Reflections on Our Miscarriage: 2 Year Anniversary

Reflections on our Miscarriage: 2 Year Anniversary“They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” Revelation 12:11

I’ve been thinking a lot about this verse lately, meditating on it’s truth and how this “overcoming” is accomplished by action: telling our testimonies. It seems that the Lord has built in a natural healing process for us, as believers, when we choose to tell our hard stories and rejoice in the work that the Lord has done through painful times, and the ways that he has redeemed them.

This week marks 2 years since Matthew and I lost our first baby. I wish there was a specific date that I could set aside specifically to mourn this little one each year, but the way that it happened, it’s kind of hard to pinpoint. Was it the fateful doctor’s appointment that showed us a life not fully formed? Or sometime before that? Or perhaps the date of the surgery, which gave the miscarriage finality? No, I believe the Lord left some ambiguity in this season for me for a reason- to give me time to reflect, to meditate, to ponder what might have been and yet rejoice in the truth of what is- the work that the Lord has done.

Losing our baby was the darkest, most painful time in my entire life. We had been trying to get pregnant for what seemed like ages, and when it finally happened, we were filled with so much joy- only to have it shattered all too soon. We were very blessed to have faithful friends walk through this time in our lives, though I can’t say that I had anyone particularly close to me (that I could lean on on a daily basis whenever needed) that really, truly understood- which was very difficult. It was through that pain, that loneliness, that the Lord spoke and gave me hope- that He would use this loss of life to let me be a voice of truth in the life of other women experiencing loss. I won’t say that it made our loss easier- not at all- but knowing that the Lord was going to redeem this time of sorrow allowed me to more easily process the loss as something that would build the Kingdom at some point. I rejoice in His faithfulness to fulfill that promise.

I first spoke out publicly about our loss the following Mother’s Day- partly to voice my own struggles with the day as a whole, but mostly to let other women know that they weren’t alone. Since that time, I have spoken and written for several different venues about our miscarriage, as well as simply being a listening ear for many women enduring loss.

Why am I telling you all this?

Because I want you to know:

The Lord is faithful to redeem the deep and enveloping pain of the loss of a child.

As women, we are not promised biological children. When we were struggling through that first year or so, wondering if I would ever get pregnant, there was no promise that we would. After our miscarriage, there was no promise that I would conceive again. Even still, after having Hallelujah, there is no promise of another biological child.

But our Father, who is the author and the giver of life, who gives and takes away as He sees fit to build his Kingdom, promises us that if we abide in Him, He will fill us with peace that surpasses understanding, joy in the midst of sorrow, and that He will take our painful moments and redeem them back into times of praise.

Do I praise the Lord for the loss of that sweet life? Of course not. I grieve that sweet baby daily. But I praise the Lord for the many lives that have been ministered to through that loss. I praise the Lord for the women who know that they aren’t alone anymore, because of the testimony that has come through our loss. For the families who no longer feel isolated. For the mothers who know that it’s okay to be angry, hurt, confused, or frustrated on Mother’s Day. I praise the Lord for the privilege of this ministry, for the privilege of being a mother to that sweet baby: if only for a few short weeks physically, but forever in my heart.

If you are enduring the pain of a loss, please know that you are not alone. I am praying strength and peace over you, and that someday, you too may enter into the ministry of “overcoming”, by the words of your testimony. For all of my sisters in the battle of infertility, waiting for your first Mother’s Day, I am praying trust in the Lord over you. Our Father is good, my friends, and He loves you! You’re in my thoughts and prayers today.

I’ve put together a list of resources for families who have experienced loss, and for their family and friends. Please be encouraged and know that there is healing. You can view that list here.

8 Ways to Have a Waste-Free Baby

8 ways to have a waste free babyHave you ever thought about just how much waste a baby creates? If you have ever changed a diaper, the answer may be yes- and I’m not talking about #2, either! The modern way of raising a baby is full of “throw-aways”, from disposable diapers to toys used for just a few months to clothing that never fits and beyond. Babies can create a lot of waste!

When I found out I was pregnant with Halle, I decided to make it my mission to have a “waste free baby”. Surprisingly, it hasn’t been all that hard! Here’s some choices that we made to cut down on our waste and make raising our girl as sustainable as possible:

Get hand-me-downs whenever possible.

This one is HUGE. It’s so easy to want to buy all of the cuteness for your incoming bundle of joy, but in reality, they are just going to poop and spit up on it. And not just clothing, either- big baby items like bouncers, swings, even strollers. Check with friends to see what they can lend you before filling out a registry so that you can only ask for what you need.

If you have to buy it, don’t buy it until you need it.

Keep receipts for everything you get at your shower! then, if you don’t need it, take it back. Resist the temptation to go out and buy things that you think you might need at some point. Instead, wait until you know you need them, then decide if it’s worth the cost. This cuts down on tons of extra purchases.

Breastfeed exclusively.

This is a touchy one, but if we are talking sustainability, you can’t beat breastfeeding. Breastfeeding exclusively for as long as possible is one of the greenest, most healthy decisions you can make for your child. It takes some babies and mamas up to six weeks or more to get it all figured out, so find help and don’t give up if you’re having trouble- it’s worth it. Here’s some things I wish I’d known about breastfeeding.

Practice Baby-Led Weaning.

When it does come time to introduce real food to complement your breastmilk feedings, skip the purees and head straight for the real food. Baby-Led Weaning is essentially allowing baby to introduce themselves to different foods at their own pace- so, you simply give the baby what you’re eating, and let them have at it. While some may get on the floor, and technically be “wasted”, you aren’t wasting time, resources, or half a jar of baby food at each meal.

Use cloth diapers…

This is another huge one! The average baby can go through up to $3,000 worth of disposable diapers before they are potty trained. A very nice cloth diaper stash will run between $4-500 and will diaper multiple children over the years. Yes, you will use water to wash the diapers (which you can then line-dry) but this is nothing compared to filling landfills with poopy plastic chemical diaper bombs. Here’s some more reasons to choose cloth, plus some easy steps to get started!

…and cloth wipes!

Once you’re using cloth diapers, you ought to just make the leap to cloth wipes as well. It’s easy to make your own, or buy them cheaply. You can even make your own wipes solution! Simply use a wipe and throw it in with the dirty diapers. Wash them all together. Easy peasy.

Invest in toys that will stand the test of time (and development).

This is something that I feel very strongly about- not surrounding my child with mindless plastic toys that are meant to entertain her, not help her grow and develop. Instead, we use toys made from sustainable materials and that are (for the most part) battery-free. These are toys that are made from wood, recycled BPE-free plastics (very few), and natural rubbers. They are “imagination builders”- stacking cups, rings, blocks, etc- that can grow with Halle, as they serve as tethers now, they can later become castle blocks or rings for stuffed animals to jump through. They are investment pieces, but they will last. Here’s some more great reasons to choose wooden toys, as well as some of my favorite brands.

Lead by example.

It’s an incredible value to instill in your children- that people and experiences have lasting value, compared to the waning value of toys. This starts with us, as parents, focusing on being waste-free in our own lives, and leading by example!

What is one small change you could make to keep your home more waste-free? How about in your children’s lives?