Monday, December 11, 2017

What It's Really Like to Mourn a Child

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There have been so many thoughts on my heart and mind lately, but finding the time to write here during the Christmas season has been difficult. But today I need to write, time or no time. I have a Christmas party coming up, my house is in shambles, but the words must come. It be rambles, but those of you who have grieved understand.

Everyone's experience is different. But I know SO many mothers will relate to this post, in part, if not in whole.

Empty arms (and womb) during the Christmas season is much harder than I think most people who have never miscarried can even fathom.

I don't know what it's like to lose a spouse, a parent, or a grandparent. All grief is different, and I don't know how to relate by experience to that kind of pain. But I do know what it's like to lose a baby. And a first born baby at that.

Grief is a funny thing. It's almost something that must be learned as you go. It something that is always there, but triggers the strangest responses. Most of those responses are unpredictable and even uncomprehendable.

It's been strange, being fine one moment and sobbing the next. 

I can't understand why some days I just want to stand in the baby center at Target, basking in the cuteness and thinking happy thoughts for the future. And then there are other days when I can't even look at a baby or a baby outfit.

One day I can sing my heart out and it comforts me. The next, I can't whisper a word without crying. Comfort comes in different forms on different days, even different hours.

It's odd how life becomes a strange combination of being truly happy for other people's joys, yet discovering that their birth, baby announcement, or even family photos are such a painful reminder. You see yet another baby announcement on social media and feel this awful pang because, no matter how happy you are for them, it's also another reminder that you didn't get to keep your baby. You don't want people with babies to keep away from you and you don't want people to be paranoid of hurting you, yet anything baby related does hurt. This very post has a diaper ad in it and, for goodness sake, it hurts!

The grief of losing a child is a different kind of grief because, for a woman, it's also physical. Your body changes chemically, physically, emotionally. Everything changes to prepare for a baby who never comes. Your thinking is different. Your instincts are different. The desire to nurture that many women instinctively have becomes a hundred times stronger, only there is no baby to nurse, bathe, cuddle. 

Arms ache without warning because they're supposed to be holding something that isn't there. You want to rock, to move, to clasp a baby that is real in your mind and heart but not tangibly present. You see another mother with her baby and simply ache all over. 

It doesn't matter how long or how short one is pregnant. When you become a mother, you stay one forever. Grace is always with me. I still put a hand on my stomach because it feels like she is there. Even though we didn't lost her after birth, it still feels like someone is missing in our house, at our table, and beside us in church.

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One thing I've observed is how rushed our culture is about death and loss. After a few short weeks, it is as if one is expected to move on--to resume life as it was. Only, few seem to realize that you can never go back. Life will never be the way it was, you will never be the way you were, and you are not supposed to.

In time's past, black was worn for at least a year (if not longer.) While I know that forcing mourning upon someone is not the best idea, I do think folks had the right idea of some of the customs. By your attire, folks always knew you were mourning. They couldn't forget. It was a constant reminder that you had lost someone very precious, were grieving, and respect needed to be shown. You weren't expected to "get over" it. Time was given and extra sympathy and respect was paid.

I think of the Jewish people, who, in the Bible, would lay aside everything to cry and mourn for an entire month. There were other signs too, such as ripping their clothing, but what struck me is how passionate Eastern culture was about grief. There was a deep, emotional response that we Americans have a habit of shrinking from. 

To someone who has ever mourned in any way, you understand why those traditions could actually be nice. 

As a mother of a baby in heaven, it's my instinct to want to preserve my baby's memory. I don't want people to forget or cease to talk about her or act as if I am no longer grieving just because, well, life does go on. That's one of the hardest points of grief--the sun does keep on rising and setting. You can't stay in bed the rest of your life (although I've been sorely tempted.) You have to keep going. Yet, when you do--when you're smiling, brave, and continue to be as involved socially as possible--it feels like the memory of your loss is forgotten. It might actually be nice to constantly wear black so, even when I am smiling, folks understand the pain behind it. 

I guess I just want to say that I understand this season hurts for many people. It's a season of unceasing joy in the midst of your pain. It's even a season of talking about babies--Baby Jesus. 

