So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

Each morning when I get into my car, I throw my purse into the passenger seat, set my coffee down in the cupholder, and look up to see it. Sitting next to the speedometer, nestled between photos of two tiny faces, is the yellowish, faded card from the flowers he sent me after our first miscarriage. Being a man of few words, it is not lengthy, but a needed reminder. It ends, “We can handle anything together,” and somehow, even in the eighth year of chaotic and rushed mornings following that day, it manages to ground me.

It stings to remember, but it’s a cut I like to keep close. I can recall weeping as I held the same card in my hands, crisp and white, feeling like everything in this world was stacked heavily against us. So much time has traveled past us, so much change has weaved throughout our lives since that day, but the ache still looms each time it is roused. As time passes and life builds, the memories may not always be at the forefront. We may be reminded a little later in the day, but we’re invariably reminded.

RELATED: A Mother’s Love Can’t Be Measured In Weeks

One of each, we are blessed. Looking back on our losses now that our family is complete is surreal.

While experiencing each miscarriage, the path we are walking now seemed unattainablealways distant, faraway, and illusory.

I was in a rush then, with no good reason. I wanted the family I wantedright then, without sacrifice, without inconvenience. I became indignant. Loathing fertility appointments and planned ovulation cycles. I only desired a heartbeat through a speaker and to see a doctor’s face that wasn’t grimaced with pain as he entered my room. As each piece of bad news was brought to us, I would dig my heels in further to believe we could never be righted for what was happening. Bitterness grows quickly.

The first loss was an unexpected blow to us boththe possibility of losing a child never even crossed our 20-something, naive minds. We entered that office in a cloud of euphoria, full names picked out. We left only to drive home, holding hands, in silence. The second loss . . . not so much of a blow. In fact, for a long time, I believed that I spoke it into existence, that I was somehow deserving of it for being too eager, then too angry.

It felt dangerous to be optimistic; it was safe to expect the worst.

Our hearts were led astray by various doctors and specialists. Lost in a maze, we would never find our way out. Being in the eye of that storm was undoubtedly the lowest point of my life.

The life we would never know with them consumed me.

I imagined what it would be like for cries to wake me. I sketched their faces in my mind. I longed to rub their hair, to smell their skin, to kiss their necks, and I believed, wholeheartedly, that I would never understand, I would never forgive; yet, somehow I’ve come to.

Saying that out loud the first time caused guilt to envelop me. I was abandoning the core of who I’d been for so longthey were my identity.

Do I ever imagine all four of them playing together? Do I ever hear their laughs, their voices? Do I ponder whether their sister has their blue eyes, or if their brother has their wit? Yes, so much yes. Will they ever be forgotten? Not as long as I’m breathing. I have longed to know about them, and I know that one day I will.

Years of being empty-armed molded me as a woman, wife, and mother, and the affliction of involuntarily giving them back to their Creator will be something that lives in my heart for all of my days. 

RELATED: Dear Rainbow Baby, We Love You Enough For Two

And while all of this is true, I understand I cannot live to mourn what might have been. As I peer into the bedrooms of my babies here, it completely wrecks me to imagine that we may have stopped short of them in a perfect world. A life without them is one I never even want to imagine because I can look into their eyes and distinctly know that I was curated for them.

I fit into them. They fit into me.

They need all of my focus, every fiber of my heart, my entire ability to pour into them anything I could ever provide or produce. They deserve that and worlds more, and I had to stop grieving in order to be fully present, to give them what was theirs. Me.

Soon, my oldest will be able to read. Inevitably, he will one day see the card on my dash and ask me what it means. I don’t know, yet, how I will say it to him, other than rewording our story to him with transparency. He will know he wasn’t our first, but he will also wholeheartedly know as a rainbow baby he healed our brokenness. It was always intended to be that way, and now I can finally say that I wouldn’t change a thingit doesn’t make me less of a mama to say so.

PS – This is what it really feels like to have an early miscarriage

Lauren Hedrick

Lauren Hedrick is a high school teacher and mama of two from North Carolina. She enjoys supporting other mothers and values writing to help normalize struggles in the trenches of motherhood. Her work has appeared in Truly Mama and you can read her writing at www.literally-lauren.com.

How Grateful I Am for a Mother Who Believed in Me

In: Cancer, Grief
Mother and grown daughter, color photo

It was a hot summer day sometime in the middle of high school. I was young and naive, but the ugly six-letter word was looming over our family: cancer. Although I didn’t know it then, this would be our last normal summer before my mother’s health would worsen. Cancer would give way to terminal cancer. It’s funny how something so big can seem so small in those moments. My mom and I were sitting on our back porch, encased in a narrow hedge of yew bushes. It was a yellow, lazy Saturday, and my brothers and father were at Cub...

