It’s Not You, It’s Me

I wrote an open letter after we lost Samuel. I was hesitant to share it because even in the midst of my hurt, I didn’t want to risk the hearts or feelings of others. So I held onto it. I’ve had it tucked away for the past 100 days saying to myself, “One day maybe I will share it”

It’s that time. I think there are some out there who need permission to do the things in their life that help them heal and cope after the loss of a baby. These things may look different for each of us, and they may even look a little weird to some. But it’s important to do what you need to do to protect yourself, your heart and to heal.

Dearest Friend,

I may need to stop following you on Facebook. But before you freak out I need you to know something important; it’s not you, it’s me. Seriously. I mean it with all of my heart. You have done absolutely nothing wrong. It’s not permanent, but it is something that I need to do for now.

You see, I’m a little bit broken at the moment; my heart isn’t what is used to be. There are some cracks, chips and holes within it. Repairs are being done. And I believe that God is creating something even better out of the rubble, but while the fractures are there I’m left vulnerable. Jealousy, envy, longing and bitterness are some of those sneaky things that can slip in through the weak spots. I would like to say that I’m impervious to those emotions and am above all that, but let’s be honest, no one is.

Proverbs 14:30 says that a heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. Friend, I kind of like my bones, and I need them not to rot. You see, envy is a really sneaky creature, sometimes you don’t even realize it’s there. It’s easy to explain it away, to give it a new more and more acceptable name. ‘I’m not envious, I’m sad that I’m not planning a baby shower’. ‘I’m not envious, I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to post a birth announcement’. ‘I’m not envious, I’m ‘appreciating’ her new baby’s photos while wishing that they were mine’. Before you know it, you’re a giant pile of rotten envious bones and that is bitternesses favorite snack. Once bitterness enters into a cracked and broken heart, it can be hard to kick out.

So for right now, while my heart is weak, I have to protect it. I have to guard it, because it’s something special! Proverbs 4:23 urges us to guard our hearts above all else, for everything we do flows from it. Friend, I want hope and joy to flow freely from my heart. I want encouragement and peace to burst forth from it unrestrained. I want it to be so full of life that it’s impossible to contain.

It’s not you, it’s me. Im just not strong enough to endure a battle with jealousy, envy, longing and bitterness right now. I have to protect my heart and sometimes that means walking away from a fight and avoiding the battle all together. That’s an acceptable thing to do. It’s perfectly okay to protect the precious things in my life. I want you to know that I am celebrating with you and the exciting events in your life, even if I’m not watching them unfold on social media. I’m still here, call me, message me; we can hang out and catch up. I haven’t gone anywhere and you’re still just as important to me. It’s not you, it’s me, and my heart just needs a little time.

With love,

Your friend

I’m Not Thankful

The Bible gives us a lot of instruction. Sometimes it can be overwhelming to think of all the guidelines, recommendations and commandments that are contained within that one book. God has given us clear expectations about how we are to react or behave in a variety of scenarios.  By reading the Bible we can understand the shape that our lives should begin to take as we follow God.  The way we interact with the world and the way we cope with the things we experience through our lives are described to us in His word. But what happens when you just can’t manage to be that person?  The one who embodies the very heart of Christ in all situations?  What then?

1st Thessalonians 5:18  tells us ‘to give thanks in all circumstances; for this is Gods will for you in Jesus Christ’.

I’m not thankful for my circumstance right now. I’m just not. It’s incredibly hard to be thankful for a circumstance that just down right sucks.  It’s challenging to say ‘thank you’ for something that you never wanted to be a part of, something that leaves you and those around you broken and devastated.  It’s been 814 days since our first miscarriage and 699 days since our second.  It’s been 406 days since our third miscarriage and 322 days since the fourth.  It’s been 19 days since our son, Samuel, was born sleeping at 15 weeks.

And I’m still not thankful for any of those circumstances. As a matter of fact I’m not happy about it, at all. I’m confused, I’m hurt, I feel lost and directionless, I miss each and every one of them and all the hopes and dreams that went to Heaven with them. So, how do we continue to strive towards obedience, to take the shape described for us, when we don’t feel thankful for circumstances? When the situation that we’re in leaves us feeling about as far from thankful as we can get?

