So, I’ve had this idea in my head for a long time. An idea that I couldn’t quite bring into focus, but one that I knew involved using our photography for something important. Something meaningful. Something that would bring awareness. I’ve been ruminating on that thought for a few years, but I kept setting it on the back burner because I just couldn’t figure out what to do with it.
Then a few days ago I was tossing and turning in the middle of the night, unable to sleep. I was in bed with my husband on one side and our 9 month old baby boy, Oliver, on the other (co-sleeping is the best!). I started thinking about Oliver and how grateful I am to have this little boy in our lives. We waited a long time for him. Even in the few days right after our second daughter was born, I remember feeling so clearly that our family wasn’t complete yet. And by the time she was about to celebrate her first birthday, I was already feeling some major baby fever for our third. Little did I know it would be 8 more years and 2 more pregnancy losses (we also lost our first baby shortly after we were married) before we would welcome baby #3. So I can’t feel complete gratitude for him without remembering the losses too. I can’t fully feel the joy without remembering the pain along the way. I look at him with so much love my heart feels as if it might burst, but also simultaneously feel a pang of sadness for the three babies we lost. As I thought about all of this, I realized April is quickly approaching. April is a tough month for me.
Our first baby, who we lost at 12 weeks, was due on April 24th and the second baby we lost, we lost on April 25th. Each year…no matter how many years have gone by…those dates still hit me hard, especially when they kind of sneak up on me and catch me by surprise. All of these thoughts swirled together and brought to mind a recent conversation I had with my friend, Marilyn, who had recently experienced her first miscarriage. She had reached out to me for some advice, knowing I had been through it too. She asked me how long the waves of grief come and go. I told her it’s normal for it to hurt for a long time and while it will lessen, it will never go away. I said, as mothers we love our babies from the moment we know they exist. How can we not grieve their loss and long for the day we will meet them in heaven?
She told me I was right and thanked me for letting her know she’s not crazy. Did you catch that word? Crazy! How many women had I talked to over the years that expressed that same feeling? That worried they were crazy for just how deeply they grieved a baby they lost during pregnancy? Myself included. Any loss is extremely difficult, of course, but there is something different about pregnancy loss. Moms who experience it tend to grieve in silence. Quietly, almost secretly, because nobody really talks about it. I had noticed this startling trend before but this recent conversation with my friend just further shattered my heart. With approximately 1 in 4 women experiencing a pregnancy loss at some point in her life, why isn’t there more information out there about the grieving process? Why do so many women go through it feeling so alone?
Suddenly, I felt God nudging me to do something about it. To minister to other women going through a similar experience, and I immediately knew what I wanted to use our photography for. That vague idea that had been on the back burner for so long came into such crystal clear focus. I was so excited about the idea I had to refrain from waking my husband to tell him! I knew I needed to put together a photography project that would raise awareness for pregnancy loss. The feelings. The grief. The pain. The eventual hope. All of it.
I’ve never done anything like this before…so please join me in prayer that I allow God to lead me, and I do it well!