What I’d Like For You To Know: The Mother Of a Stillborn Child

WhatidlikeThis is the third part of the weekly "What I’d Like For You To Know" series (background on the series can be found here).  Today’s contributor is Molly Piper–you can read her delightful blog here.  Molly has written tenderly and clearly about her loss (for example, this post), and I’ve learned much from her these last few months.  I asked her to tell you her story, and to help us all understand better how to reach out to a friend who is enduring grief.

A year ago I was seven months pregnant with our second child. We found out at our 18-week ultrasound, much to my delight, that this one was a girl. As the last months of pregnancy ambled on, we got more and more excited. We had done the boy thing already; we were ready for a daughter.

Everything was normal as the end of pregnancy drew near. There were no signs of a problem when I visited the doctor that final week. However, at 39 weeks and 4 days, I couldn’t shake the feeling, “I haven’t been feeling this baby move as much.”

We went to the hospital, not really alarmed, but concerned. When they couldn’t find her heartbeat, mine beat fast enough and furiously enough for both of us, as though it were trying to live for her. Ultrasounds confirmed that our child had died.

We delivered her that day—September 22, 2007—Felicity Margaret Piper. She weighed 9 pounds, 5 ounces and was perfectly formed, though her umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck.

I had no category for “stillbirth” before this. Who gets 39 weeks into a smooth pregnancy and doesn’t think they’re definitely going to bring home their baby?

The road we’ve walked the past 10 months has been horribly difficult, the hardest thing we’ve ever walked through in our lives.

Here are some things I’d like people to know about me during this time. Maybe it will be helpful for you as you love other women you know who are living through the loss of a child.

I’m Exhausted.

Grieving is horribly tiring. It taxes the body, mind, and soul in unimaginable ways. And I’m not talking about the initial recovery of delivery. (Of course that’s exhausting.) I’m talking about months and months of exhaustion.

There were times when sleep evaded me at night, because of stress, shock, grief, etc. So waking up in the mornings was very difficult. And then to have the motivation to get through the daily tasks of life… yeah, that didn’t happen.

I’m a Scatterbrain.

Most of the people who I know who have walked through tragedy talk about the effect grieving has on their ability to organize, sequence tasks, and just plain remember simple things they never used to have to think about.

At this point, after 10 months, I feel like I’m slowly climbing out of this pit. Now I can actually plan a meal, or invite friends over for dinner, or keep the appointments and commitments I make (although when it comes down to it, I tend to wish I hadn’t made them in the first place.)

This has been hard for me, since I tend to be the organized one in our little family. Well, not so much over the last year. There were many nights early on when I would stare into a full refrigerator for awhile and then decide that there was no food in the house—we’d have to get a pizza.

I Want to Talk About Her.

I’m almost always willing to talk about Felicity. Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only one. Often I deal with internal questions like, “If I bring up Felicity right now, is that going to make this whole conversation awkward?”

Most people won’t bring up a dead child. In his book Stillborn, John DeFrain calls this the “conspiracy of silence.” Sometimes people are uncomfortable doing so; sometimes they can’t think of what to say; sometimes they don’t want to make the grieving parent cry, etc. So they just don’t say anything.

This has been painful for me since we lost Felicity—when people just don’t talk about her, especially in situations where it would be pretty natural to. The friends who have initiated toward me on the 22nd of the month, or brought over a random meal or flowers, or the ones who have asked to see her pictures have been so comforting to me.

I Can’t Grieve on Command.

I’ve had moments since losing Felicity where I haven’t wanted to grieve. In those moments I just want to be a wife to Abraham, or a mother to Orison, or a friend to my friends.

In those moments if someone approaches me and asks how I’m doing, I’m going to say something like, “Fine,” or maybe even “Good!” I don’t want to open up and spill my guts just then.

When people ask the question, “How are you doing?” and I suspect they’re asking into my grief, it can put me in a strange position. It can actually put pressure on me to grieve…right now! This is not the person’s intent in asking, but it is sometimes the unintended result.

Then again I don’t want people to never inquire about how I’m doing after losing my daughter. Sorry this isn’t simple.

Please Ask Specific Questions.

Knowing that friends are thinking of my particular situation and storing up real questions to ask when they see me—questions other than “How are you doing?”—has been incredibly helpful.

I have some wonderful friends who keep our milestones in mind and ask questions relating to those. For example, “Wow, it’s been nine months—does it feel different than other 22nd’s, knowing that now she’s been out as long as she was in?”

Those conversations go places. We really get somewhere emotionally. I feel cared for and understood; they feel let in on this part of my life. It’s a beautiful symbiosis.

Please Avoid the Flippant Comfort of Hallmark Answers.

It’s a wonderful thing to tell someone that you are praying for them or to share a verse from the Bible, but sometimes those words can feel very hollow if you haven’t entered the grieving person’s particular pain. Empathy is the key.

Though I believe with all my heart in the sovereignty of a loving God, having someone come up to me in my sorrow and simply say, “God is sovereign,” or “God is good,” and then walk away is just not comforting. Comfort that is too packaged and composed feels like reading a Hallmark card.

Remember That There’s No Timetable.

