Welcome to Living in Left Field, where living with chronic illness, raising three boys, having a child with Asperger's Syndrome, and raising children in general, means that I'm seldom on the same playing field as everyone else!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Veteran's Day

Today is a day to celebrate our many amazing veterans, their wonderful service to our great country, and their incredible sacrifices. As a military brat though, I struggle with "Happy" Veteran's Day.  It actually makes me physically cringe.  I understand that most people revert to that term for lack of anything else to say, and because we, society, have been saying it this way for years.  But, as I said, it's something I really struggle with.

My house growing up, was anything but happy.  My father suffered hell, in part due to his years in Vietnam.  We know what to call it now--PTSD.  As a society, we are thankfully becoming kinder about it than we were back in the 80's and 90's.  Back then, he had to buck up and be a man, whatever that's supposed to mean.  My father was a suicidal, functional alcoholic who suffered from a great depression. Even when he was physically present, he was emotionally absent.  God only knew the battle going on in his head.  Our entire family suffered.  That makes him sound like some horrible, abusive person.  He wasn't.  He did his best.  He provided well for his family, but he was a broken man.  My mother frequently admonished me to not ask my father about his years in Vietnam. I have so many other memories from that particular area, but I would only be digressing.  He retired from the USMC when I was in my mid-teens, just shy of his 25 years, just before Desert Storm, and I remember my profound fear when they began recalling recent retirees for that 'skirmish'.  We were lucky, unlike so many of my friends, whose parents were either active duty, or more recently retired than my father.

It may not sound like it, but I really am proud of my father's service.  I'm grateful for our armed forces.  My father and I didn't see eye to eye on many things later on in life, but one thing he did teach me was respect for our military, and respect for office.  I have a profound respect and gratitude for our military.  It's possible that because of what my father went through, my respect and gratitude is even more profound.  Bird's eye view, and all.  It's something Shawn and I are passing on to our children.

For so many families today, there are wars still being fought here at home.  Veteran's Day is not always a happy reminder of service.  Our veterans struggle daily, hourly.  The suicide rate is astronomical.  The divorce rate is through the roof.  Families and lives are destroyed, even when our servicemen and women make it home.

For these reasons, and for many other reasons for so many families, I don't say "Happy Veteran's Day."  Instead, I say "Thank you so much for your service and sacrifice, my family and I are grateful."

*To the gentleman playing with Ezra in Walmart yesterday, who suddenly couldn't look me in the eyes when I thanked him for his service, "Thank you for your service, sir."
*To Noah's youth leader, our family friend and my fellow missions/disaster response team member, "Thank you for your service, sir."
*To my precious friend, who is retired USMC, "Thank you for your service, ma'am."
*To the USMC veteran whose home we had the privilege of working on in Texas: "Thank you for your service, sir."
*To the USN veteran I worked alongside in Texas: "Thank you for your service, sir."
*To our neighbor, "Thank you for your service, sir."
*To my many friends on Instagram, "Thank you for service, sirs and ma'ams."
*To our homeless veterans who deserve better: "Thank you for service."
*To our K9 veterans: "Thank you for your service," and belly rubs, and Kongs forever.

To all of you, thank you.  Your service and sacrifice, and that of your family, do not go unnoticed to this family.  YOU are not unnoticed to this family.  You are precious, and you count.  Your service counts.  "Thank you" will never be enough, but it is all we have.



Thursday, November 2, 2017

Look for the Helpers

"Always look for the helpers.  There's always someone who is trying to help." 
--"Mr." Fred Rogers' Mom

I wrote most of this on the plane home from Texas as I tried to process everything.  Blessedly, we had a huge plane with very few passengers and I had an entire row to myself, so I could just let the tears flow privately.  I really still don't even know how to begin to process everything I saw and heard, and was privy to.  I don't know how much I want to share, and what I need to guard in my heart.  I do know this trip was different than Jamaica in that unlike in Jamaica, where we left the children the same as we found them, we left the homeowners in Texas better than we found them.  In that way, it's been easier to come home than it was coming home from Jamaica, a relief in so many ways.

