To All The Mothers Who Will Never Hold Their Babies on Mother’s Day


It’s really quite odd and blessed, the duality of joy and grief.

A few weeks ago, Tim and I experienced a new type of happiness for us…a new kind of joy. I woke up early on a Wednesday morning with the strong urge to take a pregnancy test, even though I wasn’t late for my cycle.

Five pregnancy tests later (I may be a little compulsive), we learned we were going to be parents.

Everything seemed complete and right. We fell in love with the poppy-seed-sized clump of baby whose DNA was being written with each passing day. We celebrated with our friends, our family, our students.

We met with our fertility doctor and some test results came back uncertain, but not concerning. I needed to start incorporating hormone therapy and that would increase my progesterone, giving the poppy seed a nice home in which to start growing. Within a few days, those levels went up to exactly what they needed to be. My HCG, however, wasn’t climbing as quickly as it should. We were told to watch for pain or symptoms that would indicate we needed to pay closer attention during these very sensitive first months.

The following Friday night around midnight, I awoke to pain. The pain that says, “Something isn’t right.” Being a classic hypochondriac (and at this moment, by the grace of God, a fairly reasonable one), I forced myself back to sleep telling myself, “It’s probably indigestion. Don’t worry. If you still feel this way in the morning, you can always get it checked out then.” I fell back asleep.

Saturday morning, the pain was worse. Tim said we needed to go to the hospital, and at this point, I knew something was wrong. However, I procrastinated. I told him, “The longer I just lie here in bed, everything is normal. The moment we get to the hospital, it could all be over.”

I wasn’t willing to accept this.

We arrived to the emergency room and said exactly what our fertility doctor said to say. A few blood tests later and the ER doctor walks in, sits down next to me, holds my hand and says, “At this point, it’s clear you have an ectopic pregnancy and you’re starting to miscarry. I’m sorry.”

He left, and Tim came over and reached around the bed rail, holding me. We both wept at the life inside me that was on its way to being born inside of heaven. We would not get to hold this baby in our arms or put this child to sleep in his or her crib. There would be no diaper blow outs, no baby showers, no ringing in the new year as a family of three.

The faith that came so easily was hard to grasp hold of as it floated away with our dream.

We went home, exhausted, making tearful calls to family and a few friends as we were unsure of the next steps. Hours later, our fertility doctor calls and says we need to meet her at the hospital at 7 pm. She needed to remove my left fallopian tube and the 200ccs of blood that drained into my abdomen from my tube’s slow rupture.

Returning to the emergency room, we saw familiar faces dressed in blue scrubs from that morning, each knowing what happened. With hugs and condolences from strangers, I was given some pain medication and wheeled back to the surgical holding area. Nobody else was having surgery Saturday night (they were probably eating and drinking and being merry), so it was only a matter of minutes before the anesthesiologists and nurses prepared me for my second reproductive surgery in the last year.

I drifted off into an hour-long sleep, waking up to kind words from a smiling nurse. Tim came in shortly after speaking to our doctor, confirming everything she suspected: the baby implanted in my left fallopian tube, caused it to start rupturing, and our doctor was able to safely remove my tube, and the blood, and I would be fine.

But define the word, “fine”… would you?

I stayed in the hospital overnight with Tim next to me. A first-rate medical team insured I was physically comfortable, and messages from friends and family helped ease the emotional pain.

In some drug-induced blur, I recalled how strange it was that I even took a pregnancy test that Wednesday morning. I had no reason to. I wasn’t late and I didn’t feel “pregnant” (whatever that means). However, if I wouldn’t have taken those tests and seen our fertility doctor, I likely would have written off the cramps I felt as normal cramps and the bleeding I had as a normal cycle.

I didn’t realize the severity of my symptoms and likely wouldn’t have until I lost so much blood I passed out. But because of that urge to take that first pregnancy test and the relationship we established with our fertility doctor, I was safe and healthy.

Even though our baby passed away and woke up on the other side of eternity, that doesn’t change the fact that Tim and I are still parents. Before the world was made, God knew this baby would exist. Somehow everything worked together perfectly and this baby formed.

We were able to be a mom and a dad to this little human for only a few weeks, and life is life, even when it finds itself removed from this earth.

