Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

Loving a woman who has experienced trauma in her life isn’t always easy. The baggage she is carrying around is much heavier than any overstuffed purse you have found yourself holding outside of a dressing room door. She will try to carry the baggage on her own, clumsily fumbling under its weight, not wanting to burden you with it. Being the man you are, you inevitably take some of the weight from her shoulders and put it on your own. The heaviness nearly takes your breath away. 

RELATED: Grief is a Constant Companion for the Mother Who’s Lost a Child

My husband is an amazing father to our 11-year-old son, but I’m not at all surprised. I knew he would be a great father long before we had a child together because I saw how great a stepfather he was to my first son. I know what you are thinking, there are many men out there who are amazing stepfathers, what is so special about this story?

Well, my husband never got a chance to meet my first son because before he entered my life, my son Dylan passed away shortly after birth. 

The day Dylan died a piece of me died too. I no longer had a whole heart to give to someone because a part of mine was forever gone with my son. It’s a strange thing to be the mother of a baby who is no longer alive. You never get to parent in the traditional sense of things like teaching them to read or disciplining them when they made a mistake.

The way I parent Dylan is much different than how I parent my son who is alive. It looks and feels different. It is speaking his name and acknowledging he is my firstborn son. It is working on changing the way the world treats bereaved parents. It is walking beside other families who have to walk this journey as well. It is paying for a stranger’s birthday cake at our local bakery every March 20th for as long as I live. 

RELATED: The Loss Mom Club

I remember the first time I told my husband, who was my boyfriend at the time, about Dylan. I was afraid of showing him both my physical and emotional scars, afraid to scare him away. He held my hand as he listened to my story and immediately asked me what his name is. 

No one has ever wanted to know my deceased baby’s name, but he did. 

When the pain of our first miscarriage together was too much for me to handle, my husband held me up. 

When I dealt with extreme fear and anxiety during our next pregnancy, he held me and reassured me. Never once did he tell me to forget or get over what I had been through. We welcomed our son and our hearts rejoiced. 

RELATED: Thank You For Not Forgetting My Child Who Died

When I finally had Dylan’s ashes buried he helped me with the funeral expenses and was there praying for me, holding me as I wept. 

When I formed a team to walk in Dylan’s honor he wore the #teamDylan shirt and walked beside me.

It’s a strange title to be given, stepfather of a child no longer alive, but he does it with love and compassion.

Loving a woman who has experienced the loss of a child, whether it was a miscarriage or years later, is knowing that you are giving your whole heart to someone who is missing a piece of hers and loving her anyway. 

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Christina  Zambrano

Christina Zambrano is a wife, mother, nurse turned administrative manager for a mental health practice, and writer. She is passionate about sharing her struggles with mental health, addictions in hopes to help others feel less alone. Jesus and therapy is how she made it this far. Her writing has been published on Her View From Home, Girl Defined, and more.

The Ravages of Schizophrenia: A Mother’s Perspective

In: Grief, Grown Children, Living, Loss, Motherhood
Hands holding dandelion fluff

Our bright, beautiful, beloved son was diagnosed with schizophrenia in his late 20s. Although the manifestation of his illness surfaced in his late teens, it took an excruciating 10 years to receive a formal, medical diagnosis. As a child, Mike was a delight. He was a popular kid who loved his family, his friends, wrestling, and basketball. He giggled sometimes and acted silly, which just made him more endearing. His life was filled with joy, happiness, and promise. After Mike’s 17th birthday, behavioral changes began to surface. He smoked marijuana. He drank alcohol to excess. His friends disappeared, one by...

Keep Reading

To the Miscarriage Mom with a Broken Heart on Mother’s Day

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Woman holding single pink daisy

Dear Mama, I want you to know—you aren’t alone. Not even by a little bit. Not ever, but especially not today. There are hearts like yours breaking all over the world today. Whether you are grieving one loss or multiple. Whether you already have a healthy family or this would have been your firstborn. Whether you were family planning the natural way or needed a little help from science. Planned, unplanned. Chemical pregnancy, missed miscarriage, late-term loss. Those details don’t matter today. Today, all our hearts hurt the same. We are all part of the same club we never asked...

