Be sure to read to the end to learn about our giveaway with True North Ring Slings.
When a new baby joins the family, the pace of life inevitably slows. The priorities shift to feedings, diapers, cuddles, and nap times. One thing that doesn’t go away is the daily routine of meals, errands, laundry, and tidying. Mom’s hands are full and her plate just got fuller.
I remember well how overwhelmed I felt as a first time mom four years ago! Simple tasks like folding laundry suddenly seemed impossible… they needed to be done, but not at the expense of sacrificing time with my baby.
Enter the time-honored, global tradition of babywearing. I loved that I could snuggle my baby and still stay on top of the daily happenings. With my second born, I discovered another plus: it made snuggles easier during those long, hard days of teething. Now, with my third baby, I’m loving that I can still keep up with my toddlers and keep my baby close by.
What carriers have I tried? What are the pros and cons?
Wrap Carriers. My wrap-style carrier (think Moby, Solly, etc.) was my initiation into babywearing. It gave me the courage I needed to go grocery shopping for the very first time alone with the baby.
Pros: Soft and stretchy. Readily available. (Even stores like Target and Walmart offer this style)
Cons: Hot. Difficult to use. (Unless you like feeling like a ninja all while juggling a baby)
Soft Structured Carriers. After becoming frustrated with the complicated wrap carrier, I purchased a soft structured carrier (such as a Boba, Ergo, Lillebaby, etc.). It was a great experience, but lacked a few conveniences I desired.
Pros: Supportive. Great for long carries and bigger babies.
Cons: Bulky (you can’t just toss it your diaper bag). Difficult to safely situate newer babies (who often want to be worn more frequently).
Ring Slings. My third baby has been much more picky about being worn. He’s had some pretty difficult tummy issues and needs a lot of Mommy snuggles, but my wrap and structured carriers were met with very low tolerance. At the suggestion of my midwife, I pulled the trigger and purchased a ring sling. He slept for two hours the very first time I wore him. I’ve tried a few different ring slings for fun since they’ve worked so well for us and can safely say, linen (from a company such as True North Ring Slings) is my favorite. The sling took babywearing from something I did for convenience to something I did because I truly loved wearing my baby.
Pros: Even picky babies seem happy in a sling. Easily adaptable from tiny newborns to toddlers. Quick to adjust (I love having an alternative to lugging around a heavy car seat). Strong supportive fabric that’s still soft enough for delicate babies. Compact (can easily fold and stash in your diaper bag for on-the-go days).
Cons: Slight learning curve (well worth it!). Needs a short breaking in period (there are lots of great short cuts and resources for this!)
I strongly believe that next to a quality car seat, my ring sling is the most worthwhile baby equipment purchase we have made. Hands down.
We are THRILLED to be partnering with Alberta-based True North Ring Slings to bring you a giveaway! I recently purchased a beautiful gray ring sling (with to-die-for rose gold rings) from this amazing company. I’ve been nothing short of impressed by their quality and their customer service. I’ve received almost instant responses from them when I’ve reached out with questions – and they’ve been so personable (even giving me the fun fact that I was their first Texas customer!).
Using high-quality linen sourced from Europe, they offer a wonderful range of colors from classic neutrals to vibrant hues. They are unique in that they offer several lengths to choose from (no worries if you’re tall or broad shouldered! They’ve got you covered!). Their slings meet all safety standards (both mandatory and voluntary), so you can rest easy knowing that your baby is safe. More than anything, I love that is company is mommy-owned!
True North is partnering with us to GIVEAWAY a $50 STORE CREDIT* to one lucky reader and a 10% OFF COUPON CODE to all the rest of you!
To enter the giveaway, head over to Instagram and follow us (@canvasandtable) and then (@truenorthringslings). Tag your friends on our Instagram about this baby wearing blog post (you’ll receive an entry for each tag). For a bonus entry, “regram” our post to your personal Instagram!**
To save 10% on your order, simple use this code when you check out: canvasandtable. Offer good through April 20th.
Do you “wear” your baby? Leave a comment below and tell us.
*$50 store credit is CAD (Canadian dollars) as True North is based in Canada.
**Find complete entry instructions on Instagram post
I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel of my third full-term pregnancy. Each time I figure out a little bit more of what is practical, what’s worth skipping, and what is worth investing in. It’s worth noting that all of my pregnancies have begun in late spring/early summer and lasted to winter/early spring, so my perspective may be different from the mama who is full term in the heat of August. Also…. I’m not a fashion consultant. These are just some things I’ve figured out by trial an error.
