Most of you know about my first daughter. Most of you know about my status as a baby loss mom. In fact, many of you are walking this road with me.
About six years ago, around Christmas time, I was faced with the dilemma of not having an ornament with my firstborn's name on it. I was also faced with the dilemma of not naming my first daughter. My motto when she died was deny, deny, deny.
That Christmas, I had a one-year-old and a heavy heart. My mother asked me to make two personalized ornaments for that year (I had made ornaments for everyone in the years prior), as we had two new additions to the tree: Ella, my daughter and Benjamin, my sister's son. This led to a teary discussion about the "baby that I lost." My mother not-so-politely told me that it didn't matter if the baby had a name (she didn't at that point), her ornament would have no place on her Christmas tree.
I sat in my office the next afternoon, FURIOUS. This brought to mind another incident, the Mother's Day three days before Ella was born. Someone said that "even though you're not a Mom yet (excuse me?????), we're going to consider you an 'honorary mom' today." (what?!)
Long story short, after much crying and talking to a beautiful mom on myspace, God whispered her name to me. Riley Grace. After looking up the name "Riley", I found "meaning unknown" and that's what she is. I didn't know her. She is my unknown.
I made that ornament. The week leading up to Christmas, my then-one year old climbed up onto a chair, took down Riley's ornament from the top branch of my (tiny) Christmas tree and said, "Whose is that?" I hedged, hemmed and hawed (because I had NEVER EVER spoken to her about her sister, never even taken her to her spot in the cemetery) when Ella surprised me by saying, "That's my sister!"
God is truly amazing!
After that ornament, I reached out to other grieving moms. And then...I felt like I had a purpose. Children's names were being written. They were being spoken. Remembered. I felt like I had come home.
Flash forward six years, a handful of moves, a walk back to Christ...
Many, many prayers of "God, what do I do?" "God, how can I help?"
...and the terrible news that someone in the baby-loss community, OUR community would take money from grieving mothers, prey on their emotions...it was too much to take in.
This afternoon, I took myself out for coffee. Realized that it is almost April. Realized that Mother's Day is coming. Realized that too many of us will not be recognized as Mothers. I will be, because I was blessed with a living child. But what about those who don't have living children? What about those going through life not being acknowledged simply because they don't fit society's idea of a "Mom"?
I want all of those who have lost a baby to feel acknowledged. I want all of those walking this road to feel supported, and loved.
My daughter, Ella said she wants to help.
I am not asking you for money.
I am not asking you for donations.
I am simply asking you to let me send you a Mother's Day card.
Please, comment your thoughts and if you would like to be included in this Mother's Day card project, please email me at email@example.com
I don't know how many people I am going to reach. If this makes a difference to ONE person, it was worth it. If this becomes bigger, with more opportunity to help grieving parents, then God gets all of the glory.
The only thing I know is that when Riley died, I felt alone. I don't ever want anyone to feel that way.
After years of praying, and tears, and wondering how I could help....
today, God answered my prayer.