Yet, behind all the twinkling lights and gifts and the joy of celebrating Jesus coming into the world, a LOT of mothers were crying, brokenhearted, during the first season of His birth. Countless mothers lost their babies to Herod's cruelty. There was in Ramah a voice heard, Rachel weeping for her babies because they were dead. If I think losing my baby was senseless and even cruel, imagine how those mothers felt. We're not told if anything good came out of that awful, awful event. 

Mary did get to keep her baby and I'm sure it was a joyous event for her. Yet her baby was born to die. I've often thought that my baby died to be born, born in heaven. But Jesus was born to die--and the Bible tells us that Mary had to watch. If I think my baby dying was excruciating pain, I'm not sure what it must have been like to watch your son die nailed to a cross. 

Christmas is a hard time, because it feels like your loss in swallowed up in celebration. But the very first Christmas held a terrible amount of suffering too. Those of us who have lot a baby during the holidays can know that we are not alone.

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I've learned a lot. I'm still learning. This kind of grief is different and walking through it is a daily learning process. But here is what I've gleaned so far and may it help other grieving mothers too:
  • Give yourself time. Too many people rush healing. I've seen it. And it results in hidden depression, breakdowns, and even bitterness because being strong didn't really help anything. It just kept grieving people going to do what other people wanted them to do, not necessarily doing what was best. So don't. You don't have to be strong (although God does definitely give grace and will be strong for you if you let Him.) 
  • You don't have to say yes to every social or ministry obligation. Really. Keeping insanely busy does not promote healing, just forgetfulness. Serving is good to a point (it's therapeutic!) but not if it's replacing healing. Saying no isn't easy (trust me--I tend to be a people pleaser and feel guilty if I'm not doing what everybody wants me to be doing.) But it's good to step back from things that may hinder healing or add frustration/stress during a time that needs to be a little quieter, a little less busy.
  • Don't stay in bed all day. At the same time, serving others (to a healthy point) is very beneficial. Serving alongside my husband at the Chattanooga Rescue Mission has been very healing. Christmas shopping and endeavoring to do little things for those the Lord places on my heart has also been good for me. 
  • Recognize you will never be the same. I'm okay with never being the same again. Losing a baby when you don't have another child at home is so hard because you're a mother with completely empty arms. I'm not going to be the person I was before. We're not supposed to go back. 
  • Find something/somebody to nurture. I got a puppy. It's different for everyone. Maybe you'll find comfort in serving in a nursery or volunteering at a nursing home. 

If you have any tips for healing and plain old surviving grief, please share them in the comments. You never know how it may help someone. 

And, if you're grieving this season, I'm sorry. Really. Message me. Ask for prayer. Or find someone who will pray with you and support you. Don't try to be strong alone. And by that, I mean, yes, we have God and the Bible. But we also need people. We're relational and we were never meant to survive grief alone.

"He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Isaiah 40:31

"When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee." --Isaiah 43:2

As always, thanks for stopping by.
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Saturday, November 25, 2017

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10 Natural Ways to Clean and Disinfect Your Home for the Holidays

It's that time of year! It's that season where we're all running around like chickens with our heads cut off (if you'll pardon the farming community expression), shopping, attending recitals and concerts, and maybe even squeezing in time to volunteer at a soup kitchen.

In other words, we're tired, eating a lot of sugar, and our homes are kind of pushed to the back burner.

Until we realize we have a lot of company coming.

So here are my top ten natural ways to clean and disinfect your home for the holidays. (Natural, as in without harsh chemicals or cleaners.)

1. DIY Cinnamon Disinfecting Spray

Invest in some Thieves, Fighting Five, On-Guard, or whatever it is you call it. Whatever company you get it from or even if you make it yourself like I do, the recipe for the blend is all the same--lemon, clove, cinnamon, eucalyptus, and rosemary oils. 

Add several drops (1o-20) to a glass spray bottle full of water (I get mine HERE from Amazon.) Some people recommend one drop per ounce of water. Shake up the bottle and spray away onto whatever surface you want to disinfect--bathrooms, kitchen, doorknobs, walls, garbage cans. 

Not only does it disinfect, but it smells wonderful too! The more oil you add, the stronger it will smell. It has a delightfully Christmas fragrance--cinnamon and cloves!

I make my own Thieves or purchase it from Eden's Garden. 

