Dear Grieving Mama -
What you need to know is that you’re so normal. Don’t let anyone make you feel like you aren’t. Not only have you gone through great trauma physically, but emotionally as well. My number one advice to you is to keep talking about it. Don’t push your loss aside and try to move on because it’s what’s expected of you. Allow yourself to feel your pain. Allow yourself to grieve for however long it takes. There is no timeline you are supposed to follow.
For the days, weeks, months and even years to come, keep talking about your baby when you need to. Don’t hold back because people might feel uncomfortable. Your baby deserves a voice and you are the only one who can be that. The more we as moms who have suffered these losses try to carry this burden alone, to keep it inside, the longer we will continue the societal issue of silence surrounding miscarriage and infant loss. Nobody wants to talk about it in fear of upsetting someone else, but we all need to learn to understand each other in order to help heal together.
Once I started truly talking about my son, Matthew, I started to find true healing. Unfortunately, I didn't do this well until more than six years after his death. The Bible says "They will overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony" in Revelations 12. This verse hit me in a new way this week. The best way we as moms can find our joy again and learn to live lives that aren't defined by our grief is by sharing our stories and by walking hand in hand with Jesus. That was profound for me.
Discussing our loss with our families is wonderful and helping them understand is great, but if you can find yourself a group of women who have walked this path before you, you will find this to be one of your most valuable tools in your tool belt. I lovingly called this group of women my Sucky Sisterhood. If you find women who have walked this for awhile and had some good sisters to guide them, then you will have a friend for life. You’ll connect on a new level even if you’ve already been friends for years. These women understand you. They know where you’ve been and where you will be because they were there too. When you reach out to them, they throw their arms open wide to embrace you. They will love you big because they feel your pain. They know what you need, sometimes before you do. You can always talk about your child to these people and they won’t shrink back. They step up. They love your baby and they love you. Even if you have only one or two of these women, you have a treasure. Don’t take that gift lightly.
Gathering Hope is a place full of women in this sisterhood. It is a safe place to cry, to laugh, to be uplifted and to praise God in this storm. Whether your loss is recent or years ago, we are praying for you daily that some healing is found on October 22. Though walking into a room of strangers to share your most precious and sacred heartbreak feels so vulnerable, we know that you will be blessed by your willingness to push past your comfort zone. It's okay to be scared going into a new situation. Being scared means that you're about to do something that pushes you into new places. This is one of the bravest things you can do. Don't hold yourself back from taking that step in to the healing that is waiting for you.
So, my sister, you will survive. You’ll someday be able to take a deep breath without the stabbing pain in your heart. Some days will be great and you’ll think life is amazing. You're finally doing well and then out of nowhere, you hit an invisible brick wall and you are flat on your back wondering what in the world just happened. It’s definitely not a smooth ride or one I’d wish on anyone, but you will survive it. What other choice do you have?
We love you and can't wait to meet you. We are so honored to be a part of your journey.