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To the mama struggling with the stigma that comes with low birth weight or premature birth, I see you. I know the weight of your heavy, wandering thoughts. I know the painful sear strangers’ stares burn into your heart. I know the salty tears that silently fall when you hear their assuming, accusatory whispers. I pray these words encourage you. I pray these words bring you peace. I pray these truths set you free from the burden of guilt and shame that was never yours to carry.   

When guilt and shame threaten to consume us, I remind us of what He says.

Our son was born naturally in the comfort of our own home. The labor and delivery was nothing short of perfect. Family and friends looked on as my husband caught his firstborn son.

But the minute we learned his weight, we felt the darkness creep in. We knew a 4 pound 14 oz baby wasn’t normal. We knew something was wrong, seriously wrong.

Guilt. Shame. Like a flash flood, they came rushing in without warning.

I’ll never forget my husband’s face. In just a few short moments, the high of catching his son in his arms quickly vanished, turning to a look of pure anguish. The complete and utter anguish on his face was unlike anything I had seen before. He didn’t say a word, but I knew. I knew he was being swallowed up by the darkness.

RELATED: You’re Allowed To Be Disappointed in Your Birth Story

I gently called him to my side where the burden of his thoughts, so heavy, caused him to collapse into my lap. I extended my hand, placing it firmly on his back. And I began to pray.

I prayed for God’s overwhelming peace.

I prayed over the precious life of our newly born son.

And I prayed for myself—I prayed for God’s supernatural strength as I felt the guilt and shame trying to seep into any crack in the foundation of my faith.

I knew the questions swirling in my husband’s head. I knew he was wrestling. Was this his fault? Had he somehow passed down his history of hospital stays to his son? How could he fix this situation?

And all the while my mind started to wander, too.

Was it something I did?

Something I took?

Something I ate?

Or was it just me?

Did I fall short?

Did my body let him down?

Did my womb not sustain him as it should have?

These thoughtsthese dark thoughtswhen pondered, when repeated over and over again, would be enough to drive anyone into a guilt-laden depression.

RELATED: A Traumatic Birth Almost Killed Us, But it Couldn’t Weaken My Love For My Baby

They would be enough to drive a couple apart—forcing a wedge in between them.

But I recognized them for what they were. And I recognized what was at stake should they overtake us.

I recognized the thoughts as the enemy’s attempts to steal, rob, and destroy. I recognized them as the enemy’s spirit of fear, guilt, and shame.

So with each wave of dark, condemning, questioning thoughts, I rejected them by boldly speaking His truth in their place.

No. This baby’s weight was not the result of anything my husband or I did or didn’t do. God created this baby. God created this baby from the depths of our souls, in the places where no ultrasound, no science can go. With His sovereign hand, He knit our son together in my womb. He knit him together, every single inch, every single hair.

And no. There was nothing wrong with this baby. God’s works are fearfully and wonderfully made. God does not make mistakes. God makes everything intentionally—on purpose and with purpose. This baby was no exception. This baby was just as he was meant to be, created perfectly for us.

RELATED: To the Mom With the Traumatic Birth Experience

So when some people make comments suspicious of his small size, when some doctors condescendingly imply it may have been something we did, when guilt and shame threaten to consume us, I remind us of His truth and what He says . . . and it makes all the difference.

Jessika Sanders

Jessika is the founder and president of Praying Through ministries, a nonprofit that aims to equip and embolden men, women, and children with Biblical Truth as they journey through the difficult seasons of the NICU, PICU, and Child Loss. She is also a published writer who has been featured in Proverbs 31 Ministries’ Hope When Your Heart is Heavy devotional (2021), Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse Jr. magazine (2022), and Tyndale’s So God Made a Mother (2023). Jessika regularly writes for the Praying Through blog.

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