Anyone who took a psychology class in college learned about the “stages of grief.” I tend to believe in the stages themselves, but I don’t believe there is anything linear about going through them. I find that one day I’m angry, the next I’m accepting, the next I’m depressed, and so on.

My doctor said to me, “This is one of the hardest things that anyone ever deals with in their life, Molly.” That was so validating for me, and let me off the hook when I wasn’t feeling “better” at month #3 or #6 or now. I’ve become convinced that this is a very long road, not one that can be walked in days or months, but years.

Please Persevere.

Loving and losing Felicity has forever changed me. I trust it is for the good, because I believe in Romans 8:28, but it rarely feels good.

I feel like a walking contradiction most of the time, confused, unknown even to myself. Friendships and situations that once felt normal feel different, because I am different.

And if I don’t get me, how will my friends? It must be frustratingly difficult to understand me or my grief from the outside. Nevertheless, my friends continue to uphold me, and I’m sure you do the same for your grieving friends, too.

Thank you. It’s hard, but I can tell you from this side of sadness that it’s worth it.

You can read more of Molly’s posts at her blog, The Pipers.  Be sure to read her entire series titled "How To Help a Grieving Friend."

108 thoughts on “What I’d Like For You To Know: The Mother Of a Stillborn Child

  1. Lorraine says:

    You truly never forget. I’ve never experienced the pain of stillbirth, but I did miscarry 4 times. You never forget. Eventually, time does heal, but then 5, 10 yrs from now, something will remind you and you’ll be grieving all over again.
    I’m sorry for your loss. It’s a club I wish no one had to join. This post is beautifully written. Thank you, for letting the rest of us get a glimpse of what this has been like for you.

  2. Erin says:

    I am so sorry for your loss and I will pray for your family as you go through this. I know there are no easy words to help you feel better, but I appreciate you sharing your touching story.

  3. Beth (A Mom's Life) says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us.
    I know our intentions are always good but it is so difficult to know what to say or do.
    Thank you for helping us to be more aware and more understanding so that we can be a comfort to our friends when they need us the most.

  4. Jolanthe says:

    We lost our third child when I was 18 weeks and sometimes those memories just pop up out of the blue still – and it’s been 4 years now. And bringing it up now seems especially strange to others. There are a few who do understand, and they are so wonderful to call friends.
    Thanks for sharing.

  5. Stacey says:

    I am one who struggles to bring this up in conversations with grieving parents. I’m always afraid I will bring it to mind just when they have been able to focus on something else for the moment.
    This past Christmas, my husband set an extra place at the table for my young stepbrother, who died last fall. During the devotional, he mentioned Dane and reckognized the grief. My stepfather cried really hard and it was uncomfortable for all of us, but it really meant a lot to him anyway. I think my stepdad was trying so hard not to be emotional that morning, that this let him know that it was okay to cry and we would enter his grief with him.
    Thanks for sharing your story so that those of us who have not faced losing a child can gain some understanding of our role as comforters.

  6. Shauna Okongo says:

    Wow. Molly, thank you so much for your candid honesty. Grief is such a challenge to human nature, on both sides. Thank you for sharing your journey with us, that we may know how to journey and comfort others. Blessings be upon you, sister, as you continue on.
    Shauna Okongo

  7. Ashley Chandler says:

    Thank you for your willingness to open up your heart for others to learn. A year and a half ago I lost my brother unexpectantly. While our losses are different, the feelings are quite similar. I found myself being angry at times for what boils down to ignorance. So, I appreciate that you were willing to educate on this matter. I’m so sorry for your loss. I pray that God will continue to see you through this, although I know there will always be pain.

  8. Cassidy says:

    I’ve never been through the pain of a stillbirth, but I’ve miscarried 5 babies from 4 pregnancies and the loss I felt with each one has been mindnumbing. Some days are easier, others are not. I can’t imagine reaching that point where your so sure you’ll be coming home with a healthy baby only to have it not happen. Thank you so much for being willing to share your experience and give us a glimpse into this world. I pray that time brings you peace, although I know you will always remember and love Felicity and that no matter how much time passes there will always be things that cause you to grieve for her.

  9. Mom24 says:

    Thank you for your post. I will tuck it away in my heart, and unfortunately, I know I will need to draw from it someday with friends and/or family. I wish you peace for your future. I am so sorry for your loss.

  10. JanMary, N Ireland says:

    Thanks for sharing so openly and honestly. My close friend is grieving the loss of her son, and this has really helped me (so in turn I can be there more for her). I pray others too will be helped and blessed.
    Thanks and hugs from N Ireland.

  11. We are THAT family says:

    Thank your for sharing your heart. With each pregnancy and even miscarriage I had, I feared this: Your life. It’s an honor to read your words and share your loss and pain. Thank you for helping us to understand more deeply how to love and care. I pray strength and grace and wholeness for you.

  12. Nicole says:

    Thank you so much for opening up and sharing with us. I do not personally know anyone who has experienced stillbirth, but in the last week I’ve read about two on the internet, so I feel like God is somehow preparing me to understand this type of situation for some reason. I cannot even imagine your pain–you did a great job articulating the emotions. <>

  13. Benjamin says:

    Although this post has been helpful I would be interested on reading a ‘What I’d like for you to know’ from someone who has experienced miscarriages. Although they are similar there are still significant differences. My wife and I have had four miscarriages in the first six months of our marriage. I would be interested in hearing other’s experiences on that particular topic.

