Every day, I can feel myself healing. When I look back a few weeks or months, I can see how wrecked I was spiritually and emotionally then – even though at that point I thought I was doing okay. Though I don’t consider (or ever expect) myself to be back to “normal,” I do feel better.
The reason a woman will never feel normal again after losing her child is because her heart will be broken over and over again. The future she expected is forever altered. A piece of her is forever missing. Certain dates and holidays will fill her with dread for weeks or months. Pregnancy and birth announcements, even though they bring happiness, also stir up sad feelings. Wondering why getting and staying pregnant is so easy for some people. Wondering why babies are born to mothers who don’t want to or are unable to care for them. Wondering if you’ll ever have a baby to hold in your arms.
There is a long list of “triggers” for mothers who have lost their babies. But one of the worst is hearing of another loss. My heart breaks all over again for a woman who has lost her first child. Knowing how much pain she is in and how that loss will forever change how she feels about future pregnancies. My heart breaks hard for the woman who has had multiple losses, for she’s no stranger to the unimaginable pain that has wrecked me. Doubt overshadows her hope on a regular basis, yet she still holds onto hope.
I’ve never been more aware of my heart than I am now, because it’s breaking. It breaks every day for my baby and for yours.
“Hearts will never be practical until they can be made unbreakable.” ― L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Two summers ago, your daddy came home excited with a huge smile on his face. “I know what we should name our first baby, I just heard a song on the radio that gave me the idea!” My mind was racing, trying to figure out what song he was talking about. He said he’d heard the U2 song “Gloria” on his way home and couldn’t think of a better name for our first baby. I agreed that I loved the name and it stuck. Even before you were conceived, your sweet name was on our lips and in our hearts.
At our wedding, we had two versions of “Gloria” in our playlist – the one by U2 and also the oldies song by Them. We’ve spent 2 years singing your name and smiling!
I remember back in junior high in choir we sang the song “Gloria in excelsis Deo” in Latin. Later, in high school, I took Latin classes and learned the translation for the song which I’ve included below. Turns out, you’ve been on my lips and in my heart for years and years. I can’t think of a sweeter, more perfect name for my angel!
Every day I give God thanks for His great glory. Every day I thank him for giving me YOU – my sweet Gloria! G-L-O-R-I-A!
Gloria in excelsis Deo et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis. Laudamus te, benedicimus te, adoramus te, glorificamus te, gratias agimus tibi propter magnam gloriam tuam, Domine Deus, Rex caelestis, Deus Pater omnipotens. Domine Fili unigenite, Iesu Christe, Domine Deus, Agnus Dei, Filius Patris, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis; qui tollis peccata mundi, suscipe deprecationem nostram. Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris, miserere nobis. Quoniam tu solus Sanctus, tu solus Dominus, tu solus Altissimus, Iesu Christe, cum Sancto Spiritu in gloria Dei Patris. Amen
Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth to men of good will. We praise You, we bless You, we adore You, we glorify You, we give You thanks for Your great glory. Lord God, heavenly King, God the Father Almighty. Lord Jesus Christ, only begotten Son, Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us. Receive our prayer. You who sit at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us. For You alone are the Holy One, You alone are the Lord, You alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.
Lyrics to “Gloria” by U2
I try to sing this song
I, I try to stand up
But I can’t find my feet
I try, I try to speak up
But only in you I’m complete
Gloria in te domine
Oh Lord, loosen my lips
I try to sing this song
I, I try to get in
But I can’t find the door
The door is open
You’re standing there
You let me in
Gloria in te domine
Oh Lord, if I had anything
Anything at all
I’d give it to you
I’d give it to you
One of the biggest perks of meeting someone who has children from a previous relationship is that you immediately get to find out what kind of a parent they are. There’s no guessing or surprises in that department! It was easy to fall in love with Bill after seeing what an amazing dad he is.
The love that he shows his kids on a daily basis is what made me sure I wanted to have a baby with him. The thing I looked forward to the most was seeing how Bill would love our baby. When he looks at his kids, I swear I can see him beaming with pride. His face softens and a sweet grin curls up the corners of his lips. When we watch movies as a family, I look over and find him running his fingers through their hair and sweetly smiling at them without them even realizing he’s not watching the movie. It melts my heart.
