From Mother to Mother – Miscarriage Book

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A few months ago I came across some books by Emily Long.  I purchased her book You are Not Alone: Love Letters From Loss Mom to Loss Mom and I have read through several portions.

Emily compiled letters written by moms who have had miscarriages.  It is beautiful and heart-felt.  Emily also has a book of letters from and to Dads, a book of her own journey through loss, and a journal to go through while processing loss.

I was browsing her web site and discovered that she was writing a second book of letters from and to mothers who have had losses. I wrote a letter to submit and found out last month that my letter was accepted for final publication.

The new book, From Mother to Mother, will be published on September 12 of this year!

From Mother to Mother Cover (1)

It will be a compilation of letters from woman who have lost children in early pregnancy, late pregnancy, or after birth.  I am excited to be a part of this and I hope that God will use our story to bring comfort to others and showcase His love.

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When Mother’s Day Hurts

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Yesterday was Mother’s Day and I had been debating all week whether or not I would post anything.  Better bloggers than I have written so many great posts the past couple weeks.

I wanted to share a few quick thoughts before leaving you with a couple of the best posts I saw this week.

You know the main reason I didn’t post anything?  Because in my mind I already heard the negative push-back.  “Just trust God that this is His plan for you.”  “At least you have a son!  Why are you sad today?” etc.  Those comments are really hard to hear and deal with, and I imagine I might be blogging about that in the future.  But then I thought about my readers who are hurting right now.  Who had a hard time yesterday on Mother’s Day.

I want you to know that I see you.  That I thought of you yesterday and today and all my tomorrows.

I thought of you…..the woman with no living children but with one or two or eleven children in heaven.

I thought of you…the woman with one or more living children but grieving the unique individuals who are gone forever but are living in heaven.

I thought of you…the woman who is fostering or adopting.

I thought of you…the woman who has one or all of her children married and away from home.

I thought of you…the woman who is strained or estranged from her mother.

I thought of you…the woman who has a child who is in a dark place and walking far from safe paths.

I thought of you…the woman who is struggling with primary or secondary infertility.

I thought of you…the woman who is a single mom and never catches a break.

I thought of you…the woman with lots of littles who feels like she is running herself ragged.

I thought of you…the woman who, if you are anything like me, experienced about a thousand different emotions yesterday and probably went from being thankful to being angry to being resigned to grieving and back to thankful….and then repeating that process multiple times throughout the day.

And you know what?  There is a tension there that I cannot describe.

It is possible to have unspeakable joy in one hand and unbearable pain in the other hand.  It is possible to join those hands together, to clasp them, to hold them at once.  You can be, at the same time, exquisitely thankful and yet feeling like your heart is being ripped out of your chest.

The tension in that is a strange one.  And I don’t fully understand how it works.  But it does.  And sometimes, instead of beating myself up over supposedly not trusting God enough, I need to recognize and rest in the fact that it is a tension.  Life is amazing and awful at the same time.  God did not create us to only have good feelings, to only feel joy and peace, the “spiritual” feelings.  Sometimes the spiritual feelings are pain and anguish and wrestling.  (See David, Hannah, Jeremiah, etc)

If you’re in the middle of that tension…I get it.  Your heart will always be in two places at once.  Joy and sorrow are not mutually exclusive.  When they intertwine, it is just a reminder to take those things to the lap of Jesus and rest.

And if you made it through all of that, here are those blog posts I was telling you about.  It’s called Helping Women Hold Both Joy and Sorrow on Mother’s Day.  Another great one is When Mother’s Day Feels Like A Minefield.

Our Little Aviator

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March 23.

Today was my EDD with our 4th baby, our little Aviator.

I had had a good amount of morning sickness.  It was not as intense as it was with the Wingman, but it lasted a few weeks longer.  At 11 weeks, I felt little taps.  I thought I must be imagining it since it was so early, but the taps only got stronger and more frequent.  It was definitely baby!  I bet the Aviator had quite the feisty personality with how much he moved around! 🙂

It was a Wednesday.  Wednesday, October 5th.  I was a day shy of 16 weeks.  It was the last day I felt him move and the last day of his life.  It was about 10 am.  I only know that because I was at a Dr appointment.  The lady had just asked if this was my first baby and I was once again confronted with the painful decision….do I mask my pain and the truth and say, “It’s my second” or do I tell the truth and what my heart wants to say and risk making the situation uncomfortable by saying, “My 4th, but two are with Jesus.”  Answering her was painful, but just a moment later, I felt three firm taps from baby.  It was as if he knew Mommy needed some reassurance right then.

That was the last sign of life.

We didn’t know the gender, but almost the entire pregnancy, the Wingman was convinced it was a boy.  He even picked a name.  A random name that he made up.

When our child was born, we learned that he was indeed a boy.  Our son.

Maybe someday I will share more of my pregnancy or his birth story.

Today is a strange day.  I want to just sit and cry, but the tears won’t come.

I was able to drop the Wingman off at a friend’s house today.  I just wanted a day where I didn’t have to pretend everything was ok, I didn’t have to wear a mask, I didn’t have to be strong for anyone else.