1st Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to give thanks in all circumstances.  It doesn’t say that we have to be thankful for that disaster that has seemingly stolen everything from us.  But it is important to give thanks.  Even if for the moment, the only thing you can tell the Lord thank you for is the very breath that is left in you; thank Him for that! Lord, everything around me has crumbled, I am broken beyond what I think can be repaired, but I still have breath in my body, Thank you for that breath.  

Thank Him as often as you can for the things that you can say thanks about!  I can thank Him for the unwavering support of my husband, who has endured each heartbreak right along with me.  I can thank Him for the friends and family who have surrounded us with love and comfort, kind words and support.  I can say ‘thank you’ for the two children who somehow miraculously made it into our lives.  I can say thank you Lord for the roof over my head, for the shoes on my feet, for the food in my belly.  We may not be thankful for the raging storm around us, and we don’t have to be!  But we do need to not lose sight of the things that we can be thankful for.

We can be thankful in all circumstances by having a heart of thanks.  Even shattered, broken hearts, can be thankful hearts.  And sometimes, by finding just one thing to be thankful for, we can also find a little bit of joy in that one thing.  That little bit of joy can lead to a spark of happiness and that happiness into healing for a broken heart.  So wherever you are today, whatever circumstance you are in, look around you, find that one thing you can be thankful for today.  No matter how big or little it is, and tell Him ‘Thank you’.

Recipe for Holiday Success: How to Safely Teach Your Children the Joys of Cooking and Baking

I love baking with the kids. Sister enjoys measuring and mixing the ingredients, brother loves taste testing! It’s never a tidy activity but we always have fun with it. So when Daniel Sherwin, from Dadsolo, reached out to me about writing a post as a guest blogger on safely teaching your kids the joys of cooking and baking I could say no?!

Photo courtesy of Pixabay by laterjay

Those of us who enjoy cooking or baking know it’s a creative form of self-expression, relaxation, and joy, and the holiday season is a perfect time to partake in your favorite pastime even more and possibly pass on the love to your kids. As it turns out, your favorite pastime might actually be good for your mental, physical, and emotional well-being, too. That’s right; science says cooking and baking reduce stress and associated physical, mental, and emotional conditions.

If you’re looking to limit your child’s screen time, cooking or baking with your children can be an excellent alternative to computers and Minecraft, especially during long winter breaks from school or snow days. By spending time together in the kitchen, you’ll prepare your kids for a lifetime of healthier, happier choices. Just like hobbies such as painting or playing guitar, cooking and baking provide children (and adults) with an outlet for creative expression, as well as a way to communicate our love for others and spread the spirit of the season.

Start by choosing easy, age-appropriate recipes. Delegate tasks to your child that can be performed safely. Cooking and baking also provide an excellent opportunity to teach your child about germ control and food safety. If your child has long hair, teach him or her to pull it back prior to making food. Remind your children to keep their hands clean, and to wash frequently to avoid cross-contamination of foods.

Never give knives to young children. When you feel your child is ready to start cooking with knives, start with a plastic knife or butter knife and teach them how to safely hold and use the knife.

As your child gets older and more confident in the kitchen, you may begin teaching more independent tasks, such as using the can opener or microwave. Children above the age of twelve are often capable of much more complex recipes; however, you should still supervise your child at all times while cooking or baking.

Fire prevention is another important consideration. Kitchen fires do happen, and are a common occurrence what with all the cooking for holiday parties and gatherings, so never gamble when it comes to the safety of your family or your home. Here are some expert tips on how to prevent fires and handle unanticipated emergencies:

1. Test your smoke detector. Testing your smoke detector regularly is one of the most important things you can do to protect your home from a fire. Because three out of five house fires involve homes without working smoke detectors, having a working smoke detector with good batteries can spell the difference between life or death.

To keep your family and your home out of harm’s way, you can add a recurring monthly reminder to your smartphone or calendar to test your smoke detector. Experts also recommend adding a reminder to change your smoke detector’s batteries once every six months. Even if your home breaks out in a fire, the results can be much less severe if your smoke detector is in good condition with working batteries.

2. Never leave children unattended. Keep watch over your child in the kitchen, especially if you have young children or kids (and teens) who are new to cooking or baking. It is important to never leave your child in the kitchen unsupervised. You might also teach your children a house rule: that they only cook or bake when an adult is in the room to supervise.