Bill is a hands on kind of dad. He makes breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. He totes kids to school, practices, and doctor’s appointments. He’s gentle, patient, and understanding. He’s funny, lighthearted, and careful to use kind words. I’m lucky that all of those qualities also apply to me. Just this morning, I got up to get ready for work and he got out of bed on his day off to make me breakfast before I left the house. When I was pregnant, he used to tell me “bye” and that he loved us. He went prenatal appointments with me. Some people say that men don’t become a dad until they hold their baby in their arms, but Bill is the exception to that. He was a good daddy to our baby before the test strip turned pink.
In the last 5 months, I’ve learned that we grieve differently. Bill made sure our house kept running at the same speed when I wasn’t even able to crawl out of bed on my own. Food appeared in front of me even though I insisted I didn’t want to eat. He’s the rock in our family. Every day, I strive to be a little more like him or at least a person worthy of his love.
While I’ve had my doubts about being a good mom, but there’s never been a doubt in my mind that our baby has the best dad. There have been so many moments when I wished our baby could have lived instead of me because I have no doubt that all they would ever need is their daddy. I could see the love for our baby in his face the morning they wheeled me back into surgery. He squeezed my hand and big silent tears ran down his cheeks.
In that moment I realized…”I never knew how much I loved your daddy until I saw how much he loved you.”
Happy (early) Father’s Day to one AMAZING daddy!!! We love you!!
I got my results back – my second monthly test was still negative! Woohoo!!! This means I only have one more test at the beginning of July and if that is still negative, then I’m free!
We are on a family vacation at the beach this week, and it’s been amazing to escape reality for a bit. I’ve been mostly “unplugged” and it’s felt so nice to reset and enjoy being with family and the beautiful ocean.
One day, I volunteered to be buried in sand by my sweet nieces. We all laughed at how fun it was to make a mess and know the ocean could just wash away all the muddy sand. As they were covering me in sand, my youngest niece asked “Aunt Ter-Bear, why did you miscarry your baby?” I flashed back to the first time I ever heard of a miscarriage. I still remember vivid details about that moment, because it seemed like the saddest thing that could ever happen. I looked at her sweet, curious face and hated that at her young age she has to find a way to understand what a miscarriage entails. I told her I really wanted the baby, and it made me sad to lose it. But making a baby is like baking a cake, you have to have the right amount of all the ingredients. My baby didn’t have the right ingredients, and it didn’t work out this time.
It amazes me how perfect things have to be for a life to exist. It makes me feel hopeful, especially when I see a tiny crab crawling across the sand, a dolphin jumping out of the waves, or a beautiful rainbow after a day of rain. Life finds a way, and that’s such a beautiful thing.
Broken. It all starts with the words “I’m sorry, there’s no heartbeat.” In that moment, I felt my own heart shatter into a million little pieces. I’ve been wrecked – mind, body, and soul.
Body. My whole life I’ve faced illnesses, broken bones, and allergies. I’ve had multiple minor surgeries over the last 12 years. Nothing has been worse than the surgery to remove my unborn child. Even though the procedure itself was easy, I woke up the following day tense and stiff from stress. I felt as though I had whiplash from a car accident. I’ve spent months resenting my body for failing me and my baby.
Mind. The negative thoughts are constant. You wonder what you did wrong, what you could have done better, and what your life would be like if things had gone according to your plan. It seems inevitable that there’s a blame you place on yourself in an attempt to regain control of the situation.
Soul. Losing my child was absolutely without a doubt the worst thing I’ve ever faced. It’s an experience and pain that is with me all day every day. Though I was able to find comfort in meeting women who have had a similar experience, the realization that so many women know this pain has weighed heavy on me.
These are the things I wish I could have told myself 5 months ago:
Body. Love your body. Appreciate that you were able to create a life, because that truly is a miracle. Find ways to care for it. Eat well, exercise, rest, relax, indulge. Taking care of your body and loving yourself is difficult during the grieving process, but it’s so important.
Mind. This is not your fault. If you had a friend going through this experience, would you say the same hurtful things you’ve said to yourself to her? Of course not! If you wouldn’t say the words to a friend, make a point to not say them to yourself. Blame is not a helpful tool in the recovery process – make no space for it in your mind.