My plan going down was to take tons of pictures, maybe post them to social media--"Hey!  Look what we're doing!  Look what's still going on down here!"  Once we landed and I saw the destruction and devastation still there, I couldn't.  It was like a punch to the gut.  It hits you--this is not trash, this is not debris.  This is what is left of peoples' lives. These are heirlooms, memories, photographs, family histories--all on the sides of the roads.  Even on the sides of the interstates where FEMA and the state leave it until they can burn it--BURN IT--just sitting there, where the homeowners have to look at it, their wrecked lives.  I could not take pictures of these piles, or the homes, or anything else.  These were not my stories to tell. Even going back and forth to our job sites, I felt like a looky-loo just looking at the piles, so I kept my head down.  I did stare my first day, just taking it all in, but felt awful for doing it.  It was like a train wreck, then you realize exactly what you're looking at.  

Just as with the pictures, I could tell you a few stories for the GASP affect, but I can't and I won't. I will share some stories with you, but most I will carry only in my heart. 

This was a very emotional week for me.  I've worked on several missions trips doing construction work.  This was my first deconstruction trip.  And when the homeowner is right there, it just makes things even more emotional.  You must remind yourself to mind your laughter and your words, to mind where you toss your empty water bottles and the debris as you dismantle their homes, to mind where you step, and how you carry what is left of their belongings, and where you put it as you work around it.  While we were working to build the homeowners up, we were also working to tear their homes down.  It was a horrible irony.

I'm grateful for the complete strangers who became immediate friends.  I will admit, my first day out when I was on my own away from my home team, I panicked a bit--but it's obvious God wants me out of my comfort zone.  I jumped in with both (left) feet, and found many others with my (lack of) skill level, but same willingness to learn.  I'm grateful to those who made it easy for me to learn, who took me under their wings and taught me alongside them (there aren't any 'little women' on these job sites--if you find the job, you do the work!).  There were those I found with similar senses of humor, who joked with me and caught on to my eagerness (but they wouldn't let me have power tools--not even a chainsaw--excuse me, especially a chainsaw!).  Humor was a huge part of decompression each evening when we returned to the church where we were staying.  The women's dorm was more like a women's retreat every night, and that morning worship--oh, that every morning should begin that way! YES LORD!  

Last week was amazing and truly awful at the same time.  It was amazing to be with so many wonderful people, volunteers and homeowners alike, and to know we were part of something worthy and good.  But awful for the reasons we had to be there, what we saw, and the stories we heard.  We should have all met under better circumstances, but we're grateful for all the people who volunteered and gave up so much time from their lives for others.  My heart is a little heavier, my prayers are bigger and more fervent, but as I said earlier, we did leave these homeowners better than we found them, and for that, I'm grateful.   

It was amazing because I had almost no pain or symptoms at all last week!  You have to remember, I have daily pain, and there are things like cleaning my house or going grocery shopping that can lay me out for days at a time. I can get winded just walking up my stairs, or getting my mail.  Last week was truly an example of "if God brings you to it, He will bring you through it."  It was incredible!  I met several others with autoimmune illnesses having similar experiences.  We just wanted to dance in the streets and shout from the rooftops--instead, we were pulling off rooftops.  It was awful because one of the homeowners we ministered to struggles with her health like I do, but so amazing that we were able to help her and pray with her as she accepted Christ into her heart ("again," she said.  I hugged her so hard as we both cried before our team left, both of us saying, "No tears!" I just wanted to hug it all out of her, just hold her until she didn't hurt anymore.  My prayer for her is that she knows how beautiful and worthy she is--that she is able to believe it.).  It's awful there are still people living in tent cities, others who have not returned to their homes at all, people who are storing what is left of their belongings under tarps after their homes have been torn down, people who are being taken advantage of by clean up crews and contractors.  Some homes have just been boarded up and/or abandoned completely just as they are because the homeowners cannot afford to start over.  I noticed many of the homes that have been boarded up are still being lived in.

