ASKING MOMS: HOW HAVE YOU HEALED FROM MISCARRIAGE?

January 16, 2022

This post is part of a new “ASKING MOMS” series. I love hearing from other mothers who propel or inspire me. From time to time, we’ll write about a specific topic and one mother’s approach to it with her family. I love interviews so much and I’m sure hearing from these women will be fascinating! When working on the concept, I felt like more and more subjects kept coming. Please write to me if you have an idea for a topic or someone you’d like to be interviewed!

Today’s interview is Amber, mother of five. And our topic is healing from the pain of miscarriage.

What is your perspective on motherhood to your children who were with you on earth for only a short time?

Being a mother is a blessing, a gift given by God. Each child, those with us under our roof and those we had to say goodbye to, is ultimately not ours. We are not the ones who give breath and life. We are not the ones who knit them together. We are not their creator. Don’t get me wrong; we love each of our kids very much and hold them close. But we don’t own them. They are created by God, we are given the privilege of knowing and raising them up in the Lord, and then they are sent out to serve God and others.

We are grateful to be parents to each of our children, for however long the Lord gives them to us and trust that if God takes them early that He will heal our pain and give us joy once again.

For a frame of reference of where you’re speaking from, could you share with us a little about your history with miscarriage?

Over the past twelve years, I have had eight miscarriages. The earliest miscarriage I had was at four weeks and the latest was at twelve weeks. After the third miscarriage, the doctors were able to send me for more tests. Nothing was ever found to be amiss, and therefore we couldn’t “fix” anything. Although it would have been wonderful to have something I could do to stop the miscarriages, the Lord was gracious in removing all manner of control from us. We had to turn to Him, the Giver of life and the Giver of good gifts. We had to lay aside our plans and submit to His will and trust in His purposes. We had to humbly admit and embrace our creature-ness and plead, pray, and hope in our Creator and loving Father.

Every miscarriage was heartbreaking as it is a real death of our son or daughter. We still grieve every child we didn’t meet this side of heaven. There are still moments where the grief sneaks up on us and we are hit afresh. Yet, God has never failed to be our great Comforter in our pain. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

What was sustaining you through your grief?

When the grief is new and sharp, I have trouble praying and reading and doing life in general. The Valley of Vision has helped give words for my prayers in those times. The Psalms have been an encouragement. And doing the next thing in front of me (laundry, dinner, picking up a dirty sock, shower, etc.) helps me stay connected to my husband and my family in the suffering.

One of the hardest things after a miscarriage has been attending church. Every pregnant mom, every baby cry is another loud reminder of our loss. However difficult, attending church and singing (or listening when I can’t sing) and sitting under a gospel message does shine light and hope into dark sadness. It is a reminder that God hasn’t changed. He is still good, and He is good to us. Establish a habit now of partaking of the Word, prayer, the Lord’s Supper, and the church’s discipline and care so that you can hold fast to the truth when grief threatens to overwhelm. In reality, it will not be you holding fast, it is God holding you fast.

How has miscarriage affected your mothering of your other children?

I think miscarriage has emphasized that my children are gifts, that they are not ultimately mine but the Lord’s, and that He loves them and will sovereignly care for them. I see my mothering role as a call to point them to Christ, to love them and sacrificially serve them. It is a privilege to be their mom, and to get to know their little personalities, strengths, and weaknesses.

What was one of your temptations in this trial?

One temptation was to stop trying. The pain was too much, the loss too great, the devastation too crippling. We were convicted though that for us to stop trying would be primarily an act of not trusting God and attempting to control our circumstances. And so continuing to pray, hope, and seek to have more children was an active fight against doubt.

Another temptation was to not allow ourselves to get excited or experience the joy of new life as parents. We now will share the good news with others, asking them to pray as a practical way to fight fear. There has not been a point where we have really felt relaxed as the stark reality is we could miscarry or have a stillborn child at any point in the pregnancy. We may need to bury one of my children currently sleeping upstairs someday. I don’t say this as an alarmist, pessimist, or a preparing-for-the-worst-ist. The truth is God gives life, breath and sustains each life on earth. He will not call us or any of my children home to heaven one moment before He intends as He has already written each of our days. We must believe in both His goodness and His sovereignty. Realizing we are not in control has a calming effect on our anxious grasping hearts. We are not in control, but He is and He is trustworthy in all things even if we don’t always understand our circumstances or sufferings.

Do you have any advice for the physical difficulty?

I’ve had a few hemorrhages when miscarrying that have required medical intervention and surgery. My advice is to not hesitate if you feel like the bleeding is severe to seek care. Your body is going through a traumatic event and may need extra help to heal. Accept help, sleep, and rest as much as you can in the immediate days following. Drink lots of water.

What did others do that blessed you while you were suffering?