You can purchase your own HERE

2. Candy Cane Room Refresher

I like to refresh my living room carpets with baking soda...and my holiday favorite oil, peppermint! The rest of the year, I normally do regular old lavender or tea tree, but I like peppermint for the holidays.

Simply fill a little mason jar with baking soda and add a few drops of peppermint. Not too much! A few drops goes a long way. Shake up, sprinkle evenly over your carpets, and wait about 15 minutes. Keep small children and animals away. 

Vacuum thoroughly. Your whole room will smell like peppermint! 

You can purchase peppermint oil HERE if you don't have some already!

3. Peppermint Dryer/Wool Balls

Y'all probably know I use wool balls instead of dryer sheets. I love that I don't have to buy chemical filled dryer sheets and also that I can scent my own wool balls anyway I like!

For the holidays, I enjoy using peppermint! Of course, you can use cinnamon, clove, sweet orange, or any other holiday oil, but peppermint is really fun.

4. Mrs. Meyers!!!

Okay, this is not DIY, but I LOVE Mrs. Meyers, especially around the holidays. I use their surface spray, dish soap, hand soap...everything. 

It's really worth it for this time of year. Your entire kitchen will smell amazing, but not in that sickening, chemical, overpowering way. I am fairly sensitive to scents, but their products are perfect for me.

I personally like getting my Mrs. Meyers from Grove, since almost every single time I go to Target, they're sold out! Grove usually gives away something special (like a Mrs. Meyer's gift set) to first time customers. Check them out HERE to obtain yours!

I recommend their 2017 holiday scents: Peppermint, Iowa Pine, and Orange Clove!

5. Diffuse Holiday Scents

There's no limit to all the holiday scents you can cook up with essential oils and a diffuser! Not only does aromatherapy have the ability to shape a festive or uplifting mood, but they're great for your health. They're especially great for deodorizing and cleaning the air...all while smelling great!

Here's a few of my favorite recipes:
  • Overcast Day = grapefruit, cedarwood, and cinnamon bark (or leaf.)
  • Holiday Baking = cinnamon, clove, and sweet orange.
  • Midwinter Greenery = silver fir, pine, and cedar.
  • Knight's Honor = lemon, eucalyptus, cinnamon leaf or bark, clove, and rosemary.
  • Crunching Leaves = cedarwood, silver fir, cypress, and sweet orange.
  • Sniffles Be Gone = eucalyptus, peppermint, saro.
You can purchase all of the above at Eden's Garden.

6. Dr. Bronner's

For regular carpet cleaning, making your own laundry soap, or plain old scrubbing, a little bit of Dr. Bronner's goes a loooooooooong way. And it's very multi-purpose! 

Best of all, they have wonderful scents that will put you in the mood for the holidays! I recommend peppermint, citrus-orange, or even eucalyptus. 

I just cleaned my carpets before a winter-themed church get-together. A few drops of Dr. Bronner's soap and a dash of tea tree oil made the perfect carpet cleaning solution and my whole house smelled great! It's especially great for deodorizing after sickness or, in my case, cleaning up after a certain puppy...

7. Balsam Fir Room Spray/Antibacterial Spray

I'm really excited about this. I just ordered some balsam fir oil. It's supposed to be the best oil for that delightful scent of Christmas greenery! I do have one real wreath in my house this year, but just one won't make the whole house smell good. So I'm going to make this room spray. 
  • fill a glass spray bottle with water, some witch hazel, and some balsam fir, frankincense, sweet orange, and maybe some cedarwood, pine, or cypress oils. Spray into the air or onto your faux greenery.
Not only does Balsam Fir smell great, but it's also antibacterial. You can use it to make a cleaning spray, just like with the thieves oil! Spray down your bathrooms and kitchens to make them smell like a forest! 

8. DIY Furniture Polish

Some people recommend making wood polish with olive oil, but olive oil can do rancid. I recommend sweet almond oil and some lemon essential oil for a simple, quick way to polish your wood. I polish my wood butcher block this way. And it smells good! 

You can also use wild or sweet orange essential oils for a nice holiday twist! 

9. Disinfect Bathroom Floors

Disinfect your bathroom floors with warm water, vinegar, and some tee tree oils. The scent will be strong, but it will fade when it dries. It's safe, gentle for kids, but still very strong for killing germs. I've never scrubbed my toilet down with this, but I imagine it'd be a great option for cleaning it. Vinegar and tea tree both deodorize, which is wonderful for bathrooms!