3. Plan for emergencies. Just in case of an emergency, make sure there is a fire extinguisher in your home… and learn how to use it. Teach your children how to safely evacuate the home in case of a house fire. Tell your children how to contact 9-1-1 in the event of an accident, fire, or other unexpected emergency. Hopefully, you’ll never have to do any of these things but just in case, it’s important the entire family is educated on what to do.

Cooking or baking together as a family is a fun way to bond while teaching confidence, self reliance, healthy food choices, and other life skills. Your children will have a lifelong creative outlet, which will benefit their mental, emotional, and physical health. By adding kitchen safety to the mix, you’ll be helping them create a delicious recipe for continued success for years to come, and pass on a holiday tradition you can enjoy together for years to come.

Daniel is a single dad raising two children. At DadSolo.com, he aims to provide other single dads with information and resources to help them better equip themselves on the journey that is parenthood.

But, What If He Doesn’t

Daniel 3:1-25

In June of 2016 I sat in my car outside a video store praying fervently to the Lord.  I was begging for Him to give me a child.  Not just any child; my child.  The one that just a week before had been growing and thriving inside of me.  “Please, Lord” I whispered “let this one be okay.  Let us have this one, please make the bleeding stop, keep the heart beating and let this baby grow.”  I stayed in my car with my head bowed, pleading for that little life, tears dripping off my chin for about another ten minutes.  I took a few breaths and began to try to put myself back together.  I was wiping my face when a startling thought popped into my head, ‘but what if He doesn’t?

What if He doesn’t?  What would I do then?  I remembered a story from Daniel about three individuals who were facing the same question.  They, however, had an amazing answer.  In the third chapter of Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar had set up a golden statue.  He was very proud of this and required that every individual must bow before this image.  Now, there were three young Jew’s, they knew the commandments of God forbid this and they refused.  Nebuchadnezzar was not happy about that and told them that they would be cast into a furnace.

A furnace.  This wasn’t a simple time out or jail time or a slap on the wrist.  This was death and not a peaceful one at that!  This was being tossed into hot, scalding, burning, flesh searing flames and suffering until the very end.  Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were facing a horrifying life or death situation.  But that didn’t deter them.  They had faith that their Lord would indeed step in and save them.  That He would redeem them and bring them out of the situation.  But what if He didn’t?  What if the Lord didn’t intervene and spare their lives?

Daniel 3:18 provides that answer, “But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the image you set up”.  In essence; absolutely nothing will change.  They would walk into that furnace facing certain death, and even if God did not intervene, they would not falter or be shaken.  So where did that leave me?  What if God didn’t intervene and what if I did lose the pregnancy?

If God didn’t step in then I would be forced to walk into that furnace.  I would be forced to face the biting, stinging, painful flames of grief and loss.  But I wouldn’t be alone!  God says in Hebrews 13:5 “Never will I leave you; Never will I forsake you”.

If God didn’t step in then I would be changed.  Those flames would alter little pieces of me and those pieces would never be the same again.  But God would still be the same!  Hebrews 13:8 states that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever”.  He would be as good, and just and loving as He was before the fire.  His heart towards me would be no different than it was before!

If God didn’t step in then I might break.  I worried that the fire would be too much for me to overcome. I worried that I wasn’t strong enough to endure the overwhelming, seemingly unending and devastating flames.  But God would be there in my weakness!  It would be through my weakness that God’s power would be the most evident.  In 2nd Corinthians 12 the Lord says “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”.  

God didn’t stop King Nebuchadnezzar from throwing the three Jew’s into the furnace.  In fact he was so angered by their response that he demanded the furnace temperature be increased even higher!  He tied them up and had them thrown directly into the flames.  When the king peered into the furnace though he realized that there were no longer three men but four.  There in the midst of the flames, in the furnace hot enough to kill the attendants, who threw the three men in, was the Lord! They emerged from the flames unscathed, not a hair singed or the smell of soot on their clothes.

I prayed, I trusted and I waited.  But God didn’t intervene.  Just like with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego God had allowed me to be flung into the furnace.  For the second time in within just a few short months I had to say goodbye to another baby that I hardly knew but loved fiercely.  I was deep within the flames.  But I knew with every part of my being, that I was not alone in them.  That the Lord was there with me, even when I couldn’t see him through the smoke and when the flames seemed to consume me, He was there.