Skip the maternity jeans. Finding the perfect pair of jeans is challenging enough when you’re not pregnant! Add in a a growing belly full of baby and it gets even more complicated. From my experience, finding a cut or length that works for you can be hard — and expensive. On this third go around, I’ve discovered that a simple belly band has been an amazing solution. There is a possibility that you may have to go up a size in your regular jeans as you get well into your third trimester, but I would rather spend money on a pair of jeans that will work well postpartum instead of a pair of maternity jeans that will quickly become too big after having my baby.
Focus on basics. Following a capsule wardrobe can be really helpful when pregnant – focus on staple pieces that mix and match to create dozens of combinations. Tees in solid colors and basic patterns (like stripes), a nice blouse or two, a pair or two of jeans (and/or shorts depending on the season), a good versatile dress, a couple of skirts in varying lengths, a cardigan, blazer, or other outerwear item and you’re well on your way to lots of combinations. The BumpStart line from Motherhood Maternity has some fantastic staples (for instance, the tees have longer lengths and slightly higher necks than the average maternity cuts).
Think beyond maternity pieces. Focus on pieces that you can wear while pregnant, during your postpartum phase, and at your normal size, too. Maxi skirts are some of my favorites in this category! They are stretchy, comfortable, and can be used for just about any season. A lightweight blouse or tank with some cute sandals for summer or a cardigan with a scarf and cute pair of flats for cooler weather. Target and Old Navy both consistently have maxi skirts in both staple solid colors and fun patterns. I think having a solid black and a good striped number are a good start.
Pass on whites and lights. Generally dark colors are more flattering and slimming, while whites and lights aren’t so much. A couple of exceptions to this that you might consider: When you’re in the earlier stages of your pregnancy, you likely won’t be as concerned about finding a slimming cut and if you happen to have a summer pregnancy, you may want to incorporate some lighter colors to keep you cooler during warm months.
Layer, layer, layer. I’ve found layering my pieces to be the best way by far to keep some variety going while pregnant. Simple vests, lightweight jackets, cute cardigans can really change up a look. (This can also help get more life out of your warmer weather clothing once fall and winter set in.)
Don’t stop accessorizing. Many maternity pieces only come in basic colors, so having an array of scarves, necklaces, etc. can really help to spruce it up. I like have a long simple necklace (something like this can go a long way with a simple black tee), a couple statement necklaces (I’ve gotten a ridiculous amount of wear out of my inexpensive bubble necklace that I found on Amazon), and a multicolor patterned scarf or two.
Leave a comment below and tell us YOUR favorite maternity wardrobe tip!
Disclosure: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. Should you order through these links, we will receive a referral commission off your purchase from Amazon. Don’t worry- this does not affect the purchase price of the product. Thank you for helping support Canvas & Table and helping us create fresh content!
What makes a gal, born in a traditional hospital setting herself, consider home birth?
Before I share my personal reasons for choosing this route, I would like to clearly state that I in no way wish to disparage the many hardworking and well-educated doctors and nurses that are in our nation. They have my utmost respect! Additionally, my intention is not to indicate that home birth is the only right way. It’s not for everyone — and it doesn’t have to be! That’s a completely personally decision and I respect each mama and the avenue they have chosen. My sole desire is to share a brief glimpse into my own experiences and to satisfy some of the everyday curiosity I encounter when people learn that I birth my babies at home.
I didn’t go into my first pregnancy with a set birth plan in mind. I was born in a traditional hospital setting and I knew several women that I considered peers who had recently chosen home birth. Perhaps the most important thing I could suggest would be open-mindedness. As I did my research, I came to the conclusion for the method of care that I felt was the best fit for myself and my baby. Some of those considerations were….
Age and Health History. I was 22 years old when I got pregnant with my first child. Being young and healthy (really a completely nondescript medical history), my chances statistically for complications were very low. That opened up my options for prenatal care and the actual labor/delivery substantially.
Research. A lot of mystery and misconception surrounds home birth. There are absolutely cases that render it a less safe option, but for the mother with no complications, it’s a great option. Over the summer I attended a premier of a home birth documentary highlighting the pregnancies and home births of more than half a dozen women who were in the medical field (both doctors and L&D nurses). They’ve assembled a lengthy set of websites and articles that lay out the statistics of home birth. Instead of rehashing those numbers here, you can view the entire list on their website (additional information here as well). It’s a great place to get started on researching the safety.
Midwives and Their Training. While the stereotypical image of a midwife includes something like an old grandma in the backwoods, modern midwives are incredibly intelligent individuals. There are a range of certifications and the requirements vary by state, but generally the individual must have completed a 3 year academic course, 4 years of hands-on training and have attended a minimum number of births as an assistant. All in all, this gives them a well-rounded education with a specialty in pregnancy and birth.
