We Miss Her, Too

Told by: Anne

My sister in law and I were pregnant at the same time. She lost her precious baby girl somewhere between 20-24 weeks. Even though we’re not close, it hit me hard. My husband and I sat and cried and cried when we got that call. Our hearts just ached for them.

We didn’t know our baby’s sex until birth, but we had a girl too. She’s 14 months old. My sister in law and brother in law have come to visit my mother in law several times (she lives only a few minutes from my husband and I), and we disagree on whether we should just go over like we used to when they would visit.

My brother in law has seen our baby once when we brought our son to play with their son, but my sister in law had stayed home that time. So she has still never seen our baby, and I don’t blame her… I feel like we should stay away unless they ask to see us.

My husband’s heart still breaks for his brother. And I know, looking at our little girl, he thinks about the cousin she would have. I think about her too. And her poor parents who will always mourn her.

miss you

Photo Source (unconfirmed): Melody Godfred

Four Words to Skip

It can take a whole lot of courage to reach through darkness and ask for help.

Consider a frantic call to 911.  It might go something like this:


Dispatcher: “911, what is your emergency?”

You: (frantically blurting out the immediate situation)

Dispatcher: ****

“Please stay on the line, while I dispatch an officer to your location.”


There’s a certain number of things your dispatcher will do in this space.  He or she will want to get information about your environment, including the danger(s) you are in and who all might be involved.  He or she will need identifying information from you so that the officer(s) will know a little more of what to expect upon arrival.  What are you wearing?  Where are you exactly?  And he or she will want to assist in any temporary safety until the officer(s) get there – guiding with CPR, for example.


So let’s translate that to a different kind of cry for help.

“Will you pray for me?”

I’ve heard it, I’ve seen it, I’ve asked it myself.

I’ve seen people ask for help, and, I have seen other people simply assume that this is the help that someone is asking for.  And so they respond like this:

“I’ll pray for you.”


I’ll pray for you.

As a praying person myself, I have a few fundamental concerns with this phrase.

Because, it is a phrase.

It is a shallow response.

I’ll pray for you.

Really?  When?

Because we are so easily distracted in this fast paced world, what is the likelihood of remembering a 30 second interaction when you do carve out your prayer time?

Why does the prayer need to wait until then?

How many times will you remember to pray for the person?

What, exactly, will you be praying for?

Does the person want you to pray for them?  Does the person want you to pray for what you’re praying for?

And how is the person expected to respond?  A retort like this, in basic conversational structure, automatically elicits a “thank you” from the requestor.

Thank you.  The end.  And now we all can move on.


“I’ll pray for you.”

It is a response that is not only insufficient to the recipient, but for those witnesses who are trying to sort out if prayer or praying people are even trustworthy, I can promise you that they are not too entirely impressed with this shallow response either.  Not when they know what it’s like to seek real, urgent, tangible help like the 911 call example above.

It’s really about as efficient as leaving a tract as a tip for a waitress.

So, if someone has cried out for help and you have heard this cry, here is an alternative response:

“I want to know.”

Still four words, easy to lock in your mind.  Practice them aloud right now:

“I want to know.”

If it’s social media, you can send the requestor a private message.

If it’s somewhere else, call the person on the phone.  Or send them a card.

“I saw your cry for help.  And I want to know, how to pray for you.”

Like the dispatcher, you aren’t just there to answer a call, but to actually respond to it.

Invite the person to offer more details.  See how you can help in a very tangible way until stronger support arrives.

I saw your cry for help.  And I want to know, what I can do in a tangible way to support you with what you’re facing.

And if the person simply has an unspoken need, you can pray for all of the circumstances surrounding it and all the people impacted by it, and still offer tangible support.

It’s like leaving a tract if you want to, but offering 20% of the tab, too.

Because we might not live on bread alone, but Jesus sure said pretty clearly “You feed them!” in Matthew 14:15-16 (and incidentally, multiplied the bread).


Here’s 5 tips to skip “I’ll pray for you”:


  1. If someone has asked you for prayer, pray right then.
  2. Ask if there is a specific need or answer they are praying for.  “I want to know…”
  3. Let them hear, see or know what you are praying for.
  4. Ask if there is a specific need or answer that you can tangibly respond to or help fulfill.  “I was thinking…. would this be helpful to you?”
  5. Check back in with them and ask if there is an update to the situation, and start back at one.


You can visit our support for loved ones for more guidance in supporting your grieving loved one.

