Tuesday, February 5, 2013
showing love - losing a baby
This first post is from a new friend who reached out to me after reading about Evie's story. Megan Soja blogs at Sojourning Sojas. Like me, Megan lost her infant daughter, Faith, to a very rare but fatal health condition. She beautifully blogs about her life after loss while still holding fast to the promises of Scripture. Her words on how to show love to a mommy who has lost a baby ring so true.
We came home on June 16th. I sat on the couch while my husband unloaded the car… overnight bags, flowers, cards, and other miscellaneous things we had accumulated during our 10 day hospital stay.
But no baby.
Our daughter, Faith, had already gone Home for eternity the day before, the same day she was born.
The grief I felt at the beginning is something words cannot express. As time passed that grief lessened, but sorrow was still very present. I found that there were new challenges to face as I adapted to a life that was so different from what we had hoped and imagined it would be. All around us life had returned to normal, and it was hard for me to feel like the rest of the world was moving on while my life had been changed forever.
I talked about this with my husband and realized that, had the roles been reversed, I probably wouldn’t have known how to help… so how could those around us know what to do?
When Sarah offered me this opportunity to write about ways you can show love to a mom who has lost a baby, it was the spark I needed to truly think about that question. There are many ways you can show love, but these three made it to the top of my list…
Honor special days. The emotional ups and downs after the loss of a child are hard to predict, but there are some days that are innately more difficult than others.
For me, the 15th of every month is a melancholy day because it was the day Faith was born and went to Heaven. Remember those monthly “anniversaries” for the mom you know and tell her you’re thinking about her on those days.
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, a text message or short email will do, but it means so much! Maybe you can put a reminder in your calendar each month for that first year so you don’t forget. That simple act can be such a comfort when those tough days roll around.
Acknowledge her child’s life. Our daughter isn’t here with us on earth, but she is still a very real part of our family and she always will be.
Even though in my heart I don’t believe it to be true, there are times when a little voice creeps in worrying, “what if she’s forgotten?” Help the mom dispel that lie by acknowledging her baby’s life.
Say her child’s name. Be willing to talk with her about her child, or to simply be present and listen while she shares whatever is on her heart.
Maybe you’re worried that bringing up that kind of conversation will only make her upset, but don’t be! I can attest that thoughts of Faith are never far from my mind and it makes me happy to have the chance to talk about her with someone else. Even if the conversation brings tears, that’s okay. She will appreciate your willingness to share in her sorrow, to "weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15)
Pray. Prayer is the most powerful and effective support you can ever give a grieving mom.
Prayer is still needed as time passes, sometimes even more so as she tries to adjust to the new path her life has taken. Pray that she will have “the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension” (Philippians 4:7). And, if you’re comfortable doing this, ask her if she has any specific things you can lift up in prayer as well.
You certainly don’t have to tell her that you are praying, but sometimes it doesn’t hurt to mention it. I know I always feel uplifted when someone tells me they are still praying for us.
There are other ways to encourage and care for a mom who has lost a baby, but these three are some of the most meaningful and sincere expressions of love that I have experienced.
Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times”. All times, even in the grief of losing a child. I praise God for family and friends who love me at all times and I pray that I will do the same for others. I hope these things I have shared can help you to show love to a mom who needs it… at all times!