Gifts for a Mother of Miscarriage?
I know… my post title sounds heavy. Depressing even. And I’m sure you’re thinking – isn’t this a kid’s fashion blog? About clothes? Kids? The latest trends?
This is all true. However, the author behind this blog is also a mom. And not just your everyday mom of the one child that keeps making an appearance on every post. I am a mom of 9. Eight of them, are not with me. And yes – it’s depressing. And heavy.
But I’m okay.
And not because I’m over it, and definitely not because I am passed the grief. It’s because it was overall, a life-changing, priority-straightening, horrific experience repeated many, MANY times over, and I am here today in a better place than I was yesterday. And the day before that. And the day before that. But I didn’t do it alone. My family, my living child, and my friends – both casual and close, did all they could to help me through it. Their empathetic tears, lack of judgement, love, generosity of heart, and support is what this seemingly resilient woman needed, to face her greatest weakness. Loss. There are many moments – too many to count – in the last 3 years of my life, where I never thought I could get through it. But with these small yet profound acts of kindness, I got through the most challenging moments of my life, and continue to do so. And I would love to share them with you.
Here are my 5 absolute favorite gifts I received from my friends and fellow mother’s of loss to help me through mine. Five beautiful gifts for a mother of miscarriage:
1:: WORKS OF ART
I have never seen anything quite like this. My friend who suffered loss twice, one mid-way through her pregnancy, and one in her first trimester, developed a passion of expressing her grief through mixed media. She painted a beautiful backdrop overlooking the vast ocean. She often takes long walks along the beach when she’s feeling especially fragile and picks up rocks and shells along the way. One day, she decided to take it upon herself to make me, what I like to call, a work of heart. She placed rocks in such a way that acknowledges my living family of three, surrounded by 7 rocks with shells emulating wings (this was shortly before I suffered my 8th miscarriage recently). The day after what would have been my son Charlie‘s due date last December, which was also the day of what would have been her son’s due date, she came to my home and gave me this unbelievable gift of love. I couldn’t see past my tears. It amazes me that someone I had met through loss (our support group was the catapult that brought many of my friendships together) found it in their freshly mended heart, to think outside of themselves. An act so kind, I can barely put the words together.
On this past Mother’s Day, I had a beautiful brunch with some fellow mother’s of loss. We exchanged laughs, enjoyed a filling meal, and handed out greetings and gifts. One of my dear friends gave me a beautiful card shaped into a heart painted in the warmest of tones, with a beautiful message written on it. The message was something I have always longed to hear, yet never felt wholeheartedly throughout this process. Brave? How is that possible? I have always felt weak, and unable to cope. But for someone to tell me on Mother’s Day that I, as a mother of babies gone too soon, am indeed brave – I have never really thought it was true. That is, until I actually saw this written on paper reminding me of what I needed to hear. Another beautiful friend of mine gave me a rose quartz in honour of being a mother. I was blown away by its fragility and strength. I often touch its surface in my purse to remind me that “I got this” – when times seem especially unbearable. I absolutely love the simplicity of this very important gift that I bring everywhere with me. Such perfect gifts for a mother of miscarriage especially on bitter-sweet occasions like Mother’s Day.
2:: MY CHILDREN’S NAMES
My husband and I have made the decision to name four of our eight babies. They were healthy babies that made it to the mid-way point of our pregnancy, and we were blessed to have experienced the beautiful sounds of their heartbeats, their loving kicks and flutters, and the knowledge of their gender. We have since determined the possible cause of their untimely deaths, though I will leave that for another post. For three of these four babies, we held memorial services and cremated them helping us through the transition of acceptance. They were and still are our babies. And they go by the names, Victoria, William, Lucy, and Charlie. All names I have always wanted my children to have one day. And now that has become my reality.For some, it’s a strange notion that I have named these babies. Miscarriage and pregnancy & baby loss are typically a topic of discomfort. And I don’t expect everyone to understand what we’ve had to do to get through our grief. But naming them was the first step. They were real. They existed. You never met them, and I have only met one of them, but they existed. I carried them, felt them, and in a very deep way – I knew them. I also knew my early losses – the ones that I lost in my first trimester. I didn’t know their gender, and lately, it’s been happening so frequently that I am actually protecting myself from further pain by choosing not to name them. But they too, existed. They may or may not have had a viable heart beat, but they existed. They represented hope. Excitement. Unconditional love.All 9 of my children do. Living, and otherwise.
What means more to me than anything else in the world of grief is when my loved ones and those who have ever crossed my path but know of my story, acknowledge that they existed. Two of my fellow loss mama friends went to a beach, one on our beautiful local island, and one in the white sands of Hawaii. They took a moment in their lives to think of my family – my children who never came to be. They wrote their names in the sand with nothing but love in mind. And for my babies who I never named, they honored them with fitting words and angel wings. I simply couldn’t fathom that people like this actually existed. Something so simple, gave me hope in unconditional friendship.
My friend introduced me to Orgami Owl custom jewelry and I was immediately drawn to the storytelling aspect of the charms. We immediately put together my story of loss, along with my wedding story and my family story divided into three separate lockets. In my loss locket, I chose the birth stones of my four babies that I lost in my 2nd trimester. To represent the earlier losses, I included a pregnancy and baby loss awareness ribbon as it represents both genders in pink and in blue. While we were making it a point to honor our losses, I found it fitting to add a paw print representing my two sweet dogs who I also lost in the last four years. The back plate simply states “as long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be“, quoted from Little Mama‘s favourite book by Robert Munsch – “I Love you, Forever“.
