It’s been a couple weeks now since my Hope Mommies retreat in Texas. I have wanted to write about my experiences but every time I try, I find that my words come short of the love that was shown, the support that was given and the friendships that were made. Fifty-some other mothers. Fifty-some other stories of loss. Fifty-some other babies in Heaven with mine.
I didn’t find out about the retreat until close to the end of registration. But I felt the want, no, the NEED to go. Before the retreat I was feeling very alone. Like I was the only one in the world grieving a baby I never got to hold; A life I never got to meet face to face. I felt like I was going crazy and everyone was just watching, waiting for my breakdown. I felt like I shouldn’t be crying this much, sad this much, dwelling on my losses this much. Everyone else was over it, so why wasn’t I?
I got to the retreat Friday evening feeling literally sick with anxiety. What if they think I’m silly for crying about my Oliver who only grew inside me for 12 weeks? And even worse, what if they think I’m crazy for naming Emery Gene even though she was just a blighted ovum and she never had a heartbeat?
We sat down for supper and all my fears fell away. I was in a safe place. We listened to each others stories. Cried over photographs of our babies. And rejoiced in knowing that our babies were all up in Heaven together. We had some praise and worship time during the weekend I remember picturing all of our babies in Heaven worshiping the same God we were worshiping. Doing the very thing they and we are created for. To worship our creator. What more could a mother want for her child than to be with Jesus. Isn’t that the ultimate goal, after all?
I was also struggling before the retreat with how to be me again. How to get life back to normal. How to not make people feel awkward around me. But I felt different and couldn’t go back to the same old me. Then another mom said it was ok; that this was the NEW normal and I can’t control how and what other people are feeling. And she was so right! I will never be able to go back to the “me” before this experience. This experience has changed me. My babies have changed me and that’s ok! As much as it hurts and as much as I want to hold my children in my arms I have found a greater relationship with God. I’ve had to seek Him on purpose. Isn’t all of life just a journey to His heart? The storms come and the valleys come but isn’t it all worth it knowing that this is not the end? That Jesus died for us to be reborn and live forever with Him?
Psalm 139:13-16 “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”
I think the best things I took away from the weekend were that I’m allowed to still be grieving. That I need to give myself a break when I have bad days and forgive myself when I don’t respond the way I want to respond. To realize that God knew my children before He made them and He still chose to do so. That God still has a purpose for me, during my grieving and after my grieving. That as much as He knows and loves my children, He knows and loves me. He has seen all the days that are still before me and I am never EVER alone.
I went to the retreat with fifty-some strangers and left with fifty-some sisters.
Here is a short video Hope Mommies put together from the retreat.