Soul. Recognize that this is a tragedy. It’s absolutely awful, and you deserve time to be sad. Allow yourself to process the loss and make space for that child in your heart, it will always be with you. Find ways to remember them and smile. Buy a set of wind chimes that will make beautiful music in the wind. Find ways to reconnect with nature. Make a keepsake box to hold all the physical reminders you have of your little one. Go ahead and find ways to remember them, because their presence will always be with you.
I’m so glad that you’ve found this site, and I want to remind you that you are not alone. There is an entire community of women who know and understand what you are going through. The thoughts and feelings you’re having right now are something we’ve thought and felt, too. Please be kind to yourself and allow yourself the time and space you need to work through your loss. We are so very sorry for your loss and we are holding space for you.
Today is the last day of school for my stepchildren. I’m full of warm feelings, excitement, and hope as we kick off summer and I’ve decided to make today the start of a new year for myself. I’m done with the difficult times that 2017 brought, and I’m moving on (possibly with my middle finger in the air, flipping off the worst 6 months of my life as we drive to the beach next week). I’m not even sorry that I’m not sorry!
During this year, I’ve realized that rock bottom has a basement and I’ve been stuck in there for months. Just like the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, I’m breaking out and taking on the world, and I’m determined to do it with her same enthusiasm. I’ll be starting a new role at work sometime this month. I’ve signed up for scuba training in July and I’m ready to explore a part of the world I’ve never seen. We’ve (finally) booked our honeymoon trip for the end of the summer and I’ll be able to put those new diving skills to the test. I’m determined to get my body back into shape and start feeling like myself again. Start loving myself again.
There’s something about the warmth of the sun on my (overly sun screened) face that makes stress melt away. I’m ready to feel the sand sink under my feet instead of feeling like I’m the one sinking in quicksand. I’m ready for the cool waves to wash over me and carry my sorrows back into the sea. I’m ready to listen to the sounds of the world and let them drown the noise in my mind. And I’m ready to comb the beaches looking for a beautiful, unique treasure to take home with me. There’s nothing that cures you like salt water…sweat, tears, and the sea.
So, I close my eyes to old ends. And open my heart to new beginnings.
Today was the first time since our loss that I had to face someone in person who was grieving a recent loss. I honestly thought I’d be better prepared now to comfort someone, but as soon as my eyes met hers, all the words I had thought I would say flew out of my mind. The only things I could come up with were “I’m so sorry” and “let me know if there’s anything we can do.” I could feel myself cringing as I said them. I’m so disappointed those were the best words I could manage.
I’ve spent the rest of the day thinking about the people I’ve lost. My grandpas, an aunt, a few friends, a school principal, a neighbor of mine who never came back from war. I keep trying to wrap my mind around what it means for these people to be gone. It hurts and stings because you know you’ll never see them smile or laugh again. Endings are always difficult, especially when you didn’t have a chance to say goodbye.
At some point, the cards stop arriving, the flowers wilt, and the sympathy comes to an end. Grief never stops for a loved one. Like the ocean, memories ebb and flow. Sometimes they roll in just far enough to tickle our toes and bring a smile to our face, and other times they crash into us and knock us off our feet.
So what’s the one thing that you can do for a grieving person to make them feel better?
It’s that simple. We all just want our love ones remembered. We want them to live on beyond our memories. Say their name, share a story, and find ways to honor them.
On this Memorial Day, I remember Kristopher Higdon. The boy across the street who never came home from war. You are not forgotten!
This post is going to be a tough one to share. It’s about all the things that have gone on inside my head but I’ve been too scared to say out loud. I’m worried that saying them will result in a family member calling a mental health professional and telling them I’ve lost my marbles and need help. Then I remember I’ve already seen my counselor and she ended up crying in my last session as much as I did. Maybe more people have experienced these feelings but they are just difficult to discuss. Maybe all these abnormal thoughts are actually normal?
Distractions have become my best friend and my only comfort. I find it difficult to focus on daily tasks and find myself wondering how things could have been. The only way I can make it through a day is to listen to an audio book, stream a podcast, or play music. These distractions keep the tears at bay and make me feel like I’m normal. More than anything I want to feel normal again.
Talking about my feelings helps. I know the dead baby topic is tough, but I am so thankful when someone asks me how I’m doing and opens the door for me to discuss all the things going on in my mind. I like talking about my baby as much as any mother would!
Death has become a fascination for me. Not in the sense that I’m contemplating it, but that I want to understand more about it. I go to bed every night watching Forensic Files. I stream podcasts about killers, cold case files, and solving murders. Being able to talk about death makes it feel more scientific, and less emotional.
