The Silent Treatment

Hi. My name is Kati, and I should be 25 weeks pregnant… but I’m not. My uterus is empty. My grief is real. My sighs are heavy.

Most days, I am fine. Other days, the waves of grief hit me over and over and over again until I am washed up on the shore, exhausted, standing over the stove, cooking dinner, and counting down the moments until bedtime — just hanging on so I do not have another breakdown in front of my kids. I know it’s ok for them to see me cry. Trust me, they have.

Do you want to know the worst part about grief? Most people just ignore it. Our society does not talk about what makes us sad. It’s too hard. It’s too painful. It hurts too much. But in this season of too hard and too painful, those grieving, at least myself, often feel like we are being given the silent treatment in regards to our pain.

I can count on one hand the number of people who continue to check in on me and how I am handling the loss of our baby. It’s no one’s fault. Truly. I don’t blame anyone. Our society has failed us and taught us that we don’t talk about such things. I’m honestly fortunate to have people that still do ask me about my pain. Heck, apparently radio stations are banning “Baby It’s Cold Outside” in fear of it lending its hand to date rape culture. That’s what we do. If its hard to messy or has the potential to cause pain or sadness, we cut it out of our lives completely.

But I just want to say, that is not the way to handle things. That is not the way to grieve. That is not the way to walk through grief with someone. Because grief cannot be ignored, at least not by the person grieving. It rears its painful head in the most random and bizarre of times, and people need to know they aren’t left to deal with it alone.

People need to know they can come to you with their sad, their mad, their glad, and every emotion in between, and that you won’t shy away from it. That you will be there for them, no matter the emotion. They need you to ask hard questions like, “How are you feeling about the loss of your baby today?” “How did that pregnancy announcement make you feel?” “What are you doing to help yourself grieve during this time?” They need the chance to talk about it, even when they don’t feel like it. They need you to acknowledge their pain without excluding you from your joy.

So let’s try to do better. All of us. I know I have fallen short in this category an infinite number of times. Let’s remember that we are all just walking each other home, and that the walk contains lions and tigers and bears (oh my!), and that together, we can face them head on.


the drawing

As many of you know, our family recently experienced the loss of my father-in-law, as well a late miscarriage of our baby, due March 2019. Needless to say, there have been many tears in our household in the past few months.

Grief is so weird, you know? It truly ebbs and flows like waves. One minute you’re walking along the aisle in Target, drinking your PSL, and checking out the latest and greatest from Chip and Jo. The next, you’re sobbing your eyes out in the Home Depot parking lot because the thought of picking out mums that will inevitably die is just too much to bear.

The worst part of grief, for me, has been watching my kids experience it. Annie, my precious, sassy, spunky, heart of gold girl, has taken the loss of her precious Woot and our sweet baby very hard.

After my father-in-law passed, Annie was adamant about attending the funeral service. She sat through it like an angel, even wrapping her arms around her daddy at one point and telling him that it was okay to be sad.

When I told her the baby had gone to Heaven, she screamed out, “NO!” and immediately started crying. The two weeks following that were horrible. The girl wouldn’t eat. She barely slept. Her smile faded. It was all just too much for her sweet, 6 year old heart to handle.

I took her to see one of my greatest friends, who just so happens to be a pediatrician, to make sure there wasn’t anything physical barring her from eating and causing her constant stomach ache. During that office visit, Annie opened up to Dr. Dorsey about how sad she was about her Woot dying. She also talked about how sad she was about losing the baby because she would never know what it looked like (I laughed out loud at this, since all of our kids look the same), and that she was so excited to have another baby to play princes and princesses with.

When Dr. Dorsey asked Annie what she thought might help her not be so sad, Annie said she needed pictures of Woot to keep with her at home and at school. She also had the idea to draw a picture of the baby so she could imagine what it would have looked like. I immediately ordered pictures of Woot for her, and the following morning, after yet another sad and horrible breakdown, she drew this picture:

Here’s what you need to know about this picture: Amelia was one of two girl names on my baby names list on my phone. I hadn’t shared that with a single person, not even my husband, Chip. When I saw that Annie had written, “our baby Amelia” on her drawing, it literally took my breath away. With tears in my eyes, I looked at her and asked her why she had decided to name the baby Amelia. She stared at me and simply responded, “because that was her name.”

We did not do any genetic testing. We did not find out the gender. For us, it would not have provided any more closure or healed any wounds. To me, our lost baby will always be baby Amelia, and this picture will always be a priceless work of art to our family.

the catalyst

So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword. -Exodus 17:10-13

This is my favorite story in the entire Bible. It’s such an accurate depiction of how we all need community and help and friends that come running when we call.

On Friday, September 21, 2018, Chip​ and I found out that we lost our baby. There aren’t words to describe the heartache, so I won’t try. There’s no “at least you have…” statement that is going to fix it. The fact is, we lost a child. It isn’t the way it’s supposed to be.

In the midst of our great sorrow, I can still identify the goodness of the Lord. The timing of my doctors appointments. Switching to an OB that I’m honored is not only my doctor but my friend. Friends that I text and say “no heartbeat. Take off work.” and they come running. Friends with new babies that send cookies and pizza. Friends that know that comparing their pain to ours is not helpful. Friends that come and just sit, and let me cry. Friends and family that pick up my kids from school, watch Charlie, and just let me escape. Friends that I can text with infinite four and five letter words who respond with, “you’re right. Satan is SUCH A BITCH.” Sweet friends with babies in their bellies than I can 100% geniunely say that all I feel for them is joy and hope that they won’t shy away from letting me experience their joy during this time. Friends willing to walk me through the specific details of what’s to come with my DNC. A trip to Chicago perfectly timed for next week where I can heal and escape and laugh and eat and drink with my husband and best friend. For years and years I’ve prayed for community, and you know what? Ours is the best. And that is an answered prayer.

Annie asked why God would take our baby, as she wailed when we told her the news. I explained that God did not, in fact, take our baby. He healed it. God is the author and creator of every good and perfect gift from above. Satan is the root of all evil. I know that God is weeping with me in my tears. He’s just as sad and angry and heartbroken as we are. And you know what Annie said, instantly? “You’re right, mommy.” Oh to have faith like a child. My prayer is that one day I can honestly say and feel those truths I told to my 6 year old deep down in my heart and soul about this. But I’m so thankful to have Aarons in our corner holding our hands up for us as we fight to heal and recover in the meantime.