  14. Jackie Sue says:

    This was a beautiful post and enlightening. I have found that part of the struggle with loss is that I just wanted to feel “normal” again. Like myself. I had to come to terms that I would never be the same. I was forever changed. I could never go back to before. That was something I fought and finally accepted. I pray today that the Piper’s will feel the comfort of the Father who loves them and who becomes our Comfort in these impossible situations…We learn to know Him in a whole new way. The Comforter.

  15. Jake Meador says:

    Thanks for writing this Molly, I can’t imagine how difficult that must have been (and still is). I really appreciate all the things you’ve written about grief in the past year (here and at your blog), they’ve all been enormously helpful.

  16. Anissa@Hope4Peyton says:

    Your post is so openly honest and full of raw emotion that I think it would be impossible not to be touched by your words. Thank you for sharing them.
    I felt them in a couple of different way. Because I miscarried a baby, but in the first trimester, I felt like I was pressured never to grieve because “it wasn’t a complete baby” yet. In my heart, I’d loved and held and planned for that child. I did grieve and it was crippling.
    Also, in the past 6 months, I’ve been to 5 funerals for children. My daughter has cancer and we have lost so many friends to this disease. I am so familiar with all the things you describe about your friends. The not knowing if now is the moment you want to talk, the fear of causing more pain, it’s so hard to know what is the right thing to do. Your words have definitely helped me in feeling a little more prepared to be a friend to my friends who are grieving.
    Thank you, many prayers and our verse is Romans 12:12.

  17. Donnetta (momrn2) says:

    Thank you from the depths of my heart for not only sharing this experience with us, but the state of your heart in all of it.
    I can’t begin to tell you how helpful this information is to get a glimpse and begin to know and understand the journey of another in their experiences.
    Bless You!

  18. Leigh says:

    Thank you for this post.
    A very dear friend of mine delivered a stillborn son almost 8 years ago, and they still wrestle with it.
    She and her husband talk about him openly, and we all know of him. Your points about talking about your daughter and to ask specific questions are so very true.

  19. Lynnet says:

    Thank you so much for sharing. We have friends that have lost children through miscarriage, some early in the pregnancy and some later. I’ve never really known what to say, except “I’m sorry.” You really put to words what many of of feel – even in different types of losses, but have been unable to voice.

  20. Tammy says:

    Her story was like listening to my sister talk-she had stillborn twins, then 18 years later an adult child.Thanks for sharing.

  21. Keira says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I lost one of my triplets in February of this year, she was 14 months old. I felt as if your writing said so much of what I want to articulate but can’t. I maintain a blog, but when I write about Zoe it is very much about the pain and how much I miss her, and what I miss most about her. Your post helped so much to give me some thoughts on how to help my friends help me.
    Your part about grieving on demand…so true! So many people do ask how I am…to which I can answer simply or really get into it. The “how are you doing” is tough…if I answer that things are good today, am I not grieving enough? If I’m feeling okay, but the person asking seems to expect that I’m not…do I put on a long face and just shrug my shoulders? It is very difficult.
    Thank you for the clarity your words have given me.

  22. Jane Anne Owen says:

    Thank you for sharing your story and your heart. My heart breaks for you. Your loss brings me to tears. I just said a prayer for you. Thank you for being willing to open up your heart and life for us blog readers. You have touched each person that read this post and you are touching lives in the future for sure.

  23. Tiffany says:

    I myself have suffered the pain of a stillbirt. I didnt however know before the delivery. I had a routine doctors visit that morning. I hadnt been feeling well but it was chalked up to being 38 weeks preggo in 115 degree heat. At the doctor my bp was extremly high so he sent me to the hospital. Now I know that in that office he wasnt sure or not if he heard the babies heartbeat. He explained he thought he did and it was ever so faint so he just wanted to work fast. From the time I walked into Labor and Delivery to the time he was actually out was only 14 minutes. They worked fast. And then worked on him for another hour trying to recessitate. Years later I read the coroners report and he suspected that time of death was only 30 minutes prior to delivery. Thats what still gets me almost 12 years later….What could I have possibly done different. I still can’t accept that nothing is the answer. I was put completly to sleep for my emergency C section and was woke up being told… Tiffany wake up, your baby died. The most horrible thing ever. I have since wrote said doctor a nice letter, many years later, explaining how I hope he never ever wakes somoene eles up that way.
    Thank you for sharing.

  24. Susan T says:

    Thank you for this post. I lost my brother unexpectedly last September. While the losses are different, the feelings are very similar.
    I pray that you will continue to feel God’s comfort in your loss.

  25. citystreams says:

    My daughter was born Sept 17, 2007. I can’t even imagine what you must be going through. We would have been devastated if … I can’t even type it. Thank you so much for writing this post. I’m hopping over to your blog now, to look for more.

  26. rachel anderson says:

    Thank you for allowing your grief to be used to honor God and bless others. We lost our 18 month old in a tragic accident and your series which I read and linked to on my blog was a blessing to us and those we know. I am sorry for your loss.