Selfishly, one particular homeowner's home was a turning point for me.  She was an older woman, such a sweet, God-loving woman.  She kept saying, "I have plenty of questions, I don't have the answer, but I do know God is still good, and you are all proof of that!"  She sat outside with her daughter and they watched us, as they went through several boxes of what had survived the flood and the storm.  I felt despondent just watching her.  We completely gutted her home, and I learned I can do hard work.  I didn't have Shawn there to fall back on, and everyone else was doing hard work, so when I found the work, I had to do the work.  There were plywood walls that had to be pulled down, carpet had to be pulled up, some tight spaces the drywall had to be removed from, insulation pulled out, there were roaches and other bugs--I did it all.  It was good, hard work.  I will admit, it was cathartic. It felt good to swing that hammer.  At one point, as I was connecting with that drywall, I realized I was yelling at seizures and had tears down my face, but no one could hear me because of my mask and the noise from the machines.  Perfect.  I might need more construction work.  One morning, I found a shiny 2012 penny on her floor.  Just a penny.  I took it down to her, saying that I know Christians like us don't have much use for luck, but perhaps it will bring her some blessings as she starts over.  She became teary, and told me she had lost her husband's coin collection in the flooding, so yes, she could use that penny to start over.  Oh, my heart.  I spent some time cleaning up her yard, and I scrubbed her bathroom, top down, for her.  Everyone deserves a clean potty, even if they don't have walls.

In some areas the damage was almost tornadic in nature.  Trailers and RVs and buildings were twisted like tin cans, not just once, but several times.  On any given block, one or two homes would have to be completely demolished, but others right next to those only gutted.  So many families don't have flood insurance, others don't have any insurance at all.  FEMA will guarantee one family the full amount, but the next family won't qualify for anything, and at times, the reasoning seems random.  Many families suddenly find themselves living on a floodplain, and have to jack their homes up before they can even begin gutting or repairing.  Many of those same families are now required to carry flood insurance they currently can't afford, also before they can begin gutting and repairing, but it does not help them right now, of course.  At almost every turn, it seems as though the red tape is built to work against them.  

Learning just how much red tape is involved (*cough* corrupt) with the government and businesses during these times, how much these folks are bilked out of, and just all the overwhelming nonsense these sweet people have to wade through makes me glad I've chosen to volunteer with a nonprofit who doesn't charge them a penny.  Christ in Action goes in, removes everything, roof to floor, so the contractors have a clean slate to work with.  Many homeowners are saved an average of $10-$15000, often even more.  It's good stuff.

One afternoon I noticed some papers beginning to blow away from the 'trash' pile on the side of the road, so I went over and bagged them up.  I really tried to not look, they were someone else's private papers, but I saw they were children's school papers.  They were blowing out of a cardboard box that had been ruined in the flooding, and it looked as though the owner had dumped the box without going through it.  I came across a small bible, and pulled it out.  I took it to our homeowner, but she didn't recognize it.  My hope is to maybe find the original owner--I have two names in it, and a  year, so perhaps through social media, I can track the owner down.  It was given to "Teresa" on August 9, 1974 but Edith Tomblin (I think I have the last name correct).  On the front inside cover is a list of how to be saved, and several bible verses, written in a young girl's handwriting.  I would love to find the owner.

We had so many people thanking us.  It felt weird, but touched my heart just the same.  As dirty and gross and filthy as we were, these precious homeowners didn't hesitate to hug us to pieces.  I don't want to be thanked, I just want to do the work, and spread His word.  God gives me the chance to do this work--the people allow us into their homes.  They allow us into their personal tragedies.  We are the ones thanking them.  This work is a privilege.  

