Although I was taken aback by my baby loss episodes, I came to the understanding that it is not over and God indisputably has my back. Our second child Faith was born premature. I was confident she would survive and so I prayed. When the doctors told us we were losing her, I prayed the more and trusted God for a miracle. Faith however passed away nine hours after birth. Despite the fact my prayer was not answered, I still had Faith in this God I prayed to. I was more resolute in my Christian faith and made up my mind that nothing would stop me loving God. My journey through loss has demystified certain myths I once held and I have now acquired great insight into certain issues people grapple with in the area of loss.
- God is still God even if things don’t turn out the way I expect
- ‘Bad’ things surely happens to ‘good’ people
- God hears me even when it doesn’t feel like it
- Times of pain and loss reveal where our hearts really lie and what we believe
- Even when death occurs, it is not the end
Faith is physically not here, but I still have her and I am looking forward to the day we will be reunited to part no more. That’s a little incentive for me to maximise my life, make it count, make a difference in the lives of others and make my Faith proud!
We were made to believe that my first son’s death was unavoidable and it was unfortunate Isaac was born stillborn. As the days and weeks passed by, I spent time processing what happened and lots of questions ensued. The response we got from the hospital was unsatisfactory and we decided to take it further because I felt if we let go, the same thing would happen to another family and I was also disappointed with the level of care I had received. After going back and forth for nearly three years, some of my complaints were upheld by the Health Care Commission but due to the length of time it had taken to get to this point, we had very little time to take the hospital to Court. I found the whole thing mentally, physically and emotionally draining. At that point I was upset that after trying for so long to get to the bottom of what happened, time was not on my side.
About two weeks to go to this deadline, I decided not to proceed any further because the road to discovery was far off, and neither an apology from the hospital nor compensation would replace what we lost. Instead I decided to let my loss/pain benefit others in similar situations and to prevent the same thing happening to expectant mums. It was not an easy journey but looking back, reaching out to other women in my position presented me with the opportunity to turn my loss to joy!
I am wearing a pair of shoes.
They are ugly shoes.
I hate my shoes.
Each day I wear them, and each day I wish I had another pair.
Some days my shoes hurt so bad that I do not think I can take another step.
Yet, I continue to wear them.
I get funny looks wearing these shoes.
They are looks of sympathy.
I can tell in others eyes that they are glad they are my shoes and not theirs.
They never talk about my shoes.
To learn how awful my shoes are might make them uncomfortable.
To truly understand these shoes you must walk in them.
But, once you put them on, you can never take them off.
I now realize that I am not the only one who wears these shoes.
There are many pairs in the world.
Some women are like me and ache daily as they try and walk in them.
Some have learned how to walk in them so they don’t hurt quite as much.
Some have worn the shoes so long that days will go by
before they think of how much they hurt.
No woman deserves to wear these shoes.
Yet, because of the shoes I am a stronger woman.
These shoes have given me the strength to face anything.
They have made me who I am.
I will forever walk in the shoes of a woman who has lost a child.
Mother’s day is a day I celebrated once I got married for two reasons: firstly as a mother figure to others and secondly due to the fact I had the potential and opportunity to now become one. However I found myself in a bit of a dilemma (did I qualify to be called a mum) when my trying to conceive period was longer than anticipated and after losing two babies in a row.
As we celebrate Mother’s day today, I have come a long way in my understanding of who a mum is. Motherhood in my opinion can be biological, non biological and can be envisioned by faith before it becomes a reality in the natural realm. I learnt not to go with society’s label of whether or not I was a mum. I chose to be ‘happy’ each mother’s day and to celebrate with others although physically speaking I had no biological children. Of course I longed for the day I would hear my children call me ‘mummy’ but my vision of being a mum kept me going, kept me joyful and kept me praising. In the meantime then I spent time preparing for motherhood (reading, asking questions, observing other mums, babysitting (not too often though) and planning) and pouring my life into my non – biological children.
Today, I classify myself as a mother to Isaac and Faith who are no longer here and to both my two sons who are still here.
Perhaps you too have lost a baby (ies) or you are trying to conceive, today is a day to celebrate in expectation of the children that are coming into your life and for the many lives you have encouraged, invested in, sown into, cared for, prayed into, given wise counsel and sacrificed for.
Happy Mother’s Day!
I have noticed that babies develop their personalities even from the womb and they are not born has’ blank slates.’ Even though I lost my babies, their memories cannot be erased from my life. I found out that whenever I talk with people who had young or grown children/siblings that have died, when the question of how children do you have or how many siblings do you have comes up, they do state they were xxx number before but xxx passed away. But for some reason, some people feel babies should not be counted. I believe mine were my flesh and blood, they were a part of us and they do count in our household although they are not with us. Whenever I think of Isaac and Faith, it is more in a positive light and I choose to celebrate their lives rather than mourn them as they are only ‘asleep’ and we will meet again.
How we choose to celebrate them
• Each year on their birthdays, we take time out to thank God for the short time we spent with them
• I have decided to fundraise and raise awareness on maternal and neonate causes each year
• We intend setting up a foundation in their honour
And regarding the question; what happens to those already dead and buried, we don’t want you in the dark any longer. First off, you must not carry on over them like people who have nothing to look forward to, as if the grave were the last word. Since Jesus died and broke loose from the grave, God will most certainly bring back to life those who died in Jesus (1 Thessalonians 4: 13 –14).
I believe my pain and loss can only be worth it when many lives are changed, preserved and challenged as a result of what I went through and my response to my circumstance.
Baby loss is an individual thing and the grieving process I have discovered varies from person to person and is not time bound as the loss is multidimensional. I find it interesting to note that some people indirectly felt I needed to forget about my past and ‘move on.’
On one hand there came a time when the initial pain I felt when we lost our babies was not an integral part of my life. However my babies are a part of my history and their handprints are all over my future.
Why I cannot forget my babies
- Each time I come across another Isaac or Faith, I am reminded that these babies were once a part of our lives
- Each time the time clocks 11: 12 am or 11:23pm, I remember the moment these precious lives made their entrance into our world
- Each time I am asked how many children do you have? I remember the ones that once were
- Each time it is my babies’ birthday, I remember that things could have been different
- Each time I become pregnant and have a hospital appointment I have to recount my past medical history
- Each time I come across children that were born around the same time as Isaac and Faith, I remember once more
- Each time I hear another baby has departed, I recall being in the same shoes some years back
I am of the opinion that anyone who has experienced a baby loss does not remain the same. For some it breaks them and for others they metamorphose in various ways. My outlook of life after my loss is totally different.
What keeps me going?
- The assurance that I would see my babies in the near future
- My purpose in life
- The fact that something good needs to come out of my pain
- Others do not need to go through what I went through
- My family
- There are many in the same position I can reach out to
- The presence of God
My loss has not disabled me but it has enabled me to fulfil my life purpose and hopefully to bring laughter, faith and optimism to many lives.