Fear consumes me and I worry that I may lose someone else close to me. I’m always worried that I’ll lose Bill or my family or the kids. I hug people more. I tell Bill I love him so many times a day I lose count. I save voicemails from my grandma and cherish that I have a recording of her telling me she loves me. I find myself checking on my dog while she’s sleeping to make sure she’s still breathing.
Sleep seems more important than oxygen. I crave it all the time. Never enough sleep. And I look forward to a time when my thoughts go silent and my body can rest.
Home is the only place I want to be. There’s a comfort in being in my house surrounded by familiar things. Home is the only place in my life that’s free from emotional triggers.
Emotional triggers limit my desire to leave the house. A couple of months ago, I broke down in a restaurant when I was seated next to a new mom and her infant. Hearing the baby cry sent me over the edge. I began crying hysterically and had to leave the table until they left the restaurant. My sister in law hugged me and held me as I cried uncontrollably. Honestly, I’m humiliated by the incident and terrified it might happen again. I find myself longing to hold a baby, but I am not sure if that will cause another meltdown or if I’ll never want to give it back.
Baby seems like the only answer. It’s so strange for me because I used to think I never wanted a child of my own, and now it’s all I can think about. I’m not sure I’ll ever feel normal again unless I have one. Not that another baby can ever replace ours, but it can make me a mother and I long to be one.
Anxious that another pregnancy could lead to another loss. I’m not sure I’m strong enough to face this again. I don’t think I can lose another part of myself, when I feel like I’ve already lost so much.
I want a break. I wish there was a way to take off work for a while and let myself grieve and heal. It sounds like a dream to have a day with no commitments when I could sleep in, sip coffee in the back yard, and read a book. I’d love to fill my days exploring a hillside during a hike and seeing nature’s reminders that life finds a way. I want to find a way to be okay.
It’s not okay. Previously when people would ever tell me “I’m sorry,” my go to answer was “it’s okay.” The first time someone told me they were sorry about our loss, my instinct was to reply “it’s okay.” I stood there silent, trying to think of a way I could respond. I’ve found that the best thing to say is “thank you” and let myself keep believing that it’s not okay and I’m not okay, but that’s okay.
If you’re struggling with a loss and want someone to talk with, I am here for you. Please feel free to email me at email@example.com and I will always be here to listen to your worries and fears. Sending you big hugs! ❤
A loss brings out so many raw emotions in us, but I’ve realized that it also brings beauty. When you’re faced with death, it dawns on you how fragile life is. I’ve never felt so amazed and overwhelmed by all of the things that have to go right for a life to come into existence. It’s a perfect storm of timing, genetics, and external conditions. Since our loss, I’ve felt so connected with nature. Watching birds build nests around our home out of twigs and dirt. Seeing trees grow in our flowerbed from acorns a squirrel buried. Having a plant bloom again for the first time in spring.
Tiny miracles are all around us. It takes a miracle to create life, and millions of miracles each day that keep us alive. If you’ve ever narrowly escaped a traffic accident, you know what I mean. You suddenly become thankful that it took you 5 extra seconds to find your keys that morning, when you were previously frustrated by the inconvenience of them being misplaced.
In my case, it’s strengthened my relationship with the Lord and for that I am forever grateful. I’ve learned that God can fill voids that no person can fill. He can repair a heart and breathe hope into it again.
Grief has become a common ground for me to make friends with people who were previously strangers. Nothing brings people closer together than a shared painful experience. I’m forever thankful for the new friends I’ve met and how this experience strengthened my existing friendships.
Despite how fragile our existence is, I’ve learned that I’m incredibly resilient and strong. I feel like I’ve become a better person through my grieving process. I feel like I can connect with others on a deeper level than I did before. There truly is nothing to make you more grateful than living through a loss.
You learn that no one has the right words, because there are no right words that can comfort you when you’ve lost someone you love. You learn that the only thing you have control of in life is how you process, experience and react. You learn that you get stronger one day at a time. Before you know it, you’re flying with your own wings. Just like a phoenix, beauty rises from the ashes.
To all my sweet friends flying with their own wings…I’m so thankful for you. I’m praying for you and sending you hugs always! ❤
The latin phrase “alis volat propiis” is translated to “she flies with her own wings.”