  27. Carolina Mama says:

    Blessings to you and thank you for sharing. Three years ago this week, we were expecting out third child…which we lost. We’ve all felt it deeply here and appreciate your words particularly this week. God Bless.

  28. Laurie says:

    Gosh, thank you for your post. My sister was pregnant with twins and lost one at around 22 weeks, but the other is due in a few weeks. Ironically, I just blogged about it for the first time lastnight. It is so helpful to know a little more about how to act in the future months with her.
    God bless you and your family.

  29. Blessed says:

    Shannon – this is a an awesome series, I’m appreciating each and every post
    Molly – My heart simply aches for you. Thank you for sharing your story and for helping us know better how to relate to a friend who goes through this agony.

  30. Lisa says:

    Molly ~ we’ve walked your walk ~ and it does take years. We lost our baby boy 19 years ago and there is still a patched over place in the collective heart of our family ~ but esp in my own mother’s heart. It’s healed, but it’s there. You have so intelligently and sensitively expressed a difficult topic. I wish I’d had your wisdom copied out to refer people to when we suffered our keenest grief. It’s hard to have to explain to others how to tenderly handle your own heart in these crises…

  31. Jen says:

    Two things I learned from grief:
    1. I am going to feel this way until I don’t feel this way anymore.
    2. A moment is only a moment long.
    These are two of the tenets of my life.

  32. franticallysimple says:

    My dear young friend had Daniel one year ago next week. He was still born.
    She and her parents were recent immigrants and did not even know our burial customs.
    I dressed his tiny body for burrial.
    I planned and spoke at the funeral.
    It was incredibly difficult for me, but far, far more so for my friend.
    A few months later she left home for college. We speak often, sometimes of Daniel but usually not. However, he is always there as a silent bond between us.
    I feel privileged to have been a part of honoring him and helping to carry a small corner of her burden of grief.
    Thank you for giving me a place to talk about him today.

  33. adrianna says:

    I understand and share your grief and sorrow. It’s nearly 39 years ago that we lost our first born, a boy, while still in the hospital. That was after a completely normal full term pregnancy and delivery.
    It still hurts – yes, even this many years later. Sometimes I can talk about it easily; other times I can’t do so without tears.
    My advice to others is to give a hug while acknowledging “I know you will hurt for a long time.” That is honest, and so much better than – as you say – “the Hallmark card” comments.
    And yes, I too believe in God’s loving sovereignty, and it is always a comfort. But that does not lessen the profound hurt.

  34. Tonya says:

    Thanks for sharing your story. I experienced the stillbirth of my daughter 16 yrs ago. WOW!! She would be turning 16 in just a couple of weeks. Where does the time go. It does go on, and you do survive, the pain lessens but it never ever gets easier or goes away. It truly is a very special club to which we never recruit members or want to let any others join. We were chosen for a special purpose of which I have yet to figure out. She did inspire me to become a neonatal nurse of which I have been for the past 10 yrs. So I have gone on to save babies and to be there when other mothers have been inducted into our club. Thanks for sharing your story. Feel free to contact me–we should start a support email ring.

  35. Charlsie Swadley says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. It has been 2 years since our sweet little girl was stillborn. It is always comforting to read about others who have traveled the same road and to see that you really aren’t so different after all. I can so relate to so much of what you wrote. I will be visiting your blog now and reading about your own sweet girl!

  36. Hillary says:

    This is wonderful advice; thank you!
    The same thing happened to a family at my church a few years ago: a 39-week stillborn baby boy. Very few people in the church, including me, knew how to deal with this situation. The family eventually left for another church.
    It’s difficult to understand grief when you’ve never had to experience it personally. Your insights are very timely and very much appreciated.
    I am so sorry for your loss.

  37. Lisa T. says:

    I too like to talk about my son who was stillborn. To me, if I don’t talk about him, then it is like he never exsisted. The only person who got to know him was me. In order for others to realize he was real, I have to talk about him.

  38. Jaime says:

    Thank you for sharing your story with such honesty. I can’t imagine what you are going through, but I admire your strength. I am truly touched.

  39. CraftTeaLady says:

    Your words ring true to a grieving heart. Although our stories are light years apart, I lost my oldest son in Sept of 06. (He would be 22 this yr.)
    I can relate to all the feelings you explained in your grief. Every bit.
    Gina DeLude (aka CraftTeaLady)

  40. Lani from The Wooden Porch says:

    Molly, my heart goes out to you. I lost my first child, Samuel, due to a stillbirth. Every baby death pricks my heart when I hear of it. I’m so sorry you lost your sweet Felicity. When the day comes that I am reunited with Samuel, I’ll give your daughter a great big hug. My prayers are with you. Samuel died six years ago, and not a day goes by when I don’t think of him, but as the months and years pass, I’ve been able to remember him as part of the family and less and less without the painful stab in my heart. May you be blessed with the peace that surpasses understanding.

  41. Superchikk says:

    Thank you. I’m one of those people who’d just rather say nothing than to say the wrong thing. And I have a friend who lost a baby almost one year ago. I’m going to be sure to call her on the baby’s birthday.