Texas, it was my pleasure to serve you.  THANK YOU for allowing me the honor.  Fellow Red Shirt helpers--until next time.  

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Base Camp


This man of mine.

We've been calling him Base Camp since I started doing disaster and missions work.  It's actually a nickname Shawn gave himself.

Someone has to hold down the fort, feed the pets and look after the children when I'm not able to take them with me, right?

We always imagined this would be work we'd do together in our retirement years. But when the opportunities arose for me, Shawn didn't hesitate to start sending me with his best blessings.  I keep telling him we'll still do this together.  There's plenty more work to be done, still.  

A few weeks ago when I heard Shawn refer to himself as Base Camp at church, I just hugged him.  It hit me just how much he really is Base Camp in so many ways.  I was filled with so much love for Shawn, and all kinds of warm fuzzies.

Shawn isn't just here when I return, having taken care of everything in my absence.  He's here when I'm here, helping me take care of everything when life gets to be too much.  Shawn is right beside me, on days when life is what qualifies as normal around here.  He is my rock, even when he needs to crumble too.

Yes, there are times, days, and even weeks we don't mesh, we don't get it right, we get off track.  It's not a bad marriage, just a bad day.  And it's okay.  We're okay.  We talk (we fight), we forgive, we love, we move on.

I love this man.  I'm so grateful for him.  I'm so grateful I get to do life with him, raise our boys together.  I'm grateful I get to come home to him and wake up with him.  I'm grateful we get to roll our eyes together at our boys, then roll down our hill with them.  I'm so grateful to just be with this man.

I love my Base Camp.  I love returning to home base, to Shawn's arms, to his kisses.  I love that he's always here and I know I can count on him.

My dearest love, thank you for everything, and all that you are.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Harvey

Hurricane Harvey hit Texas the same time reality was hitting here with Avery's seizures.

I just wanted to escape.  I wanted to run away, far away, as fast as I could, and leave it all behind.

I saw Harvey as a quick 'out.'  I didn't say it was realistic.

The kids were upstairs doing chores and playing. I sat on my kitchen floor in tears.  Okay, so it was more like a mini breakdown.  I told my friend I was going to pack the kids up and head out. I could throw Ezra in a backpack, put the older two to work, and we'd be of some use.  We've done it before!  I have valuable training and some skills, surely they'd find someplace to put us ("Right?" I heard myself trying to convince myself.).  Shawn could hold the fort down here.  I had no idea where we'd stay (Our car?  Like everyone else in Houston?), but I'd figure it out once we got there.  Thankfully, my dear friend had me talked down from my ledge before Shawn got home.  Seizures would follow us.  Autism would follow us.  It would alllllllll follow us.

She was right.  Thank God for those good, practical friends who speak with love, huh?

It was silly, anyway.

The next day I was able to help organize rescue efforts for a dog rescue when a levee broke.  This group hadn't been effected by the original flooding, but when the levee broke, they needed to leave, and leave fast.  For safety reasons, the sheriff's department wouldn't let them back into the rescue facility, and it was a mess. They did not have enough boats, crates and trucks for all the dogs; through social media, connections were made, word spread, and the dogs were saved.

A few weeks later our church sent a box truck sort of thing of donations to Houston.  Shawn and I did our part, and my help was enlisted with some other things for the donations.

I figured that was the extent of my help. Grateful for the opportunities, I closed the book on Harvey, took off my Disaster Responder hat, and put my Mom hat back on.

A few weeks after that, it was announced that our church was taking a group to Corpus Christi to work with the group I trained with when I was pregnant with Avery.  I tell him disaster response is in his blood.  

Shawn and I looked at each other.

"You're going."
"I'm going."

I signed up, paid my airfare, and I leave with my team on Monday.  I'm excited (intimidated, scared out of my mind), humbled, honored and blessed.  I can't believe I get to do this!