I’m a nester by nature. There’s always been a part of me that likes to surround myself with things that comfort me. Some might call it sentimental, others (
not naming names MOM!) may have called me a “pack rat.” I’ve managed to keep this flaw quality under control as I’ve gotten older; however, odds are you can pick out any item in my home and I’ll be able to give you a full story behind it. When I give gifts to loved ones, I do it with thoughtfulness and consideration.
When I was single, I listened to some audio books about finding your soulmate. They sounded incredibly sappy but ended up being so helpful. One of the chapters talks about holding an intention for things you want to call into your life. By creating physical space for someone, you also start making space in your mind and heart for them. The author gave the example that if you want to call your beloved into your life, you can start by making space in your home. Empty your things out of one of your nightstands, clean out your dressers and make sure your clothing only takes up half of your closet. I remember feeling silly making space for someone who wasn’t in my life, but within that same year those spaces would become occupied by my husband’s clothes and belongings.
As God started putting the idea of being a mother in my heart, I started collecting things for my future child. Every time I saw an adorable stuffed animal, I bought it and stored it in my spare bedroom. If the theory worked for calling my husband into my life, then surely having items picked out for my child would also call him/her into my life.
It’s probably no surprise that I went shopping for my baby before the strip turned pink. I purchased a yellow rocking chair and ottoman from a neighbor. I picked out the perfect crib and sleepy sheep bedding. We’d already designated our office to become the nursery so we could have the baby downstairs closer to our bedroom and kitchen. We moved out the desk and chair and made space for our crib to be delivered a few days before our 11 week appointment. When the crib arrived, the delivery men opened the boxes and started the assembly process. As the last rail was unwrapped, they noticed it was cracked. The crib had to be boxed up and returned since it was a safety hazard. When they left with the broken crib I remember feeling so sad that my nursery would have to stay empty. I had no idea just how empty that room would soon be.
Three days later, my heart would be broken too and my dreams shattered. My husband called the store to tell them that we didn’t need them to send a replacement crib after all. We returned the unopened bedding. I wish I were here in this room preparing a warm, cozy space for our newborn to sleep, but instead we moved the desk back in and the only thing I’m creating is a blog about the baby I’ll never hold in my arms.
The only remains of the nursery are a single bookcase which still holds my books about pregnancy and childbirth (and now books about molar pregnancies, gestational trophoblastic disease, and grieving a child I never knew) and those soft, snuggly stuffed animals. They hold space in my heart reminding me that hope isn’t lost…that this room may one day be filled with a sleepy eyed baby, first steps, and bedtime stories. But they also remain in this room holding space for our baby in heaven. She is gone, but she used to be mine.
I know these lyrics aren’t about losing a baby, but over the last few months I’ve found so much comfort in this song. Sometimes I feel like I not only lost my baby, but I’ve lost myself. As usual, Sara Bareilles is able to nail so many of my emotions in her lyrics. If you haven’t heard this song, I highly recommend giving it a listen! I’ve underlined my favorite parts of the lyrics below.
She Used To Be Mine – by Sara Bareilles
It’s not simple to say
Most days I don’t recognize me
That these shoes and this apron
That place and its patrons
Have taken more than I gave them
It’s not easy to know
I’m not anything like I used to be
Although it’s true
I was never attention’s sweet center
I still remember that girl
She’s imperfect but she tries
She is good but she lies
She is hard on herself
She is broken and won’t ask for help
She is messy but she’s kind
She is lonely most of the time
She is all of this mixed up
And baked in a beautiful pie
She is gone but she used to be mine
It’s not what I asked for
Sometimes life just slips in through a back door
And carves out a person
And makes you believe it’s all true
And now I’ve got you
And you’re not what I asked for
If I’m honest I know I would give it all back
For a chance to start over
And rewrite an ending or two
For the girl that I knew
Who’ll be reckless just enough
Who’ll get hurt
But who learns how to toughen up when she’s bruised
And gets used by a man who can’t love
And then she’ll get stuck
And be scared of the life that’s inside her
Growing stronger each day
‘Til it finally reminds her
To fight just a little
To bring back the fire in her eyes
That’s been gone but used to be mine
Used to be mine
She is messy but she’s kind
She is lonely most of the time
She is all of this mixed up and baked in a beautiful pie
She is gone but she used to be mine