Customized Care. With a midwife, you have standard prenatal care: monitoring Baby’s heart rate, growth, position, and overall wellbeing, as well as frequent monitoring of Mom’s vitals and overall health. A bonus that appeals to me is access to the extensive knowledge that a midwife offers for nutrition and alternative medicine. The result is comprehensive care for mother and baby, particular to the needs of that pregnancy.
Contingency Plan. Perhaps one of the most common concerns I hear voiced to me about home birth is the question of what happens if something goes wrong during labor. Mom and Baby are under close watch during labor and delivery. If anything begins to take a turn, a good midwife quickly makes arrangements for more involved medical care. (I’ve heard both midwives and L&D nurses in my area describe the working relationship they have with each other as one of the best in the nation.)
Familiarity. One of the biggest appeals to me is that the midwife who has seen me from week 12 of my pregnancy on will absolutely be the one who delivers my baby. In addition, the assistant midwife is often introduced to the mama before labor ever begins, adding to the familiarity with the birth team.
Home Sweet Home. Your first contractions are at home, you transition at home, you push at home, deliver at home, get all cleaned up at home, and then crawl into your own comfortable bed with your cuddly newborn when your hard day’s work is complete.
That’s all well and good… but have you actually HAD a home birth to speak with any experience? Yes’m, I have! Twice. My firstborn was delivered in my living room and my second son was born in our bedroom. Both very different experiences and both equally endearing, successful, safe, and peaceful. Our third child is due within a month and if all goes as planned, we anticipate his arrival at home, as well. What all is involved in prenatal care when choosing home birth? In my experience, it’s included lab work (both for basic OB panels and for addressing hormonal imbalances), sonograms (at least one at about 20 weeks to do a full anatomy scan of baby), frequent prenatal check-ups (something like 12-15 exams before delivery), and more. What is it like preparing to have a baby in your home? In addition to the usuals (i.e. setting up the crib, washing and organizing baby clothes, buying hundreds of diapers), your midwife will give you a list of things to have rounded up for the actual birth. In my case, my midwife tells me where online to order my actual birth supplies, plus a few general things (like lots of towels) to have in a common spot. Is it messy? I’ll wager that birth in any setting is “messy”, but as far as any lasting evidence… No, it’s not messy. Within a couple hours of giving birth, any lasting evidence (aside from a snuggly newborn) is completely gone. My team of midwives are angels – cleaning Baby and myself up, scrubbing bath tubs, starting loads of laundry, disposing of used supplies, etc.
Here’s the bottom line… Home birth isn’t for everyone, but I think it’s an option that everyone should research and give value to. Birth in a home or in a hospital bed is miraculous and memorable!
Leave a comment below and tell us…. Where did you birth your babies and what did you love about the experience?
In the first part of this series, I mentioned a few rules of thumb to simplify gift giving. Our family loosely follows this one:
“Something they want,
Something they need,
Something to wear,
and Something to read”.
At the request of a reader, I’m sharing what gifts we are giving our two boys. As I said, we follow the 4 Gifts rule loosely. We’ve tweaked it to fit our family better – focusing a little more heavily on books and movies this year. We’re focusing on various media because Baby Boy #3 is due shortly after Christmas and books, movies, and music are ways we’ve found to easily connect and spend time with our boys. We’re also seeking to be very intention this year in giving our boys quality Christian materials.
Our boys are both toddlers. Our oldest, Nolan, is 3 1/2 years old (he’ll be 4 in March) and Asher, our youngest is 2 (Practically. His birthday is 10 days after Christmas.). Nolan is our baby philosopher – he can be occupied for house building and studying how things work, enjoys reading and asking dozens of questions per book, and is our deep thinker. Asher is equally bright- but completely opposite of his brother. Asher is always on the move, finding abundant joy in well-planned antics, dancing the moment the beat drops, and running, walking, and climbing.
What We’re Giving Our 3 1/2 Year Old (Nolan’s Gifts) –Lego Duplo Truck & Excavator Building Set – Each boy is getting one toy/toy set. Nolan has really been enjoying Duplos in recent months – and he loves construction vehicles. All Duplo sets are compatible with each other, so we’re adding to his collection with this fun set.
–The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden – One of our greatest delights as parents is teaching our boys God’s Word in a way that is understandable by children – without losing the depth and richness. Since Nolan’s birth the Jesus Storybook Bible has been a family favorite! It’s falling apart – literally – so each boy is getting a new Bible storybook. The Biggest Story is technically a little old for Nolan, but it will give us room for lots of discussion and room to grow into. The way the text is written is enthralling – and will definitely capture the attention of my thinker and wild imagination boy! Plus, the illustrations are colorful and captivating.