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Family Ties that Bind

Told by: Krysten

My maternal Great grandmother lost a young toddler to Polio

My other Maternal Great grandmother suffered several miscarriages in silence

My maternal Grandmother lost in utero child to miscarriage after a fall

My paternal Grandmother lost newborn to a birth defect

My paternal Grandmother- in- law lost a daughter to stillbirth

My cousin –in- law lost a son to stillbirth

Mother lost twins due to TTTS and Placenta Previa

I have lost 2 children in early pregnancy, and nearly lost a third to extreme prematurity.

Roe v. Grief

Bereavement faces many challenges.

The strikingly contradictory response to our bereavement from our loved ones who espouse strong religious, political or other personal beliefs can be quite jarring and indeed, even traumatizing.

Loved ones who espouse strong pro-life beliefs, specifically if they are someone who would be the quickest to say that elective abortion is the murder of a child, when they shun a mother who has experienced miscarriage or stillbirth be telling her, in word or action, to quickly “get over it”.

Loved ones who espouse strong pro-choice beliefs, specifically if they are someone who would be the quickest to proclaim freedom of a mother’s rights and choices, when they shun a mother who is experiencing bereavement and attempting to deny her the freedoms and the rights to explore and express her bereavement journey, these rights and freedoms they otherwise believe all mothers to have.

Dear loved ones, we need you to have an eye to your own hypocrisy, because it is wounding.  Whether you are pro-life or pro-choice, it isn’t actually Roe v. Grief, and we need you to become pro-healing.


It Still Takes a Village

For more support as a Loved One, please visit our Friends and Family section.

A Grandmothers Stars

Shared by: Karen

This is my tattoo: the big star at the bottom is me with my stillborns star inside me her name is Lauren, the next 4 stars are my daughters, Linzi, michele, sami and abbie-Lauren (the second star has a cross in it for my daughters miscarried baby), then the next 3 stars are for my grandchildren, 2 girls and a boy.

SBD Speaks

These are little photos that we share at our stillbirthday Facebook page, as a way to invite others to finding us here, directly at stillbirthday.  If you like any of these, you can find them – and more – at our Facebook page for sharing.


Your Baby’s Age

If you believe in Heaven, Eternity, or Paradise – if you believe in life after death – do you have an age in your mind, an image in your mind, of what your baby might look like?

Photo Source

I love this photo, because it also shows how grandparents hold parents hold children.  It shows how our grandparents  are impacted by their family – including births and losses.

With Jesus & With Me

Told by: Amaris

I am a 22-year-old college student. I have two living sisters, and one brother. I also have another sister, her name is LeeAnn, and she is lucky enough to be in the presence of Jesus Christ and God in Heaven! 🙂 I am happy I stumbled upon this site as it was just her 23rd birthday yesterday. My Mom cannot tell people about LeeAnn as it is a painful story to tell. It is even too painful for me to reveal everything that she has told me, so all I wanted to say was that I am blessed to have a sister named LeeAnn. My Mom named me and my other sisters with LeeAnn’s name as our middle name. I am reminded of her every time I write my name on anything. She is very special to me and my family. We love her and I know I will see her someday when I go home to Heaven. She watches out for me, and she is the sweetest little girl in the world. A lot of the time when I need help she is there for me. I ask her sometimes to pray for me and then things go well for me. 🙂 I just wanted to tell you all about my sister because I want you to know what a wonderful sister I have. I also want to let you know that everything is alright. My Mom is okay, I know she hurt for a long time but my sister is safe in Heaven, and that comforts her. What better place is there to be than safe in God’s arms with Christ the King? 🙂


On the hot summer night of June 7, several years ago, a woman began to labor her child, her daughter.  The father of the child lay asleep in the bedroom, after leaving stern instruction not to be awakened unless the birth of the child was imminent.

She labored, alone, quietly, until she was sure it was time to wake him.

In the dark morning of June 8, she mounted his motorcycle, this laboring mother, and held the back of his leather jacket as he rode her to the hospital entrance.  Prior to “The Bradley Method” of childbirth, which includes the father in the laboring process, was the “Jack Daniels Method”; the man rode on to the nearest bar to celebrate the arrival of his daughter.  The woman entered the hospital, alone.

This same woman labored two years earlier, and gave birth to a stillborn little girl.

What was this labor like for her?  Was she scared?  Terrified of what might happen?  Did her body’s successive pulls and squeezes, painful contractions, remind her of when she had experienced this last?  Did she pray?  Did she hope?  Did she cry?  Did she long for someone to wipe her forehead with a cool, damp cloth and tell her that her feelings are OK, that everything is going to be OK?  Did she wonder if this little girl she was about to meet would be breathing, would look at her, see her, respond to her touch, or if this little girl, like her last, would die during birth?

