Posts

Dear Pregnant Mama,

I saw you at church the other week. You sat with your belly blossoming in all its third-trimester glory and I couldn’t help but sneak peeks at you. You may have wondered if there was something on your shirt, some snot residue left over from your toddler with the nose cold. But it wasn’t you I was staring at, it was me.

I miscarried a baby last December. Eleven weeks along, I was fully expecting to be in your shoes this time of year. I didn’t expect to be sitting here, aching hearted and empty-wombed. Looking at you, I see my hopes and dreams. I see everything that I cannot yet have but so desperately wish for. And as painful as it is for me to admit, it still hurts to look at you.

Read more

Eight weeks into my fourth pregnancy, it ended. Spots appeared as if out of nowhere; these little specks of hopes and dreams lying against faded fabric. I saw the dark blood and broke a twenty-five-year streak. I dropped my first f-bomb.

The word echoed around the bathroom, feeling unfamiliar and rough against my lips. I glanced over at the toddler who was sitting on the couch, happily chewing on buttered toast and watching an episode of Paw Patrol. His two-year-old-self was completely oblivious to the emotional earthquake threatening to shake our small apartment, and for that, I was glad.

I sat in silence and struggled to breathe through lungs that were no longer working properly. What air was left in the room had grown heavy, weighing down upon my shoulders and pressing into my chest. Few words seemed strong enough to contest the range of emotions that had suddenly slammed into me. I cried black mascara tears and gently hugged the flabby belly that had been stretched and loved on by five babies. My heart aching, I whispered and prayed over the child I would never know. “Stay strong, wee one. Stay strong.”

And she did. Until she left us, five days later.

Read more

It is with tears that we come to you today, discouraged and wearied by the loss of another little one, but confident in God’s deep grace and reassuring love.

Since so many of you have invested in the life of this tiny baby, we wanted to give you a brief update as to what has been happening these past few days.

As many of you know, this has not been an easy week for us. It’s been exhausting both physically and emotionally. I’d like to thank all of you who have spent time this past week interceding on behalf of our family in prayer.

Read more

One of my very talented blogger friends, Stefanie Tong, has recently published her new book: Chasing Light, a beautiful and raw look at life after pregnancy loss.

Centered around her two miscarriages and her subsequent grief and depression, Stefanie writes about both the challenges and the search for hope and wholeness following the death of a child.

Reading through this book, I was constantly struck by Stefanie’s incredible honesty and willingness to embrace and explore her grief. She is not afraid to be vulnerable and peal back the intricate layers surrounding loss. Touching on her husband’s grief, as well as conversations that they had with their three-year-old daughter, I appreciated this book’s accurate reflection of how grief and loss affects the entire family.

Read more

Dear Grieving Mama,

It’s October. The trees have begun to shed their colourful leaves and the smell of pumpkin spice lattes float throughout the cool air. For everyone else, this is a month about Halloween costumes, Thanksgiving turkeys, and trips to the pumpkin patch. But for you, this month signifies something a little different.

This is your first October after the loss of your little one.

Read more

It feels like it’s taken me a long time to get here. To arrive at this in-between place where I’m finally ready to entertain the idea of ‘trying again.’

Another pregnancy. Another baby.

The thought volleys around in my head. Back and forth I debate whether I’m ready to get pregnant again – whether I even want to. Maybe we have already reached our family’s final number; maybe we will find new ways to grow, just the three of us.

But I know in my heart that I’m not satisfied with this ending.

Not that this wouldn’t be enough. Not that I wouldn’t be perfectly happy leaving things the way they are. But there’s more to this story – it’s not finished yet.

Read more

I was seven months pregnant when I lost my first child. The doctors hurriedly pulled him from my stomach but they found no heartbeat, no breath. He was declared stillborn.

My second pregnancy ended quickly. I barely made it to the eight week mark when the doctors confirmed what my body had already told me – it was over. They told me I had “experienced a miscarriage.”

When you look at their definitions on paper, a miscarriage and a stillbirth are essentially the same thing. Both involve the loss of a beautiful baby in utero. A miscarriage occurs before 20 weeks of pregnancy, a stillbirth occurs after 20 weeks.* Both types of loss involve the pain of losing a child; and both leave a mother with empty arms and crushed dreams.

And yet, there’s no denying that these are two very different experiences.

Read more

At the edge of a grassy graveyard, surrounded by little bronze markers and drying flowers, sits my son’s gravestone. His name is boldly inscribed across the top: “Landon A. Mannegren.” This grave is a physical reminder of his short life, a place that marks his brief stay in this world. This tombstone is a declaration that he was here.

But none of that exists for my recent miscarriage.

I never felt this little one’s first kicks. I never knew their gender or held them in my arms. There is no birth certificate, no ultrasound photos, and no baby nursery. All I could give this precious babe was eight weeks of love snuggled up in my womb and a name to call their own.

Read more

To my sweet, little man; my sunshine, my Alistair,

Today you turn two. Just the thought of it evokes all the imaginable cliches about babies growing up too quickly. Because although you still refer to yourself in third person, “baby” has now graduated to “big boy.”

This was a big year for you: learning to walk, beginning to talk. You’re getting bolder as you maneuver the equipment at the playground. You dance and run, tiptoe and sing. If there was a toddler edition of “So You Think You Can Dance,” you would win hands down.

Read more

Two years ago I sat on a hospital bed and learned about the excruciating heartbreak that can accompany motherhood. I said good-bye to a baby that I had carried for 31 weeks; a precious little one that I had never officially met and yet had whispered to and loved on for seven months.

Almost exactly two years later, I’m here again. I sit in a blue hospital gown, my arm still bruised from where they’ve drawn blood, and watch as the ultrasound technician carefully maneuvers her wand over my belly.

I booked this appointment weeks ago. I should be sitting in this room with my husband, watching a tiny heartbeat pulse on the screen. I should leave this appointment with a confirmed due date and a printout of my baby’s first ultrasound photos. Instead, I arrive at the clinic knowing that this appointment will be different; I arrive knowing that the sonogram will be empty.

We’ve miscarried.

Read more

The backseat of my car is strangely quiet – the ride curiously devoid of its usual symphony of animal imitations, tired cries, and gleeful toddler babbling. I turn the radio down to listen for sounds of rhythmic breathing or the gentle pop of a soother falling from my son’s sleepy lips.

It is completely quiet.

It is then, with my car enveloped in relative silence, that the panic decides to strike. The feeling is not unfamiliar; my chest tightens and I am slapped with an inexplicable feeling of alarm.

“Someone is missing.”

The thought springs unbidden to the forefront of my mind, anxiety overruling logic. I have forgotten someone, I have left them behind.

Read more

“Do you still have bad days?”

The question lingers in the air as I quietly debate how best to answer it. I’ve had to answer this question more frequently of late – it seems to be yet another by-product of the passage of time.

It’s been twenty months since I lost my sweet baby boy; twenty months since I felt his final kick goodbye and wailed over his tiny, breathless body. There are days when these moments feel like a lifetime ago. But there are days too when my heart aches and I miss that little boy more than words can tell.

People are naturally curious as to what the grieving process looks like now – a year and a half after loss. Most individuals have heard that “the first year is the hardest” and wonder what happens after that. Do I still grieve? Is the one year anniversary some magical line drawn in the sand that erases all grief? Do I still have “bad days?”  Read more