Miscarriage can be a silent suffering – one felt deeply by the parents and family, but the outside world can’t usually see the suffering and loss as miscarriages normally happen earlier in the pregnancy. People praying, texts, cards, cleaning, laundry, dropping food and hot coffee at the door – these were tangible ways we felt seen and cared for but not invaded while we grieved. Though not physically seen, prayer is a precious way God’s people care for each other and we know our faith and hope was encouraged during the hardest days because others were praying. Let them know you are available when they are ready to talk.

Are there any sermons, articles, songs, books, or specific scripture that were an encouragement to you in this suffering?

The Valley of Vision and Every Moment Holy Volume II: Death, Grief, & Hope are both books that have written prayers that simultaneously give words to pray and also encourage my hurting heart by lifting my eyes to Christ when the temptation is to hang my head in sadness. There are too many hymns to list, but here are the first that come to mind: “I Need Thee Every Hour,” “It is Well With My Soul” (especially knowing the story behind the hymn), “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise,” “Our God Our Help in Ages Past,” “He Will Hold Me Fast,” and “Whate’er My God Ordains is Right.” Some scriptures are Lamentations 3:21-26, Psalm 139, Psalm 34, Psalm 73, Psalm 147:3, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14.

This was stunning. What a thoughtful and honorable reflection about the pain and realities of miscarriage. Thank you Amber for your open heart.

Here is further reading on how do you mother with chronic pain or longterm illness

My New Cookbook


PRE-ORDER NOW:  AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

This post is part of a new “ASKING MOMS” series. I love hearing from other mothers who propel or inspire me. From time to time, we’ll write about a specific topic and one mother’s approach to it with her family. I love interviews so much and I’m sure hearing from these women will be fascinating!

READ MORE

ASKING MOMS: HOW DO YOU MOTHER WITH CHRONIC PAIN OR LONGTERM ILLNESS?

January 11, 2022

This post is part of a new “ASKING MOMS” series. I love hearing from other mothers who propel or inspire me. From time to time, we’ll write about a specific topic and one mother’s approach to it with her family. I love interviews so much and I’m sure hearing from these women will be fascinating! When working on the concept, I felt like more and more subjects kept coming. Please write to me if you have an idea for a topic or someone you’d like to be interviewed!

Today’s interview is Jenny, mother of four, and grandmother of three.

And our topic is motherhood with chronic pain or longterm illness.

How do you find strength to serve when you are in pain?

One phrase that really helped me day to day, when the kids were young and pain was high was, “just do the next thing.” Don’t get stressed about all you haven’t gotten to. Just do the next thing! Also, I pray for strength and grace for each new day! Being content also gives me strength. If I let myself compare my situation with other moms who don’t struggle with pain, then I am robbed of my joy! Comparison steals joy! And the joy of the LORD is my strength!

For our frame of reference, can you tell us a little about what your personal physical limitations are?

I have always struggled with back pain. It probably stems from me being the bottom girl in the human pyramid for cheerleading in high school! Things came to a head after the birth of our fourth child. Somehow I ended up with disc material lodged in my spinal column. This resulted in my need for back surgery. After successful surgery, I was put on a three month bed rest. I had four children, eight years old and younger, with my youngest being six months old. I had days filled with pain. This led to physical restrictions for me. I struggled with sciatic nerve pain each day! It was brutal. I started seeing a chiropracter ten years ago and things have slowly gotten better for me. I am still not able to lift heavy things. And I struggle to sit on the floor. But things are MUCH better.  There are a lot of basic things I don’t do anymore. Simply because I know I will pay for it later in back pain.

What do you prioritize most with your husband and children even when you feel bad?

Relationships are my priority!  I have learned to maintain a good relationship with my husband and kids even when I am in pain. Good, rich conversations are key to helping them know I am “ok” even though I am in pain. I lay out on the couch or I stand in the kitchen and try to be a part of their day. Also, making sure my family has a good meal to eat and clean clothes are right up there in importance.

What perspectives help you with the frustration of your desire to work being stronger than your physical ability?

God is sovereign over my physical limitations. God has allowed this physical weakness for a reason. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness…” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10. This keeps me very reliant on God and keeps me humble.

What are some of your practical tips?

Lay down during your children’s rest times. Train your children to be able to play on their own. You must have a well run ship for things to function well when you are out of commission. Set up good boundaries for your kids. Avoid the temptation to stick your children in front of a screen when you are in pain. And also avoid escaping into the internet yourself when things are rough. Listen to books on tape together. Listen to Adventure in Odyssey or Lamplighter stories together. Try to be with your children as much as possible. But also train your kids to work and function on their own when possible. We instilled in them the mindset of “Team Gallo.” We are in this together and we need to help each other through it! Cook simply. Make food that has lots of leftovers, like soup! Promote kids helping in the kitchen. Remember that God is using your pain or limitation in your children’s lives also. It can be a tool for growth in your kids and a way of instilling compassion for others. Serving and working hard are wonderful gifts for you to give your kids.

How do you make decisions about pushing yourself versus not making things worse by overexerting?