There will be many times in all of our lives that we will face the furnace.  We will stand at the door of situations that we don’t want to be in.  We will feel the heat rising up to singe our skin.  The flames may look insurmountable and terrifying.  With fear and worry coursing through us we will call out to God to help us, in our faith we will look to Him who we trust.  Sometimes He will close the door on that trial before we even have to enter.  Sometimes we will have to go into that furnace.  But if we do, remember who is in those flames with you.

Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father, we are so thankful that you are there through every circumstance with us.  You have said that you will never leave us or forsake us.  Please let us be reminded that no matter how difficult our situation may be that you are nearby.  Help us to remember to lean on your during difficult times and continue to find moments to praise you even in the fire.

Rainbows

rainbow

We were in the car driving home from one of our many activities. The children were sitting contentedly in the backseat staring out the windows.

“Mom, we need to pray!” my oldest, Abi, shouted from her seat. I glanced in the review mirror at her.

“Okay,” I said cautiously, “what are we praying for?”

“We need to pray that those bad clouds over there are chased away by the good clouds over there,” she responded gesturing out the window. I looked at where she was pointing and realized that there were storm clouds moving in. I half listened, nodding in agreement, as she sent up a prayer for ‘no storms and for only good weather’.

We made it home just before the rain hit. Abi and I stood in the garage looking up at the sky. It was full of dark grey fast moving clouds. Every few minutes lightening would flash and thunder would growl low and angry.

“Mom, the bad clouds won,” she said with a sad sigh. I smiled at her.

“I know Peanut, but it’s okay. Maybe God knew we needed the rain today”. She chewed on her lip and asked,

“Mommy, why does it storm?”

“Oh,” I said thoughtfully, “well, you know the plants need a drink, and the clouds need emptying, and….” I was trying to think of something brilliant to explain storms when she turned to face me. She stared up at me, right into my eyes.

“No. Mommy, why does it storm?”  I felt my stomach due a huge flip flop and I suddenly knew that this was an important moment and that what came out of my mouth next was going to be significant. I licked my lips and drew in a deep breath.

“Because, if it never stormed, we would never have a chance to see rainbows,” I saw her little body relax and she smiled at me.

“Alright,” she said cheerfully and ran into the house. I stood there absolutely still, my heart pounding in my ears. That conversation was no longer just a little chat about the weather. It was a revelation to me from God. It was an answer to a big question that I had posed to Him several weeks before.

You see back in Genesis when the entire world was so wicked and horrible, God asked a man named Noah to build and ark, gather up his family and the animals and climb aboard for a little cruise. Once they were safe inside God caused it to rain for 40 days and 40 nights flooding the entire earth. When that was done He placed a rainbow in the sky saying,   I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Gen. 9:13

The rainbow was a sign of Gods covenant that he would never flood the earth again, it became a symbol of God’s promise. Now, the amazing thing about God is that He will never break a promise.  Ever. Psalm 89:34 says, I will not violate my covenant or alter what my lips have uttered. If the Lord says it, it will be.  If that isn’t convincing enough, what about 2nd Corinthians 1:20, for all the promises of God in him are yes, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.  He cannot and will not break a promise, not just the one that He made with Noah, but all the promises in the bible.

Now, there are a lot of promises in the bible. ALOT.  But what isn’t promised to us is that there won’t be storms or trials in our lives.  Just like Noah and is family, we are going to encounter storms.  We are going to face trials.  Sometimes you will be able see the clouds in the distance and prepare for what’s coming and some will take you by surprise.  Some may be only a sprinkle but some will bring hurricane force winds and shake you down to your very foundation.  They are going to come, the bible warns us in 1st Peter 4:12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. And then again in John 16:33 I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.

 We will have storms; we will have trials, but with those storms comes an opportunity to see rainbows! Those true and never failing promises to you from your Lord and Savior.  What are some of those promises?

