Dear Nia and Sam,
When your first video went viral, I couldn't watch it. I didn't want to watch it. I thought it was sweet, and maybe interesting (how did he get your pee??), but something held me back.
You see, I've had 4 miscarriages. (Well, one was ectopic. But you know, an early loss). So pregnancy announcements aren't really my thing.
It wasn't until I saw your miscarriage announcement that I watched your pregnancy announcement video.
I had to know your joy before I could truly feel your pain.
I could relate to your joy. I could tell how it took all of two seconds after seeing the positive test before you were already envisioning not just a baby in your arms, but a baby right there at the breakfast table, enjoying mashed bananas and rice cereal. How in mere moments, your youngest, your "baby", suddenly became big brother.
The world watched as your entire life and mindset shifted. You were thinking of how to announce, and tell family and friends. How big your belly will get, and what kind of vlogs you'll do to track your pregnancy. You probably found out your due date right away, and envisioned that season with a newborn in it. Perhaps you thought about the nursery, and who you were going to move where to make it all work. Maybe you started setting up appointments, and skip your morning coffee, and find your mind wandering a million times to the joyful blessing growing inside you. Suddenly, your family of 4 became a growing family of 5.
And your pain? I can relate. I know that empty feeling you spoke of. After the clots and tissue come out, you just feel better. And you hate your body for feeling better. Feeling your body cramp, watching the blood pour out -- it is helpless and gut-wrenching. You can never really understand the pain of a miscarriage until you've been through one.
The loss of this baby will be something that is with you forever. There are no easy band-aid fixes for the loss of a child at any age or gestation.
As I have been watching the news of your loss spread (maybe not with the same intensity as your pregnancy announcement), I have also been watching the comments.
I kind of hope you aren't seeing them.
In case you are, I want to share with you just a little bit of my heart -- from someone who's been there. From someone whose blog has gone viral. Who has both been applauded and scorned for sharing the intimate details of early pregnancy and loss.
First -- and you already know this I'm sure -- there will be haters. But only for a time.
I wish there were no haters to bereaved families -- but even in a miscarriage that is relatively silent, there are still people who say the wrong things. Since your loss was so public, there will be more haters. There will be more people who don't hate but don't care. And more people who care and still say all the wrong things anyway. In this social media culture, too many would rather be right than be supportive.
So the haters are there -- but they will only be there for just a little bit. Their words sting, they hurt, but like mosquitoes, their effect will not last. They will rise up, accuse you of false hope, naivety or even worse, but then they will go away. Because they don't care enough to stick around. They only care enough to "prove" that they were right.
If the haters don't stay long, who will?
Supporters. People who love you, people who will wrap their arms around you, people who will pray for you more than you ever even knew. These are the people holding tight, checking your feed for any updates, praying without stopping and crying over your baby.
Before my post went viral, I received some really heavy criticism of my view point. I was so heavily scorned, I contemplated taking the post down -- just so I didn't have to read people say things like "You have offended me AND offended all of my babies in heaven."
But I didn't take it down. And God used it. I mean, he used it bigger and better than I ever could have imagined.
And out of that, people I never would have met have come forward. They remember my baby's due dates. They have created art work for me. They have prayed and prayed and prayed for our family. They have celebrated with each child who has come into our home, and they have cried for each baby that goes to heaven too soon.
Your support is here. We are waiting to love on you. As much as you can, ignore the hurtful remarks. And cling to the blessing of support.
Your baby didn't live long. But through you, her life may reach more for Him than you could ever imagine.
After my post went viral -- affirming life and the value of miscarried babies -- I wrote a letter to the first baby I lost. I named her Olivia. I started my blog as a way to heal -- but also as a way to help someone else heal through their loss. I wondered if I could just reach one other person.
She has reached over a million people.
7 weeks of life. And a million people reached.
I know you wanted your baby here. And let's be real -- for a long time, it won't matter how many people your baby's life will change. You will want her here, with your other two kids. You would give anything to still have her in your belly. To be counting down till the due date. To pack your hospital bag and have baby showers. To watch her crawl for the first time. To feed her her first foods. To send her off to kindergarten. To watch her graduate. To walk her down the aisle. To be in the room as she gives birth to her own baby.
I get it. You would give it all to have that back.
The pain of your loss cannot be measured. But it will make a difference, I promise. A love like yours can't not make a difference. Your baby's life was not in vain. God will use it, He will use you, and someone's life will be forever changed because your baby lived for little time she was here.
Grieving by yourself can be hard. Grieving in the public eye can be harder in some ways. Don't let others complicate your grief by telling you how you should feel, what you should do, and when you should move forward.
I can't tell you how long you will be in deep grief. Everyone grieves differently. I can't tell you when you will wake up, and your first thought will not be your baby. I can't tell you when you will laugh again lightheartedly. I can't tell you when other people's pregnancy announcements will stop hurting. Or when you won't have triggers all day long remind you of who you are missing.
I can't tell you when your grief will lighten. But it will. Slowly.
You might feel guilty to think of not grieving as much as you are now. I was there too. I didn't WANT life to keep going, the world to keep spinning, for people to flit to and fro while my child was gone. I didn't want to be OK.
You don't have to hurry to get through it. You take whatever time you need. Don't let anyone rush you to feel better. They just want to see you happy again. They just care, and it hurts to see you hurt.
You can't rush grief. It demands it's own timeline, and no one can tell you what that is.
Just know that there is life here on the other side of it. You'll make it through. And in the meantime, grieve however is right for you.