When We Lose A Baby


Sara DShortly after we buried our baby, Annie, I turned thirty. She was six months old when we discovered she had a massive brain tumor.  She died just four days later. The morning of my birthday I was with a group of women who didn’t know our circumstances of the past months, but they somehow found out it was my birthday.  As they were saying all the things that acquaintances say to one another on birthdays, one older lady reminisced, “Oh those were the best years of my life.  I was knee deep in babies then.”

I felt like I had been punched in the gut.  Because for me, the terrifying, overwhelming grief I felt at that point was so new, so raw that I felt like I was drowning.  Along with the death of Annie was the death of what I had imagined my life would be like– the happy wife and mother of three. It had been so perfect. But instead of baby-proofing the house, I found myself buying depressing cemetery flowers and collecting books on death.

Sarah D Baby

“I am dying from my grief; my years are shortened by sadness. Misery has drained my strength; I am wasting away from within. But I am trusting you, O Lord, saying ‘You are my God!’ My future is in your hands.”  Psalm 31:10, 14-15

A few months later, when we took our two oldest kids in for their annual checkups, our dear doctor took our hands and prayed for us.  He told us that the human brain will only process what it can, as it can.  Eventually our mind-numbing tragedy would become clearer.  In other words, the fog would lift.

The mound of dirt at Annie’s grave gradually sunk and as spring came, so did the new grass.  The changing of seasons meant that time was marching by without her and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it.

Those days, as hard as they were, were also some of my most precious days.  I clung to the words of the Bible, because in those pages I found others who had suffered.  I found hope and healing.  I saw Jesus in a new way– as a Savior who knew suffering and hurt intimately.  And as I grasped at those truths, even if it was only a few words a day, Jesus enveloped me and gave me peace.  The unimportant things in life were stripped away from me and were strangely hard to see.  In my deepest pain, I was the most sure of who I was.

When you lose a baby, or overcome what seems insurmountable, others will tell you that you are strong, that they could never live the reality that you’re living.  Only you know that the total opposite is true and most days feel like you are dangling from a twenty story building, sure that you’ll never make it through alive.

“When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs, where pools of blessing collect after the rains!” Psalm 84:6

I nestled into that fog of grief, wrapped it around me and breathed it in deeply.  I went to bed at night, simply relieved that I was one day closer to heaven. My sadness scared me and my grief was overwhelming, but in the midst of it all, I had Jesus.  And I knew that He was enough and I would be ok.

Today, five years later, grief is like a familiar friend.  I can’t imagine my life without it, really. The work of grief is long and painful and it often comes in waves.  Just when I think I’m making progress, another memory washes ashore and I’m undone again.  But the work of grief is also full of redemption.  Jesus brings a beauty to our brokenness that is unexplainable.

Nancy Guthrie says, “To be blessed doesn’t mean that you are untroubled, healthy, admired, or prosperous.  It means that all is well between you and God, that you are deeply secure and profoundly content in God even though you may be weeping over the pain of a sick body, a deteriorating mind, a rebellious spirit, or a dysfunctional relationship.  The blessing is not that He gives us what we want but that He gives us Himself, especially in our painful places.” (One Year Book of Hope, p. 331, italics mine)

God redeems our pain in a way that no one else can.  He takes the broken parts of our story and breathes hope into them.  Grief means a new set of gifts, if we are willing to open our hearts and accept them.  The progress may seem slow or even backward.  It will look different for you than it does for me – than it does for the next person.  But when you feel that sacred fog beginning to lift, just let go and fall into the arms of Jesus.  Watch how He takes your weeping and turns it into refreshing springs.

And may you fight for redemption of your pain so that you can say, “God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.” (Genesis 41:52)

Sara D family

You can find out more about Sarah Damaska on her blog Peanut Butter Jam (psdamaska.blogspot.com), where she writes about her faith, grieving and the everyday.