–Theo 5 DVD Set – Both boys will receive a movie or movie set. We have found a variety of educational shows that they enjoy on Amazon Prime, so we’re focusing on giving them DVDs this Christmas that are Gospel-rich. The Theo series is perfect…. classic Disney-style animation, beautiful soundtrack, solid theology, hymns, and condensed (but true to the Book) Bible stories, all neatly packed into 10-15 minute episodes that my big boy will be drawn into. This 5 DVD includes over 4 1/2 hours of these episodes.
–The Ology – Nolan especially enjoys listening to music in the van, so we’re giving him this new album from Sovereign Grace Music. The Ology walks through the high points of Christianity track by track, covering the concepts of the sovereignty of God, the reality of sin, the provision of a Savior, the return of Christ and more.
What We’re Giving Our 2 Year Old (Asher’s Gifts)
–Gas ‘n Go Mower – Asher loves helping with household chores and he loves push toys, so this toy was a perfect fit. Complete with gas canister, knobs and pulls, and fun sounds, this will keep him playing happily for a long time. –Big Picture Story Bible – For his “something to read” gift, Asher will receive the Big Picture Story Bible. I like the look of this one – colorful pictures and simple (but yet meaningful) text will hold the attention of my mover and shaker. –Praise Baby: Born to Worship – The Praise Baby series is similar to the now hard-to-find Baby Einstein series. Each DVD features fun colors, shapes, and pictures all set to calm praise and worship music. The DVD gives several playback options for the music: instrumental, children singing, or an adult vocalist.
Something to Wear For this category, we have traditionally given our boys matching Christmas pajamas. They will receive these as wrapped gifts on Christmas Eve. This time, I bought their PJs at Target on a buy-one-get-one sale several weeks ago. This is also a great way to slash the “something they need” category, too, by keeping them set on warm pajamas that fit their ever growing bodies.
Stockings We’re following a similar strategy as the 4 Gifts for the boys’ stockings (although I have no cute rhyme… ha!).
-This year they are both receiving Melissa & Doug Water Wows as their big stocking gift. Nolan’s is car themed and Asher’s features ocean creatures.
-I’m splitting up a special set of socks between the two of them (they are close enough in size that their sock size is the same!).
–Snacks. We’re going smart on this one and going easy on the sugary treats… Did you know that kids find other snacks to be special, too? 😉 The boys will each get some mini Larabar snacks and Apple Go-Go Squeeze pouches.
–Small toys. Asher has a stuffed puppy that has a special place in his heart. We’ve decided to give him the same puppy in another color as a fun stocking surprise. For Nolan, we picked up a couple Thomas Minis Mystery Trains.
We’re excited about the gifts we’re giving our boys… they are chosen intentionally and won’t add a lot of clutter to our home.
Leave a comment below and tell us what carefully chosen gifts you will give your children this year!
Disclosure: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. Should you order through these links, we will receive a referral commission off your purchase from Amazon. Don’t worry- this does not affect the purchase price of the product. Thank you for helping support Canvas & Table and helping us create fresh content!
We all have those times that, try as we might, we end up at this point where there’s a lot of work to be done and not a lot of free time to be had. Yet, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”, so if this summer you aren’t able to go on one of those vacations to some beach on a coast, try these ideas on for size to keep your summer awesome.
Make a list of the fun things you want to do that are feasible this summer. My sister and her kids started doing a “summer fun list” a few years ago after finding the idea somewhere on Pinterest. This encapsulates the goal here- think of some ideas that are fun that you want to do this summer. Going somewhere new in your state, planning a movie weekend, or trying out that restaurant you’ve been driving by for years are all acceptable things to get down on your list!
Be intentional about your free time. A big key to having a great summer when you have no epic vacations planned is to plan fun into your free time! No epic vacation planned probably means no vacation time, so you’ll have to redeem the time when you aren’t working for some of those fun things on your list.
Make up your mind that your summer at home can be amazing. If you’re a summer vacation kind of guy or gal, it might be a big bummer that you aren’t traveling. What’s more, if you’re at home because money is tight, for health-related reasons such as surgery, or with a new baby, you might be tempted to be a bummer about it. However, if you decide your summer is going to be great and go about trying to make it wonderful, with family and friends that are close by, you can have an amazing summer! What kind of time you are going to have is heavily dictated by the mindset you have, but that’s something you can control.
Now, go ahead, make that list! My hubby & I usually stick to our Alphabetical Date Nights plan, so for us, a summer with no travels is a time to be spontaneous and unique and deviate from that. Try organizing friend outings, trips to the lake, an overnight trip to somewhere nearby, and movie nights to start with. Make the most of those three summer holidays (Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day) and aim for doing something fun on a weekly basis (at least 😉 ). Some of the ideas on this list might be a great place to start!
What things do you love doing during your summers at home? Comment below!
Here we are, new year, new roadmap. Many of us end a year and start a new one thinking about where we are in relation to where we hoped we would be.