The peace that wrapped us up before we knew anything was wrong still holds us, in spite of the grief we feel from the loss. Knowing that God knew this child since the beginning of time and knows each of us and has gone before us and sees the plan He has created for us gives us great cause to rejoice as we mourn.

It’s natural to feel as if two seemingly opposing forces can’t co-exist, like joyfulness and grief. But because they can, and they do, we know it is only because of His grace that miracles like this happen and we experience both joy and grief in their entirety, in chorus.

I never realized the tension of Mother’s Day when you’ve lost a child; I always heard it, but I didn’t understand. Now, in a poppy-seed-sized way, I do. So, if you are missing your own child, regardless of how or when he or she departed, know you are not alone, and I wish you the most honest of Mother’s Days. Nothing will ever change the fact that you are a mother.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, off-topic, hateful or rude. Let's be grown ups here!

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30 thoughts on “To All The Mothers Who Will Never Hold Their Babies on Mother’s Day

  1. My brave and honest friend, thank you for again giving us the gift of your story. For opening the deepest parts of you so that your healing can become part of healing others. I love you and will be thinking of you and your dear one on Sunday.

  2. Once again you were on my mind, dear e-friend. Realize that there is no shame in mourning in this situation. Realize that you and Tim will experience grief. That’s OK. Go through it together. Yeah, I know, I’ve had enough of “through,” too.

    Be very careful over the next few weeks health-wise, and even more careful emotionally over the next few months. Both body and heart need to heal.

    #Praying4AM&TM (well, it’s better than “T&AM” ;) )

    • on This can be a smart blog. I suggest it. You have a lot unraestdnding about this issue, and so much enthusiasm. You also know how to make individuals rally behind it, obviously through the responses. Youve received a design here thats not as well flashy, but tends to make a statement as massive as what youre saying. Excellent career, certainly.

  3. I wish I could invite you for a cup of coffee or tea. Or give you a great big hug. Listen to you share your heart. Or just sit with you and cry together. I don’t know you, but I know your pain. I’m so deeply sorry. Words just don’t do justice when a momma loses her precious baby…especially before she is able to see/hold/really know her child. While we are so grateful and blessed for the life/lives God has blessed us with and look forward to meeting them in Heaven one day – the pain we experience until then is beyond overwhelming. I can’t thank you enough for putting into words what I continue to struggle to express. My thoughts and prayers are with you. May you find tangible ways to both celebrate the life of your little one and grieve all you have lost. Sending you much love today and in the days ahead.

  4. We will be praying for you, Anne. And Yvonne wants you to know she can relate, though the details are different. When I was working at Vandenberg Air Force Base near Santa Maria, California, we wanted to take a trip across to Yosemite. She asked the doctor if it would be safe, because she was at the end of her 3rd month. The doctor ok’d it, and reassured her, but by the time we got up to 5,000 feet she began having cramping, and by 6,000 was feeling very sick. We found a doctor down in the park. He could not find a heartbeat, and told her to lie down until we could head back home, then see her OBGYN. She did, and his exam found the baby had died. She was devastated for a good six months – until Easter (how God helped her then is a story by itself).
    Our daughter Yvette said to tell you it was a very good thing Tim took you to the hospital when he did.
    Our prayers and best wishes.

  5. Beautiful. Your words are so honest and healing and lovely. I’m again, sorry for your loss Anne. To use your pain, joy and grief to write words that carry so much power is just breathtaking.

  6. I am very sorry to hear this, Anne. While my wife’s and my experience is different (a decade of infertility before drawing a line and starting our lives again), we know that ambivalence over Mothers (and Fathers) Day.

    Thanks for sharing your experience and opening up the space for others who’ve faced their losses to feel a little more ‘normal’ withe their emotional responses.

  7. You must enjoy reading the comments Job’s “friends” gave him.

    Simply put, your comment is beyond hateful, and far from godly. If your mind were truly open to the truths of Christ, I’d suggest you read the book of Romans, noticing the parts about mercy and grace.

    • I don’t mess around with crazy people, I would have called 911 as soon as that guy came up to my car. Because if my husband was with me he would have given it right back, it would have escalated. I’m a non-conflict kind of person too. I would have had crazy outside of the car and crazy inside. LO72;&#8!1LIm glad you’re okay, but you should have totally started rubbing your neck to worry crazy driver guy.