10. Clove Apple

Okay, so this last one isn't really cleaning, but it's making your house smell good! Stick whole cloves 'round and 'round into an apple or even an orange. Set on a plate and let it scent your kitchen! It's a fun project for kids, too.

What Are Your Favorite Ways to Clean Your Home Naturally? Share in the comments!

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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

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Warmest Thanksgiving Wishes

'Tis the day before Thanksgiving, and I want to wish y'all the very best of holidays. Whether you're going to be with family, or making your own traditions, or serving at a homeless shelter, I wish you a very wonderful day of giving thanks to God and enjoying your loved ones. For those of you grieving during the holidays, you're not alone. May God give you peace.

God's love endures forever, not matter what. Let's thank Him! I'm thankful for many things, but here are some on the top of the list:

--my wonderful husband, who inspires me, protects me, cherishes me, encourages me, and helps my walk with the Lord.
--my family, from my grandparents to my parents to my siblings. I love them all so much. Their support and love mean the world.
--my church and all the blessings that come from being apart of the body of Christ.
--friends who love, exhort, encourage, and care.
--my doggies. My boys. My obedient, tenderhearted little Licorice and my naughty, fun loving little Pumpkin, who both keep me so busy.
--my baby Grace, whom I love so dearly and cannot wait to meet in heaven.
--the Chattanooga Rescue mission, the wonderful ministry we are so blessed to be apart of.
--all of you readers who enjoy my books and my blog. I couldn't do it without you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

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And Love Goes On

I don't know how to even start. 

Several years ago, my friend Erynn went through a terrible loss. I remember appreciating her transparency, her realness during the time. I remember being grateful that she put her story on her blog so we could pray. During this last week, I've looked back on her story and been even more grateful that I had her story to refer to. 

Now I want to do the same. It hurts to share our story and it hurts to be real. There is a hole in my heart--in our hearts--that will never heal. But I'm fine with that. I'm okay with realizing that we'll never be the same. 

Samuel and I believe that every life is precious. We believe that life begins at conception and that a child is a child no matter how small. When we shared our news on our blog and with everyone we know and love, we wanted to give you a chance to love our baby too. I'm glad we did. I'm glad y'all got to know our little baby in just a tiny way before it was time to say goodbye.

Last Saturday, I remember feeling a strong urge for Samuel to just put his hand on my tummy. I don't know why. He did. And it was the last time we both got to experience that beautiful moment when the father of a baby places his hand on the place she's nestled in.

Sunday the 29th started like any other Sunday, except, if possible, crazier than ever. We picked up the shelter guests from the rescue mission, took them to early service, I played the piano, we sang in the choir and I played the offertory for the second service, then I taught Children's Church--all the while feeling very sick and pregnant. But by the time I got home, I was bleeding. 

It's a very normal part of pregnancy for many women. I knew that. But I knew it wasn't for me. That night, while Samuel was at work, I knew my baby had died. I don't know how I knew. It was the most awful feeling in the world to be alone and know that the little life I wanted more than anything was gone and I couldn't stop it or save it.

I had done everything right. I had taken my prenatal vitamins for three months before conception. I had cut back on caffeine. I was eating protein. I was drinking orange juice and cut out essential oils and strenuous exercise. I had done everything right. We had prayed over the baby. We wanted that baby so bad. But I knew Sunday evening that she was gone.

Getting into a doctor was a challenge and yet so much easier than it could have been.

I had not had my first prenatal visit yet. We literally walked into the OB-GYN office of Erlanger hospital and requested an emergency ultrasound. Within 2 hours, they had established me as a new patient, confirmed my pregnancy, and got me an ultrasound. 

The tech left after my ultrasound and came back with two doctors and some nurses. I had two more ultrasounds and the doctor confirmed that my baby was dead. It was nothing I already didn't know, but I was not prepared to be told that I needed surgery. In total, three doctors looked at me and said that my lining was three times thicker than it needed to be. They said I was full of big blood clots, some the size of the pregnancy sack. They said that my body was not likely to go into labor for at least a month--if not longer--and was not likely to expel everything. And that I was likely to hemorrhage if the process started naturally. And, even then, my body might not finish the job and fully recognize the loss of my baby. 