Yes, seizures will be here when I get back.  Autism will be here when I get back.  It will alllllll still be here when I get back.  And I'm sure I will be happy to be back to my own problems.  But I'm humbled to be able to serve God and His people in the meantime, and maybe talk another mama down from her ledge, too.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Not My First Rodeo


When I started this blog six years ago, it was as an emotional outlet.  It still is.  I have words in my brain and they must go somewhere.  I was a stay at home mom with a toddler and an eleven year old, pulling my hair out as I navigated Noah's newly diagnosed life with ADHD and Autism.  Drowning in my own depression, I was also homeschooling Noah after a disastrous experience with a private school, knowing I had to put him back in public school.  Life was not on an even keel.

I decided to call my blog 'Living in Left Field,' because the day Noah was diagnosed, they handed us a binder full of information and sent us on our way, "Congratulations!  Your son has autism, see you in three months!"  Shawn and I buckled the kids in the car, then stood in the parking lot just staring at each other (or perhaps into oblivion), shell shocked, even though those were diagnoses we were expecting.  We had also expected more support that day.  Noah was high functioning enough he didn't qualify for any therapies or support.  I'm sorry, what?  Finally, I broke the silence and said, "Shit, they just dumped us in left field."

Six years later, we still live in Left Field.  I don't know that we will ever live on an even keel, but we know how to navigate it a little better, and laugh with most of the punches.

Last week, we rode a similar rodeo.  As you know, we're now navigating the life of seizures with Avery.  Last week I heard, "Yes, your child has seizures.  No, we're not treating them.  See you in six months!"  Shell shocked, I couldn't think of a single question to ask.  I couldn't even think to open my notebook to look at the questions I had written down before in the weeks before.  I just sat there, next to my child, too dumbstruck to speak on his behalf.  I'm sorry, you're not treating my child?  Nope.  Wait and see.  Wait and watch.  I felt dumped right back in Left Field, but as I said above, we've never left, so there's that.

Avery and Ezra were happily playing in the hospital playroom, and actually playing with other kids really well, so I let them be while I gathered up the strength for the drive home.  Sitting there, I started talking with another mom, and learned more from her than I did the doctors.  She held my hand, looked me in my eyes and said, "It's going to be okay.  It won't be easy, but it's going to be okay."  I've said those very words to countless other moms, and I know both of us will continue saying them.

She told me the difference between epilepsy and seizures (the doctor had already said Avery does not have epilepsy, he has seizures), and why they often don't treat seizures, especially in kids like mine (and hers), especially at first.  Avery's seizures are not disrupting his life, or his sleep (that we can tell), nor can any of the tests prove they are happening daily/nightly, or several times a day/night.  Also, these meds are heavy duty, and can contribute to the behaviors and sleep issues Avery is already having, and even cause some of their own problems.  I also learned these types of seizures are often seen in kids diagnosed with autism, ADHD and other similar behavioral issues.  Interesting (okay, but WHY?).

Yes, it still scares the daylights out of me.  But, I understand it a little bit better.  If only doctors explained things as well as other moms do.  

So, we wait and see.  We wait and watch.

We wait and pray.  

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Oh Mamas, Lean in, Hold On, Press Forward

Precious mamas, have you ever had one of those days for the books?

You know, when your youngest decides to scrap your 16 1/2 half years of veteran mom-ness and make it look as though you're just starting out?  No, really, this is NOT my first rodeo, I promise!  Ezra has decided to explore his independence recently, and he's become a runner.  Thank GOD for the linebacker-sized produce guy in Wegmans who finally clotheslined my kid, while everyone else ignored my shouts of "GRAB HIM" as I ran after him.  There have been other incidences that have had me relieved to be in bed at night, and Ezra hasn't been the only culprit.

My heart has been heavy recently, and there is so much on my mind, so much just really weighing my shoulders down.  My strength has just been sapped.

