I never knew what rock bottom felt like until I lost my first child in the womb.
I never understood what it meant to have an identity crisis until I went from working 50+ hour weeks to being home full time—knee-deep in poopy diapers, wearing vomit-covered shirts, speaking in weird voices, working my tail off just to see my little one’s toothless grin.
I also never understood love the way I do now until I became a mom. The heart-pounding, gut-wrenching desire to protect that little soul. To wear sweatpants around all day, working tirelessly to keep the baby fed, bathed, happy, healthy, and on schedule. To plan activities for the toddler, so you don’t both go stir-crazy and to challenge them in their development.
But, there have been times when I let parts of me succumb to the grief.
I let it steal my joy, focus my eyes on the negative, and questioned numerous times, how in the world am I going to do this? I was a “hidden griever,” keeping my emotions bottled up, crying only in private places like the shower or car.
Sometimes I felt like I was a zombie, parading around, trying not to feel the pain I was bottling up in the depths of my soul.
When I first miscarried, my entire viewpoint on motherhood changed. Knowing that you are caring for and nurturing an innocent, helpless soul is something I cannot put into words. The grief I felt after seeing the positive pregnancy test, to researching creative ways to tell our parents about the pregnancy, to walking down the baby aisles, just dreaming and imagining what our hope-filled future would look like as our family grew.
My grief felt so deep and intertwined in my soul I began to look at things differently. I began to see women grieving in a whole new light. After numerous people told me to “just try again” or “it happens to most women” during my time of grief, I wanted to change the way I lived. The way I breathed. The way I looked at people experiencing pain and heartache. Of course, in those heart-breaking moments, I asked myself, what is wrong with me? or what did I do wrong?
After a few years of grieving and trying for a baby, we finally had our rainbow baby.
I still have flashbacks of that time in my life. I still grieve for women who are experiencing undeniable pain. The women who have tears streaming down their faces when they see another pregnancy announcement or adorable baby photo their friend shares. The women who just need an ounce of compassion and a hug instead of the phrase, “just try again.”
We see you, grieving moms.
Grieving moms come in many forms:
The ones who try endlessly for a positive pregnancy test, only to be disappointed time and time again.
The ones who just miscarried and feel like their entire world was shattered, AGAIN.
The ones who lose their moms right before their firstborn child enters the world, or the ones who lost their own mothers at a young age and feel uncertain of this whole mothering thing.
The ones who held their babies close after birth, only to have them ripped away from this earth too soon.
The ones who are battling postpartum depression, searching earnestly for the right words to ask for help.
The ones who feel stuck at home all the time with babies instead of doing things with everyone else. The ones who feel unnoticed or perhaps unwanted at times. The ones who feel guilty for wanting to be with everyone else at times because they are thankful for this motherhood adventure.
The ones who feel inadequate to be mothers, facing an identity crisis, and wondering how in the world this whole thing is going to work.
We see you, grieving moms. Don’t hide. Don’t retreat. You are not alone.
Through my own battles with miscarriage, postpartum anxiety and depression, feelings of guilt when my son was born, and feelings of inadequacy to be the mother of this beautiful, smart, crazy little boy, I want to encourage you to voice your feelings. Do not let Satan’s lies become embedded in your beautiful, fragile soul.
Feel the grief instead of bottling it up.
Ask for help.
Tell your husband how you are feeling.
Talk to a professional counselor or pastor.
Share your struggles or story of grief with someone else who may need to hear it so they don’t feel so alone.
Know you are not weak for facing uncertainties and grief. Know you are not weak for trying to imagine what life would have been like if you met that child who was lost in the womb.
Our stories are all different–but instead of tearing one another down and breaking women apart at the very core of their feelings and desire to love, we should lift one another up.
Encourage one another. Create community to inspire and speak life into the souls of all women. To validate their feelings instead of comparing them to our own.
You are a beautiful soul. You are a woman who was created by God to love so deep and so hard that you feel things in a different way than some people can understand or even begin to comprehend.
You are a mom. Maybe you never held your child or have not been able to conceive yet, but God gave you a unique heart to help others. To inspire them. To share your truth. To use your story for something so undeniably life-changing in the life of someone else who is grieving.
Dear grieving mom, please do not give up. Please do not stay silent. Please do not let your grief define your future. You are a world changer, a life breather, a beautiful individual who has the ability to change the course of someone else’s day.
Originally published on the author’s blog