Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness

octpreg

October is Pregnancy & Infant Awareness Month, perhaps you have seen someone mention it on their Facebook page, or social media.  While many may share their experience of loss, there are others who are grieving in silence.  October may be the awareness month, but the feeling of loss doesn’t leave the hearts of these families on November 1st.  

We are going to take a break from our series on starting your own Women’s Ministry Council, to hear from our dear friend Kayla Pesce.  For the next couple of installments, Kayla is going to share her heart, experience, and advice for how we can walk alongside grieving women in our churches, community, and even family.

Why Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month Matters

While in the throes of planning our church’s 2018 women’s retreat as co-leader, I unexpectedly lost my first child to extremely pre-term birth. Our retreat theme was “Our story for God’s Glory,” and the irony of that still brings tears to my eyes. Frankly, I thought it was kind of a cheesy theme, but I believed in its purpose and vision. I went into planning with the confidence in the completed story God already gave me; a broken sexual past, marriage struggles, and His redemptive healing of it all. I had come to love this testimony and I openly share that with other women because I am comfortable with its details and the truths about God that brought such healing. I had resources, books, scriptures, friends who I related to, and podcasts. You name it, intimacy and sexuality were my know-how (still are)…..but THIS? Loss, death, grief, anger, sorrow, pain, jealousy, sadness. This was not the story I was ready to HAVE much less share, but I knew that in His Sovereignty God could use even this tragedy for His glorification. I clung to that knowledge as we proceeded with planning.

I had a miscarriage. I am a mother to a child in Heaven. My baby died.

While these statements appear harsh they sadly remain the latest headlines to my life’s story; and although my experience seems tragic and rare you should know that I share this narrative with an estimated 1 in 4 women. Yes, 25% of the women in your church’s women’s ministry are mothers to babies in Heaven too (not including those who experienced abortion). If we could all say in unison, “my baby died,” its sound would pierce the silence. Not because of its volume, but because of its profound declaration of vulnerable truth that is often grieved discreetly. The statistics don’t lie, but they are merely that: a number. Behind each number is a grieving woman and with that I know I am not alone, and if this is your story please know neither are you.

How does this fact apply to you as a leader in your women’s ministry?

My personal prayer and desire is that my transparency on this topic would in turn inspire other women, especially leaders, to notice and grieve with their sisters that have experienced the loss of a child they never knew. This includes miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, still birth, fatal diagnosis’, and early infant death. I see this variety of tragedy and sorrow, like any, as an opportunity to encourage a sister in her obedience to the Lord, but also a chance for you to practice obedience to Him as well. It is an opportunity for you to uniquely care and pray for, grieve, share truth, long suffer, and show the love of Jesus with a fellow woman who is in desperate need of support.

October was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Is there someone you need to be aware of that has grieved or is grieving this type of loss within your church and women’s ministry? If not, pray and ask the Lord to reveal a chance to love on someone in this way in the coming months if the opportunity is available. Remember our grief is not limited to one month of the year nor a year alone, but a lifetime lived without someone we love.

In a later submission I will share ways to practically help this woman and her family, but in the mean time I hope this brings the awareness to your mind to acknowledge this great heartache in your midst. I believe it will allow you to grow nearer to the women you lead, and more importantly provide a chance to serve our Lord in a new way.While we “the 1 in 4” are often grieving in silence, I want to write out loud on our behalf and welcome you, our fellow sisters, to be aware of our losses and join us in the grieving journey as women whose babies are in Heaven. You too are part of our story for God’s perfect Glory.

This was written in memory of Anna Joy Pesce, born into Heaven on October 7th 2018. May her life and memory always point to Jesus as Creator, Savior, and Sustainer.

For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. THEREFORE, I also have lent {her} to the Lord; as long as {she} lives {she} shall be lent to the Lord.” So they worshiped the Lord there. -1 Samuel 1:27-28

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