  42. Crystal says:

    This was a wonderful post. Our son was stillborn on September 8, 2006. I was six months pregnant, and like you, I thought I had made it past the time to be worried about miscarriages or losing him. It is the hardest thing I’ve ever lived through and there are still echos of that grief with me today.
    I think one of the most important things for other people to understand is that these babies are really and truely people. I had a relationship with this person – although it was a short one, it doesn’t take away from the importance or the reality of it. I remember there was only one person who wrote his name on the card they sent to us after the funeral. It really touched me because I felt like they understood that this was my child. Not just some abstract “baby”.
    Thanks for sharing this – I hope that the more people are able to talk about this, the more it will help others who have to suffer through it.

  43. Kelly @ Love Well says:

    I don’t know if it’s painful to share your story again and again, Molly. But please know — you are making a difference. So many people are touched by Felicity’s life and your faith. May God bless your aching heart, even today.

  44. Cara says:

    Molly, I haven’t lost a child but I have lost my mother (I’m 32, she was 53 and my best friend–we lost the fight against breast cancer, but she’s in heaven now so ultimately she won). It was 10 months ago. I read this post and what you said fit me almost word-for-word. I think I’m going to send some people over here to read this! I really appreciate you sharing your heart like this, and being able to phrase it so well and so clearly. I related to nearly everything you said, down to ordering pizza because I just couldn’t get my act together enough to cook. I’ll pray for you. : )

  45. Kristenkj says:

    This is great information. I have a friend who recently lost her neice at age 7, and though it was not her child, she adored her. It was terribly difficult for her, and I suspect still is. It has been only a little over two months. I am glad to know this, and hopefully I can be some comfort to her. Anything I can do to help…

  46. Candace says:

    I wish I had this insight about 3 years ago. My cousins wife and I were due about 3 days apart. At their 20 week ultra sound they found out that there were major issues and the baby wouldn’t survive. She carried him to term and got to hold him for 36 minutes before he passed. I never knew/now what to say to her. I always worry that Anna is a reminder of what she is missing out on.
    We have talked on occassion and I always feel awkard and uncomfortable. I never know how much to talk about and what she would want to talk about.
    So thank you for sharing your story. Maybe now I can talk to her and not be so icky with it. It has been 3 years and I know that she still feels his loss. She is due with her 3rd child just a few weeks after Vaughn’s birthday. I am sure that will be tough for her as well.

  47. Bonnie says:

    Thank you. I have had 5 pregnancies, and I have two beautiful children. I had 12-week miscarriages before and after the birth of my son Joshua, then a daughter, Arianna, and last December our son Michael was stillborn at 5 months. You have articulated many things that I still struggle with, including the “grief on demand” and “how do I answer that question.” I think about Michael every day of my life, and I probably always will. That does not mean that every day is horrible or sad, but it does mean that he’s never far from my thoughts.
    Thanks for helping me articulate some of the issues of loss.

  48. Suzanne Eller (Suzie) says:

    I LOVE these posts as they open a window in the hearts and lives of other women. My son-in-law’s brother gave birth to a child two years ago and he lived only for moments. I think that people underestimated the length of time that this mom and dad needed to grieve. This gives me the tools I need to be a friend to this young family. Thank you.

  49. D'Anna says:

    Thank you so much for writing!
    I had a miscarriage in Feb this year. Sometimes, even now, out of the blue, something will remind me of our child and I’ll cry and cry.
    It is such a comfort for me to know that I will see my child in Heaven some day! How thankful I am to God for this Faith!
    You have blessed so many people through this blog – may God richly bless you in return!

  50. Dawn says:

    I also had a stillborn baby. She was born in November at 7 months. My story is similar to yours. I realized I hadn’t felt movement for a while so we went to the hospital for reassurance. But, there was none. I delivered our little girl, Destiny Dawn, the next day. (http://ackroydhouse.blogspot.com/2007/11/destiny-dawn-ackroyd.html)
    My grief is similar to yours. I have two older children and being able to pour myself into them has been a blessing.
    I have a friend that was due at the same time I was. I find myself avoiding them because I can’t help but look at their little girl and think about mine.
    The hard part for me is that people just move on…and that people are uncomfortable talking about her. I don’t feel ready to move on…but then again, know that life does go on.
    My life has been forever changed by this experience. When my older children are away I tend to worry about them a little more.
    I feel a need for a little more kindness, a little more love, and a need to slow down and enjoy people more.

  51. Jenni says:

    I walked through the grief of a stillborn baby with a dear friend of mine, and it was the hardest thing I have ever been through. If it was that hard for me, I cannot imagine being the one stricken personally. Simply cannot imagine.
    Thank you so much for sharing, Molly.

  52. Tanager says:

    I lost a 2-month-old baby to SIDS. The pain and grief are horrendous, and since I found her dead, Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome also factors in.
    You are right about all the emotions involved, but I also think that we, as grievers, need to extend grace to those who are sticking their necks out to reach out. We need to put ourselves in their shoes, too and realize that they love us so much they are taking a risk to comfort us. They don’t know whether they will be saying the right thing or the wrong thing, whether this is a time you want them to talk about it or don’t want them to talk about it, whether a verse would be just the thing (as it was for me a few times) or not.
    I always try to realize the intent and sometimes have to ignore the content. When I know someone is hurting for me and really loves me, I can overlook their lack of smoothness and finesse.