It was really scary for me to realize I had such huge blood clots and that there were abnormalities that are not usually in a 8 week pregnancy. I knew that DNCs were something that were normally not done until 10-12+ weeks and for them to detect so much tissue that should not have been there was unnerving. They had no answers for the stabbing pain I've had or why my lining was three times too thick. 

And, so, another doctor visit later (one that included a LOT of blood being taken and my passing out), my surgery was scheduled for Friday.

I'm not going to even pretend that the DNC was easy. Frankly, it was the scariest, most painful thing I've ever experienced. It was scheduled for 1:30 PM; I showed up at 10:30 AM after experiencing the confusion of hospital valet parking and trying to figure out where the surgical services even was. 

After almost three hours of waiting, they got me in and took me back for surgery. About then, the computers went down. They told Samuel I was in surgery when, in reality, I was waiting alone in a very cold pre-op room. I waited there for two hours, alone, no glasses, no phone, no Bible.

Nothing but waiting for them to take my little baby away. 

Samuel told me later that he was panicking because my surgery was supposed to take less than an hour. They took me away before 1:30 and I did not get back from surgery until 6:00. 

The doctors, nurses, surgeon...everybody was so sweet, so professional, so kind. They took my family history seriously and even prepared me with a blood band to be ready to do an emergency transfusion and had all the medicines ready to go--something they don't do with every patient. But the DNC was still the most painful thing I've ever endured.

Two of my friends who had DNCs experienced no pain. But my body didn't respond that way. However, some of my friends who have had abortions have described their pain as being out of this world and, as the two procedures are similar, I was not completely unprepared for it. I woke up to the worst pain I've ever felt and they ended up giving me morphine. I normally do well with pain, but not then. I think the combination of having never delivered a baby, my cervix not being ready, and the anesthesia all played a part in why it hurt so bad. I don't know. I do remember thinking back that I would never have wished that kind of pain on even my worst enemy. Not on anyone.

I'm thankful to Samuel's friend and boss for coming to sit with him. It meant a lot. 

I don't know what the physical recovery is supposed to feel like, but I suppose it's been normal. High emotions, crashing hormones, dizziness, pain, the feeling of everything moving around inside me as if it's going back to normal, headaches, disorientation. From everything I've read, it feels like I'm recovering well. 

I know this all seems so matter of fact. But there are no words -- even for a writer -- to explain what last week felt like and what we feel like now. Words have dried up. There is no way to eloquently explain gritty things like surgery, what it feels like to carry a dead baby for days, or physical pain. There is no way to explain a loss like that of someone you loved with all your heart but never got to meet.

I saw a drawing of a woman with a hole through her body. That's what it feels like. 

There were so many dreams centered around our little baby. We were planning a nursery. I already had a few baby gifts. There were so many prayers, so many wishes, so much love. 

It kills me to wonder if she had pain. That she died and I didn't even know. That it might have been my body that rejected hers. That we had to say goodbye before we even got to say hello. 

When we came home from the first ultrasound, God spoke clearly to my heart that my baby was a girl and that her name was Grace. That wasn't the name we had picked out for her. But it was the name God wanted her to have. 

My pregnancy verse had been Psalm 84:11-- "The Lord God will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly." Grace fits in with that. But it's so hard to explain the rest. It's so easy for me to believe the lie that God snatched my baby away from me because I somehow wasn't "upright" enough. That it's somehow my fault. It's taken a lot of prayer for me to realize that Grace was still God's blessing and His best for us. I believe in my heart that Grace is a blessing--that God did not withhold a blessing, but, rather, that He gave us one.

It's just a blessing that's waiting for us in heaven.

I've never been mad at God before, but I was in the days before the surgery. I know four months is not a long time to try for a baby, but it felt like an eternity to me. And then I carried Grace for two months before losing her. I really struggled with wondering why God would let me get pregnant only to take my baby away again. At first, I was convinced that I'd rather not have gotten pregnant at all.

The surgery was rough because I didn't feel that God would protect me. I honestly didn't feel that I would even wake up. None of the Scriptures I turned to comforted me. There was zero peace, zero comfort  before the surgery. It was the strangest thing for me. I am normally so close to Him, so able to hear His voice.  But in this case, I almost felt as if He wanted me to rely on the faith I knew to be true rather than the faith I could feel.