Keep Reading

A Medical Diagnosis Challenges a Marriage

In: Cancer, Living, Marriage
Bald woman holding clippers over husband's head, color photo

It is no secret now that Albert Pujols and his wife have announced their divorce shortly after she had surgery to remove a brain tumor. As a breast cancer survivor, this news hit me in a special way. As I was reading through an article from Today, there was a quote that hit me hard, “But a marriage falling apart is far more common when the wife is the patient, researchers have found. A woman is six times more likely to be separated or divorced soon after a diagnosis of cancer or multiple sclerosis than if a man in the relationship is...

Keep Reading

Dear Grandmother, I’m Not Ready to Lose You

In: Grief
Elderly woman and granddaughter touch foreheads

I had a visit from my grandmother the other day. It wasn’t a regular sit on the porch with a cup of tea kind of visit. It was more of an “I have something I need to tell you” type of visit. She’s been unwell for some time, and I guess I had sort of hoped she would get better, and she would be back to herself soon enough. I noticed when she sat down and tears filled her eyes that it wasn’t going to be a normal conversation. Her eyes widened and she struggled to get her words out without...

Keep Reading

Love Carries On in the Ones We Raise

In: Grief, Motherhood
Mother and son hug

From a very young age, two of the most important men in my life were my grandpa and my brother. I never could have imagined that I’d lose them both within nine months, nor could I predict the profound effects the magnitude of those losses would have on my life. My grandpa was my father figure and shepherd. I have endless memories of him— from splashing in the ocean together to shopping each Easter season for my Easter dress. He was always there. Every choir concert, musical, or school ceremony, I could easily find his face in the crowd. I...

Keep Reading

Friends Can Be a Sanctuary

In: Friendship, Grief
Group of friends hugging

A sanctuary is defined as anywhere people go for peaceful tranquility or introspection. My friends became my sanctuary when my husband, Frank, died. They became my refuge and my safe place. Friendship is one of the most wonderful gifts in this world. It is beautiful, comforting, ever-changing, and, for me, a fixed point.  My friends seemed to know exactly what I needed and when I needed it. Their love and constant support got me through the worst of times and gave me the courage and confidence I needed to move forward.  I could never give an adequate thank you to...

Keep Reading

All I Wanted Was For My Baby To Stay Alive

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Sad woman with head in hands

Today is the day I’ve dreaded and resisted for almost a year: the day I face going through the white plastic bag the hospital sent home with me after my D&C, 10 months ago. This bag held my clothes, shoes, and wedding ring for the short time I was in surgery, but I rescued all of those precious items soon after waking. The items that remain show the paper trail of that difficult day—receipts from my hospital admittance and anesthesia, general post-operative care instructions, and a consent form for “treatment of incomplete abortion.” That last part brings tears to my...

Keep Reading

My Husband Makes Me a Stronger Woman

In: Grief, Loss, Marriage
Daddy standing over hospital crib with infant, black-and-white photo

A little over a year ago, my husband and I went through the unimaginable. We lost our child, Lillian, to a congenital heart defect. The days following that, and even to this day, people will comment on how strong I am. How well I’ve dealt with this darkness. How they can’t imagine what I am going through. The truth is I was never alone. From the day we found out I would give birth to a child who had complex heart defects, my husband has been there. Always in the background of what others saw but ever so present in...

Keep Reading

Mothers Don’t Teach Us How To Live Life Without Them

In: Grief, Grown Children, Loss, Motherhood
Woman in dress with corsage, smiling color photo

When you’re a little girl, you dream of marriage, children, a career, and memories that you will cherish forever—and you want your mother by your side at all times. Our mothers teach us how to live a life we will enjoy, but they never teach us how to live a life without them in it. Our mothers don’t tell us that one day they will not be here to answer the phone when we call or go on spontaneous dinner dates. My mother never told me there will come a day when she will be gone and how bad it...

Keep Reading

When Mother’s Day Feels Awkward, Find Comfort in Community

In: Grief, Living, Loss, Motherhood

Mother’s Day can be beautiful for some women. It can be hurt filled for others. Or in my case, it can just feel plain old awkward. I felt eight years of awkward Mother’s Days. In my late 20s to mid-30s, I felt like the woman no one knew what to say to or what to do with. I felt a double whammy on Mother’s Day. My mother was home in Heaven. My womb was empty and always would be. My desire to have a child was filled with an intentional choice to go a non-traditional route to motherhood and was...

Keep Reading

Sometimes Mother’s Day Hurts

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Mother holding baby near grave, black-and-white photo

I see you moms. I see the moms who will never see all of their children together on this earth at the same time. The moms who dread the question, “When are you having children?” or “Will you have any more?” The moms who pray for that second line, month after month. The moms who are seeing that positive test and don’t know how they are going to make this work. The moms who can’t shake the blues or depression, who feel guilty for not feeling happier about their baby. The moms who feel as though they are doing it...

Keep Reading

 5 Secrets to Connect with Your Kids

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Proven techniques to build REAL connections