Today is International Bereaved Mother’s Day. Wow. I never thought that I would be a part of something called Bereaved Mother’s Day.
The truth is there are so many women out there that are missing pieces of their heart. Infertility, miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death, SIDS, the list goes on – you all know someone who has suffered the loss of a child in someway, even if they don’t talk about it.
Maybe the loss happened before anyone even knew they were expecting, so they silently grieved, not wanting to upset others with their brokenness. Maybe the loss occurred when the doctor told them they would not be able to conceive a child of their own. Maybe the loss happened long ago, back when doctors told the moms and dads that it was best to not even see their child , and that it was best that they just go home and pretend that nothing happened.
While the rest of the world may be oblivious to the pain of child loss, I promise you that there are women all around you who tear up when they see a mom holding a new baby. No matter if the loss was 50 years ago or 50 minutes ago the pain of that wound can be reopened with just one memory. Even if they have other children, every family photo they take they remember who is not in it.
As we head into the week of Mother’s Day, please take a moment and remember those whose arms may be empty or not as full as they should be, but oh how their broken hearts are so full.
And if you are a mom, who right now feels as though part of her heart is in heaven, I challenge you to Say it Out Loud.
After our loss, I was surprised to hear how many of my family and friends had lost a child in some way. No one talks about it until they are forced to. Don’t be afraid to say it out loud. Your children, even if they were only a twinkle in your hopeful eye, matter. They were wanted and they are loved.
I am Still Standing, even though most days still bring me to my knees. Our son Joshua Patrick was born via an emergency c-section at 7:09 pm on February 20th, 2013 at 29 weeks. He was a tiny 2 pounds, 11 ounces, and 15 inches long. He was born strong with an APGAR score of 9. He surprised all the doctors. He had a fight in him and he was absolutely perfect with dark brown eyes and dark brown curly hair. We were in for a long haul, as we knew he would most likely stay in the NICU until his due date, May 3rd. Perfect. He would be home in time to celebrate my first Mother’s Day with my precious son.
Then Friday morning, February 22nd, 2013 our world came crashing down around us as we heard the most awful words that any parent can ever hear. As we were guided into Joshua’s NICU room, having know idea that our baby was struggling to survive we were told they had been doing CPR for over 30 minutes and needed to stop. Despite my desperate cries for them to please not stop, they did. I held my sweet 36 hour old baby for the first and last time as he took his final breaths. I can still remember his tiny little arms kept reaching out like a baby often does when they want to be picked up or held. I like to think it was the angels or maybe even Jesus himself come to carry my sweet little baby home.
There’s not a second that goes by that I don’t miss Joshua with everything I have. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t cry from a broken heart. My eyes may burn, my heart may break, and my arms may ache from their longing to hold him, but I am Still Standing.
I no longer live my life just for me, I live it for him. I will remember him always in everything I do. I will carry him with me for all my days and I will make sure that I make him proud. Rest in the arms of angels, my dear sweet son. Until we meet again in heaven I will try and keep standing.