People ask how I am doing.  I still don’t know how to answer that question.  The pain is different now.  The grief is different.  But will I ever be “okay” again?  No, not in the sense of ever returning to “normal,” or how I was before.  I am changed.  I am different.

I have wrestled with so many theological questions.  Some of them I know exactly what is true.  Some of them I have no idea.  But I have had to hold onto the fact that, no matter what those answers are, God is good.  God is loving.  God does care.  Even though the world around me moves on, God sees.  And He cares.

Instead of having a huge belly and packing a bag for the birth center, I am sorting bills and scheduling Dr appointments.  Instead of welcoming home a newborn, I will be having surgery to hopefully fix (one of) my problems so that hopefully we will not have another loss.

Instead of preparing the Wingman to have a new baby in the home, I hear him say, “You, me and Daddy are sad about our baby.  But when I get to heaven, I will be so happy to see him and I will give him a big hug!”  He brings up his brother to his friends.  I hear him say in conversation, “Our baby died.”  His little mind is processing it as best as he can.  I answer all that he says, not wanting to keep him locked in grief, but not wanting to dismiss his valid 3 year old grief.  He lost his brother.  He has mentioned several times how sad he is that he didn’t get to say good-bye and he has talked about wanting to teach him how to play games when he gets to heaven.  He lost his brother.  He is such a good big brother, and it hurts so much that his first experiences as a big brother have to be this painful and confusing for him.

“For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there were none of them.”
Psalm 139:13-16

Our youngest son, along with his two older siblings, are in heaven right now.  And their souls know very well how wonderful are His works.  They are dancing and praising and worshiping.  Right at this very moment, their joy is unspeakable.  They know no tears and no pain.  They are loved and cherished by the King of Kings.

My pain sometimes feels unbearable.  But I am reminded that Jesus conquered death.  It is for this reason, for this awful repercussion of living in a fallen world, it is for the death of my children, it is for sin, that Jesus died.  He is the Victor.  Someday all will be put right.

Long Time No Write

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It’s hard to believe that it’s been 8 months since I last posted.  I have gone back and forth as to whether I would ever resurrect this blog or not.  But as soon as I was notified that my domain was about to expire I knew that I wasn’t ready to stop blogging.

I make no promises to get back to any sort of blogging schedule.  I would rather keep this space for posting when I feel like I need or want to.

A brief recap of the last 8 months….

….The Wingman celebrated his third birthday.  Crazy, I know!

….The Pilot was gone for a while with his job and I worked on quite a few projects while he was gone.  Hopefully I can blog a bit about some of them!

…In June I became pregnant with our fourth child.  At 16 weeks, his heart stopped beating.  I went to the hospital, labored for 9 hours, and gave birth to another precious son.  It has taken a lot of time to process it all and I know I’m far from being done.  But I am sure some posts about his life and late miscarriage will show up here sometime.

…It has been an absolutely horrible few months.  There is no other way to describe it.  But I am holding onto hope.  “Sometimes holding tight [to Truth] feels more like hanging on, but don’t give up.  Don’t believe the lie that you should let go.  God holds you.  Hold tight to Him.”  (She Reads Truth by Raechel Myers and Amanda Bible Williams, page 170)

To close this post, I want to share this song.  It has been like my anthem over the past year.  When I first heard it, I was at a Tenth Avenue North concert and the song hadn’t even been recorded.  That tour was the first time they sang it for people.  I sat there with tears pouring down my face, not knowing how the song would grow even more important to me.  I hope that it is a blessing and encouragement to you as well.

 

How My Miscarriages Speak to the Pro-Life Movement

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I am pro-life.

Pro-Life Miscarriage

Pro-Life

For the sake of simplicity for this post, that means that I am 100% for the lives of the unborn and I do not believe that abortion is an ok alternative.

I believe that life begins at conception.  And no one should have the power to take that life.  Calculatingly stopping the life of another human being = killing them.

Harsh words, I know.  I wish there was some way to sugar coat it.  I don’t like to think about it.  But if the unborn is a human life….there is no way around the fact that abortion kills that life.

I will not focus much on abortion right now because that is not the purpose of this post.  But it is important to state my beliefs on that before I continue.

What is the unborn?  That is the crux of the abortion question.  If it is nothing but a blob of cells, abortion shouldn’t matter.  But if it is a life, it changes the whole question.

What is the unborn?  As a pro-life person I believe it is always, 100% of the time, a human being, just like you and me.  So I write this post to my fellow pro-lifers.

If we get so caught up in the abortion debate….if it hurts our hearts and breaks us up to see pictures and videos of babies being aborted….if we grieve every year on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade….if we volunteer and pray and work to try to save the lives of the unborn…..

….we value that life.

What is the unborn in the case of a miscarriage?

The answer should be obvious and I know that most pro-lifers would agree.  It is a baby.

But why is it that a miscarriage, especially an early miscarriage, is not treated as such?

I want to scream out the window, “My babies died!!!”

My BABIES died.

My babies DIED.