He will be your shelter and protection

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!    Psalm 91:1-2

He will cover you with His pinions, And under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.   Psalm 91:4

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.   Psalm 46:2

He will fight for you

When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.   Isaiah 59:19

 The LORD himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.   Exodus 14:14

No evil will befall you, Nor will any plague come near your tent. For He will give His angels charge concerning you, To guard you in all your ways. They will bear you up in their hands, That you do not strike your foot against a stone.   Psalm 91:10-13

 He never leave you or forsake you…

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.   Isaiah 43:2

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged    Deuteronomy 31:8

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.   Joshua 1:9

 He will give you strength and rest

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  Matthew 11:28-29

He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.  Isaiah 40:29-31

But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christs power may rest on me. 2nd Corinthians 12:9

He will give you victory…

Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name. He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With a long life I will satisfy him And let him see My salvation.   Psalm 91:14-16

No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. Romans 8:37-39

 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1st Corinthians 15:57

 I know that some of you might be thinking, ‘Sure, Sherry, these things are all great and stuff, but it’s a lot harder quoting scriptures and trusting God when you’re actually in the middle of a storm.’   I get it, I really really do.  Remember back to the moment with Abi in the garage. I said that I knew the answer I had given her had been an answer to a question that I had asked?  It was a question that I had been asking for several months. I had asked God why?  Why did were we walking through, what I felt, was one of the biggest storms in my life.

In June, I had a miscarriage.  We wanted that baby; we were elated to be pregnant again and had felt it was an answer to prayer. A prayer that I had been praying for almost three years. So you can imagine the heartbreak and confusion that came after the emergency room doctor told me that I was no longer pregnant. It wasn’t just a little sprinkle, it was a hurricane. Fear, confusion, anger and grief; all of those swirled around throughout this storm.  It was wind so strong and devastating that I risked being torn down to the very bare bones of what I was made of. The thunder and lightning of it got so bad that I cried out in desperation, why dear Lord, why, did this have to happen! 

And then it was calmer.  It still rained and sometimes the wind would pick back up, but I held firm that solid rock foundation of the Lord and I waited.  Praying for an answer. Finally it came, in the form of a question from a little girl, who was just as unhappy about a real storm as her mama was about her spiritual one.  Because if it never stormed, we would never have a chance to see rainbows.

I don’t know what is going on in your life right now. Maybe it’s all sunshiny and clear, or maybe you’ve got a sprinkle, or some gale force winds. Whatever it may be the promises of God will always remain and be true and infallible. Hold on to them and remember to cling tight to The Lord, because he will get you through, the skies will part and you will see rainbows.

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.   John 14:27

I Am Allowed

I am allowed. I am allowed to have bad days. Terrible days even!

Sometimes it’s a spilled cereal, lost my favorite shoe, dog ate my stuffed animal, I don’t want peanut butter and jelly for lunch, don’t make me wear my coat in twenty below freezing weather, six year old girl nuclear equivalent melt down kind of morning. 


Sometimes it’s a stubbed toe, dog puked on the carpet, flat tire, traffic jam, coffee stain on my new shirt, scuffed new boots, forgot my wallet, long lines full of annoying people kind of day.


Sometimes it’s a forgot to take the trash to the curb because I work nightshift and can’t remember what day it is, mountains of laundry, neglected dishes, overstimulated hopped up on McDonalds children, piles of homework, too much on my plate kind of night. 

Sometimes it’s all of those things and more. Let’s face it, life isn’t always sunshiny days and happy rainbow pooping unicorns. Things happen. Horrible, no good, terrible, very bad days will come. Sometimes it’s not even something that happened we just wake up on the wrong side of the bed! It’s just part of it. 

I am allowed to have bad days. I am allowed to have days where I don’t smile all the time. Where I can sigh and roll my eyes when I want to. I am allowed to have the kind of day that you know was awful just by looking at me. I am allowed to have those kind of days and it not be because my child has Down syndrome. 


I shouldn’t have to kill myself trying to pretend like I live in a world where blue birds always sing and pancakes don’t make my thighs get fat. A world where I’m afraid that if someone sees so much as a chink in my mommy armor they’re going to think that I’m losing my crap because of the number of chromosomes my son has in each of his cells.
Because you know what? On those bad days, the little extra dose of joy and laughter that I find in my son, the little extra understanding and compassion that he shows to those around him, the little extra tolerance and patience that he allows me, the unabashed silliness that spreads like wildfire from him, can make those bad days all better.

Sometimes, it is my child with Down syndrome, who makes the bad days good. Not visa versa. So guess what, I’m allowed to have bad days, and it not be his fault. Got it?

