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The grave was impossibly small: a flattened bit of earth and grass that covered the infant-sized casket beneath. I was twenty-two years old and burying my baby. There was no preparation for something like this — no guideline for how grief should look and feel. I felt alone and overwhelmed by the intensity of my grief: What was normal? What was okay? What did the Bible say about loss?

I needed to feel the weight of shared pain and knowledge, a sacred story of motherhood that had been held by more than just me.

I needed to know that this grief was more than just pain, it was love.

I needed to find the voices of those who had walked this road before me: to weep and remember within a community.

These are some of the books I found throughout my grief journey. They’ve encouraged and challenged me, reminded me to keep my eyes fixed on Christ, and allowed me to see the beauty within every story. I hope they will do the same for you. Read more

This is the face of someone who was riding the rollercoaster of “pregnancy after loss” emotions: excited and anxious, nervous and confused, joy-filled and overwhelmed.

The day I found out about this baby, I was at the hospital. It was nothing scary, just my GP being cautious and a fun, human puzzle for the doctors to unravel.

But as I waited on bloodwork and tests, the nurse gave me a little, “Congratulations.” Because those very faint positive pregnancy hormones showed up in my bloodstream and it was official. We were expecting again.

For someone who’s lost five babies, this wasn’t the way to start a calm pregnancy.

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Today’s the day!

Embrace is now available wherever books are sold.

“This is my story. It’s full of cracks and imperfections, and heartache after heartache. But as you read through the next few pages, I hope you see the echo of Christ’s deep, redeeming love throughout our darkest days. I pray that our story and the stories of women throughout this book will allow you to begin reflecting on God’s faithfulness throughout your own loss. I pray that you will find comfort in shared grief and in the knowledge that you are not alone in your pain.” Embrace, Pg. 5

If you’ve been following along with me on social media, you’ll know that I’ve been talking a lot about pregnancy loss over the past month. Sharing our stories doesn’t always come easily. It’s difficult to enter into the conversation with vulnerability, to purposefully share the messy and the imperfect. But, in the sharing of what looks to be weakness, we find strength.

Grief isn’t something to be afraid of. It hurts. It’s messy. Sometimes, it’s scary. But as we walk through those fears, we find that we are brought closer to the God who promises a comfort that only He can provide. As we learn to cling to Christ, we find the freedom to grieve wholly and fully; not with empty desperation, but with deep-rooted hope.

So come. Bring it all to Him, and together, let’s learn to Embrace.

Endorsements for Embrace (2)

You can grab your copy at any of the below places, or anywhere else that Christian books are sold! (Clicking the below links will take you directly to that site’s page for Embrace.)

Amazon.com
Chapters.indigo.ca
Barnes & Noble
My website!

Anywhere else Christian books are sold!

Endorsements for Embrace (1).jpg

Want to hear from other women? Find more reviews for Embrace here:

From Enduring & Maturing: “Embrace — the book that felt like chicken soup for this grieving mom’s soul”

From Amber Thiessen, In The Vine: “Embrace — Clinging to Christ Through The Pain of Pregnancy Loss”

Embrace Book Launch Party.jpg

Last, but not least, I want to INVITE you to a BOOK LAUNCH PARTY that will be taking place on Saturday, October 26th on the MommyMannegren Facebook page. There will be giveaways, a LIVE chat with me, as well as discussion around grief and pregnancy loss. I hope that you will join us as we celebrate the arrival of this new resource.

Much love,

Liz

We’ve all heard the statistic: 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage.

The ultrasound machine that once pulsed with the echoes of life is still. There’s no heartbeat. No baby. This good-bye was too soon and the empty womb is matched only by the hollowness you feel within. 1 in 4.

A few months after my first miscarriage, I entered into a new statistic: “1 in 50.” This is otherwise known as the approximate 2% of women who experience two miscarriages in a row.

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To This Year’s Kindergarten Teacher,

Your classroom is full. It bustles with kids in squeaky, new shoes and oversized backpacks. Some of their smiles are shy, their eyes wide and nerves evident. Others squirm and hop their way around the room, their energy radiating out through a little body that struggles to hold still.

“Welcome to Kindergarten!”

You’ve written each of their names on little placards dotted with star stickers. Over the coming year, these names will grow from mere faces into personalities and stories that you know and love.

But what you don’t know is that there’s a name missing from your class list this year.

You’re one spiderman backpack short.
One tousled-haired child with a mischevious grin is missing.

You don’t see him. But I do.

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We took this photo when there were two.