  53. Mrs. Querido says:

    Thank you for sharing. I miscarried before our third child. My husband didn’t know what to say or do. Friends said all the wrong things…the “Hallmark Answers” as you so masterfully put it.
    I won’t ever forget the baby or the day I found out there was no one in my womb.
    Thank you for helping me through yet another step in the grief process…understanding.

  54. shawnda says:

    Molly is a precious friend of mine. I’m so thankful you shared her story here – I know you are a well read blog, and it will touch many!! Blessings!

  55. Mozi Esme's Mommy says:

    This is every mother’s worst nightmare – and it’s so hard to know how to relate to someone who’s gone through it – wanting to be empathetic while secretly thanking God that it didn’t happen to me.
    Thanks for sharing your story – I hope it helps those of us who haven’t been through it to be better friends to those who have.

  56. Carrie says:

    OH wow…your statement “No one gets to 39 weeks and thinks they aren’t taking home a baby” is so true…that would be very difficult. Something I learned that I now share with people who are grieving or going through a time where they need God’s comfort more than ever is that they cannot see the forest for the trees. You are trying to do your day to day stuff…keeping your house organized…keeping yourself showered and out of bed…etc. Let yourself be surrounded with people who can be reminders to go to God. Even if for a period of time they are the ones running to God FOR you…that’s ok because God always knows where we are in our walk. That’s why it’s a “walk” we are constantly moving forward and it’s a steady pace that is not hurried.
    I pray that you continue to heal, and that continue to see this as an opportunity to touch other women’s lives instead of an opportunity to shake your fist at God and bury your head under your pillow. I don’t even *know* you but I’m going to chase your link and *hug* you 😉

  57. Polka Dot Mommy says:

    For most of us, the fear of losing a child is stronger than any other fear. I carried that fear through my pregnancies, even though I had no “reason” to fear except that of knowing what COULD happen. There is definitely no timetable on grieving… my Aunt and Uncle still grieve almost 22 years later for my cousin who lived on Earth for 3 days. We remember him still by sending cards on his Birthday and talking about him… although with us for only the span of a pregnancy + three days… he was and is very special to our entire family. Thank you for putting your grief into words, so that we might know better how to handle the death of an infant. Time does ease the grief, but it will never let you forget your precious little girl.

  58. Bailey's Leaf says:

    I am so sorry for your loss, though I know the road you walk all too well. It does get better, but it does take time. Most people don’t understand, and I always felt like people forgot Bailey. 5 years later, I still talk about her. Though I didn’t get to know her little personality or know if she had my curly hair or my husband’s blue eyes, I/we miss her terribly.
    Take time, my friend. Process it for as long as you need. There will be good days. There will be better days. There will be bad days. Just know that in time, the good days will eventually out number the bad. Until and even through then, feel our love.

  59. Jai says:

    I wholeheartedly agree on EVERYTHING you said. I still talk about my baby girl and when the subject comes up, I mention that I have 4 children, not just the three you can see.
    It’s been 5 years and sometimes just as hard.
    Thank you for putting this together.
    Blessings upon you ..

  60. Kathy Goertzen says:

    My husband and I lost our son over 5 years ago now… He was one of triplets and he was born at 30 weeks gestation and was 1lb and 4oz. He lived for 3 months. People definitely didn’t know how to respond and what to say. A lot of people just started calling our two surviving boys “twins” and would never talk about Zachary. I am so thankful for the people in my life who will talk to me about him… They are truly friends! Thanks so much for sharing your story and how you have felt… And how others can help those of us who have to go through this pain!

  61. Sumi says:

    Thanks again Molly for sharing so candidly. I have found your insights a great help and also validation to me that I am as ‘normal’ as one can be when walking this road. 🙂
    I have had a struggle just in the past week with the expectations of people who believe that if I just simply release my little girl to Jesus everything will be fine and complete healing will be mine.
    It is not that simple and it puts me in a bit of a straightjacket. I have released her as much as I know how…but the void she has left in my life remains! It is like having an arm cut off.
    I think posts like yours really help people who have not ‘been there’ to understand grief better.
    May Jesus bless you and hold you close!

  62. Shannon says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this. A friend of mine lost one of her twins at birth and I often wonder if I should ask about the baby that didn’t make it or say nothing. I feel uncomfortable, with my two healthy twin boys, sometimes around her. I don’t want to make her sad.

  63. Marla Taviano says:

    Oh, Molly. My heart just breaks for you. I found out about Felicity (the day after she died, I think) from Randy Alcorn’s blog and read what your dad-in-law wrote about her. I just cried and cried.
    When I was growing up, one of my best friends looooved the name Felicity. She has a 1-year-old son now and is hoping for a Felicity someday.
    Loving you and praying for you from Ohio!

  64. Jenny says:

    Thanks for being couragious enough to share your heartfelt story and letting us all get a small glimpse of your enormous pain. I know there’s probably nothing me, a stranger over the internet, could possibly say to heel even a morsle of the pain you and your family are experiencing right now. But I will say this, May God hold you in the palms of his hands and comfort you with his everlasting love.

