A year ago this month, we lost a baby to a very early miscarriage. It was such an early loss, my medical records don’t record it. We knew we were expecting for three days before we experienced a miscarriage via chemical pregnancy. It was so early that the only reason I KNEW I was pregnant was because I am an obsessive stick pee-er. I got a faint positive on a home pregnancy test. A few days later, I got my period.
We grieved for a brief moment and moved on, because that is what felt right for my husband and I.
We conceived Lola the next month.
Off of the top of my head, I can name fifteen people who have experienced the loss of a child. Some of these losses came during pregnancy. Other losses came soon after the child was born. And in some cases, the child was much older. Regardless of gestational age or how many years they’ve been on this Earth, the loss of the life of a baby is one of the most heart wrenching things a mother goes through.
Sunshine After The Storm is an anthology of essays written by grieving mothers and for mothers who are grieving the loss of their child(ren). Their stories are honest, vulnerable, heartbreaking, and real. It is written to mothers for mothers. However, father and partners will also find ideas to take away as they journey through their grief.
I was hooked on the beauty of this book by the first paragraph of the forward.
“If you have had a baby die, you KNOW. You know that life changes and you will never return to your “old self.” You know that people treat you differently yet want you to be the same person you were. The one they knew so it was easier. Easier to talk with you and be with you and look forward to a predictable future. But there is nothing predictable or planned about the journey that is called grief after the death of a child.”
There are several core truths the authors realized about grief and they have sprinkled gentle reminders throughout the entire book.
- Whatever feelings you are having over the loss of your child, they are normal.
- You are not alone.
- You are free to grieve in your own way.
- It is okay to always love and remember your baby. You don’t ever have to “move on” or “get over” this.
- The loss of a baby will change you. You can’t expect to be the same person you were. And that is okay.
- People will say things to you that aren’t exactly helpful. They mean well, they just don’t have the right words to tell you they’re thinking of you.
- It is “normal” to have your faith rocked, shattered, and stretched so far you don’t know what or who you believe in anymore.
The authors have seamlessly woven a grief guide between their essays and included twenty two grief survival tips, a grief check list, a grief to do list, and the most amazing list resources for grieving parents I have ever seen in one spot. The resource list includes websites, books, and Facebook pages. Their goal is to give the reader options to find community and to be with others who “get it.”
The essay I loved the most was written by Stephanie Sprenger. It wasn’t until I read her words about her two chemical pregnancies that I realized I felt very similar.
“Honoring my own authentic beliefs and feelings, giving myself permission to fully grieve over every aspect of my loss, protecting myself from potentially hurtful comments from outsiders, and finding another mother to grieve with were all instrumental in my healing. But nothing else was more powerful in helping me move through my pain than giving birth to my daughters….I was even able to let go of my belief that my body was inadequate thanks to the redemptive experience of giving birth to my second daughter.”
I was provided a copy of Sunshine After The Storm: A Surviving Guide For The Grieving Mother in exchange for an honest review. I want you to know that I believe in this book and it was an honor to review it for you, my dear readers. If you are grieving or know someone who is grieving, please get a copy of this book as soon as you can. It won’t make your world better, but it certainly will help your journey as you process your new normal.
You can also visit the Sunshine After The Storm website here.