I’ve always appreciated the newness a new year brings. It brings inspiration and a blank sheet without anything truly changing, save our mindsets. Most of us feel the subtle change, yet there are others of us facing the disappointment and stark reality of what the old year did not bring.
I’ve always enjoyed New Year’s, but only as I got older did it really begin to mean something to me. Over the past few years, I’ve decided to set goals with the new year. I have never been one for resolutions and there is something decidedly different about goals for the year, at least in my eyes. My husband & I, since we’ve been married, have made a practice of going somewhere different every New Year’s Eve and really setting apart that time to recognize where we’ve come from and where we’re going. I’ve gone along that way for a few years now, and last year I really set some big goals for myself. I knew where I wanted to be and I poured myself into making those things a reality.
However, in about September, it hit me that some of those things weren’t going to happen. I really struggled with that- these were big, life-changing goals that I had worked toward with all my heart but I couldn’t “make” happen. These things I so deeply desired for my life were out of my hands, yet I didn’t want to let them go from the timeframe I wanted them in. All around me, I could see others experiencing life change, but my life was staying the same.
Sitting at a dinner table with friends the following month, a dear friend gave me some golden advice. She told me that those things will happen- I just need to stop focusing on them and trust God to handle them. I went home and really mulled over her words. It wasn’t the first time I had heard them. My husband is such a faithful encourager to me, always reminding me of God’s goodness and faithfulness in regards to these matters of the heart. I think the thing that changed was that I was ready to take them to heart.
So, as I started this year, I was reminded of all that is the same and all that has not happened over the past year. I recognized for the first time how people can be filled with disappointment and disregard for New Year’s. If you keep constantly being disappointed, it is quite natural to learn to protect yourself from that disappointment by simply not taking a part in what caused it.
As I’ve processed all of this, I felt compelled to write it out. I might not be where I wanted to be, but I’m still where I am for a reason. I look around and am filled with compassion for bitter, hurting, and disappointed people whose lives are not what they wanted them to be as well as the realization that I have to make choices to not end up with that same outlook on life. So, this year, I wrote down my goals for the year. I decided to be at peace with what did not happen last year and to look forward to the possibilities of this year. “The heart knows its own bitterness, and no stranger shares in its joy.” (Proverbs 14:10) I took time to recognize and accept the sorrow of what did not happen, yet I also made the deliberate choice to not allow that the power over me to cause me to not take the time to hope for what this year could be.
Life doesn’t always turn out how we hope it will. In fact, even in the good things, it is rarely what we ever imagined for ourselves. This past weekend, my husband & I hosted some friends and watched all six Middle Earth movies (and extended editions at that), in a 20-plus-hour marathon, complete with the seven meals eaten by Hobbits. A year ago, a friend and my husband had hatched the plan, and we actually did it. It was completely ridiculous and silly, but it was something that really struck me deeply as a way of just enjoying the season we are in and making the choice to recognize the blessings of where we are, even if it isn’t where I would have chosen to be.
This year, I ask you- will you choose to enjoy the blessings of the season you are in, even if it isn’t where you would choose to be? Maybe you aren’t in the job you hoped you would be in, or the house, or the relationship, or with the family you hoped you would have. Yet, not having that job allows you some sort of freedom- perhaps from responsibility, perhaps in your time- you wouldn’t otherwise have. Not having a house, or a spouse, or a baby all present their own freedoms.
I am confident God gives us the desires of our hearts for a reason. I am not turning my back on those desires, and I am not implying that you should, either. Yet, in the waiting time, in that time when you don’t know why you aren’t at that next step, will you honor God by enjoying the blessings of that season He has placed you in?
“Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment…” 1 Timothy 6:6 ESV
“But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33 ESV
“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content…” Philippians 4:11 NKJV
This post is the third of a series of three regarding miscarriage. Our intention is not to overlook other types of loss, but to shed understanding for those experiencing miscarriage or ministering to those who have lost through miscarriage. We also understand that this is a trigger for many mamas. We love you and pray for healing in your hearts.
Watching others walk through miscarriage presents so many challenges. It’s a unique loss because, other than the parents, no one has seen the child (and that’s only if there was a sonogram). With most losses, friends, family, and acquaintances have seen the deceased in pictures or met them or even had extended time and memories with them. With miscarriage, there’s not the emotional connection of having seen a cute baby’s smile, cuddled with a snuggly warm little one, and heard coos and cries.
How does one relate to the hurting parents and help them during this time? Anyone who acknowledges the pain and grief has a desire to help, but sometimes the good intentions do not translate well to words. From a mama who’s been there, I would like to humbly share what does and doesn’t help.
What Not To Say:
Any phrase containing “it could have been worse” or “at least….” The pain of losing a child is deep and unique. In an innocent effort to point out how this isn’t the worse case scenario, this phrase indicates that this isn’t the “worse case scenario”.