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36 thoughts on “When We Lose A Baby

  1. Dearest Sarah,

    I am so very sorry for the loss of your precious daughter. Reading your story moved me to tears. I think it is beautiful to read how God met you in your grief, and gave you the strength to get through each day. I loved how you said, “Jesus brings a beauty to our brokenness that is unexplainable”. Although my circumstances are different, I understand what you mean. I have seen God work through my suffering, and am beginning to see how He is redeeming my brokenness for good. He truly is an amazing Father! It is wonderful to see you sharing your story, and the lessons you have learned, with others who have suffered as you have. You are blessing so many through your faithfulness.

    Blessings and hugs,
    Kamea

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my heart breaks for you and with you. The question that punched me I the gut was how many children do you have? I have 2. Matt in South Lousiana and Kyle in Heaven, dancing with Jesus.

    Hugs from my heart

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Susan. It’s hard to answer the question of how many children we have… sometimes I’m brave and sometimes I’m not. 🙂 It depends on the situation. Losing a child is the “trump card” and has the power to either break down walls in a conversation … or bring an awkwardness that we don’t know what to do with. I usually pray for wisdom, take a deep breath, and hope I do what glorifies God (It’s much easier to write about than to talk about!!)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, this gave me chills. This is so beautiful, yet emotionally-driven at the same time. Thank you for sharing this. My parents lost my little brother at just two weeks shy of his first birthday. I remember the range of emotions they went through. I was four at the time. I remember my mom putting a broom through the garage wall out of anger, and she is a woman of immense faith. I remember it seeming like an incredible milestone to get our oldest daughter to her first birthday. Thank you, thank you for sharing this. My favorite words: “God redeems our pain in a way that no one else can.” Prayers are with you, beautiful soul!
    ~Liz (www.simplycomplexmom.com)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Liz. My older kiddos were two and four when Annie died and I am often aware that what we went through will be their earliest memories…. which brings me to tears every time I think of it. We talk and talk and talk about our emotions and memories. I so often pray that Annie’s life and the way we have grieved as a family will draw them to Jesus and give them an empathy that they otherwise would not have.
      xo,
      Sarah

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  4. Sarah – I cannot imagine this level of grief. Thank you so much for sharing your story. Your words are moving, your emotions so well expressed. Praise God for your faith! Grief is like a coat you can’t take off, but you are so right that it brings “a new set of gifts.” Even in the ugly, God can create beauty.

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  5. Thank you for putting words to what the process of grief is like. “Grief is like a familiar friend. I can’t imagine my life without it, really”, these words are so accurate. What a beautiful thing God does in our deepest grief, even when we don’t see it that way all the time.

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  6. Pingback: When We Lose a Baby | careydcross

  7. I cannot begin to fathom such a loss. What a beautifully written testimony of faith in the midst of the unthinkable. I have no doubt this will be used in a mighty way to minister to other wounded mama hearts. Grace and peace to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I have struggled to find the words that describe the path through grief. You have described It so elegantly in your writing. Thank you for giving me the words that I needed to describe my grief. I lost my mom a few years ago. I feel certain the only pain greater than that would be to lose a child. Your faith is a beautiful thing, I hope your future blessings are abundant.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Lorna, It’s hard to describe grief. Sometimes we go through the emotions and there are no words. I’m sorry for your loss with your Mom. I can’t imagine how hard that must of been and is. I believe it will hurt horribly when my Mom passes. My Dad died two years ago. It is hard. Thank you for coming by and I will make sure that the writer of this post will receive your comment. I hope you continue to come back on Tuesdays for our Grieving Series. As more writers put to words the pain they feel.

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    • Oh, Lorna, I’m so sorry. I’m glad that my feeble words have helped you. There are so many different circumstances of grief, but they all hurt so deeply. I will be praying for you.

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  9. Sarah, thank you. I posted my comments on your “Peanut Butter Jam” site. This was a truly touching story for us as we come up on a difficult week. God bless you, and all the best to you.

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  10. Pingback: Why Grieving is Not Hopeless | sarahdamaska.com

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