Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Showing More Love: Bereaved Mama

The first post in the Showing More Love series touches on a topic near and dear to my heart - bereaved mothers.  Sara McNutt is a wonderful woman in my support network of bereaved mamas and here she opens up her heart and shares how to best show love to a mother who has to walk the painful journey of infant loss.  

I think something that we fear after we’ve lost a child is that our child will eventually be forgotten.  When you’ve carried her in your belly and birthed her and loved her and bathed her in your tears and felt the excruciating pain of saying goodbye for the last time and going home with empty arms, it’s unfathomable that anyone could forget such a tiny life that changed yours so severely.

Thankfully, our friends and our family went above and beyond time and again to show us that our sweet Grace was indeed not forgotten and that her life changed theirs irrevocably. But I still feared when I became pregnant with our rainbow baby after we lost Grace that she would become a distant memory. I still carried her so close in my heart and mind that I didn’t want people to think we were getting over her or moving on. And somehow, without my ever having to say so, the people in our lives have known just how to answer this fear.

They show up. They leave cards and flowers. They call and text and message and send flowers on each month’s anniversary of her birth. They have special gifts made just for her. They ask me specifically how I am doing. They ask me if and how this pregnancy has affected me after her loss. They send Bible verses and words of encouragement.

Just last week, on what would’ve been her 9-month birthday, a sweet friend texted me to let me know she’d left some flowers for me. I came home to beautiful tulips and a card, a simple gesture telling me that Grace was not forgotten and so very loved.

I could never express in a thousand years how deeply these things have meant to me, how they have been a soothing balm to my broken heart time and time again.

So what can you do for a grieving friend, even as she expects another miracle?
Remember the baby that they lost. Call him or her by name.

Have a special gift made for them that is a reminder of the one they never got to know this side of Heaven.

Call them. Send a text. Write a card and put it in the mail, letting them know that you still think of their sweet baby.

Have flowers sent to their house on those monthly anniversaries.

Ask specific questions (but first ask them if they feel like talking about it at that moment).

Ask them if they want to talk about what this pregnancy is like as they are still grieving the baby they lost.

Simply be available. Don’t be fearful of her cries, her grief, her regrets, her questions. Grief is a long and arduous journey and as I recently wrote here, sometimes we’re painfully reminded that it’s severe and the fall-out can sweep your feet from under you.

Thank you to all of you who have loved us so well in our journey. You have been a picture of Christ to us, a fragrant aroma of life (2nd Corinthians 2:15). 

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