Unrelated Attempts to Relate. “I’m sorry you’re hurting…. I totally get it! I experienced __________ this week, too.” Before you speak, just ask yourself if what you’re about to say can truly relate to the circumstance, whatever it may be. This is not an appropriate time to compare hardships.
Anything that indicates something was wrong with the baby. Attempts at lessening the pain by explaining that the baby probably would have had severe mental or health issues is far from a healing word. What this does is: 1) Lessens the value of that baby’s life. 2) Indicates that God made a mistake. “Oops! This one is less than ‘perfect’.” 3) Indicates that the baby would have been all burden and no joy. If you are going to (rightly so) assign limitless value to babies lost in the horror of abortion, please give babies lost through miscarriage the same value. More about this here. 4) Assumes God’s purposes in the loss.
There’ll be more babies. Don’t gloss over or rush past the current grief. This is often spoken to give hope to the grieving parents, but it indicates that the baby is replaceable.
What To Say:
I’m so sorry.
I’m praying for you. And do it. For a long time. The pain doesn’t lessen overnight.
I’ll be thinking about you. And let them know you are. Check in with them periodically and ask how they’re doing — and be prepared for long, honest, complicated answers.
Nothing. This is not to say you shouldn’t mention it at all, just that sometimes saying “I don’t know what to say” or “There are no words…” and then hugging their necks is enough to let the parents know you care and grieve with them.
Just Being There. A dear friend brought flowers and just sat with me – was “just there” – when we realized we were losing our baby. Her willingness to lay aside her day’s agenda and give support meant more than she will ever know.
Treat it as a Legitimate Loss. This is NOT simply not being pregnant any more. This was a living baby who was growing in his or her mother’s body. And that baby died. Another dear friend gave me books on grief to read. Did the books help me in my loss? They did. They helped me see God’s greater purpose. What helped even more was the validity that she gave me grief. By her loaning the books to me she was in essence saying, “I know you’re hurting – and your pain is justified”.
Minister. If a friend of yours lost a parent, a child, or a spouse, how would you minister to them? Do that for the family grieving miscarriage. Small tokens like sending flowers mean a lot. Consider taking them a meal or offering to help with household tasks. In many cases, the mama has gone through pain and physical strain almost as great as childbirth. Tangible help is something the family will appreciate.
Remember with them. Two dates will never be the same to the family: the loss date and the due date. Please make an effort to let them know that they aren’t alone one those days. It means the world! Another meaningful gesture is remembering their deceased baby when you “number” their family. Simple phrases like “she’s a mama of three” or “she has three babies – two on earth and one in heaven” are the ultimate expression of remembrance.
Statistically, 1 in 4 pregnancies will end with the loss of a baby through miscarriage or stillbirth. It’s highly likely that someone you know is grieving this loss. Remember to love them “big and well” while they hurt.
I’m forever grateful for those who showed us love while we were hurting so much. We love you and thank you for being there!
This post is the second of a series of three regarding miscarriage. Our intention is not to overlook other types of loss, but to shed understanding for those experiencing miscarriage or ministering to those who have lost through miscarriage. We also understand that this is a trigger for many mamas. We love you and pray for healing in your hearts.
Last week, in part one of this series, I shared about our experience with miscarriage and some suggestions for processing this unique type of loss. Today I want to focus on a topic that we barely ever touch: pregnancy after miscarriage.
In April 2014, we experienced the loss of a child through miscarriage. A few weeks later we were surprised by another positive pregnancy test. Our third child was born just thirty-five days after the estimated due date for our deceased baby’s due date.
I won’t beat about the bush on this one… the emotional roller coaster is drastic. If you’ve experienced post-loss pregnancy, you know what I’m talking about. If you have lost babies and you’re still hopefully waiting for your rainbow baby (a baby born after miscarriage or stillbirth), my desire is to prepare you and encourage you on this journey.
What emotions do you feel when you find out you’re pregnant after miscarriage?
Excitement Of course! Excitement that you have the privilege of carrying life in your womb again!
Fear It’s terrifying, folks. Your mind is telling you that your body failed last time. And although that’s not true, you can’t help but fear…. what if it happens again?
Uncertainty There’s a very real battle to allow yourself to get attached to this precious new baby. It hurts to love so deeply. It’s worth it.
Anticipation Hear me loud and clear: a rainbow baby is not a replacement baby. It’s a new family member. That said, you cannot wait to finally hold that tiny, warm little person. It’s a special kind of healing balm.
What can I expect when I’m expecting again?
