When people ask how many children I have, I still sometimes hesitate. Do I only mention the four I’ve raised over the past 23 years? Or do I include the five babies I lost in early pregnancy?
Should I say four or nine?
I’m not alone in my struggle to answer this question or to mourn for babies I could never hold. Not by a long shot!
According to Loved Baby: 31 Devotions Helping You Grieve and Cherish Your Child After Pregnancy Loss, a new devotional by Sarah Philpott, PhD, nearly one in four American women experience pregnancy loss.
Yet, sadly, society largely shies away from addressing pregnancy loss, especially early-term miscarriage. People don’t know what to say.
Friends and family often feel uncomfortable in the face of such pain, so they sometimes shy away from even acknowledging the loss. The devastated parents are largely left to process the death of their baby alone.
When I lost my babies, there were few resources out there that offered practical help or even much in the way of encouragement for a mother whose baby never took a breath. Thankfully, that is changing.
A Compassionate Companion
The author of Loved Baby knows firsthand the deep pain of having a baby die in her womb. She wrote this devotional to be a compassionate companion for women walking the lonely road of losing an unborn child.
Inside its pages, Sarah includes personal stories from her own losses and wisdom and insight from other women who have experienced miscarriage or a stillbirth. Importantly, she refutes the shame and guilt that often accompanies pregnancy loss.
With vulnerability and empathy, Sarah discusses the common stages of grief, explains triggers that often fuel bitterness and anger, and offers advice for navigating this difficult journey toward hope. She also provides medical facts and tips for caring for yourself in the process of healing.
Loved Baby is filled with Bible verses, including those that help answer a burning spiritual question many who suffer pregnancy loss ask: Is my baby in heaven? Based on the Holy Scriptures, Sarah assures mothers that their “babies that died in [their] wombs were born straight into the splendor of heaven.”
Practical and Honest Advice
In Loved Baby, Sarah gives practical yet honest advice: “Prayer didn’t take away my sadness, but it did give me something constructive to do with my emotions. Prayer is our weapon when we are angry.”
She gives us hope that we will laugh again … as impossible as that seems in the immediate aftermath of loss. She even urges us to not only allow laughter, but to encourage it: “When it comes to grief, laughter and crying don’t have to be mutually exclusive…. Laughter is not going to take away the pain, but it will help you get through the pain.”
Loved Baby consists of 31 devotions, each one written to help bereaved parents mourn and cherish the baby they lost far too early. Each devotion ends with some practical strategies as well as a tender prayer. The last one offers space for commemorating your baby and writing your story.
Real Grief, Real Hope After Pregnancy Loss
Whether a woman loses a baby in the first trimester or her infant is stillborn, the grief is real.
After my first baby was born into heaven, I found myself lost in a deep dark hole, with little hope to ever get out. Eventually, God helped me see a glimmer of light. That started me on the journey toward healing.
How helpful it would have been to have a comforting voice of understanding come beside me. One that would help me find the way out of that deep dark hole. How much easier my journey would have been if I would have had that kind soul whispering to me as Sarah does in Loved Baby:
“Grieve away…. But grieve in hope. Stay rooted in hope, because your little one is blooming in heaven.”
You Will Get Through This!
I will always miss my babies in heaven. From conception, they were my precious children … to tickle, wipe noses, read to, pray with, snuggle, and guide. I had such grand plans for each one!
Yes, I miss them, but the pain is no longer suffocating. I still carry around a memorial card with their names and the estimated dates that Jesus welcomed them into heaven. How could I ever forget them?
However, the Lord had a plan for each of their short lives, and He has a plan for my life and yours too. Yes, you absolutely must mourn the loss of your precious baby(ies). It’s the beginning of healing.
But don’t stay mired in the dark hole of grief. Look up! See that pinhole of light. Walk toward it. Lean into His grace, and trust Him as you journey toward healing.
Trust God’s grace is sufficient for even this heavy moment … this stormy season.
And let others, like Sarah, come alongside you to provide comfort and reassurance that you will make it through the grief.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4, ESV
Reflections: Have you experienced pregnancy loss or had a stillbirth? Has someone you know? What was the most difficult part of healing? What helped you the most?
*Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. I received three copies of Loved Baby in exchange for my honest review of the book.
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Yours in grace ≈