 

Don’t let fear stop you from celebrating 

“What if something happens?” I remember thinking the day of the photo shoot. I turned that thought over and over in my head as I watch my husband and two children playing in the grass in front of our vehicle while waiting for the photographer. “Please don’t let them get dirty” I called, Spouse nodded and waved at me in response. I chewed on the inside of my cheek, my heart racing as I walked around to the back of the Jeep to get our stuff ready. I glanced up at my husband, he was busy monitoring the kids. I pulled the digital pregnancy test out of my purse and peaked at it. I felt butterflies in my stomach every time I saw those words: “Pregnant”. They sat there in dark bold letters on the oval screen. I smiled to myself, I was going to surprise him with the news during our photo shoot. 

After deciding to add a third child to our family we had began calling our potential third child “Pancake”. This was after an incredibly hysterical conversation between Glenn and Abraham from The Walking Dead regarding Glenn and Maggie’s pregnancy and “trying to make pancakes when pouring the Bisquick”. We talked a lot about Pancake. What it would be like to have three, how our oldest would react and how our youngest would handle not being the youngest anymore. We were excited and hopeful, patiently awaiting our Pancake. 
I got a positive pregnancy test on May 22nd. I took probably ten more just to make sure and was only finally convinced when the digital test gave me a clear “pregnant” reading. I called my OB and they did serial blood work to see that my HCG was climbing like it should. Everything looked great. I kept the little secret for about a week while I prepared the special announcement. I was going to surprise my husband during our family pictures, I wanted to capture his reaction to the news about Pancake. After all this was going to be our last baby, I wanted it to be special. 

The photographer arrived and smiled at me conspiratorially, she was as excited as I was. I carried a container of Bisquick and the pregnancy test hidden away in my purse. Spouse toted the chalk boards to the center of the park where we planned to snap the photos. We distracted the kids with a video on the phone and stood back to back, we were to write something sweet to one another on our chalk boards. Of course I already knew what mind would say: “Pancake, due January 2017”.  


We faced the camera and then one another. I saw his eyes slide across the words once and then again. I saw them widen with realization and then the giant smile lit up his face. That ear to ear grin of an excited dad to be. The camera clicked furiously capturing those first moments. Each snap ensuring that these memories would last forever. He wrapped me up in a big hug and asked how long I had known and a handful of other pertinent expectant father questions. I showed him the test and handed him the container of Bisquick, we laughed together at our inside joke and held each other tight. 


Today I would have been 24 weeks. I would have been over half way through my pregnancy. The kids and their dad would have been able to feel baby moving inside my swollen belly. I would have outgrown my jeans and moved into maternity clothes. We would have been trying out names, pulling out bags of clothes that had been saved from brother and sister. We would have been so much nearer a family if 5. But something did happen, we lost Pancake at 8 weeks. It was by far one of the hardest and worst moments in our lives. 

My answer the day of the photo shoot to the question of, ‘what if something happens’ had been, ‘Then I will have wanted to celebrate while we could. I would have wanted to cherish this baby while we could. I would have wanted memories and treasures. I would have wanted everyone to know how happy we were and how much we wanted our Pancake. I would have wanted Pancake to know how much he or she was loved. I would have wanted something tangible so in the moments when I feel that joy has left me, I would be able to hold tight and see what a gift I had to be able to have those special moments with my husband and children, all three of them”.  

Miscarriage is not uncommon, it effects roughly 3 million women per year in the US alone. It’s emotionally and physically painful. It’s something that almost every woman worries about when she first finds out that she is pregnant. It is a fear that robs many women of the joy of celebrating their pregnancies from the earliest possible moment. And it’s not fair. 

It’s just not fair that the fear of loss should prevent us from sharing the wonderful news that we are expecting. That It should stop us from telling those we’re close to that we are carrying something amazing within us. It’s not fair that the fear should prevent us from celebrating and savoring those moments that for far too many end way too soon. It’s unfair that in the midst of a loss, that fear we had, prevented us from sharing with those who could support us the most through it. 

Don’t let it. Don’t let the fear of loss, or societies recommendation of cautious optimism stop you from celebrating, from sharing, from cheering and shouting your joy. Own it. Savor it. Cherish the moments from the earliest possible second that you are able! Had I considered that ‘what if’ question and chosen to act on the side of caution, I would have missed out, the fear would have stolen the blessed memories that I do have of our Pancake. You may have days, weeks, months or years, but don’t let the fear of “what if” stop you from enjoying the moments you do have.  I’m so very glad I didn’t.