A daily battle. Every day was a battle with fear and worry. My post-loss pregnancy was truly of the hardest experiences of my life. In addition to the emotional strain on my heart, my body was struggling, too. My hormones were very low and I bled almost the entire first trimester. Every weird little twinge or cramp. Every “spot”. Every trip to the bathroom. Every moment was a battle against fear.
Daily surrender. Along with fighting the fear daily, came a daily resigned rest in God’s plan. As with the baby we’d lost, God had not made any mistakes with this baby either. Whether or not it played out the way I wished, God’s purpose was perfect.
Thankfulness. Some women love being pregnant. I can’t say I’m one of them. After loss, however, I developed a whole new appreciation for pregnancy and all it brings with it.
Difficult questions. There were two questions that I was asked by unsuspecting individuals who were simply showing interest and starting conversation. The first question was, “Is this your second baby?” and the other was, “Has this pregnancy been easier/different [since you’ve had a baby before]?” Both innocent question, absolutely, but both pricked a tender spot. My second baby? No… it’s my third, but most people will never count Baby #2 as my second child. An easier pregnancy? No…. it’s been rocky emotionally, mentally, and physically. With the “baggage” these questions bring with them comes abounding opportunity. Loss and grief are part of your story and God did not give you those trials to keep hidden. Use them and share them to help others through their pain and to bring glory to God.
Meaning. So much more meaning. My third baby is a living testimony of fears abated, hope fulfilled, faith grown, and God’s faithfulness poured out. For us, this meant choosing his name carefully. When we lost Baby Hope, I felt very strongly that our next baby should be named Jubilee. Well…. it was a boy, so that didn’t work, but we did use that meaning as inspiration as we carefully chose a name for our little boy. We chose Asher Zane – which literally means, “we are blessed/happy because God is gracious”. What I have loved most about carefully selecting his name is the many opportunities we’ve already had to give a 30 second testimony of our loss, our rainbow baby, and the way God has sustained us through this. Soli Deo Gloria in all things, my friends!
Renewed confidence. Early on in my third pregnancy, I was wrestling with my many emotions and reading my Bible. The Lord sweetly gave me a verse to cling to and I share it with every mama I meet who is pregnant again after losing a baby. From Psalm 112:7…
(S)he is not afraid of bad news; his (her) heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.
Miscarriage is a painful, little-discussed road. Please read Part One of this series for encouragement. Watching others walk through miscarriage presents so many challenges: how do you love the family and help them? Stay tuned for Part Three.
In tender, loving memory of our second baby, Elianna Hope (“God has answered our desire for hope”) . April 1, 2014
This post is the first of a series of three regarding miscarriage. Our intention is not to overlook other types of loss, but to shed understanding for those experiencing miscarriage or ministering to those who have lost through miscarriage. We also understand that this is a trigger for many mamas. We love you and pray for healing in your hearts.
It was Spring 2014. Our first child was a year old and we were talking about trying for another baby soon. Before long, a test came back positive. We were excited and we were ready! It didn’t take long for us to start planning a nursery (the soon-to-be big brother and new baby would share). And me? I was eagerly anticipating the miraculous labor and birthing process.
The morning sickness set in almost right away. I remember sitting in a restaurant with my little family and panicking to come up with a plan as a wave of nausea swept over me. My first thought was relief. After all, I’ve heard so many times that morning sickness just means all the hormones are at good levels. Things hummed along nicely.
For a single week.
One day, things were fine. The next day, there was blood. The bright red kind that you read so many warnings about on pregnancy blogs. Over the next four days we waited and prayed. We hoped and prayed for a miracle. We agonized and wept many tears at the possibility of loss. On Friday, our test results came back. It was a cold “negative”. Why am I sharing this? Because it happens all around you. Did you know that statistics say that one in every four pregnancies end with a loss? If you yourself have not lost, you likely know more than one family who has.
#1 – Take Time to Absorb the Initial Shock My husband and I took the next day to just get away and just talk and pray and process. It was so good for us to weep and talk as we needed to, without any outside pressures.
#2 – Name Your Baby Please don’t brush it off as “pregnancy loss” or “not being pregnant any more”. You were blessed with a tiny life that was given by a sovereign, loving God. That tiny baby – that tiny human – fulfilled the purpose God orchestrated for His glory in a short time just as much as an old person who fulfilled their purpose in many decades. Your baby deserves to be given the basic privilege of personhood: a name of his or her own.
#3 – Write it Down Part of processing is allowing yourself to look at the wound instead of covering it with a bandaid. Don’t worry about making it neat and tidy. This isn’t necessarily for anyone else to read. This is for you to verbalize what you’re feeling. This is for you, to look the wound in the face and begin healing.
#4 – Don’t “Get Over It” A dear friend of mine lost her only brother a few years ago in sudden and difficult circumstances. Her wise words to me were this: “You don’t get over it. You just move on.” The point is that loss is part of your story now. It will change you and that’s okay. Don’t forget the pain. Take the pain and walk forward, allowing the Lord to use this part of your life to His glory.
