Have you ever walked through the store and immediately stop what you’re doing when you see a baby?
Your heart melts.
Your eyes focus on puffy cheeks and rolls.
And you can’t forget the tiny fingers and toes.
They even smell sweet.
Maybe I’m going through “baby fever”. It’s always easier to look at babies than to think of actually having another one. My husband and I have thought about trying for number four, three really, you see it’s rather difficult to figure out the defining number. Do you say four and explain the loss of number one, or do you leave it out to spare the awkward conversation?
As my heart is passionate about growing our family, a deep burden follows the ultimate yes. Normally, we would be figuring out financial expenses, if we have enough room, and calculating the age difference between our children. Instead, a deep thread of emotions is tagged onto the back of all the other factors. Can I face all of my fears again?
Any mom who has dealt with an unexpected death of a baby knows the extreme terrifying chances with the next.
It’s not only waking up at all hours of the night because the baby is hungry. The sound of your baby crying at night is actually relieving to hear. It’s waking up all the rest of the hours wondering if your baby is okay.
It’s checking breathing monitors.
Searching for SID proof furniture.
Staring persistently at the most precious thing and searching for anything out of the norm.
It’s the war of the gut-wrenching emotions-
deciding things actually wrong and the things our mind makes up.
After thinking of expanding our family the other night, I realized many people don’t understand the emotions of a mom who has lost her baby. They don’t know the right words to say, or what not to say. In honor of my son’s (supposed to be 5th) birthday, I thought I would share some of my adventures.
Want to know more: how common is SIDS?
There’s Never Enough Time to Grieve.
Many moms and those surrounding friends and family members who have dealt with losing a baby, wonder how long it will and should take to grieve. In my own experience, I’m always grieving just on different levels. I wish people would stop labeling when I should be over my son not being here. My son was supposed to throw a baseball, and my eyes missed the opportunity to watch him learn how to ride a bicycle. I was supposed to experience irritation when he ate up all the food in the fridge. My husband and I were supposed to see who he would grow up to be.
I will always be grieving these moments. No amount of time will take this pain away. Just like an unexpected death of a parent. A child will always miss the moments they missed with their parent. Grief is an emotion. It can disappear and reappear in the moments we feel at a loss.
Voicing Our Opinion.
Something inside me changed when I lost Noah. I’m like the mother bird watching over everybody’s nest. Several times I have seen cribs filled up with blankets, stuffed animals, and crib bumpers. In this moment my heart stops and I wonder, do they know what could happen! Friends don’t be offended if someone says something to you. They are only trying to protect you from the pain they went through. Wouldn’t it be nice if we all had a SID proof furniture radar?
Yes, it could happen to you.
I remember how oblivious I was when someone told me about SIDS. Before the thought briefly crossed my mind, there’s no way that will happen to me. I didn’t tell people who watched my son, Noah, the way he usually slept because I thought their experience was good enough. I blocked out all the safety precautions thinking my baby will be okay because he looked healthy. So many people make the same mistake. I want others to take it seriously because I didn’t, and I suffered the consequence. Research on SIDS has shown that babies should be laid on their back, without anything around them. No pillows, or stuffed animal until at least six months. Babies should be kept in cool clothing, and away from cigarette smoke. You can read more here of the Do’s and Don’t here.
Please don’t define me as the Mom who lost her baby.
Last winter my depression took hold of me. My anxiety caused me to lose focus which started affected my writing. When I went to the doctor I experienced the most dreadful visit. My doctor labeled my depression on the unexpected death of my baby. Even though Noah being gone was the most pain I ever had, God has given me the wonderful gift of grace. He’s comforted my pain by his love. When I tried to explain my healing to the doctor, she still didn’t believe me. She had me talk about my son in many different ways and I could tell she was labeling me as the Mom who lost her baby. I find the label often when I tell people about losing him. As you can see my dilemma in telling others the number of children I have!
Don’t question my reactions.
Yet again another bad visit with the doc! My husband went in for a check-up only to come back to me with more disturbing news. She wanted to know why we didn’t do anything for Christmas to honor Noah. My husband was heartbroken and full of guilt! If you want to know the number one thing not to do, this is it! Sometimes it takes extra effort in doing these memorial activities with our family, and it brings on more grief. This is especially important to the mom, or dad who recently lost a baby. Nothing will take away the importance of a baby, even if someone chooses to react to do certain things or not. Please don’t judge the reactions of those who lost their baby.
Trusting in Life events
It’s not normal for a baby to die. Trusting God with the rest of my life is difficult. I worry about more unexpected deaths. My worries arise every time my children get sick, or when I leave them with someone else. I tremble when my husband is late, fearing God took him away too. I constantly fear God will tear apart every person I love until I am left alone. Trusting God again does not come easy, but it is possible.
Remembering our baby.
The most heartwarming action is when those around me remember my baby. It means so much to me when I get a phone call on his birthday, or someone tells me they are thinking of our family. I don’t expect people to remember his day, but it brings so much joy when they do. He was supposed to celebrate many years, and when other people remember him it brings back the love meant for this day.
Honestly, I can’t tell you how many prayers we have had from others we don’t know. I know these prayers helped us. I believe continued prayer from others, yes, even five years later helps. On holidays and birthdays, it gets difficult knowing what could have been. Again, I don’t expect these, but they help God strengthen us even more.
What I Want Others to Understand
Most of all, what I want the most from others is to be treated like I haven’t lost a baby. I don’t want others to feel sorry for me, or for them to tense up when I mention Noah’s name. I don’t want other problems in my life directed back to the past pain I already experienced.
Instead, I would rather someone tell me their thoughts about what happened in an honest way, not walking around their words trying not to wound me. I’m just like any other mom. I’m like any other person who has dealt with pain in their life.
Not every mother will react to the same emotions as me.
We all have our own stories of how it happened and how it made an impact on our lives. But, my ambition is to give you some inspiration.
For me, I rest in the thought of my son being with Jesus. I am comforted in the transformation of my relationship with God after my son’s death. Maybe God knew I would be drawn closer to him after losing the person who mattered to me the most. I can say these words easier after five years. This only confirms God’s work on my heart, and not only in mine but other grieving mothers.
The Honest Truth.
I can’t lie. I’ve questioned God many times.
And He knows my anger inside out.
I’ve yelled at God many times.
And I’ve also cried to him.
But, through all these raw emotions do you know who’s been there the most for me? God.
He’s never left me. No matter how mad I get at him, or how many times I don’t trust in his plan for my life.
If you landed here searching for some answers, I hope you found some ways to understand the thoughts of a grieving mother.
I hope they have rested their anger, hurt, and tears in God’s hands. I know He is the way to mend their brokenness. My hope is for every person who lands here today to rest their anger, hurt, and tears in God’s hands.
Before you leave let me share with you Solomon’s thoughts on God’s plan for our lives in Ephesians 3:1-8.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.
a time to be born, and a time to die.
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
A time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.”
So many of us face problems that seem to go against God’s plan for us, but there’s hope in these verses. God provides comfort in Solomon’s words. Even when we feel life going against us, there will be a time for laughter, a time to dance, and a time for peace.
Can you rest your worries and pain in these moments, know one day God will bring us back to joy? I can, and I hope you see light in this as well.
One day our family will be ready to continue on to number four, but today I am going to put my worries aside. For there’s no time to worry or fear. There’s only time to see what good lays in front of me!