My husband is my main help in this area. He knows me the best and knows if I should push myself. He is a wonderful encouragement to me. I am so thankful for a wise husband that helps me make decisions about how I serve and use my gifts in the body of Christ. Sometimes I can’t serve others, only my family. It does give me great joy to serve though. Knowing my limitations is crucial. I always prioritize my family; they come first. I have made mistakes in this area before and learned the hard way that I shouldn’t overdo to the point where I can’t be a good wife and mother. I would recommend serving in simple ways, like praying for others, making easy meals for new moms, listening to others in need of a friend. And in the end, if God wants me to serve others, God will give me the strength to do it, moment by moment.  Now when my grandkids are involved, I always push myself! One other comment, if it is for others and my pride is involved, then I try not to push myself. Because I know my motive is pride and that is never a good motive!

Are there any sermons, articles, songs, books, or specific scripture that are an encouragement to you in this suffering?

Scripture, scripture! It is key! Philippians 4:6-7, Psalm 73:26, Psalm 121:1-8. Also hymns of faith, Christian music, listening to scripture audio, and reading stories of heroic missionaries risking all for the gospel! Some great ones are Green Leaf in Drought by Isobel Kuhn, In God’s Underground by Richard Wurmbrand, The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom, A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael by Elisabeth Elliot, Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot, Peace Child by Don Richardson, and Evidence Not Seen by Darlene Deibler Rose, just to name a few.

I loved reading Jenny’s inspiring, beautiful thoughts and many points were jewels of wisdom for even those without longterm physical afflictions! Thank you Jenny.

Here is further reading on how to actually do some art with childrendoing a good job bringing a sympathy meal, and how to dress as a homemaker everyday

My New Cookbook


PRE-ORDER NOW:  AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

This post is part of a new “ASKING MOMS” series. I love hearing from other mothers who propel or inspire me. From time to time, we’ll write about a specific topic and one mother’s approach to it with her family. I love interviews so much and I’m sure hearing from these women will be fascinating!

READ MORE

QUESTIONS FOR CHILDREN ON NEW YEAR’S EVE

January 1, 2022

So, on instagram stories I was sharing some ideas for family conversations at the end of year. Then I said that although you can do them verbally, I will likely make these into a homemade worksheet because homemade worksheets are one of my favorite parts of homeschool and or motherhood. Then there was messages and inquiries related to this and about how I make homemade worksheets and if I would share ours if I ended up making one and now we are here, sharing the information in an expanded form on the blog since it is the more stationary home base and archive for referencing.

The other good thing about a worksheet is that for younger children it helps them organize their thoughts a little beforehand. Maybe this isn’t just for younger children actually, but people of all ages are helped by thinking about their answers in advance! THEN AGAIN I love something about on the fly conversations more casually too, sans worksheet.

I think a fun tradition to do every year before reflective convos is a little slideshow to look together at our photos from the year. You could just gather around a phone, sling it on to a screen if you know how to do that, OR use this cute $25 smartphone projector with a nice vintage feel from amazon that now that I think of it might have a lot of life uses.

Now I will say what I had in mind when I first said homemade worksheet is the VERY easy making your worksheet handwritten on a piece of paper with permanent marker and then simply doing copies on a home printer for your number of people. This is nice for doing something quickly and easily, making it look just how you’d like without having to try to get it to format right in word or pages or something. And you can include which ever questions you like best.

I had bit of fun putting together a quick one of the question ideas I included in stories so you can download that here if desired and print it. I hope it works; I don’t really know how to do this! Let me know if there’s a problem.

  1. something you loved reading in the bible this year
  2. favorite art project
  3. new movie or show you liked watching
  4. your song of the year
  5. way someone showed you kindness that impacted you
  6. favorite time someone visited you or you visited someone
  7. new place you liked traveling to
  8. a gift you loved
  9. favorite restaurant experience of the year
  10. a moment you felt loved
  11. something you finished even when it was hard
  12. a family memory from this year that is special to you
  13. someone you liked getting to know more this year
  14. something you are thankful for
  15. a way God showed his faithfulness to you
  16. a habit you want to leave behind in the coming year

The other conversation we got into in stories was, do you do more homemaking planning at the beginning of the calendar year or back to school? Personally, I do it about equally. I welcome both as a time to course correct or freshen things up. Do you like to plan in seasons, months, or whole year?

I’ve previously been seasons but this year I may try whole year in a by months way. Sometimes it’s easier to think about it all zoomed out instead of when you’re in the minutia.

Lastly, it’s 2022, so do we consider 22 by taylor swift a new year’s eve song this year? Also do you love fresh flowers on new year’s day?

My New Cookbook


PRE-ORDER NOW:  AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

So, on instagram stories I was sharing some ideas for family conversations at the end of year. Then I said that although you can do them verbally, I will likely make these into a homemade worksheet because homemade worksheets are one of my favorite parts of homeschool and or motherhood.

READ MORE

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