Sunday, November 4, 2018

Keeping a Soft Heart After Child Loss

Yesterday I gave the news that we'd miscarried our baby. Today I want to talk a little more about that. My history in a nutshell: I became pregnant with my first child at 19 and my last child at 33. Before this recent baby, I birthed nine children in 13 years. To say the least, infertility was not a word I associated with.

After my 2012 baby, we figured it would be business as usual. We packed up the clothes and baby paraphernalia and waited. Waited. Still waited.

After a year, I began to panic. Wait a minute! I'm the girl who has a baby every. single. year. Where's the baby?

After two years, depression began to creep in. What is my purpose now???

After three years, anger and resentment. I can't handle baby showers. Baby dedications. Baby anything. It's not fair.

After four years, I stuck a toe out in the water. Perhaps God's actually in control of this?

And for the last year, I'd been working on being settled with this new me. I'd given away most of the baby stuff---I even held an eight month old, awkwardly, as a friend needed to make a phone call. I'd begun to think about my health more, the trim and strong figure that was lost long ago, the other directions God was taking me.

Then, out of nowhere, I was pregnant again.

Joy! Rapture! Total elation! That's what I showed on the outside. On the inside, I knew. My over 40 friends knew. I probably wasn't going to get to keep this baby. For me, it had little to do with statistics (I turned 39 last week). I just knew. The Lord gave. The Lord took away. Blessed be his name in all circumstances.

The decision to announce my high risk pregnancy so early was not made lightly. There are several risks for someone my age and weight. I wasn't blind to them. No, the decision to announce, knowing that I'd likely be logging back on to announce our disappointment later, was made with eyes wide open.

For two weeks, we celebrated God's miracle of life. For two weeks, our family made plans and dreamed about life with a new baby.

For two weeks, Brenna was a big sister and my teens imagined their new sibling playing toys with its future nieces and nephews.

For two weeks we had hope. Today we still have hope.

Jamie and I chose to announce this young life so early because it was a life. Its life has value and purpose and we are honored to have celebrated.

And we are honored to mourn.

Never be afraid to pick a flower, even though you know it will wither. My mom has said this to me my whole life. The older I get, the more I truly get this.

When we lose someone precious, when a dream and a prayer dies, our first reaction is often to pull away from everything good around us. To isolate---so we don't have to deal with the pain in public. That's what I did the first time I lost a child. It took me ten years to come out of that isolation. That's a long time, sister.

I'm fighting that urge to isolate with every inch of my being. Just like last time, I have a husband and kids who not only need me, but want me to be there for them...and they, in turn, want to help me heal. I have friends who want to be there for us during this time. I have work to do, ministry to give, encouragement to spread, hope to shine out. As much as I want to scream at the top of my lungs, break things, break people, break me---more of me wants to give, serve, love, be vulnerable, and let God use this.

This doesn't make the pain lessen so much as it redirects my motivation. God will use all things for his good purposes if we'll release them to him. I have to walk through the pain either way---might as well be a witness on the way.

When life stuff hits, I don't think the answer is to turn away, crouch low, and wait for it to blow over. That didn't work so well for me in the past. This time, I think I'll try grabbing God's hand, and turning to face it---head up, eyes wide, arms wide, heart open.


  1. "Don't be afraid to pick a flower even though you know it will wither" I love this! I too chose to announce high risk pregnancies in my 40s, knowing I most likely wouldn't hold the baby in this world. We made the decision to celebrate life, no matter how brief, with no regrets. I will also tell you that my last two babies were born to me in my 40s. The Lord gives. The Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Thank you Sarah for being vulnerable enough to share your story. Much love to you and your family as you grieve this loss.

  2. Your attitude and trust in the Lord will get you through this!

  3. I love your heart through all of this, Sarah. So thankful for your desire to love and serve God no matter what. You are dying to yourself in a beautiful way. I've noticed that this time of the year, some trees just turn a yucky brown and then wither and fall. Others go out in glory, turning brilliant shades of yellow and red, so that even while they're dying, they're still turning hearts and eyes to God in thankful praise. That's how I see you right now. You're dying to yourself: your own desires, plans, and wishes, but you're doing it in beautiful way that turns everyone's hearts and minds back to Christ! Thank you, Sister.

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  5. Sorry about messing up that last comment! I wanted to say that I appreciate this post very much. It has encouraged me. I am sorry for this great loss. Your faith and trust in the Lord is precious, just as every life is precious.

  6. Sarah, I appreciate what your mom said about picking flowers. Please know I will be praying for the Lord to get you through this. Sending you hugs!

  7. Just read your sad news.
    I just want to give you the biggest hug ever.
    Love to you,


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Mrs. Sarah Coller

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