This post is in recognition of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, October 15, which is honored throughout the week around the nation. For more information, visit october15th.com.
October holds a special place in my heart. There is something about going through loss that just makes autumn more meaningful. The trees that once held medleys of green leaves rustling in the summer breezes are withering. Most of us don’t view fall as a time of decline because we become so distracted by the beauty of the vibrant oranges, yellows, and reds. It’s almost as if the trees are giving life one last hurrah, and they do it with such boldness it takes your breath away.
Our son’s due date was October 30. I remember sitting in the doctor’s office as they confirmed I was pregnant. My heart was pounding, as we had just buried our daughter a couple of years before. We’d had two miscarriages afterward, and we prayed so hard to have another child. When we got the news that this baby was coming, we were beyond elated. But deep down, I had a feeling our elation wasn’t going to last. I looked at my husband and said, “It’s going to happen again.” He reassured me it wouldn’t.
I believe the Holy Spirit whispered to my heart to prepare me. We learned in those days what it meant to fully trust God. We saw His mercy in our son’s eyes, his double-dimpled smile, his sweet melodic voice. He was a taste of heaven. Little did we know then that our son would only stay for a short time, a time I’ve come to think of as beautiful chaos.
From the moment we saw his small body on the ultrasound screen, we fell head over heels. As with our daughter, we knew each day could be his last. So we bathed him in love and prayer. Since his diagnosis was not “compatible with life,” we entered the world of experimental treatments.
Every few days, I went to the doctor and signed his—and my—life away. Miraculously, I did so with a smile. We got lots of extra ultrasounds. We got to watch him at every stage. When he was born, the hospital had a full emergency delivery team on hand. He cried when he emerged from my womb, and everyone cheered. They whisked him off to the NICU, and we felt like could barely breathe. Each day we had him, we knew we could lose him, so we lived every day like it was his last. He was loved well, and we are better people because of him.
Ironically, October 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Across the country during this week, families gather together for “Walks to Remember.” It feels fitting to me, as around the same time in the area of the country where we live, it turns bitterly cold. Our walks have been held at scenic parks where the trees are burning with spectacular colors, and it feels like they’re reminding us that our miraculous children are cheering us on from Heaven. Each of us registers and is handed a balloon: pink, blue, or white. We collect one pink, one blue, and two white. I clutched these balloons as if they are diamonds. As we inscribe one of our children’s names on each balloon, I feel as though my heart is crying out, “SEE, THEY WERE HERE!”
In a world where babies are have lost their voices, I want to give voice to yours: “Thank you, Mama, for carrying me. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for remembering me, even when you cry. I am right here, surrounded by love, and I look forward to the day you can wrap me in your arms.”
Every child is a miracle, no matter how long he or she lives. Whether they are a dream, two faint lines on a pregnancy test, a tiny ball of warmth in your womb, or a babe in your arms, they were made for something our minds cannot comprehend.
As we look at autumn’s brightly painted landscape, we drink it in with our eyes and gasp with wonder at the Lord’s handiwork. We all know it is inevitable that the leaves will fall and die, but we soak in each moment with great appreciation for its fleeting beauty.
This, my dear friends, should be how we embrace life that is or has come to a sudden end. We remember with deep passion the beautiful chaos such life and loss has forever imprinted on our hearts. The Lord created each being as His masterpiece. Let us cherish His work in awe and appreciation, as we walk to remember.
Kelly Nickerson is a homeschooling mama with two beautiful kids under her wing and four dancing in heaven. She also lives with her amazing husband, who supports her like no other. Kelly is a firecracker prayer warrior who shares honestly about her brokenness, while praising and clinging to the G-d who sustains her. When she isn’t hunting down germs with disinfectant, you can find her writing of her adventures at kellynickerson.com.
Photograph used with permission from, and copyright of, Michelle Lenger.