When I woke up from the surgery, I felt peace. I was in horrible pain, but that was the first time I felt peace. It was as if God wanted me to trust Him when I could feel no comfort, feel no assurance. 

For some reason, it changed everything.

Not that it's been any easier. I cry every single day and I probably will for the next year...or ten. I cry every night at bed and wake up every morning "holding" a baby that isn't there. I can't look at babies in the store or at church, and I'm torn between feeling so happy for my 6 friends who are all due around the time I was and feeling so broken that my baby is gone. There are no words to describe loving someone so much and knowing you will never see them on this side of heaven. 

A miscarriage is not just a loss of a baby you never met. It's the loss of all the hopes, dreams, wishes you had for that baby. It's the loss of every single birthday party, every smile, the first lost tooth, reading books together, every moment of life. For me, it's even a loss of direction in my life, since so many of my plans for myself were centered around the little life I expected to join us.

But I'm grateful now. 

I'm very grateful to be a mother. I'm very grateful to have a child. Even with all this horrible pain, I would not go back and wish that I had never gotten pregnant. Not any more. I'm glad I did now. I'm a mommy. Samuel is a daddy. And we got to love a little life that we created more than anyone will ever know. We still love her and always will. We are parents and we have a child. She's just waiting for us, that is all. 

People talk a lot about the love of a mother for her child. Not a whole lot of people talk about the love of a parent who has to give her baby back. It's a very special kind of love that cherishes someone you've never met and can never touch, never hold.

Love hurts. It always has and always will. That's why there is so much selfishness in relationships. People are afraid to get too close. They're afraid to love because they might get hurt. But you miss out on so much when you guard your heart against loving. It hurts us so much the more because we loved her so much, but it also comforts us to much to know that she never knew anything but unconditional love. 

Not only that, but she never knew the pain of this world. It may have been the best gift anyone could give a child--to see Jesus and heaven first and bypass all the suffering the rest of us have to go through. Not that I would have chosen that. I wasn't exactly jumping up and down to volunteer for this pain. But it does help that, for some reason, God wanted to spare her from life down here. I'm not sure why God needed her more than me, but it's definitely true that heaven is sweeter for her being there.

Today I pictured my Aunt Lydia and my Papa Sam holding her. I'm pretty sure Aunt Lydia was first in line to hold her. She would have wanted to be. This is my Papa Sam's first great grandbaby to make it to heaven. He loved me so much--I know he is loving my baby too. And Grace is probably playing with all my brothers and sisters who are in heaven. 

I'm not going to pretend that I don't struggle or won't in the future. Grateful as I am for the blessing of carrying Grace and just for the time we had with her, I do struggle. The media stories of parents killing their children, the abortions, the girls who get pregnant with children they don't want and can't provide for, the mothers screaming at their kids in Walmart... A lot seems very unfair and will probably always feel very unfair to me. I feel like God has enabled me to still be happy for my expecting friends, but I occasionally do feel singled out for a trial I can't handle.

I struggle with the comments about how we can get pregnant and have another one -- as if another one will ever replace our firstborn child and the unique, beautiful, special person she was. I struggle with wondering if I will ever get pregnant again and, if I do, if I will lose that one too. I struggle with the hospital bill that seems so high and so unfair when it was all for a dead baby. I struggle with the empty room that was going to be a nursery, but realistically may not be filled for at least another year. I struggle with my heart telling me that I'm a failure when I still KNOW that it wasn't my fault.

We're going to struggle for a long time. 

I say all this because it will help someone someday.

It will. 

We can't allow our trials to encourage someone if we refuse to be real about them. And I know that one day, somewhere, a grieving mother is going to read this blog and be encouraged to know that she is not alone. Maybe someone else will read this and get a glimpse into the pain and be better equipped to be a comforter. 

I've had SO many friends be there for me. Our church provided meals (oh my goodness, churches, do this for friends who miscarry. You'll never know what a blessing it is.) We've received such sweet cards, flowers, and words from people who loved our baby. I've had friends text me all during this, praying for me and encouraging me as I went into surgery and checking in on me during the moments I needed it most. Some of these friends I've never even met, but they cried for me and felt my loss. You know who you are.

