And God has a greater plan than you or I can ever understand. Even though tears are pouring from our eyes we have to trust.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

I’ll be honest, that verse made me angry and confused the months after my loss. I kinda wanted to rip it out of my Bible. And then set it on fire. But not pour water on it. Just let it burn. To be frank…it pissed me off. I mean, how can the death of my baby be a part of a grand plan of goodness?

Sigh.

I’m not certain. I don’t specifically know why pregnancy loss is a part of my story. I don’t specifically know why I was chosen to be a part of a sisterhood of women who have had a baby perish in their womb. I don’t know why some women get cancer. Why a family of five was killed in a car accident last week. Why this?  Why that?

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33

All I can do is trust in God. I must learn to accept the sufferings, trials, and tribulations the same way that I accept the joys and blessings.

It’s a walk of faith.

Not one of us has ever been promised an existence on Earth void of pain. Earth is not the place where perfection and pure happiness exist; that is why we long for heaven- a place where suffering is no more.

Right now you are suffering. And suffering hard.  Dear Mama, it is okay to cry, mourn, scream, shout, and cry again. It’s okay to be angry at this out-of-our control life.

Suzie Eller, in the Mended Heart says, “When you love a person deeply and you lose them, on this side of heaven there will always be a missing piece. That sense of loss remains a part of who you are, because the person you have lost is a part of you.” (page 88)

And that is oh so true. On this side of heaven you will continue to have a pierced heart. But please know that heaven- the place where perfection lives is ours for the taking. Perfection is where your baby now resides. Our suffering is nothing in comparison to the glory that is our future.

That. Is. Hard. To. Take. In.

I consider that our present sufferings

Glory is that there is a new Due Date that is calling your name. Your life seems completely out of control right now, and when it does you gotta grieve.  Cause you know what…it does suck.  I mean let’s call a spade a spade.

But, you gotta also look ahead.

Because what is ahead is great.

Will you do something for me?

In your mind create an image of your baby. Now imagine your little creation sitting in Heaven. Maybe they are sitting in the lap of your Mama or your Granddad. Isn’t that peaceful?

            Now take your mental image a step further. Put your baby in your lap.

Yeah.

Your lap.

Breathe in that sweet scent. Hold those tiny fingers.

 I know it’s hard to conjure up this image. Your doing it with tears pouring down your cheeks.  You want this to be reality not just in your mind.

But IT IS going to be a reality. You sitting up there in Heaven rocking your baby. Cause, in just a little while…that is where you can be. For an Eternity. Reconnected with your babe.

In those moments when your soul starts spinning faster than a hurricane try to pause and look ahead.  Focus on something in the future that is positive.  That is promised.

Because you know what? There is nothing on this Earth that is promised. Nothing we are in control of. The only thing we know for certain is that our end-game is us meeting up with our baby…in the presence of God.

This isn’t going to take away the pain, but it will give you a place to throw anchor when your world is spinning out of control.

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Romans 8:18

Love & Blessings,

Sarah

 

Once I spyed that pink line I typed in my information into Baby Center and boom…the day that would change my life appeared. I’ll never forget any of my four due dates…June 20th, November 9th, January 30th, and once again- June 20th.   My two mischievous children were both born as the hot sun rose in the middle of June.  But the two other “due dates”  go by with only a memory of what ‘should have been.’  But I’m comforted because I know that I have a new due date…when I meet these two kiddos in heaven!

But many women ask themselves, “What am I supposed to do on this day when I should have been spent giving birth or throwing a birthday party?”

Let me introduce you to watercolor artist  photographer, mother, and AMAZING woman Shalmai Keim.  Please read the story of her precious Silas Jude here.  It’s the story of her life-threatening  pregnancy.  I asked her to guest blog on All-American Mom blog because how she spent her time on Silas Jude’s due date pushes us to spend our due dates loving on others in spite of  sadness. 

I know you will be blessed as your read her words…..

Pouring Blessings on a Baby: What One Inspiring Woman Did On The Date that Should Have been Her Due Date

Blessing a baby on her due date.

Blessing a baby on her due date.

Today was a tough day. My heart is heavy and my eyes are swollen. Today was Silas’s due date.

If it had all gone to plan I would have three beautiful boys today.

Instead I mourn what would of been.

I had many moments today when I shut my eyes and I would see him. I would see myself holding him as a baby and what would be his toddler years. I would see his big eyes looking up at me and I would hear him say “I love you mom”.

