“Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow; the same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day. Either He will shield you from suffering, or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace, then, put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations, and say continually: ‘The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart has trusted in Him and I am helped. He is not only with me but in me and I in Him.’” (St. Frances de Sales)
“I do not hear a heartbeat” are the most devastating words to any pregnant woman! Losing a baby puts you on a road you have not traveled before, a road called GRIEF! It is a journey that may be long and hard, but worth taking even though it is hard to see why. Nonetheless, take the time to grieve healthily. Taking a slower pace each day will give ample time for your body, mind, and soul to heal. The road called “grief” from a miscarriage, birthing a stillborn infant, or losing a full term baby cannot be removed by getting really busy, ignoring the grief stages, or attempting to leap over it. All the stages of grief must be traveled! Sometimes you will travel the road with no one but God. He alone can heal the brokenhearted. It is an intimate time. I know because I, too, have traveled this road.
Losing a baby is devastating experience but God will see you through. The Holy Spirit becomes your guide along this unfamiliar and painful road. This journey will change you in your body, in your mind and even in your soul. The changes on the outside are visible. The changes on the inside cannot be seen but are just as important. If you just lost a baby, give yourself permission to weep and to grieve. Healing will come if you take the time to make recovery your goal. It is a time to take care of you.
Along the road of grief consider the Five R’s:
Rest and don’t jump back into life too soon. If you carried a baby six weeks then take at least six weeks to rest. If it was nine months like my baby Zachary, rest for nine months. Go to bed early, learn to take naps and, and sit down and rest throughout the day. Rest is essential to heal the body, along with healthy foods and light exercise. It also aids your mind and the soul. Rest will strengthen you as you journey towards the road of normalcy.
Relax and limit your activities. Practice saying “yes,” to what lifts your spirits and “no” to what drains you. Give yourself permission to eat that extra candy bar or favorite bag of chips. Occasionally decide to stay in your pajamas all day and watch funny movies or sitcoms from the ’70s. Choose to be around people, or to just stay home and read a book. The outdoors is a great choice towards healing. Take a vacation at the beach or plan a trip to the mountains. A change of scenery or a change of pace gives you a different view.
Reflection is a key element to recover. Take the time to look at your life and recoup. Get to know yourself a little better and get to know God better. Quiet your soul and write your thoughts. If you are angry at yourself, another person, or even God, write it down and toss it into the wind like the little girl who just lets her balloon go “up, up and away.” This release may disperse the anger. Say to yourself, “let it go, let it go, let it go!” If it continues to bother you seek wise counsel. Find a friend with a listening ear, a caring heart, and a well-guarded tongue to talk to. It needs to be a person who takes the time for you when you need her most. Sometimes another’s perspective can set our hearts back on the right course.
Refresh and keep it light. Recovery may be slow, especially at first. It is not the season to attempt to climb a mountain. Besides, the “mountain” you may need to climb may simply be deciding what to wear that day, and it may seem too high to attempt. It is not a time to be too introspective and pray a lot. It is a time to let your friends, your family, and your church people carry you. Baby steps towards health are way better than giant leaps. Leaping before you recover may send you on the road towards postpartum depression. Refresh first; there will be another season to conquer the world.
Renewal of your heart cannot be rushed. Seek out companions that love you, support you, and are ready to carry you when you are too weak to stand. Find a Titus II woman who has lost a baby and talk to her on a regular basis. She has done the journey and has the blisters on her feet to prove it. She also has the GPS. She will embrace you with the arms of Christ, and without judging you. Along the road of grief her heart has been tendered through the pain of her loss. God grew inside her hearts a gift of compassion.
The road called “grief” is the hike you must take to be healthy again after the loss of a baby. Don’t be surprised that along the journey you learn a few things that have changed you forever. The five R’s are one way to get you back on your feet again. Grief is not a road any of us would choose. However it is along this broken road that you get to know God in an intimate way. Sometimes when the terrain is too rough He carries you. Cherish the journey! On this road called grief, you will discover how great our God is!
CHERISH THE JOURNEY
By Ellen Mongan
Cherish the journey because this is not the end
Instead a new beginning my friend.
For glorious grief doesn’t appear in the heart, and then disappear,
It becomes a hidden treasure that becomes oh so dear.
It will remind us always of a life so small,
That others may have forgotten had come at all.
But to the mother that carried this baby in her womb,
Who she loved and cherished, and remembered as left too soon.
This glorious grief that sweeps over this mother’s heart,
Has planted a garden and made an indelible mark.
It began as a seed, then a bud, which grew and grew.
To be that miracle baby that changed you.
Like a rose presented to us with many a thorn,
This glorious grief pricks our hearts as we mourn.
Cherish the journey do not be afraid to embark;
For in your life this baby plays a part.
Always cherish the Journey; and enjoy the ride!
Applaud the baby which lives inside.
The miracle wonder will begin to unfold.
As forever in your heart this life you hold
Hold it close, let it continue to grow
Oh what a story you will have to tell.
Your story may be used to heal another’s heart.
And you will know that your baby had a played a part.
Cherish the journey, enjoy the ride!
Never forget the baby that lived inside.
Cherish the journey, I say again, for this definitely is not the end,
It is the time for new beginnings, my friend.
Copyright 2017 Ellen Mongan