Friends, I'll be there for you too. I know someone is going to read our story and need to talk. We're here. Everyone's loss is different, everyone's pain is unique. We won't pretend to say that it all feels the same to everyone. If it comforts you to talk about the past or the present, share your story on this blog (or in a private message.) Tell us your baby's name. Not everyone is willing to talk about their baby because it hurts so bad, but if you care to share your story or anything at all, feel free to share. It may comfort someone else someday. I know the stories I've heard have helped me. It really does help to know that other women understand this pain, other men have cried and been brokenhearted over the loss of their baby, other babies have beautiful names. Some people have never had the opportunity to talk about their baby. They're holding in a lot of hurt because they don't feel that anyone ever cared. We do. God does. And you can share it if you want to.

Pray for us. We're praying that God lets us see the beauty out of the ashes one day. 

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Friday, October 27, 2017

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I am an The Honest Company affiliate. My links are affiliate links. While I am paid per purchase you make, I 100% stand behind their products and would not endorse a product I have not already tried and LOVED myself. Thank you for supporting this blog with your purchases. The Honest Company does not endorse or provide the product for this giveaway. It is my own giveaway, given at my own expense. 

Hey, y'all. In honor of me becoming an affiliate of The Honest Company, I am hosting a giveaway! 

If you've read any of my reviews, you'll know that I love their soap. It's very soothing, very long lasting (2-3 months of daily use), and the scent doesn't disappear after a use or two like some all natural soaps. It's a solid, triple milled bar. 

Click on the image if you want to learn more about the soap's ingredients and read reviews.

To Enter:

1. Comment which Honest Company product you'd love to try! (Mandatory entry.) Earn +1 point!

Additional entries:

2. Share this blog post on social media. Comment where your shared it and earn +2 points!

3. Ask a question about a product and earn +2 points.

4. Purchase any product through my links and earn +20 points. Comment stating you have done so.

5. Purchase any bundle plan through my links and earn +50 points. Comment stating you have done so. (Click on either of the following images to learn more.)

Extra $20 Off Your First Month's Diapers & Wipes Bundle at The Honest Company!

Best of luck! Happy entering! 

Giveaway ends November 3rd. Winner announced November 4th. Giveaway open to upper 48 USA residents only.
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Hey! Welcome to The Honest Company!

I am an The Honest Company affiliate. My links are affiliate links. While I am paid per purchase you make, I 100% stand behind their products and would not endorse a product I have not already tried and LOVED myself. Thank you for supporting this blog with your purchases.

Y'all! I applied and was accepted as an Honest Company affiliate! I am pretty excited. I've really fallen in love with their products and am super excited about sharing my findings with you. 

If you have not already, check out my review of MY FIRST BUNDLE. This review was written before I became an affiliate.

I'll be sharing special promotions, doing product reviews, and passing on all the deals they let me know about! Here is the first one:

Take 40% Off Your First Bundle and Free Shipping from The Honest Company is extended!! Use code: 40OFF Valid 10/16-10/24. 

Thank you! 

The Honest Company Affiliate Team

I recommend bundling. You save 35% and you can mix-and-match products. I get the Essentials Bundle, where I can mix-and-match hair, body, laundry, cleaning, and soap products. 

Not sure what to get? You can check out my review for a few ideas! 

In the mean time, I'll leave you with just a few of my favorite products for an idea. Click on the image to be taken to the product page on The Honest Company's website.

I love their bar soap! At first, I freaked out at $5 a bar, but then I got to see first hand how the bar lasts 3-4 MONTHS. And my hubby and I shower every day, if not multiple times a day (don't judge.) That soap LASTS. It's triple milled and it's SO gentle on my very finicky, auto-immune disease plagued skin. 

I cannot say enough about how much I LOVE this body oil! I have been using it on my legs every day after I shave and my legs are SO soft. I love how it's non greasy and absorbs quickly. Who wants to have greasy pajamas?! It's soothing, moisturizing, and non greasy. I'll be definitely using this on our baby! (And hubby and I already use it on each other for massages. It's great as a carrier oil for a drop or two of peppermint oil... Wink, wink!)

That's all I have to share with y'all today, folks! I recommend you read my reviews, head over to their website, and figure out what you want for your family! See yah around! And don't forget...

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