Those little snips are so painful yet so sweet. It’s hard to know I will never hear him say those words here on earth.

I didn’t know how I was supposed to spend my day today. I didn’t know how I was supposed to feel or think. I braced my self for impact. After sitting on the bathroom floor (in tears) with my husband this morning it came to me. The Lord led me to the idea that I was to bless a baby boy born today.

I was to buy some cute baby boy stuff and take it to the hospital to bless a boy born today in honor of our Silas. I also got some thank you cards and special gifts to hand off to my nurses.

My plan was to just drop it off at the front desk. I didn’t want to go up stairs. But when I walked in there was no one there.

I paced the floor trying to find someone to help me but no one showed up. So I decided to head up and drop it off. I kind of remembered where to go.

The scent quickly brought back many memories. I walked up to the nurses station in the maternity ward and told them what I was hoping to do with the gift. As the words escaped my mouth, tears started to shed.

The nurse who I never met said “Keim”. She knew who I was. She said how different I looked from what she remembered. She called a nurse who had cared for me over and told her it was me. The nurse quickly hugged me. She was glad I was doing well and I just thanked her for all of her care.

I was crying like a baby this whole time. I said another thank you, left the cards and gift and said my goodbyes.

As I walk out of the elevator trying to put my self back together, I see my wonderful Dr. heading my direction. She asked what I was doing there, I explained, she hugged me, she held back the tears, and with words of encouragement she said to me, “You are so strong, what a great way to honor your son today.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Shalmai says of the above:

I wrote the story on my due date, March 27th, 2015. After I posted this I got contacted by the nurse and told me she gave the gift to a mother with a new baby boy. The mother left me a single yellow flower and a card. Later I found out that the mother was a single mom in not a super stable financial situation. So my husband and I felt like God led us this way to bless this new mom and her baby boy.


“This is the reason we do not give up. Our human body is wearing out. But our spirits are getting stronger every day. The little troubles we suffer now for a short time are making us ready for the great things God is going to give us forever. We do not look at the things that can be seen. We look at the things that cannot be seen. The things that can be seen will come to an end. But the things that cannot be seen will last forever.” – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

 

  Isn’t her story brave? Isn’t it beautiful?  Isn’t it inspiring?

Maybe we can all follow her lead. I challenge you to bless another on the would-be-birthday of your child.

If going into a hospital is still a bit too difficult for you please consider these other ideas.

  • Donate to a child who is the same age as the one you lost.  Perhaps send a toy or book to a local school or church with a note asking the teacher to gift the item to a child in need. Read how one mom chose to honor her son- who would have been seven- here. 
  • Bless a living child by making a donation in your child’s honor to  Bethany Christian Services.  They are a leader in keeping families together through adoption and foster care.
  • Consider donating money to HopeMommies.org.  Their ministry  sends Hope Boxes to women who have experienced pregnancy loss.  You can even visit their website and have a box sent to a women you know who has recently experienced loss.
  • Help a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy by donating to a crisis-pregnancy center that helps provide women with options and long-term support.  One that I support is:
    Full Circle Women’s Services

Love & Blessings,

Sarah

I love to collect stories and highlight them on allamericanmom.net of how we can be a friend to others in affliction.  Meet my friend Leighann.  She hasn’t ever experienced pregnancy loss or infertility, but she did walk alongside as her best friend- Kathryn walked that walk and fought that opponent.  I think this is an important perspective for us to read.  This story shows us that friends feel shame when they can easily get pregnant and you can’t & that our friends truly grieve for us when we are down on our knees in the mud-pit of life.  Our friends are also our biggest cheerleaders. Thanks girls for sharing your story with us and showing us how to support, pray,  cheer, and accept that sometimes you’ve got to wait. And thanks also Leighann for filling my mouth full of cookies when I went through my miscarriages.


Being the Cheerleader While Your Best Friend Fights Infertility

being the cheerleader(1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My best friend and I met 10 years ago at my sister’s basketball game. I asked if I could braid her beautiful blonde hair and the rest was history.

In the 10 years of knowing her, we fettuccine alfredoed a guy’s car, scourged bathroom wallpaper, survived bad relationships, ate unfortunate mounds of raw cookie dough, danced until we thought our toes would fall off, lived together in two cities, ran countless miles, almost got kicked out of intramural basketball games in college, survived a would-be human trafficking taxi ride, prank ordered every fast food chain drive-thru within a 30 mile radius, went on several road trips, and much much more.