On a warm, July night, five years ago – when the sand burned the bottoms of my soles and the air smelled like salt and heat. I held my belly between the palms of my hands and felt the tangle of limbs kicking within. Two boys tumbled and rolled and life collided with possibility and promise.

And then, the waves rose and the sandcastles crumbled and the world which I had so tenderly held disappeared.

We took this photo when there were two.

Before we knew the babies were sick.

Before the rush of blood from one to the other.

Before his heart stopped.

Before the world changed.

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I know you’re looking for answers.

For reassurance.

You’ve stumbled onto this blog after a quick Google search, desperately hoping for a miracle.

You’re praying that the doctors were wrong. The ultrasound results must be wrong — oh, please God, let them be wrong.

You’re praying that the blood you found on your panties this morning really is just “spotting.” Your heart is crying out that something’s wrong, but maybe, it’s not. Maybe this will all just go away.

You’re praying that the cramping will stop. That this baby would not be making its way into the world so soon — that your body would hold on for a few months longer.

You’re praying for a miracle.
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For decades, women have been told to wait until the end of the first trimester before announcing their pregnancies. After thirteen weeks, the chances of miscarriage decrease dramatically and you can avoid the awkwardness comes with having to inform everyone that you are “no longer pregnant” if you lose the baby.

This is one of the main rationals behind this advice.

And I hate it.

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“Mommy, what if baby doesn’t come out in October?”

We were in the car, on our way to a routine pregnancy check-up when I heard the little voice pipe up from the backseat. At nearly 35 weeks pregnant, we’d been talking a lot about the baby that was due to arrive in a month’s time. My son had accompanied me to each prenatal appointment, listening to the heartbeat and watching my belly grow. With his head pressed up tightly against my stomach, he’d talk and whisper to his little sister, kiss her good-night, and eagerly count down the time until her arrival. There was no doubt that our entire family was eagerly awaiting the birth of this little one.

From the driver’s seat of the car, I smiled. We’d had a conversation about birthdays earlier and I assumed that this was where his question was coming from. I snuck a glance at him through the rear-view mirror, noting the thoughtful expression on his face. “Baby will definitely come by October,” I replied cheerfully. “The doctors won’t let her stay in longer than that.”

“Unless she goes to be with Jesus first.”

My heart skipped a beat.

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Last year, while working on a book about pregnancy loss, I had the privilege of interviewing over thirty, fellow, grieving mothers.

A few of the questions I asked revolved around marriage and how relationships with a spouse or partner had been affected by loss. Almost all of the mothers commented on the differences in grieving style — how men and women process and release their grief in such unique and sometimes confusing ways. We don’t always understand the other’s grief, but I was equally encouraged by the many women who shared how their marriage was strengthened and encouraged throughout this time. We found this to be true in our experience too — these differences can ultimately be our strength.

So this letter was written for the marriages in the midst of grief: those still struggling to understand each other and yet, fiercely fighting for something that is so-very-worth-fighting-for.  Read more

This time last year I was waiting on a miscarriage.

Nine weeks pregnant, I arrived at the ultrasound with a baby bean in my belly and a heart full of anticipation. And then, with a few fated words, the dreams that I had carried so close to my heart began to crumble once more.

“Maybe you’re not as far along as you thought…”

The ultrasound technician quietly snuck out to consult a doctor and I was left alone. Music floated softly through the room, and lyrics to the song, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” assaulted my ears and ground against my wounded heart. Wrapped in a cheap, blue gown, I listened and I wept. It felt far from wonderful.

The doctor’s results were inconclusive and I was told to wait it out. For two weeks, I wrapped gifts and hung lights and attended holiday parties. With anxiety and secrets tucked behind an ugly Christmas sweater and a holiday smile, I waited to see if the baby would grow.

But mostly, I just waited to miscarry.

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Hey everyone!

I just wanted to write a quick little note and thank you all for hanging out with me this past month as we’ve talked about grief and pregnancy loss. (If you’ve been following along on my blog and on Facebook, you know that this is a topic we’ve covered extensively this month!) I’ve really appreciated you sharing your hearts and your stories with me. October may be Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month, but families grieve all year round, and so I especially want to thank all of you who have chosen to intentionally stand alongside those who mourn.

It’s not easy to talk about grief. We don’t like to think about pain and death, and we prefer to tuck these not-so-palatable topics away out of sight. Often times we associate grief with weakness or depression (two other words that make people very uncomfortable!) But it’s important to know that we all experience grief at different points in our lives – and if we haven’t yet, we will.

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