Pregnancy and Infant Loss

Pregnancy and Infant Loss: How You Can Help Part 2

Rhonda RobinsonBy Rhonda Robinson13 Minutes

Rhonda Robinson sat down with author Dr. Sarah Philpott for this two-part series to talk about her book Loved Baby, and how we can help these grieving families. Sarah Philpott knows about the pain of miscarriage intimately from personal experience.

Loved Baby: 31 Devotions Helping You Grieve and Cherish Your Child after Pregnancy Loss (Hardcover) – A Devotional Book on...Rhonda: It’s hard for other people to really understand the loss of a child. What would you say to a grieving mother? What is the best thing to say? Can you tell us a little bit about that and how you might encourage someone who’s contemplating becoming pregnant, facing the prospect of that pain again?

Sarah Philpott: Yes. We we had, my first son was born, no complications whatsoever, 10 years old. Now, at the end, we decided we wanted to expand our family, I just blissfully thought. I think as most of us do at that age when nothing has happened, that you know, all planned right to the time we’ll have a baby. And then I had two back to back miscarriages. And I was told that I would probably never have children again.

Thankfully I had people surrounding me that allowed me to mourn the two children that I’ve lost because, you know, we have to do that. When people say things like, “Well, at least you have other children” or “you can have another one.” But you know, we’re mourning a specific child. So thankfully I had people who allowed me to do that and I finally allowed myself to do it. And then with the news that I wasn’t going to have any more children, I just kind of wrapped myself around that idea. That’s the way my life was going to be.

I was going to be content in that. And I think part of that, looking back, was okay. I’ve been told my answer and I don’t even have to fear having other children. I’m just gonna embrace this one and I’m not going to have anymore and I’m not going to have to go through that pain again. But as God often works I was surprised in that I was pregnant again, and I was absolutely terrified. And for that pregnancy, and my Sophie is now seven, and she’s wonderful. And but I can tell you that every single second I was, in absolute fear. I did go on to have another one, after that two more. I actually have four living children. So, I faced pregnancy after a loss three times. And I wish I could say that it got easier, but I just got better at coping.

So I think based on my last pregnancy with Stella, I just really hung onto the verse. This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it. So anytime, every single day I knew that she was within me. I would just try my best to embrace that day. And I would just thank God for giving me this baby for as long as he was going to give it to me, whether I get to hold her in my arms or whether I meet her in heaven.

I think just trying to embrace the day rejoice in it, even when that is challenging, we just have to keep reminding ourselves to do that. And to try not to live in that constant fear of what if. You can’t avoid it. Because, you know, you have the ultrasound appointment you’re constantly hearing in the toilet to see if, if something bad has happened. But you know, you just have to hang tight to the idea that whatever happens, God is going to hold my child for the rest of my child’s life.

RR: And that goes back to what you were saying earlier about guarding your mind. Doesn’t it?

Sarah Philpott: It really does. I think that’s the only thing we can do is try to guard our minds too, to try to just combat all this year and the anxiety, because that happens with pregnancy after loss. It is a constant daily walk that we face.

My daughter, Stacy, who I mentioned, who turned seven last year, when we decided to finally tell our kids that we were going to be having another baby. We waited for a while to tell them until it was unavoidable that I tell them. We live on a farm, so I took him to our pumpkin patch and we hid a pumpkin that said, baby, number four, arriving March 2020. And we sent them on this hunt and they found it. And Sophie like just immediately after seeing it just ran and sat down and just started crying. And I went to her and she’s not really an emotional child. And I just sat down with her and I said, what’s wrong? Thinking that maybe she just didn’t want to have another baby in the house. But she said, “but what if, what if this one dies too mommy?” And she knew about it because, well, when your mom writes a book about pregnancy loss, you know, she knows about that. I go and talk about my book and everything. So, we really had to explain it and, you know, she just pretty much voiced my exact thoughts of what if this one dies too. And I remember just crying with her and saying, I don’t know, I can’t give you the answer, but we know it’s going to be okay. No matter what happens.

That is just that internal dialogue. And it affects all members of the family, who have gone through pregnancy after loss, even the grandparents, the parents, the siblings, your friends. Your friends are even nervous for you. It’s just, it’s a faith walk.

RR: So you mentioned you have a four-month-old, which means you were pregnant and gave birth during the pandemic.

Sarah Philpott: Yes. Lucky me

RR: Would you want to share a little bit about that?

Sarah Philpott: It was, it was such a different experience. I mean, pregnancy after loss, of course, it’s challenging, but then you throw in a worldwide pandemic and fear is a definite constant companion. You know, you have a definite recipe for worry. But I think because I was already afraid that it didn’t really shock me, that I was going to be afraid of what was going to happen. I already had that going through my mind. And the early part of my pregnancy life was completely normal. And then the latter part is when the pandemic hit, we saw different types of doctor visits and learned that we weren’t going to get to have friends and family at the hospital after we gave birth. We weren’t even sure if my husband was going to get to be in the C-section room with me whenever I had the baby, because I knew I was going to have to have a C-section.

So there was just a lot of unknown and we just really had to just celebrate the joy of each day and try not to live in fear. We have the gift of time. So I really was able to slow down completely to rest at my house. And did a lot of Amazon ordering, I guess, most of the world does.

Stella’s grandparents met her via face time instead of being in that hospital ward with her. But we just tried to look at it as an opportunity to really bond with her. It was so much one on one time with just her, that was a big blessing in disguise. And thankfully, my sister-in-law is high up in the medical field. So whenever I’d have worries about what was on the news and how it was going to relate to pregnant women, I could just call her and she could give me the medical facts of what was going on. But it was definitely was, as 2020 has been, definitely an interesting year to give birth.

RR: Is there anything you would like to leave this with?

Sarah Philpott: I’m just so grateful, Rhonda, for you having this conversation with me about loss, you know, like you’ve shared, you’re a mother of loss and I just want women to know they’re not alone. That there’s other women out there who’ve walked this journey. We’re a tribe. We’re a sisterhood. And when you, receive a statement like you did from your doctor, when you woke up from the table, having your D&C, trying to kind of negate your loss, we just have to keep pouring into each other. Not allowing those statements to be what’s constantly going through our mind.

We just have to focus on the love and then the joy. The joy of knowing that others care for us. Then also we have to look to the future that, when we faced loss, our due date is gone. But we have a new due date and we can look forward to that wonderful date that we’re going to receive when we get to heaven and we get to meet up with our little loved babies. So I just am very grateful for you, Rhonda, for having this discussion with me today.

RR: Thank you for writing Loved Baby and for talking with me today as well.

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