  65. ter says:

    I lost my first/only child at 26 weeks gestation. I am very sorry for your loss. I often post about her in my blog, and espeically right now as her 3rd birthday approaches next week.

  66. Stephanie says:

    Thank you so much for finding such a great way to express such a poignant milestone in your life. I experienced “vanishing twin,” losing one of our two children at 16 weeks. I am so glad you mentioned the “Hallmark” phrases, I think that those were the ones that hurt the most. Thank you for writing this and teaching me how to be a better, more compassionate friend. I promise Felicity will not be forgotten, I will remember to say a prayer for her every September 22nd since she shares a birthday with my son. Best wishes and comfort to you!

  67. Kimberly says:

    Thank you for sharing this.
    I had a miscarriage last week at 18 weeks along. I know it is not the same as your situation, but the pain, oh the pain. It’s good not to feel so alone.

  68. Terri says:

    Twelve years ago this coming November, my first daughter was born. She died a few days later from multiple heart defects that weren’t apparent until she was born.
    Reading your post brought back memories of dealing with my grief in the months following. I agree with everything you’ve said here. I felt exactly the same way. It’s not easy for you or those around you. Twelve years later, time has healed to some degree, but there is and always will be a void that any number of children could never fill.

  69. Shane says:

    Thank you. Thank you for enlightening me. I have been in the situation of not knowing what to say. It’s terribly uncomfortable and awkward, as you know. I will remember your thoughts and use your suggestions if the need arises again (which, of course, I hope it never does). May each of your 22nd’s get easier to get through. 🙂

  70. Christina says:

    This was beautiful. I lost my son when he was five days old. I want to talk about him, but no one else wants to. If I bring him up, they just look uncomfortable and like they would rather be somewhere else.

  71. Kim says:

    Thanks for writing this. Even after many, many miscarriages, I still don’t always know how to comfort other people. Everyone grieves so differently, and it’s good to hear different people’s experiences and what is comforting and what isn’t.
    It’s been over 12 years since my first miscarriage and there are still moments when the sadness will come seemingly out of nowhere. Thankfully, God in His grace, mellows the pain over the years and brings incredible growth and strength through the suffering. On this side of it, many years later, I am finally able to thank Him for all the pain because it has been the single greatest factor in spurring me toward maturity in Christ.

  72. Megan says:

    Thank you for writing this. I just had a miscarriage last week (has it only been a week???) and I am stunned at the incredible attachment that can develop in such a short time. Since it was so early on though, I feel so alone in my grief. We hadn’t even told anyone we were pregnant yet. When we do tell people though, I will be sure to pass on this post. Thank you again.

  73. Missus Wookie says:

    Thank you for your honesty Molly, I’ve never experienced a still birth but have had two confirmed miscarriages. But have friends that have lost a child either at birth or later it is so hard to know where they are in their grieving process.
    You are so correct about the pain and grief. It isn’t linear there are days when the pain is fresh and current and others where it is more muted.
    I’m grateful that the fog is lifting for you and your family and hope that this post and the many comments thanking you for it helps to ease some of the pain.

  74. French Knots says:

    Thank you for sharing your feelings and experience with us. I had a miscarrige a few weeks ago at 11 weeks and, whilst very different to a stillbirth, you have brought me some comfort in knowing that the things I’m feeling are part of my grief.
    I hope your family and friends continue to support you and remember Felicity with you.

  75. Yvette says:

    My best friend just had the anniversary of the stillborn birth of her daughter, Victoria Rose. We were speaking of it just this past Saturday. She was telling me how she felt now and how it felt just like it did 20 years ago when it happened. As she described the events, I started to cry. I felt the emotion, the pain, the grief she still carries. She has survived, she just watched her 19 year old son graduate from high school. As he leaves for college at the end of this summer, I have no doubt that her heart will break in a different way. I feel like there is no getting over a loss of that magnitude and maybe we shouldn’t. Maybe all we can do is embrace the cirle of life and our place in it. Peace to you.

  76. Yvette says:

    My best friend just had the anniversary of the stillborn birth of her daughter, Victoria Rose. We were speaking of it just this past Saturday. She was telling me how she felt now and how it felt just like it did 20 years ago when it happened. As she described the events, I started to cry. I felt the emotion, the pain, the grief she still carries. She has survived, she just watched her 19 year old son graduate from high school. As he leaves for college at the end of this summer, I have no doubt that her heart will break in a different way. I feel like there is no getting over a loss of that magnitude and maybe we shouldn’t. Maybe all we can do is embrace the cirle of life and our place in it. Peace to you.

  77. Adventures In Babywearing says:

    Oh my goodness this is heartbreaking but so helpful, wow, so amazingly helpful. We want to know the right things to do or say to be exactly the right friend in situations like this, and how we can lift the hurting up and not make them feel worse or minimize what we possibly could never imagine unless we’ve been through it, too. Thank you so much for sharing your heart.

  78. Amy says:

    Thank you for sharing this with us. I think it will help many people with friends in their lives who they didn’t know previously what to say or do in this situation. I’m thankful I was able to hear it.

