Trigger Warning : Pregnancy loss Each year I try and offer one pro bono birth session to a deserving family. When this sweet momma wrote to me last year, I could feel the Lord tugging at my heart to offer to shoot her delivery free of charge if she would accept. Maria simply wrote to me, with no agenda, to tell me how much my work, and reading these happy stories of birth meant to her. But what got me, was her testimony. She went on to tell me that she had one emergency c-section, one rushed c-section and had lost 3 pregnancies, all precious little girls. She was at the time, pregnant with another little girl, and was daily living in faith that this sweet girl would be born crying! I knew right then, after reading her email that I HAD to shoot this birth. I knew what this sweet girl meant to them.
I asked Maria to write a quick testimony of her experience with loss. It's a taboo thing to talk about in our society it seems. But it happens. It happens so much more often than most are willing to admit. Whether it's early miscarriages, or late term babies born sleeping. This month is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, so what better time to honor these courageous women and families. These momma's have bore the scars of wounds that will never heal, know loss like others could never fathom. Their babies were here and they were mommas, even if they never held their babies in their arms... they held them in their tummies. And they were loved. OH how they were loved. And will continue to be loved. The best gift you can give a momma who has lost a baby, is to speak of that baby, speak it's name often. It makes that baby real, it honors that baby's memory, it honor's that momma, and that family. Don't tell these sweet family's, "Give it time, it will get better." Or "It's ok, you can have another baby". Don't tell them, "Your loss makes me hug my own kids a little tighter at night". Sometimes don't say anything at all. Just hug them, love them, and honor those tiny lives.
I am so thankful the Lord compelled her to write that email. And I'm so glad I was able to be there for the birth of this precious miracle. Oh and enjoy her boys seeing their sister for the first time. They melt me. They couldn't keep their sweet hands and fingers from gently exploring her delicate features.
Here is Maria's testimony:
"Last night Neely asked me to share my testimony of my beautiful girls I handed over to God. I've been praying and wrestling with what to say. I've been asking God to make it clear what to say and how. A loss is a hard and difficult, complex thing to deal with and no two people will go through it the same way, everyone is unique in their situation. All I can do is offer my story and the hope that comes with it.
Miscarriage, it's a hard word and for some very awkward. I've had three all different, but all hard. We decided to name our baby girls, Eva Renae, my first baby was my hardest life experience to this day! I won't go into the whole story but she has an emotional one! We were all ready for our first ultrasound to meet our little one, I was just barely in my second trimester, we were excited!!! What started as a joyous, exciting day ended in fear, hopelessness, frustration, disbelief and some of the most heart wrenching pain I had ever felt...our baby had no heartbeat. What made it worse was that I was part of the 1% of women who go through this kind of miscarriage called a "missed miscarriage" meaning the baby passed away only days to hours ago. I can still feel the clutch at my heart, it was like someone was squeezing it so very hard, I felt hot tears rolling down my face. Numb was how I felt in the minutes and hours after finding out.
I opted not to have a D&C, hoping that the doctor was wrong and that my precious baby was still alive. I know that for a lot of you, just reading this is too hard, I understand that so well! I've been there and am still there at times BUT my story finishes in such beautiful hope. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to go through. I know many of you know this quote, "God never gives you more than you can handle". I actually somewhat disagree! I could not have handled all that on my own as the quote suggests, but God got me through it all! "He helped me handle what He CHOSE to give me" I find that to be more accurate. He was gentle and kind, as He listened to me scream, cry, plead. He gave me the strength I needed, I have never felt closer to Him than in those moments following the losses of my girls. The sweet tears that He shed with me. He was there through my anger, sadness, tears and prayers. I yelled at Him, pleaded with Him. I felt His presence constantly, I had a vivid picture of him holding and comforting me on one knee and Eva, Jianna and Hope were in His arms sitting on His other knee.
Dear dear beautiful mom, you are so very much loved! Please do not blame yourself! You are NOT to blame! You are so much more than what you are going through! I know it's hard to fathom sometimes, but God knows exactly what you are going through! He can handle your anger and your hurt. People can say very hurtful things, I don't think they mean to. But regardless of numbers, statistics or public opinions...this is your baby and you honor that baby's life how you choose! We made birth announcements and had their names engraved on charms.
Dear mama, please cry, cry and cry! talk about it! I don't understand why they say wait to tell people when you find out your expecting. I can't imagine not telling people! I had so many beautiful people praying for me! We are meant for community and you have all the right to be proud of your baby!
You are beautiful, strong and God made no mistakes! His joy comes in the " mourning". Psalms 119 has some beautiful prayers! Jeremiah 29:11 is my precious Girls verse. Neely has a beautiful and powerful opportunity to show Gods miracles and the Hope that comes with loss, reading her blog has brought me to tears! Such beautiful and strong women! I was told I possibly couldn't get pregnant or have girls! I told them Gods will be done! I now have two healthy handsome boys and a beautiful girl! God blows my mind everyday! I'm human and have my moments but He is so amazing!!!"