Instead, I am expected to quietly move on.  No one mentions it.  My children are forgotten by all but me and my husband and perhaps a select few others.  We are told to just try again in a few cycles.  We are told that it is time to move on.  We are told to just be thankful we already have one child. It is counter-cultural when I choose to post about it on Facebook six months later.  Christians say that we need to just trust God….to put on a grateful smile and move on.

People don’t know what to do with it.  They don’t know what to say.  And trust me I know that it is hard to know what to say to a grieving person.  I get that.  But in silence, we are denying the lives of the unborn.

I am a part of several miscarriage support groups.  And all. the. time. there are posts of women feeling so alone, so isolated.  Posts where women tell stories of absolutely heart-breaking things that others have said to them.  Cruel things against their babies and their pregnancies.  Posts where women cry and wonder why they aren’t allowed to talk about their children.

We have to suck it up.  We have to be strong.  We have to carry our pain and grief all alone.

What is the unborn?

The unborn are babies. Human beings with souls, made in the image of God.  Worthy of dignity, worthy of respect, worthy of love, worthy to be known.

So no I am not over my grief.  It has changed over the past 6 months.  But it is still there.  It is still deep.  My arms still physically ache sometimes because they never got to hold or caress my beloved children.  The physical pain in my heart is indescribable.

I’m not strong.  I am a mother who is broken.  A mother who has had to say good-bye to two of her children.  That is a pain I wouldn’t wish on anyone.  I am a mother who has to wake up each day, knowing that I “should” have three children with me to take care of, but instead I only have one.

I am thankful, unbelievably thankful, for our son.  But he doesn’t replace my other children.  Future children will not replace the two children that we have lost.  Having one child already doesn’t magically take the pain away from having two other children die.

Grief is the evidence of great love.  My children were and are loved so much.  I will never forget them.  I will never stop grieving.  I will not apologize for thinking of them or for talking about them.  They were real.  They were mine.

I rejoice that they are in the presence of Perfect Love right now.  As much as it pains me to know that I cannot hold them or tell them how much their mommy loves them, I know that God is loving them in my absence and loving them so much better and more fully than I ever could.  I trust God because I know that He is grieved by this effect of the curse and He is walking beside me in the midst of my deepest pain.

And I absolutely cannot wait for the reunion when I get to heaven.  To finally be able to see the faces of my precious babies, to hold them close, to tell them how much I love them and how absolutely wonderful they are.

Because they are my children.  They weren’t just the unborn.  They weren’t just pregnancies.  They are my children.

-Bonnie

The Dream of Writing

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Growing up, I always had the dream of being a famous published author.  I wanted to be a novelist.  Words inspired me.  There is nothing like the feeling you get when you read something that is just incredibly well written.

I tried my hand at fiction.  Plots came to me that inspired me for a while….and then they died off.  Several stories began, but I realized I didn’t have a full enough plot to make a real book.  My novels turned into short stories.  Several books were never finished.

Somewhere I have my series about the little girl named Felicity that I wrote when I was in middle school.  And also buried somewhere is my mystery (unfinished) with the bad guy named Tacomel.  In our basement somewhere in a red notebook is the historical fiction I was writing about Ruth from the Bible.  That is the book I got the farthest in and I still hope to finish it, even if I never pursue publication.

For years I have prayed that if God wanted me to write a book, that He would give me a plot.  I don’t want to just put words on a page or have some worn out, cliched plot.  I wanted to have something worth sharing.

writing book procrastinating

I think God might have given me my plot.

Although it turns out it’s not fiction.

For several months now I have felt the pull to write a book on miscarriage.  I process things through writing, so I know it would be helpful for me.  And there are not many resources out there for going through this kind of tragedy.

I’m scared.  Who am I to write a book about that topic?  I’m still in the middle of grief, so I don’t have all the answers.

I’ve tried to talk myself out of it.  But then there will be times when I’m driving where I think of something that I really want to share and I want to pull over right then and there to write it down so I don’t forget it.  There are times when the pull on my heart is strong.

That is what I am currently procrastinating on.  Trying to decide if I should go for it or not.

Maybe I will end up being a published author someday, even if it’s not what I imagined as a child.

Or maybe I will turn my writing into blog posts and simply share them here.

Either way, I have some writing to do!

-Bonnie

Perfect Way to Start

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The other day I heard the most beautiful song.  I have listened to quite a few miscarriage songs and just plain old encouraging-in-the-midst-of-pain songs.  But this one is by far my favorite.

Craig Aven writes songs for each of his children.  Last year his wife had a miscarriage.  Later in the year she had a second one.  This is a song he wrote to his unborn children.

I love his intro in the beginning as well.  Some of the most powerful words I’ve heard since losing our babies…”This is not something that we should be ashamed to say hurts us.  Losing a baby.  Because it’s valuable and precious.”

I have listened to this song several times already and I always end up sobbing.  This is so beautiful.  So sad and yet so happy.

My babies are so so missed on this earth.  But I am happy that they so quickly got to experience the joys of heaven and they are able to sit in the lap of Jesus Himself.

-Bonnie