Mother’s Day. I won’t celebrate this holiday. Not if I’m celebrating it without you. Or you. My people. In my faith community. Church Family.
Can I tell you a story? My daughter was just a baby. We attended a Wednesday morning Bible study. A new girl came to Bible study this particular day. She seemed a little sad. Like the days were hard on her. As we settled in, she shared a part of her story.
Just a few shorts months before, she’d had a little girl too. Her second child. Her pregnancy was progressing as normal. And then it wasn’t. Her baby was diagnosed with Trisomy 18. Kari gave birth to Kylie on August 18th, 2007. Her daughter lived for 32 minutes.
That day at Bible study, Kari still carried all the pain of her loss. She’d come to Bible study hoping to find some peace from our Great Comforter. She wasn’t sure it would work, but she bravely gave it a try.
After sharing her story, Kari turned to me. Allie, only a few months old, was chatting contentedly. Kari asked through tears,
“Do you mind if I hold your baby?”
My daughter went on her first mission trip that day. I handed her to Kari. She snuggled into her arms. And a little bit of healing took place.
Photo Credit: Kari Stull Photography
That day, I learned the term angel baby. An infant child who precedes his or her parents in death. A baby that barely breathes the air of this earth at all.
A few years down the road, another friend. Cody lost her little boy to SIDS at three months old. Emotions indescribable. A path I cannot imagine.
One Wednesday night, December 14th to be exact, would have been Chris’s birthday. Now, through these amazing, brave women, I’d learned one way to honor a memory, to keep from forgetting, was to celebrate their special events. So, that night at Bible study, we had a party. We had cupcakes in Chris’s honor and we sang Happy Birthday.
These women, my friends, still celebrate Mother’s Day. They have other children. Adam. Viviana. Kari gave birth to the beautiful, talented Victoria Faith a few short years after losing Kylie.
I see them use their grief to God’s glory. Kari ministers to other parents of angel babies through a support group at a local hospital. She is also part of our churches' care ministry.
Cody is choosing a new path for her family. One of faith. She misses Chris like crazy every day but she is letting God guide her steps.
Faith is best done in community. I will never forget Kari holding my little baby. I will always treasure the night we sang Happy Birthday to Chris. I’m gonna’ meet those angel babies one day. I have special hugs reserved for both of them.
Alongside my sisters, I don’t celebrate Mother’s Day without remembering. Those who have lost little babies. Those whose own mothers have passed before them. Single ladies and those without babies of their own. Some waiting for adopted little ones. Those whose babies are off serving our country. All sharing the mothering role within the church among the rest of us.
I’ll celebrate Mother’s Day with you. But only if these women celebrate with us.
Mother’s Day takes place in just a few weeks. Sunday, May 10th. Please take a moment to consider those ladies in your life who might struggle to see this holiday as good. And if you’re one of the many women wondering how you’ll make it through this celebratory day, might I suggest a few Family Christian resources to help you? These books would make great gifts (for you or a dear friend). For those grieving the loss of what was or has not yet been, we see you.
Bittersweet:Thoughts on Change, Grace & Learning The Hard Way - This book by Shauna Niequist is really good for any of us who have been on the receiving end of life's disappointments. Which is all of us. But she has grieved a pregnancy loss. She helps us see our way through the trial.
Every Bitter Thing is Sweet: Tasting the Goodness of God in All Things - Written by new author, Sara Hagerty. Her faith is a thing of raw beauty. She struggled for years with infertility. They decided to pursue international adoption. Which took, um, forever. Now, she is a mother of five, a combination of biological and adopted. She shares some great wisdom from the saints before us in this book as well.
Everyday Comfort: Meditations For Seasons of Grief - by Randy Becton. Years ago, when my mom went through an especially hard time, she felt drawn to the Psalms. Timeless poems that walk us through tragedy into a joy only our God can provide. What a wonderful resource to help you in your journey through your grief and the Psalms.
The Prodigal's Sister - written and recorded by John Piper. Maybe your child isn't gone from this earth. Maybe they're just miles aways from your touch or miles away from your heart. The story of the Prodigal Son so aptly reminds us of the parent/child love that never lets go. This book expands on that story and has beautiful illustrations.