Moms who miscarry, or carry a baby with a fatal diagnosis to term, speak of how the grief and trauma can be compounded by the reactions of other people.
“At the time, I wanted to scream at my friends and say, ‘Just ask me how I am doing and stop making excuses about why you haven’t called me,’ ” says Laura Huene. “ ‘My precious Pearl is not dead right now, she is very much alive. Don’t treat me like I am walking around with a corpse in my womb. Celebrate her life with us, honor her, smile at my ever-expanding waistline, [but] don’t run away from me.’ ”
Julie Neils speaks of pain – the pain of losing her son Leyton, and the pain of seeing people respond to her grief.
“People avoided me in the hallways, and when I brought up his name, I noticed they recoiled or changed the subject,” she says. “There’s the loneliness of deep sorrow, and then the loneliness of being in world where people move on to other things. You have to be brutally honest with God about your feelings.”
Women who miscarry early on in a pregnancy find that others around them don’t always understand how long the emotions linger – and how deep they run.
“It’s not an ‘almost child,’ ” Julie says. “The truth of God for that child is not based on our situation, our emotions, or anything else. There’s not a value sticker for length of time on earth. He or she is a whole child and of great value to the heart of God. That spot for that child cannot be filled by any other person. … There will never be another Leyton Neils.”
The Hope of Heaven
“I cried and cried and cried,” says Lee Tomberlin, who miscarried two babies within a short period of time. “The whole dynamic was heartbreaking and unchartered territory for my husband and me, and for our boys. We had to tell them that the baby growing in my belly had gone to heaven.”
Some days she cries until there’s nothing left, Julie says. And she never forgets.
“We mark Leyton’s life each year by having cupcakes, letting go of balloons, talking to God on our favorite mountain, and doing something Leyton would have enjoyed at this time of life.
“One year we went to a dinosaur museum, and another time a railroad museum. I want my living children to know they’re not just valuable because they’re living. They’re valuable because of the honor God placed on their lives the day they were conceived. And that’s not going to change.”
“We have hope that we’ll see our babies again one day,” Julie says. “Our babies will not be forgotten.”