Sep 19, 2014

I'm Asking for the Stories

Next month is October. It's the month for Halloween and fall festivals and cool weather and pumpkin everything. But October is also Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.

Before last December, I'll be honest, I didn't even know there was a month for such a thing. After Hannah I'm aware of much more.

October is not so much a month for fundraising or donating, it's simply about awareness. I'll have more information for you once October rolls around, but today I'd like to put out a call for your stories.

I gained so very much by sharing Hannah's story. My sweet girl has a story and it's not "I had a stillbirth" or "well, we were pregnant once before." In my world, and in the real world, she has a story to be shared.

Turns out that many, many mothers without their babies never tell their stories. For some it's because keeping their story close to their heart is what they want most. I too understand that. There are things about Hannah that only I will ever know and that's special to me. But there are also mothers who were told they could never speak of their babies, or who thought that it would hurt too much, or who just never had anyone to listen.

For me I was so very lucky because Hannah wasn't something I could just pretend was never there. It wasn't like we could hide the fact that I was 39 weeks pregnant and pretend nothing happened. So my family and friends and community, they listened.

I had this blog where so many had been following our lives and it felt like the perfect place to share Hannah's story. But maybe you weren't so far along in your pregnancy that anyone even knew, or maybe you wrote down your story but had no where to share it, no one to listen. Or maybe your heart was just too fragile, but maybe now is the time.

Well, I'm listening.

I would love to hear your story and I would love the privilege of sharing it here during the month of October.

So if you're a mother who has lost a pregnancy or an infant and has survived and lived to tell the tale, take time these next few weeks to pray and decide if you'd like your story to be told here.

If you're someone who has been affected by pregnancy or infant loss even if you're not the mother, you have a story to tell too. I won't pretend like fathers, uncles, aunts, grandparents and friends aren't affected when a baby dies. We all lose someone.

So here are my instructions, or suggestions, take them with a grain of salt. But for those of you out there thinking "I'm not a writer" know that you can make it very simple. I just want the world to know that there are stories to be told. And I'd love the opportunity to offer a place for them to be shared.

Your story can be about your son or daughter. It can be about the days you had with them or the day that you lost them. It can be about your birth or about the days that followed. It can even be a story about you, how your life has been changed since that day whether it be two months, five years, or even decades since you lost a baby that you loved so dearly.

1. Spend some time praying, thinking, and writing down your words, oh the healing that writing brought to my heart. I won't promise it will be easy, you'll probably cry, but I hope you will smile when it's all said and done.

2. Think about these prompts as you write if you need:
Her/his name was ______ and he was ______ (beautiful, perfect, wonderful, etc.). 
He/she was our first/second/third and when we found out we were expecting we ________. 
It makes my heart smile when I remember when _______. 
Since the day we lost him/her I have learned ________ .
Even in pain and suffering, the Lord has taught me ________. 
I am grateful for our son/daughter because ________. 
If there was one thing I could tell you about him/her is it ________.
It's been _______ months/years, and I still ________. 
It's been _______ months/year, and I'm thankful for ________.

3. Know that depending on length and number of submissions that I can't promise I'll share all the stories. I will try my very best, and I will surely let you know if there is a part of your story that I need to remove for any reason. I know the story of your baby is sometimes all you have left, so I'll surely value every single word.

4. Send your story to me at with the subject line "My Story" and make sure to let me know if you would like your name to be published or if you would like to remain anonymous for any reason.

My goal is to make sure someone gets to hear your story. Even if your baby never had a name, that you would have a voice. That others would be able to know and be aware of what happens to so many families every day. That we as a culture would better understand pregnancy and infant loss and know, even in small ways, how to love someone who's been through it.

I still don't have the right words, but I'll be working on them for October. Even if you've only got a few words, consider sharing them. I bet they're incredibly beautiful.

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