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October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Each year I think this month will get easier, but it doesn’t. In 2018 we were in a transition stage in our lives. We were building a house and were waiting for it to be finished. I had changed jobs and moved to a new school 45 minutes away. Bear was 2 and we were ready to expand our little tribe. By surprise, I found out I was pregnant right before we took a summer vacation. I hadn’t had an ultrasound and was waiting until we got back, but we had a due date in March. We were SO excited.
Shortly after I started my new job, I knew something wasn’t right. My body felt different. The night before I had a very vivid dream that still occurs to this day, and the following morning I miscarried at 11 weeks. It’s so easy to be consumed with the thoughts of what it would be like with that baby had I carried full-term. One thing I questioned after my miscarriage is “Why would God take away something so exciting and good?”.
And even though I never found an answer, something I was reminded of over and over during that time was this, “When life is easy, it’s easy to feel like we don’t need God. When we’re in the trenches, we cry out and realize only God can help us. Remember the help you needed from Him in the trenches and live like that every day. Seek His wisdom, His guidance, and trust His plan.”
After finding out I miscarried I felt so much shame and guilt. I felt guilty that I couldn’t carry that child full-term. I was embarrassed to share with family and friends what I was dealing with. But when I did open up about my miscarriage, people in my life were supportive. They shared wisdom I would have otherwise missed out on. Other women shared their experiences with miscarriage and friendships were taken to a deeper level. My village showed up and that’s what a community of believers looks like. Loving each other through the hard times and sharing your experiences along the way.
Because when we share the dark times and how helpless we are, people can connect with us and we have a platform to share the goodness of God. You’re not in this alone. The enemy wants you to believe that you are the ONLY person going through this, but you aren’t. There’s a whole community of women who want to help you, to listen to your story, and share this time of grief with you. It’s not your burden to carry, momma. Because He who carries the burden gets the glory, and we aren't meant to be glorified on this earth.
So, if you are struggling with pregnancy and infant loss, God has a purpose for you. His plans for you are always good. I want to encourage you to use your loss as a way to share your wisdom after you’ve found your village. What you are experiencing from loss, another woman will someday experience and she will need you to give her wisdom while she travels the road. Be her guiding light, her shoulder to cry on, her support in a dark time.
If you haven’t experienced pregnancy or infant loss, these are some things I wish I would have known before:
- Don’t say “It’s God's plan. It’s going to be okay.”
- Instead say, “I understand this is a hard time for you. I’m here to support you and listen whenever you’re ready to talk.”
- Don’t ask, “How can I help during this time?”
- Drop off flowers, a note, coffee, but DO NOT STAY unless you’re invited in.
- The last thing I wanted to do was the dishes. Drop off paper goods so she doesn’t have to do the dishes.
- Set a reminder in your phone for 1 month, 2 months, 6 months, 12 months to send a text and check in on your friend.
Something as simple as “I’m thinking of you and praying for you.” makes all the difference. You don’t have to check in on her every day (that gets overwhelming), but after the storm has passed it’s easy to feel like people have forgotten about you. Let her know you’re still there to support her and listen if she needs to talk.
Whether you're in the middle of your own storm or walking alongside someone else during theirs, I pray that these words will serve as a blessing to all who need to hear them.