Keep Reading

Call Your Mom for Those of Us Who Can’t

In: Grief, Loss
Sunset over water, color photo

I never pictured myself without my mama at only 26 years old. I never saw a life when I couldn’t just pick up my phone to call you after the worst day at work. I never thought I would be crying over one of your recipes at Christmas time because I just can’t make it taste like you did. I never thought I would be jealous when I heard my friends talk about meeting up with their mom for a girl’s day. Here’s the thing, yes I knew it would eventually happen, but I pictured the both of us a...

Keep Reading

Dear Cancer, I Thought We Paid Our Dues

In: Grief, Living, Loss
Mother and grown daughter, smiling, color pboto

This is not how it was supposed to be. I am most certainly not made for this. God, why are you forcing me to travel this road again? When my father died after a long, grueling battle with Stage 4 base of the tongue cancer, I very naively thought, bye cancer. Our family paid our dues, and cancer was never to be seen again. I put on a brave face and began to write about my dad’s cancer journey. I believed the more I poured my heart onto a piece of paper the more cancer would stay away for good....

Keep Reading

A Grandmother’s Legacy Never Dies

In: Grief, Loss
A group of kids, old color photo

My grandmother was a Christian puppeteer. She would play the parts of brother and sister, Wilbur and Willette, race their dog King back and forth, and yell in their mother’s scratchy voice from “off stage,” all from behind her big blue curtain while my aunt talked to the puppets and sang from center stage. Sometimes I’d sit on a folding chair behind the curtain with her. Sometimes I’d watch from the audience. From churches to the Iowa State Fair to summer camps, I witnessed hundreds of children give their lives to Jesus. She wasn’t just my grandmother, she was a...

Keep Reading

Losing a Brother, Understanding My Mother

In: Grief, Loss
Sad woman looking out rainy window

At the end of his life, I didn’t like my brother. That feels awful to say. It probably is awful. My brother died at 35 years old of liver failure. It was a long, ugly death full of prolonged hospital stays and frustration. Even before he was relegated to life support and dialysis, the disease changed him. Maybe he knew what was coming, I don’t know. When he did talk, he was rude or short or full of insults. He had withered into a mean, isolated version of himself. Mostly, I was angry at him for refusing to change. I was...

Keep Reading

A Funeral, a Baby, and Whispers of Love

In: Grief, Loss
Newborn baby next to a purple onesie about a grandma in heaven

I woke up and saw a missed call from the hospital. I called her room, no answer. I  called the front desk and was immediately transferred to the doctor on rotation. My mother had crashed and was in the ICU. He asked if I wanted CPR if she coded. I needed to make a decision and come into the hospital as soon as possible. It was the wee hours of the morning, and I made it to the hospital fairly quickly. I grabbed my mother’s hand—it was ice cold. The nurses were talking to me, but I had tuned out,...

Keep Reading

The Last Text I Sent Said “I Love You”

In: Friendship, Grief, Living
Soldier in dress uniform, color photo

I’ve been saying “I love you” a lot recently. Not because I have been swept off my feet. Rather, out of a deep appreciation for the people in my life. My children, their significant others, and friends near and far. I have been blessed to keep many faithful friendships, despite the transitions we all experience throughout our lives.  Those from childhood, reunited high school classmates, children of my parent’s friends (who became like family), and those I met at college, through work and shared activities. While physical distance has challenged many of these relationships, cell phones, and Facebook have made...

Keep Reading

I Obsessed over Her Heartbeat Because She’s My Rainbow Baby

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Mother and teen daughter with ice cream cones, color photo

I delivered a stillborn sleeping baby boy five years before my rainbow baby. I carried this sweet baby boy for seven whole months with no indication that he wouldn’t live. Listening to his heartbeat at each prenatal visit until one day there was no heartbeat to hear. It crushed me. ”I’m sorry but your baby is dead,” are words I’ll never be able to unhear. And because of these words, I had no words. For what felt like weeks, I spoke only in tears as they streamed down my cheeks. But I know it couldn’t have been that long. Because...

Keep Reading

We’re Walking the Road of Twin Loss Together

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Mother and son walk along beach holding hands

He climbed into our bed last week, holding the teddy bear that came home in his twin brother’s hospital grief box almost 10 years earlier. “Mom, I really miss my brother. And do you see that picture of me over there with you, me and his picture in your belly? It makes me really, really sad when I look at it.” A week later, he was having a bad day and said, “I wish I could trade places with my brother.” No, he’s not disturbed or mentally ill. He’s a happy-go-lucky little boy who is grieving the brother who grew...

Keep Reading