Just shy of two years following my daughter’s death, I lay in my bed pleading God for rest.

My newborn was reluctantly napping and my oldest had safely occupied herself. But my mind would not settle.

After a season of panic attacks, I was on the brink of truce. I could feel it in my bones. Bereavement is a marathon but peace does come.

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”Write a children’s book.” God whispered.

I pushed away the very thought of it. Unsure of how my tragic reality could result in anything fit for a child.

”Run, darling. Run as fast as the stream flows . . .” God spoke without hesitation.

I grabbed my phone and began typing the words furiously into my notes. Every single word, from beginning to end, He revealed in four minutes. 

As I started at my screen, I exhaled. The tears I had been holding back had a safe place to fall. 

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My mind flashed back to the memory of me walking out of that hospital room with empty hands. If I could have turned around one more time, this story is what my heart would have said . . . 

The last story I wish I could have read to my daughter before she entered Heaven.

I did not know the words needed to be said, but once in existence, a calmness surrounded me. In that moment, I knew these words were not for me alone. And if You Can’t is for every parent, sibling, and caregiver who has ever learned to love and let go. Perfectly imperfect, it was illustrated by me and a dear friend and stillbirth survivor, Bella Bartlett. 

Inclusive. Whimsical. Empowering. 

For Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, I decided to bring this story to life. I worked alongside my living children and placed into the world the words that God gave me that day: 

This book, as well as my others, is used as a resource for our nonprofit, Carmen’s Miracle Makers. Each book helps to sustain the work we do to equip parents of critically ill children with tools to encourage bonding and memory-making while enduring hospital life and beyond. 

To the families mourning today—we see you. Your love will always be enough.

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Woman holding children's book

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Sydney Hatcher

Sydney Hatcher is an author, a founder of a nonprofit, a mother of three daughters, and above all, a lover of Christ. After losing her second daughter, Carmen, to a rare genetic anomaly, Sydney published ’Carmen "The PICU Baby" A Journey of Medicine and Miracles’ and started the nonprofit: Carmen's Miracle Makers Inc. Her passion is to assist families, find good in each day, and celebrate within hospital walls. Sydney's raw perspective alters the view of worth and instills hope through the darkest days. As part of her healing, Sydney Recently published ’Still Fighting- Battles of a Bereaved Parent’ and her first children’s book titled: ’And if You Can’t’ - both now available on Amazon!