We experienced life together – college, careers, engagements, new homes, and marriages.

You know what they say – first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes so and so with the baby carriage. I was the first to start pushing the baby carriage. When a positive pregnancy test confirmed my suspicions, she was the first person I called. She, in a panic, told her boss an elaborate story that landed me in a proverbial car wreck, and came straight over to be my person (for Grey’s Anatomy fans, I was Yang and she was Meredith).

Fast forward a little.

I had a one year old, and I was exhausted. My world centered around this little blonde headed, brown eyed boy, who kept my OCD on cartwheel mode. She and her husband were trying to get pregnant on their own without success, and I said “encouraging” things like, “Are you sure you want to have kids this soon? “ and “You should enjoy being married for a few more years” and “Go travel and take lots of pictures for me.”

More time elapsed.

I was reliving childhood memories at the zoo and aquarium and trick or treating and birthday parties with my two year old.

She was taking pills and getting shots from her husband.

One night I convinced her to go to a basketball game with me, but due to her strict hormone schedule, I had to agree to give her a shot. I sat in the middle of a girl’s locker room, watched her pull out enough drugs and needles to land us in jail, and mentally prepared myself for sticking a long needle in my best friend’s butt.

That situation, so common place to her after months of it on end, changed me.

It’s one thing to know what your friend is going through and pray for her and love her, it’s another thing to stick a needle in her.

More time passed.

My son turned three and a few months later I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. We weren’t trying to have another child. In fact, I was trying to figure out how to avoid pregnancy without being on birth control. I paced and prayed and prayed and paced, and then I called my best friend. I knew how much it would hurt her, but I also knew that she loved me and would put on a brave and happy face for me.

She wore that face well for 9 months.

She helped me tell my sister that I had a bun in my oven by placing a hot dog bun in her own oven. (You can imagine my sister’s confusion.)

She threw me an elaborate baby shower and bought me my first pandora bracelet with charms representing my children. She was there at the hospital when my daughter was born and again at home, binge watching my favorite shows right beside me while I breastfed.

Meanwhile, she was going through IUI procedures that were failing. I watched my friend start to crumble a little, in small amounts, every day.

And then I waged war. I had to fight for her when she couldn’t fight on her own. I became her cheerleader, the annoyingly cheerful and loud kind. I threw God’s word at her left and right, I sent encouraging messages, I quoted the prayers my son was praying for her, and I got my church behind her praying. I made God weird promises like “I’ll sing solos in church if you’ll give her a baby” and I frequently told the devil where to go and how to get there.

Another year passed.

My son was in Pre-K. He was learning to read and creating art projects that I proudly hung on my fridge. My daughter was a year old and making mischief at every turn.

My best friend, however, was going through IVF procedures. The first IVF round produced twin embryos.

She arranged for my husband to video my reaction as my son told me to call in at work because she was in a car accident. I called her immediately, and we squealed and cried and cried and squealed. I asked her politely to name her twins after me.

The next day, I photographed their special news. I made signs that said “future mommy/daddy” and “due in November.” She requested a picture with my son, her prayer warrior. She hung those pictures on a string in their would-be nursery and invited their families over to announce the big news.

A few days later the doctor called and said it was an unsuccessful chemical pregnancy. She took those pictures and a letter I had written to my future twin nephews/nieces and buried it in her yard.

I baked cookies and grabbed my pom poms again. This would not break her, I wouldn’t allow it.

She painstakingly went through two more IVF procedures unsuccessfully. After the third failed try, something changed. I found myself really angry with God. I gave him an earful and he listened, and then he started talking to me through her.

Somehow, this woman who had lived in an emotional desert for years upon years, renewed my hope again and strengthened my faith.

In her tattered uniform and pitiful pom poms, she had become my cheerleader.

Fast forward to present day. My best friend is now a mother to a beautiful, brown headed, brown eyed adopted daughter, and despite her choosing to forgo naming her after me, she looks just like me.

This is the first year my best friend won’t sit at home on Mother’s Day, avoiding church – the first year I won’t be sending her a message saying “I know God’s plan is for you to be a mother, just keep waiting and wishing and hoping.”

This year, my best friend gets to celebrate, and guess who will be there on the sidelines waving pom poms like a banshee? Her annoying cheerleader.

