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  • Writer's pictureJodi Laughlin

Sharing your grief.

I have been talking to a lot of other people on the internet going through similar situations since we were around 24 weeks pregnant. At first, I was only in a group specific to Noelle's condition, hydrops fetalis. I was in this group searching for stories with "happy" endings. When I read about how women lost their baby to hydrops I would think "that won't be our story... our baby will be one of the hopeful stories about hydrops." But, that didn't end up being the case. Now, I can't even go into that group because it is a lot of Mom's who are just finding out their baby has hydrops and they are looking for hope, just like I was, and all I want to do is say to them "prepare..." prepare for the most horrific thing. Prepare to have your heart shattered and to never be able to put it back together.

Anyway... now I am on different groups, groups I would have pitied in the past. Now thats me... I am the one to pity...

Groups for infant and toddler loss, groups for woman who lost their child to hydrops and one group that is growing very dear to my heart, hope mommies. The women in this group are strong. They are the ones who I find lifting me up in my darkest hours. The hope they have is Jesus. And now I am finding that is my only hope as well. I have always been religious, but not until this moment am I coming to find that really the only hope I have to live a meaningful life again is to believe in Jesus and to believe that I will see my baby girl again in heaven.

Hope Mommies has a retreat in March and I am going. There was a high amount of interest this year and so when I went to register, registration had already closed. One of the directors had said to email her if you were still interested and so I did, but I really didn't think anything of it... I thought, if anything comes of this then it will be meant to be.

So she emailed me back and said that 25 people had emailed her hoping for a spot in the retreat but that she only had 8 spots left. She said she had been praying over this and that she couldn't shake my experience and loosing Noelle and so she offered me a spot. This I feel was the first hope, the first sign, I have had since Noelle's passing.

Noelle and God must want me to go on this retreat. And so I am, with an open, broken, heart.

So I have hope mommies and my other internet groups. And my husband and I are attending a group in person together every 1st and 3rd Monday of the month. This is a great experience. To see these people face to face and the be in the presence of others who have this raw grief is refreshing. We are not alone.

Sure, the way we deal with the grief and the exact experience of the loss is different, but we are all in this terrible pain together. It makes you realize that this path is not one you walk alone. God didn't single you out. This tragedy can happen to families of all different shapes and sizes and it is up to us what comes of it. We could crumble, fall apart, live miserable lives in reflection of our misery. But what message would that send? That we are ruined because of these babies that touched our lives? I don't want to send that message. Noelle wouldn't want to send that message. Noelle didn't ruin me. I have been made whole, better, wiser because of her. That's the message I want to send. And by reaching out, sharing this grief with others, supporting each other, we can find the grace among the grief. That's my hope... to find grace.

I went on a retreat with my Mom two years ago in North Carolina. It was with the missionaries of the poor. We stayed with the brothers and shared stories with them. One of the brothers was from Kenya. He was a runner and was training for the olympics and easily could have taken that route in life and freed himself of the poverty and crime he was living in. But he decided to devote his life to Jesus. He told me stories of when he was young, he witness massacres. He witnessed pregnant women having babies ripped from their bodies, tore out. Horrific, horrific tragedies. And he still believes.

We cannot stop evil, tragedy, and we may never understand why this is happening...Why can't God stop it all? But we need to remember that IS the plan... God will stop it all in the end. We need to believe this is not our forever home, this is temporary. Our pain and suffering will end after this place if we believe, if we spread the word, live accordingly and live together. Live for others, live for peace, live for grace.

Live for Noelle.

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