  79. Laura says:

    I totally agree that the loss of a child is one of the most traumatic experiences, one that you will never completely get over. How can you, really? I lost a little girl a bit earlier in my pregnancy than you, but I know…I do.
    It’s been six years, but I still get reminders whenever I hear a mom call, “Madelyn!” at the playground. I think it changed the way I mother, changed me, and that’s ok, because I don’t want to forget her.
    The other good thing is being able to understand what our friends and sisters are going through: when my sister had two miscarriages, she called me because I KNEW, when other people just didn’t get it, I did.
    Thanks for posting something I’ve never really knew how to say, and just know that years later, life can be happy and remember your little one at the same time.

  80. Mel says:

    I would be teh one who doesn’t chance anything being 9mos along… In the last 5 years we’ve been pregnant at least 10 times, we’ve had one stillbirth, also a little girl.
    Reading your words brought such freshness back- I’m up tonight because I have a sense of dread… and reading what you wrote, I want my friends to read it as well. They don’t know how to handle me– heck, sometimes neither do I. 🙂
    I wish you well.

  81. Raquel says:

    oh my i so “understand” your post, my son died at 3 months old and i have thought most of there things myself!i still fel weird some days, and i wish people would bring our baby boy up more than they do. one thing i can say is us americans do not deal well with death like other countries do, we are expected to mourn quickly and get over it.

  82. Elena says:

    This would be useful in a little booklet to that grieving parents could hand out, or hospitals and funeral homes could give. Very insightful and helpful!

  83. Lisa says:

    Thank you for your beautiful post!
    In 1962 my Mom carried twins–one of which was me. The other died well before we were born. She was told only to “focus on the one who lived and FORGET the other.” How you are living is so much saner and healtier. Another friend’s mom went thru the same experience at her birth in ’59. Her mother “held it together” until about age 50 then had a total breakdown from the “conspiracy of silence.” Keep talking about Felicity and remembering her.

  84. Lisa says:

    Thank you for your beautiful post!
    In 1962 my Mom carried twins–one of which was me. The other died well before we were born. She was told only to “focus on the one who lived and FORGET the other.” How you are living is so much saner and healtier. Another friend’s mom went thru the same experience at her birth in ’59. Her mother “held it together” until about age 50 then had a total breakdown from the “conspiracy of silence.” Keep talking about Felicity and remembering her.

  85. Heather says:

    thank you so much for sharing such a difficult time with us, I have never lost a child but my son was delivered last August by emergency Csection- we had gone to the hospital for normal delivery and within 20 minutes they decided to do the csection- the cord was wrapped around his neck and every time I had a contraction it cut off his breathing- I cannot imagine what you went through and hope that time starts to heal your heart.

  86. Cathy | Mommy Motivation says:

    What can we say? I deeply appreciate your sharing this with me. I feel so honored that you would open up like this.
    I pray that you enjoy the happy moments, and have the strength to get through the sad ones. May God just pour out his blessings on you, especially when you don’t feel it.

  87. Lynette says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story and your feelings. You have touched my heart. Thank you for helping me know how have a better understanding of what to do or not to do in the future. Bless you and your family.

  88. Rebecca says:

    Thank you, Molly, for sharing this. I found reading it so helpful.
    I will stop by your blog soon. I look forward to learning more about Felicity, and about Orison, and about Abraham, and about you. 🙂

  89. danielle's mommy says:

    Thank you for sharing your story, We lost our first and only child, danielle to stillbirth, 7 hours later, my dad lost his battle with cancer, we placed her in the casket with my dad, his arms around her and now they are together. so many times, i wish people would know the right things to say, i know they mean well, but its really hard for me, its been 5 months now, pain is the same, still cry as much but God is my rock and i wont move!!…….angie

  90. Catriona says:

    Hi, thanks for this. Our first and only child, Eva Grace, died on May 26th this year at 15 weeks old. I have been looking for some Christian support, and it does help to read the experiences of others (even though it makes me cry so much to think of all of the women here with their grief). I have no doubt that Eva is perfectly restored in heaven, and that her life has really brought Him glory in ways we don’t fully understand. I just miss her and have this aching void in my life. Each morning I pray that I can serve God in an honourable way during that day, and trust that He will give the strength we need. God is good, I have no doubt; but the pain is still so strong. I realise that faith and pain are not opposites. You can trust God 100%, and still feel pain 100% too.

  91. Jill says:

    You told my heart’s story in your writings.
    My husband and I had tried to have a child for years with no success and no medical excuse as to why. We had basically given up and accepted we would simply never have a baby. But after my husband served an 18 month tour in Iraq we were in for a shock…a bit more than two months after he came home – we were pregnant!
    What a blessing it was to carry her and feel her grow for those seven months.
    Due to circumstances we never got to see our angel, but I was told she had a sweet little round face and lots of dark hair like her mommy.
    Not seeing or holding her was by far the worst part of all of this for me. I feel robbed. I feel she was robbed. She deserved to be held.
    Liberty Madison Spears was such a blessing to us. She’s changed my life. She’s shown me what it is to REALLY love. I’m so grateful to be her mother even though I have to be without her physically.
    Thank you for sharing,

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