Infant and pregnancy loss stories benefit us because we learn that we are not alone. Carrying forth a pregnancy to term invites joyful gifts, meals, and fellowship with other families. Pregnancy loss simply makes people uncomfortable. Friends with round bellies stuffed with God’s newest creations waddle in the other direction, heartbroken for us and wishing not to make the situation more grievous for us by reminding us of our broken hearts and empty wombs.
There is a very real comfort in simply knowing that another mother has walked the path we are so newly stumbling upon.
I’ve looked for a meaningful way to say “thank you” to the mothers who’ve shared their sad secrets with me, who have stood at the doorway of this secret society of aching parents to tell me that they lost a beloved child too.
While building this website, and adding their stories, I realized that they were not only ministering to me, but to all of the mothers who, through their own losses, find their way to this site.
In the middle of my sharing about my experience online (via Facebook), Dawn Gilner read about my broken heart and sent me her book, “I Miss His Everything” and gave me permission to use it as I see fit.
Offering this book as a “thank you” to one of you lovely mothers is just a tiny token, but this book is so tremendously beautiful and valuable, I know it will surely bless you.
Some of you have shared your story for the very first time at this site. How frightening and intimidating that must be. Some of you have rehearsed and told your story so many times that you could recite your experiences by memory as you read your own words here.
All of your stories are valuable.
You have each extended love and mercy to the broken hearted mothers who will find their way here. Now, even the very first mother who comes here looking for miscarriage support will know in all certainty that she is not alone. You will have given her hope, which is a vital lifeline during such a tremendously devastating time.
I mean this with all sincere urgency, importance, and gratitude: thank you so very much ladies.
October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.
It is also about the time that I would have delivered my sweet baby, who was instead born via natural miscarriage on April 19.
Instead of being able to lavish love onto my sweet precious baby, I turn to you, mothers, to offer a gift of love to you.
Every mother who submits her pregnancy loss experiences to this site before October (2011) will be automatically entered to receive the book,
“I Miss His Everything” by Dawn Gilner.
To share your story, please follow this link and the simple instructions that follow.
Let me specify, I am in no way earning any compensation for passing this book on.
What I have gained from having this book, is worth much more than money.
In her book, Dawn Gilner walks us through her experiences of having live, happy children, but also of experiencing three miscarriages, the death of her 8 month old son Maguire, and the stillbirth delivery of her son Titus. In such a horrific, unspeakable, overwhelming amount of darkness and loss, I am totally marvelled at her ability to show such life, such love, such deep, profound healing, in her own heart, and in her family.
Dawn brings us through the day her son Maguire died in a way that seems so relateable, so natural, so casual, that each sentance literally makes you say, “I would have done that….I would have done that…I would have done that, too….” She nails it, the moments in our day that we speak to ourselves about our children, about our feelings about them, and about the different responsibilities we have. I kept reading, totally captivated by the normal-ness and simplicity and the way she articulated my very own mommy feelings…when I suddenly caught my breath, realizing that the dreadful climax must surely be coming…after all, I knew the name of the book, I knew what this was about…”oh NO” I thought, as I realized I was unable to even contain myself to finish reading the words, but caught myself scrolling through the text to the end of the paragraph…searching for the agonizing sentance, the dooming conclusion to the day’s events, so that I could quickly move on.
I put the book down, and realized how easily her words could have been my own, and prayed thanksgiving at her courage to put such powerful expression into writing.
Then, I went back to the paragraph I did such a disservice to by scanning through it. Every syllable crushed my soul. I cried.
And, this was only the first chapter.
Would I be able to do this? To finish this book? Would it only hurt me further?
I kept reading.
I don’t want to give it away, but by the end of this book, Dawn concludes her writing with a profound message of hope, not merely survival but joyous victory and triumphant love. It is a book that every mother and father who experienced pregnancy or infant loss would be changed for the better by reading.
Here are just a few of the very important (and too often overlooked) experiences in our journey through loss that Dawn captures and discusses so very eloquently:
- guilt, and having a healthy perspective about it
- relationship with spouse, and how loss may impact it (for better or worse)
- differences in grieving between husband and wife
- what to tell your other children
- breastmilk after loss, and what to do about it
- other practical advice, like packing to go to hospital to deliver a dead baby
- information about induction after previous Cesarean
- helpful and hurtful medical perspectives and approaches
- having a hyper-alert sense of dangers to your other children
- importance of loved ones
- healthy and unhealthy expectations of loved ones
- helpful and unhelpful reactions of loved ones
- perspectives on each of our own losses being different
- different feelings you may have when your baby looks “less than complete”
- reasons for our different grief reactions (stages, and durations)
- the possibility of healthiness in our seemingly most unhealthy reactions
- anger at God, feeling betrayed and attacked by God
- reconnecting with God, realizing who the fight is really against
- outlines, throughout the book, and particularly at the end, practical steps to finding your “new normal”, including learning to celebrate the day your baby died
One of my most favorite things about this book is the way that Dawn shows the larger-than-life legacy that is left behind by our lost children, and our responsibility, and our priviledge, to discover it and find ways to carry it forth. Family, friends, even strangers can all be impacted–positively changed–by our tiny children, if only we allow their little figures to make the great big impact that they lived, and died, for.
Besides writing and publishing this book, one other practical way that Dawn honors her son Maguire is with an Angel Day 5K run, to raise funds for headstone costs for infants of bereaved parents.
Dawn, your story is so captivating, so moving, so heartbreaking and so inspiring. Thank you so very much for passing it on to me, so that it could be an encouragement to another mother to also share her story with others here at this site. In October, when I would have been bestowing love onto my newborn, I will instead find peace and pleasure at giving your book to another mother. Your book has helped me heal, and it will help another.
Announcement of the Winner:
The first week of August 2011 marked the official launching and public presentation of stillbirthday. To make the site as comprehensive and as supportive as possible to mothers who come here, I petitioned mothers to share their stories of pregnancy loss, and doulas to list their services through the process of miscarriage and stillbirth.
We have since received hundreds of letters, from mothers generous to share thier broken hearts, willing to let us learn about the lives, and deaths, of their precious children.
Sharing our stories is extremely important, because it lets us know, in a time that is tragic, overwhelming, and intimidatingly lonely, that other mothers have braved the path that we are so newly stumbling upon. It lets us know that we actually can do this, somehow. We can grieve. We can heal.
I am so extremely humbled by the words poured forth from so many aching, hurting, and healing mothers, all at different points in their journey after loss. I am overwhelmed with appreciation to each of you.
Dawn Gilner donated her biography, an account of her experiences as a mother enduring losses, to stillbirthday. We both agreed to use the book as an incentive to offer to mothers who first shared their stories at stillbirthday, from August until October 14, 2011. These first stories here at the site are tremendously valuable to me, because it fills such an important aspect of this support site: confirming that the mother isn’t alone.
I randomly drew from all of the mothers’ names, to select one mom who will recieve Dawn’s book “I Miss His Everything.”
The mom who will recieve this book is Stormy. You can read her story of her son Gideon here: Stormy’s Story About Gideon.