God has a beautiful way of reminding us that his timing is never our own. I knew all along his plan was to give my best friend a child, but I didn’t realize that his plan for her life also included me.

He wanted me to learn about faithfully waiting; there is a time for barrenness and a time for babies, but regardless, he still needs me to cheer.


Leighann Giles is a wife, full time mommy, and part time photographer.  She enjoys spending time with family and friends, writing, gardening, and working with her youth group at church

You want to help women on Mother’s Day?  Join the #HonorAllMoms Call-To-Action

Have you experienced pregnancy loss? We welcome anyone into our Loved Baby Support Group for Women & our Loved Baby Support Group for Men & Women

 

without debt

I just received a wonderful email from my English “mum.” I like to imagine that Carol was sitting in her newly blossoming garden sipping on Yorkshire Gold tea while typing the letter.

Carol shared with me a listing of scriptures she gathered for a talk she did to a group of mothers in Africa.  She shared them with me for the #HonorAllMoms campaign.

She wrote, “We can be spiritual mums, foster mums, adoptive mums, grand mums to so many people as well as birth mums. What a delight it is to serve our Lord in such a special way!”

I must agree! It is an absolute delight to be any one of the mothers she mentioned.

Some women are called to the special task of being a mother via adoption.

Did you know there are 143 million orphans in the world? I can’t even wrap my mind around that number. It’s more than the current population of Russia!

There is such a need for families to invite these precious children into their lives.

But, one of the biggest obstacles to answering this call is having the finances. Adoption can cost upwards of $50,000.

So how can you afford to answer this special mission?

Well, Julie Gumm can help you. This self-proclaimed coffee-adict is the mother to four children; two biological children and two siblings who she and her husband adopted in 2008 without any dept.   Read that again…”without ANY debt.”  Wow.

She is shares her knowledge with us in the new book, You Can Adopt Without Dept: Creative Ways to Cover the Cost of Adoption.

Whether you are considering foster adoption, domestic adoption, or international adoption this book will help you navigate the practical aspects- including finding an agency, finding grants, tax information, and creative ideas for fund-raising.

It’s an easy read that is chock full of usable, relevant information. She and her husband based their own personal journey by using the tried and true methods of financial wiz, Dave Ramsey.

Ramsey says of the book:

I receive calls on my show all the time about how you have to go into debt to adopt. Julie Gumm is living proof and a testament to the fact you can adopt without ANY debt. I highly recommend reading “Adopt Without Debt” if you are considering adoption.
- DAVE RAMSEY
Best-selling author, national speaker and nationally syndicated talk radio host

Pretty swell review, right?

I suggest that you visit her Julie Gumm’s website for a bit more information. She has kindly provided readers with a litany of resources.

And dear soul who is reading this post and knows that God has called you to grow your family through the action of adoption… I do pray that blessings flow forth as you embark upon the amazing journey of bringing a child-chosen especially by God for YOU- into your family.

I’ll also pray for patience…I hear you need quite a bit…it can be a long road.

And, if you are interested in the book….good news awaits!

GIVEAWAY ALERT

I have two copies to gift to two lucky families who have a heart for adoption.

This giveaway will end on May 12th.

You can have your name entered in the competition by:

“liking” the post on facebook

“sharing” the post on facebook

“commenting” on the post & provide advice for families considering adoption or telling me why you want the bookadopt

“tweeting” the message (just make sure you tag me…@SarahLPhilpott)

You name will be entered every time you do one of the above.

 

Much love,

Sarah

Have you experienced pregnancy loss? We welcome anyone into our Loved Baby Support Group for Women & our Loved Baby Support Group for Men & Women

 

 

 

 

 

 

honor all

#HonorALLMoms #Mother’sDay

Will you join the campaign to #HonorAllMoms on #Mother’sDay? Let’s make a cultural change!

Let’s cherish & encourage all moms on this special day by throwing some love to the women whose hearts ache.

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 & it is one of the most dreaded days of the year.   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 beautiful 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 in the sanctuary are placed in honor of all the moms whose babies are in heaven and all the women whose hearts’ desire is to be a mother. We love you.”

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.

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?

DISTRIBUTE THE FOLLOWING INFO SHEET TO PLACES OF WORSHIP:

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE #HonorAllMoms PDF INFORMATION SHEET

 

Copyright © 2015 Sarah Philpott

Live Free Thursday

 

 

 

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