3:: A BUTTERFLY HEART ON CANVAS
Another friend of mine who has also suffered loss, but with two beautiful twin boys, ever so lovingly created this gorgeous heart made of cut out butterflies on canvas. Its simplicity, yet profound sentiment left me speechless. This work of heart was such a creative way for my friend to let me know I was in her thoughts. There isn’t a moment in my everyday that I do not look fondly at this loving piece remembering how my heavy heart has been lifted by such acts of love and generosity
4:: A DONATION TO A GOOD CAUSE
A very sweet couple – dear friends of mine, who had experienced the hardship of a prematurely born infant, made a wonderful donation in honor of all my babies. This project is known as Teeny Tears, where a group of volunteers make sets of diapers. I have never heard of this group until now, and was so moved beyond measure by this loving act of kindness. It is especially moving to know that donations go to support a charity for an issue otherwise suffered in silence. I am so grateful to now be associated to something so important. And I am especially grateful for my very loving and selfless friends.
A close family friend of ours has been following our story online. It’s amazing how the interwebs erase the miles between long distant friends. Little Mama and I were so touched that our friend sent over matching Miscarriage Memorial Bracelets in honor of baby and pregnancy loss, highlighting the very words that often fills a mother of loss’ mind: hope, believe, and faith. We wear this proudly, supporting the movement towards building awareness and breaking the silence. Positive change is one of the more inspiring and essential gifts for a mother of miscarriage.
5:: BOOKS, BASKETS, & MAGNETS
An extra special friend of mine, my co-host to our weekly #5Faves, Bonnie from The Koala Mom, as well as our dear friend Anna from Just East From Crazyland, delivered the most beautiful basket following the loss of my sweet Charlie. I didn’t feel up to seeing anyone, strike up conversation, and putting my brave face on. However, Bonnie came by with loving intentions in mind, as she dropped off a basket with books relating to miscarriage, informational pamphlets for further support, bathing salts, jarred sauces, teas, oils, and an adorable little angel who has now found a home in Little Mama‘s collection. These loving ladies understood in the deepest way, the miracle of motherhood being mothers themselves, and Anna’s own painful experience of baby loss (please read her moving poetry here). As moms, they knew that I needed to take care of myself without having to say it. I was so moved by their outreach, and touched by the unbelievable amount of empathy and kindness that came along with preparing such a beautifully crafted basket.
And my dear friend did not stop there. Some of the most meaningful gifts for a mother of miscarriage can be made by the loving and creative hands of little ones too. Last Christmas, Bonnie’s little ladies utilized their remarkably creative skills to make me magnetic angels in honor of my previous losses. She included a devotional book about “Grieving the Child I Never Knew“. The handmade magnets sit on my fridge reminding me daily, how blessed I am to be surrounded by such love – from mamas, both big and small.
Bonus Fave :: A GIFT OF EXPRESSION… FROM MYSELF – TO MYSELF
Members of my baby loss support group planned a paint night. I had no idea what I was going to paint. I was hoping that I would just sit back, enjoy some yummy food and great conversation, while the other ladies immersed themselves in abstract art. Well – they wouldn’t let me leave with an empty canvas. Did I mention, these moms of loss are a determined bunch?? All of a sudden, I found myself with a brush in hand, mixing colors on a palette ready for what was to unfold.Let me back up for a moment. After my second late pregnancy loss in 2013 – where we actually met our sweet little William, my husband inadvertently processed his grief in the best way he knew – through art. He illustrated characters resembling the image in his mind of what his two babies would have looked like, if they were with us today. Unfortunately, after our third loss, he just didn’t have the heart to continue. Since then, I have been patiently waiting for him to complete our story for the three years to follow. Understandably, he just wasn’t there yet. So I took matters into my own unartistic hands and came up with this…It was the best present I could give to myself – a painting of Little Mama surrounded in love, by her siblings.A special thank you to my artistic friends for their final touches and support (’cause how can a pseudo artiste get anything done confidently without personal cheerleaders at the sidelines, right?), and of course, Cricut for making my life a zillion times easier by giving me options to make my baby’s individualities come to life.
That same evening, another loving mom of loss decided to spend her time painting our story as well, and how she saw it. She painted three birds representing myself, my husband, and my living child, Little Mama, on a branch together. We are surrounded by eight birds, something we believe deep in our hearts to be true. I couldn’t believe this was her form of expression for the evening. I went in not knowing what to expect, except that I was NOT an artist with anything in mind – later, leaving with two meaningful works of art that honors my children… my family.
I imagine it could be quite the challenge to find appropriate gifts for a mother of miscarriage. When in doubt, the best gift of all is a friend and family member’s presence. I have experienced heartache of losing a friend’s support as a result of my recurrent losses, and there’s no two ways about it, it hurts. But like anything else, when a window closes, a door opens. Very recently, many deep, honest, and loving friendships have entered my space. Out of tragedy, came something so beautiful and meaningful. I am beyond grateful for these new friendships that have taught me how to grow, how to love without condition, how to support during the worst of times, and cheer on during the best of times. I am grateful that I am understood.
Be sure to visit our friend and co-host of #5faves at The Koala Mom for her fab list of #5faves this week!
We would love to hear some of YOUR five favorite things too. Link up below!
The best gift is the gift of love, understanding, and support,
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