Friday, October 30, 2015

Never Forget

October is Infant Loss Awareness/Remembrance month.  As I have pondered the "remembrance" part, it has bothered me, because losing a child is something you never really forget.  You don't have to try to remember it.  It is something you have on your heart and mind regularly.  As I was thinking about it recently, it struck me that the "remembrance" part of infant loss is remembering we are not alone in our losses.  As October has progressed, I have noticed many, many posts on Facebook regarding stories of those who have lost a baby.  I know for a fact, as I have experienced it myself, when you lose a baby you feel alone.  You feel as though the floor has fallen out from under you.  You feel as though you are the only one things like this happen to.  That is a lie.  You are not alone.  It actually happens more often that we could even imagine.  Through Facebook this month, I have seen several of my friends share that they are one in four women who have suffered infant loss through either miscarriage, still birth or infant loss.  It reminded me that I am one of four women who has suffered through infant loss through the still birth of my daughter, Charlotte.  I'm still trying to wrap my head around the 1/4 women thing.  Wow!!! That's a lot.  It means it happens quite frequently actually.

I truly believe one of the biggest lies that Satan tells us in relation to any struggle we are facing is that we are all alone and are the only one going through this particular situation or struggle.  But, as you can see from the numbers above, if you have lost a baby to miscarriage, still birth or infant loss, you are far from alone.  It is very likely the woman sitting two seats down from you has suffered through it as well.

As I see stories about someone losing a baby, my initial instinct is to scroll past and ignore it, but strangely I am drawn to their stories.  I think I am drawn because I can relate.  Although my story may not be the same as other stories of infant loss, I do know that gut wrenching, horrid feeling that begins to overtake you the minute you find out you've lost your precious baby.  I know what it feels like to have life inside my body one minute and the next minute to feel her lifeless body inside me.  I know the feeling that you have when you realize you have to go through the painful and trying experience of labor and delivery only to not receive the prize at the end.  I know what it feels like to plan a funeral service for your baby when you would rather be planning her first birthday party.  I know the feeling of arms longing to hold your dear baby so closely, but your arms are empty.  I know the feeling of milk coming in and no baby to nourish with it.  So friends, please, don't believe the lie that you are alone in your loss.  Many, many have been there and understand.  So, for me the "remembrance" part of infant loss is remembering I am not alone and neither are you.

My daughter would have turned three this coming February.  Although, my heart doesn't hurt as much as it used to.  I still go through times when my heart aches for her.  Just the other day, I was driving by a cemetery on the way to church (for the record we probably drive by the same cemetery at least 6-8 times a week), but on this day, my heart got caught up in my throat and tears stung in my eyes.  I thought to myself; parents aren't supposed to bury their children or much less their babies.  The pain is real.  Even as I sit here almost three years later and write, tears still stream down my face.  It still hurts.   I still long to have her here with the rest of her brothers and sisters as part of our family.  

As I've been trying to decide what I want to say in regard to infant loss, I want to remind you that although, the pain of losing a baby never goes away, there is hope after infant loss and that hope is found in Jesus Christ.  I knew the very minute we knew we had lost our daughter, that in and of myself, I had nothing to help me through this heartbreaking loss.  I had nowhere else to turn, but to God.  God never desired us to live our lives on our own and only have ourselves to rely on for strength and comfort.  He created us to depend on him.  He desires us to come to him and to rely on his strength and comfort.   

Friend, as I close, I want to remind you that you are not alone in your loss.  Many, many others have walked through the devastating loss of their precious baby.  You are not alone because your Creator, your baby's Creator, is right there waiting for you to turn to him, longing for you to turn to him.  He desires to give you hope when your situation seems hopeless.  He desires to give you a hope and a future as you come to him.  When you seek him with all of your heart, he will be found (Jeremiah 29:11-13).  What a beautiful promise.

I would like to leave you with this promise from Isaiah 61:1-3.

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
to grant those who mourn in Zion -
to the them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.