I heard a verse on the radio the other day, and the way the DJ explained it, my shoulders just immediately lifted--well, sagged from the lifted weight--and my heart felt a little lighter.  It was actually a physical feeling, as I whispered, "Yesssss" to myself in the car.  It was such a huge relief to me.

Colossians 3:2: "Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things."  Sisters, there are so many  things which are upsetting right now in our world and nation.  There are days when motherhood just gets the best of us. There are times when it seems life is just too much.   These earthly things--they are just mind boggling and strength sapping and shoulder-wearying and heart-heavying.

Set our minds on things ABOVE Indeed.

Yes, Abba does indeed care so much for us, and does not want us weighed down by these things.  He cares so much for us, He is already taking care of these matters.  How wonderful is it that we can trust Him so?  How amazing is it that He just loves us that much?  I can scarcely comprehend it!  On our most difficult of days, He has already traveled it ahead of us,

Lean in.  Lean in to Jesus on these hard days.  He cares so much for you.  He cares so much for the things you care about!  He loves you so much.  Allow Him to lead you.  You do not have to do this alone!

Hold on.  Hold on to the Cross.  Hold on to the Word.  Hold on--cling tightly--to Jesus.  These are our weapons against the enemy, these are our armor for our children.  Use them MIGHTILY.

Press forward.  Press forward strongly in motherhood as your ministry.  This is perhaps the most important ministry we will ever face.  Press forward for our world and our nation.  Press forward, and do not back down from the enemy.

These are our days, mamas.  Lean in, hold on, and press forward.

 It is our time to rise up, and hit our knees. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

One in Four

Imagine you are standing in line with at least three other women at the grocery store.  Now, imagine that if you have not lost a child due to miscarriage, one of those other women most likely has.

I am one of those women.

I am one of the lucky mamas... I've only had one miscarriage, and I have three healthy boys.

My daughter would be about 13 years old.

I did not carry Grace past the first trimester.  I hadn't even seen the doctor yet.  I don't have a picture of her.  It is purely supernatural that I know my child is a girl, and that she has blonde hair.  If you'd like to hear the story, Noah and I will sit down with you sometime.  
Top Print: "MisConception" by
thevisualminimal.com
Bottom Print: linktr.ee/letteredhope

Grace's loss is one I still grieve.  I do not believe the loss of your child is one you ever finish grieving, no matter the age of your child, no matter if you met your child or not.  In my heart, I know she would have been led a very sick, painful life.  I also know God spared her, and she is healthy now.  I was so very sick when I became pregnant with her, and I was on so many medications.  I carry a lot of guilt for the irresponsibility I had in even becoming pregnant, and for many years I beat myself up for what I felt was my part in my child's death.  I've talked a lot in my blog before about the anger and bitterness I carried concerning our struggle with infertility, but I also carried so much towards God for taking my child.  For quite a while, even as bitter and angry as I was about our infertility struggle, I felt it was a just punishment for my part in Grace's death.  It was a long, hard journey getting to where I am now, at peace with Grace being healthy and happy, even though I do not get to raise her.  Yes, it is possible to miss a child I've never met.  I miss her every day.  I miss the moments I don't get to have as her mom, and I try to not think about milestones (Homecoming prep shopping is hitting me hard this season for some reason).  Shawn, and even our boys, have missed out on so much, too.  I find myself wondering what she would be like, how we would get along, what kind of things she would like.  I also try to not think about her too much, but I'm her mom, so it's what I do.  

There is always the inevitable, "Three boys, huh???  You gonna try for that girl?" Sometimes I shut it down quickly, announcing that we already have our girl, depending on how rude the person is, other times I'm more gentle, but I still explain that our little girl lives in heaven.  It's a delicate balance, honoring my daughter's memory while also honoring my sons' lives.  It's only been within the past year that I now tell people I have four children when they ask how many I have.  It's a question I used to struggle with--I usually end up comforting the person if the conversation goes past that and it becomes awkward--I felt as though I was denying Grace's existence.  I always heard her little voice asking why I didn't tell people about her.  Now, I do.  I try to keep the conversation short and simple, unless Grace is the purpose of the conversation.

