The following is a guest blog post. Having had four miscarriages, I can relate to the pain of Christine’s loss. Having never delivered a child that was stillborn, however, my heart goes out to her (and to everyone!) who has suffered such an unthinkable heartbreak.
This is just a part of Christine’s story—her story, and that of her blessed and beautiful Baby Jacob.
The excitement, the anticipation, morning sickness, ob appointments, seeing the first heart beat, feeling the kicks of the little one, watching your belly grow, the excitement building, finding out if you are to have a boy or a girl, and then…planning the funeral.
When a mother finds out that the baby she has been carrying in her womb has died or is terminally ill it is one of the hardest things for a pregnant mother to experience.
You feel so alone. Your husband loves you and the baby, but he hasn’t felt the baby every day for the last several months–only you have. He didn’t have the morning sickness. Your milk comes in, but there is no baby to feed your precious milk to.
Friends don’t know what to say so they don’t say anything at all. They don’t know what to do for you, so they don’t do anything–or maybe just drop a meal off and then disappear before having to talk.
Unfortunately this is the plight of many woman who have a still birth. And unfortunately, the number of still births is actually higher than most people realize–It is just not talked about in every day conversation.
My name is Christine Henderson. I am the mother of six living children and five in heaven. Two of those five were still births, the other three miscarriages. Many of the feelings a woman goes through for a miscarriage are the same as with a still birth. However, the intensity of the feelings of a mother who has had a still birth are much more intense. She has carried the baby for as many as nine months and then has had her precious little one die.
How does a grieving mother cope? What things can she do to validate that she is a mother even though her baby is in heaven? What can you do as a friend, relative or spouse to support this mother?
I have put together a presentation called “Turning Grief Inside Out”. In this talk I share my experiences as a pregnant mother of a terminally ill baby (found out at 24 weeks she was terminally ill and she died inutero at 27 weeks) and also of a surprise still birth of my son at 32 weeks. I share what things I learned so that I could continue to function even though it was almost too hard to breathe.
I am not a therapist or a doctor, just a mother who has been through this terrible experience twice. I know what it feels like to watch all your dreams disappear. I know what it’s like to have to take those baby clothes out of the dresser and put them back up in the attic that just a few weeks before you washed and got ready for your new baby.
Instead of picking out the going home from the hospital outfit, you are picking out your child’s burial outfit.
I know what things that were done by friends, family and my husband that were supportive. What things I wish others knew. How my faith was able to carry me through these two crisis. This is an important talk because one NEVER knows when she may be faced with carrying this cross herself or when someone close to you may have to carry it. It is so important that people learn how to comfort a grieving mother and yet this is a topic rarely talked about.
This presentation usually lasts about an hour, but can go much longer. My actual talk is about thirty minutes. But afterwards I open it up for discussion and this is so important. Women attending this talk are given the chance to tell their stories, ask questions, and support each other. Husbands that attend learn how to help their wife or family member who is grieving and can share their experiences also. The husband grieves too when their baby dies.
I do NOT charge for this presentation and I will travel to give it. All I ask is for my expenses to be covered (travel/food/lodging and I am happy to stay in someone’s home too). If possible, I would ask for a free will donation and the opportunity to sell my rag dolls and books before/after the presentation. (To see my stuff go to my website www.JacobsToyBoxandBooks.com)
If you belong to a mother’s group, or are having a conference, please consider me as a presenter. You may contact me to schedule a date or to ask further questions @