Is this your second baby?
I hear that question from strangers often. Each time, I think to myself…how much time do I want to invest explaining this?
Often times I tell our story quickly answering this is our fourth. I always receive a surprised look. When they ask gender and ages of my other children, I go ahead and share with them the quick full story. People respond graciously and I have received many hugs from random checkers, waiters, and store associates.
I tell strangers our story for three reasons –
One, because they keep asking questions!
Two, because I have faith that our story might help spread awareness of pregnancy and infant loss and open discussion so it doesn’t seem like such a taboo topic. In addition, I like to talk about Simon and Thomas – even though it might make me tear up.
And three, because I get to share our hope that we will see our sons again, fully restored, in Heaven.
This week at library story time, a stranger randomly asked if this was my second. For the first time, I hesitated. I was checking out our books and there was a line forming behind us and I considered for a split second not to go into it.
But, I just couldn't. Simon and Thomas are part of my heart, my soul and my family and I cannot leave them out.
So, I responded to the stranger and said, “Well, not really. It’s our fourth.” I could’ve left it there, but I went on. “We had two little boys who lived and died last year. And this, (pointing at my tummy) is our fourth.” She apologized for being flippant with her question – which, from my experience, is how most respond. They feel terrible for asking such an innocent question and possibly stirring up deep, sad, emotions. I went on and explained to her that I love talking about our boys in Heaven and that we hope to be reunited with them someday. I also shared that I know far too many mothers have walked a road similar to ours in silence, and that my hope is my openness will allow others to share their story if they find it to aid in their grief.
I share our story not to make others uncomfortable, but to simply tell the truth. This is my fourth pregnancy and child. And, in fact, we are parents to three boys. It’s easy to tell yourself to hide the heartache of your losses – you feel like you are sparing yourself and others the grief – but ultimately, this grief is a part of my story and is a piece of what makes me who I am.
Dear Lord, I pray that with each time I share my story that this child I carry is our fourth baby, not our second, that my story might be used in the hard and hidden places with someone else. Remind me it is a privilege to walk alongside of a family who is in the messy part of life. Use my story in my community to reach the broken-hearted. Give me the confidence to share my You Made Me Mom business card, when appropriate, to those who have randomly heard my story after asking if this child in my womb is my second baby. ~Amen
Two weeks ago we took these family photos.
Thank you, Shae, for always being a part of our family's milestones.
Baby Balentine #4 from Adam and Amy Balentine on Vimeo.
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