I do not share this with you for pity or sympathy.  I share this with you because our voices need to be heard for the sake of other mamas who feel they are alone.  Every day, in every setting, it is socially acceptable to discuss every form of cancer and other illnesses, to discuss every other kind of death, often times right down to the gory details--but no one talks about miscarriage anywhere.  Not even our churches are talking about early child loss!  It is completely socially taboo.  I do not know that I will ever understand why.  When I lost Grace, I was so embarrassed and ashamed I even hid it from Shawn for several years.  Our marriage was not in a good place when Grace died, and I was so ashamed, I was afraid he would blame me for her death just as I blamed myself.  It took me even longer to talk about her with anyone else who wasn't super close to me.  Now, I know she is part of my testimony for other mamas.  I must talk about her for other mamas who have been told to just move on, to just get pregnant again, they can always adopt, to get a dog or a plant--for those mamas grieving their losses who have heard all the tired lines.  Please, PLEASE, do not ever say any of those things to a grieving mother.  Do not ever tell her that at least she won't have to deal with potty training, or go through the pain of breastfeeding, or the terrible twos, or to be glad she won't have a moody teenager in her house now (just a few of the things I've heard).  Do you have any idea what that mama would do for any one of those problems you take for granted?  Word of advice--if you don't know what to say, please do not say anything.  Just hug her.  Hold on to her for dear life and don't let go.  And please, PLEASE, do not ever reject her motherhood; she carried and loved her child, she IS a mother.

Making it even more difficult for me, my doctor dismissed my loss.  It was tragic for me, but to my doctor, "these things just happen."  I lost my child, and he just dismissed her life!  Grace is not just "one of those things,"!  Precious love, neither is your child!  Much of society also dismisses my loss--clump of cells, fetus, loss of pregnancy, miscarriage, etc.  The early loss of a child is not something which shows up in a newspaper obituary, nor is there a funeral held.  Unless you've already told others you were pregnant, or you were already showing, no one knows you've lost your baby until you tell them, unlike the death of a person who isn't there at church the following week after he/she dies.  This is another reason so many mamas suffer alone.

Precious mama, if you have lost your baby, please--cry.  Cry as much as you need to, then cry some more.  You lost your child!  You lost your dream.  You lost a part of yourself, and a part of your family. Grieve.  Name your child, even if you don't if your baby is a boy or a girl--give your baby a name.  It may sound simple to some--of course you should give your child a name, while to others it may sound strange.  Please trust me when I say it does help to be able to refer to your baby by name.  And it helps your friends and family when they ask how you are doing, too.  A name gives everyone a reference point.  You are no longer referring to 'the miscarriage,' or referring to your child as 'it' or 'the baby.'   Talk to someone.  Anyone.  Everyone.  Share your story.  Do not hold it in like I did.  There is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about.  There is nothing you did--and I know you are so tired of hearing that.  And I know you are just as tired of hearing there is nothing you could have done, but love, it is the truth.  Know you are not alone in this.  Know you are loved.   Allow friends and loved ones to minister to you; there are no burials with early miscarriages, making grieving even more difficult, so allow those meals to come in, allow friends to take you for coffee, or to bring it to you, allow them to take your other children for the day.  Allow yourself to be angry.  Please remember this, also:  Make these allowances, but when it is time, allow yourself to come back up out of the pit.  Yes, you will wonder how you can go on, and your marriage may even be rocky, but love, you must allow yourself to come out of the pit.

Precious mama, this is a painful time for you.  Allow yourself to be loved.  Allow yourself to be held.  Allow yourself to know that as painful as it is right now, there will come a morning when you will wake up and hurt just a little less, and you will smile when you say your baby's name.

You are loved, precious mama.  You are so, so very loved.