I don’t know.

She never told me.  Pieces of my childhood are jotted down in notes – notes in different handwriting from the different people who made executive decisions on my behalf.  I don’t know how my mother felt about my birth, because her feelings aren’t jotted down in my government issed file.  It is probable that nobody bothered to ask her.

A short time after my birth, my mother went to prison and my father fled the state.  I was raised in foster care, group homes, and institutions for the majority of my childhood.

What if someone had intervened? What if someone had wiped her forehead with a cool cloth, and told her it was OK to feel what she was feeling?  What if, before this pregnancy, someone offered her mentorship after my older sister had died?

Would she and my father have begun to seek a healthy, legal lifestyle?  Would she have escaped his abuses and began a life of healing?

Mothers of miscarried and stillborn babies need immediate support.  We need support at the exact time of the news that the baby is not going to live.  We need support through the remainder of the pregnancy, and through the process of childbirth.  We need postpartum support.  These things are, in large part, what our bereavement doula program is all about.  And, we need support long after these things are over.

Our doula and mentorship programs may not be enough to stop a predisposition for addictions and abuses, but it could be enough to reveal these predispositions and it could be enough to recognize the hunger for healing.  It could change lives.

Furthermore, a parent’s life is forever changed after the birth of a stillborn baby and many, many mothers who’ve given birth to miscarried babies recognize this same irreparable break.

We will never be the same.

It is a new beginning.  A new birth.  A new life.  A subsequent life.

In the same way newborns need to be cradled, held close, and touched tenderly, so too are bereaved mothers.   Sometimes, we can walk.  Sometimes we crawl, and still other times we just need to be carried.  But we always want our loved ones to be near, and we always want you to care.

I am a subsequent child, and I have a subsequent child.  I know.


Some things for others to know:

    •  I want you to remember my baby, the baby who died.  I want you to recognize that the hardship of grief I am enduring is because I’ve been blessed with the role of mother and that I did, in fact, give birth to a baby.  My baby.
    • When you mention my baby, it is healing.  If I cry, if I smile, if I seem cool – however I respond – it is healing.
    • I am heartbroken because I am missing out on so many lovely things with my baby.  When you call my baby by name, when you speak to me about my child, you are giving me something back.
    • My experience is different than anyone else’s.  My journey is different than anyone else’s.  It is my journey.  I’d like you to walk it with me and we can share what we see together – I do want you to point out what you see in me and around me.  I don’t want you to blindfold me and tell me where I need to step.
    • The death of my baby is not exactly the same as the death of anyone else.  We can share in our common denominator only if we don’t use that as a means of forging or expecting each other to mourn a certain way.
    • Joyous occasions, like the birth of another child, still are subsequent to the death of my child.  There are no replacements – of my deceased child, or of the feelings I have for him.
    • I am thankful for the life of my child, however brief, and for the reality of my child, which is eternal.  I am humbly grateful for the things I have learned through his death and because of his death.  Help me honor the reality of my child by remembering the day he was born, and the day he died.
    • A pregnancy loss is still a birth, and is still a birthday.  It is recurrent.  It is annual.  I want you to remember the day with me.  As I recall the tiny person I saw, I will feel love for that child.  This feeling is right and is intended to be shared.  I will also feel sadness for the love I haven’t been able to lavish onto that child.  This feeling is also right and is intended to be shared.  I’d like to share it with you, but more than that, I’d like you to share it with me.  I’d like for you to initiate conversation – I’d like you to tell me that my baby’s short life was important to you, and that my baby’s eternal reality is important to you.
    • Please remember my baby’s important dates, just as you remember my other children’s dates.  Here is a nice card you can give me as I honor my baby’s stillbirthday through the years.
    • I’d like you to remember that I am still adjusting to my new life – my subsequent life – and I’d like you to offer me grace and forgiveness as I stumble on this journey.
    • I have offered you grace and forgiveness as you’ve stumbled in the things you have done and said, and failed to do and say, to me.  It is sometimes excruciating to do so, because I am adjusting to this new life and need caring for, but I do.  If you are not sure of how to care for me, ask.  I have answers to your questions.
    • I am not alone in the way I feel about this subsequent life.  One mother sends a plea to her loved ones to just say something to validate the reality of her child, while another challenges those who seek to shape the path of bereaved parents.  And thousands more find their way here, to stillbirthday, because they, too, want to learn how to make sense of this new, subsequent life.