#5 – Accept the Way You Grieve It’s so true that we each have a different style of grieving. My husband and I both handled the loss differently. For me, it meant many, many tears and difficult days. It may not look the same for you. That’s okay!
#6 – Remember Fondly There are two dates that will never be quite the same for you: the date of your miscarriage (or the date you found out your baby had passed on) and your due date (the day your baby “should” have been born). Use these days as opportunities to continue processing, to share with others, and to gratefully remember that little one’s life. Our family has chosen to pick a special, color-filled bouquet of flowers to display in memory of our baby on the date of our loss. Some families release balloons. Others make a birthday cake.
#7 – Big Love for One So Small There will be hard days. There will be things you see that remind you of the little one you lost. There will be days you can’t stop crying. There will be moments you tangibly feel like someone is missing from the family get-togethers and family portraits. All that means is that you love that baby!
Walking through miscarriage has so many ramifications: suddenly you’re fallible and pregnancy isn’t just about waiting for 40 weeks. Watching others walk through miscarriage presents so many challenges: how to you love the family and help them?
Parts 2 & 3 of this series coming soon.
In tender, loving memory of our second baby, Elianna Hope (“God has answered our desire for hope”) . April 1, 2014
“Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.” Psalm 63:3
Ten little fingers. Ten little toes. Tiny baby bundled in a blanket. They just cuddle with you and lay in their little bed.
And then something called “mobility” comes. All of a sudden you see danger signs and caution tape everywhere!
As a mama of a rambunctious 2 year old and a crawling, pulling-up 6 month old, I know a little bit about what household dangers are and how to make your home safe without feeling like you live in padded cells. Whether you are a mama, grandparent, baby sitter, or you just occasionally host friends with young children, here are some helpful baby-proofing tips….
Cover the plugs. You can get dozens of little plug covers for just a couple of dollars and it takes just a few minutes to install these in your entire house.
Cleaners. This is a two-part tip:
Use “green” cleaning products. My favorite is the Thieves Household Cleaner from Young Living because it’s incredibly versatile, effective, and affordable. You can also find some natural cleaning products at your grocery store (Target has a growing selection), health food store (such as Sprouts), or online (Soap.com is a good resource).
Keep your cleaners out of reach. Either use a cabinet latch on your cleaning cupboard or move your cleaners to a high shelf. Even crawling babies can get into cleaners.
Corners. Take a quick walk through your house and look for corners that may find little heads. Kitchen tables, coffee tables, and fireplace hearths are common boo-boo culprits. You can find foam corner and edge protectors (that even match the surface of your furniture!) to ease the impact.
Baby gate. Whether you use it to keep the baby in or keep the baby out, this one is a must-have. You can use a gate to keep younger mobile babies in their room playing while you get dressed for the day, to keep babies out of an area that is set up for a project or job (like ironing… that’s so tricky with a little person around!), or to keep pets and children separated. When not in use, store it in a linen closet or utility room.
Crib height. One day you will walk into your baby’s room and be shocked to find that he is not on the same side of the crib that you left him in. Equally shocking is the morning you walk in to find him standing up in his crib. Make sure you lower the crib mattress when this shocker occurs so Baby doesn’t fall – or climb – out!
Tilting hazards. Bookcases, dressers, TVs, lightweight buffet tables, and more can all look so attractive to little people who are just starting to pull up and walk. Again, take a quick walk through your home to find the furniture pieces that look precarious and anchor them to the wall to eliminate tipping hazards. (These days many pieces of furniture come with anchoring hardware, but if not you can easily find what you need at Lowe’s or Home Depot.)
Doors. A set of knob covers is going to come in handy! Three of the doors in my home have knob covers: the pantry (because I have a curious toddler), our closet (because otherwise our shoes end up all over the house – thank you, favorite toddler!), and our home office (because Daddy needs quiet when he works from home).
Bath safety. As your little ones become bigger, outgrowing their infant tubs and moving to the “big tub”, there are a couple things you’ll find helpful. A tub spout cover will help give some cushion so little noggins aren’t bumped too hard. Sticking a non-slip tub mat will help give little limbs some traction. Finally, if you child is sharing a bathroom with you, make sure items like razors (self-explanatory) or glass accents/candles (you do NOT want glass shards and slippery feet in the same room) are moved far from their reach.
These are not baby-proofing as much as safety tips, but hopefully they are still helpful for new parents.
When cooking, make sure that pot and pan handles are pointed toward the counter or the interior of the stove. For exploring toddlers, handles hanging over the edge are pretty tempting. It is NOT worth serious burns to learn this tip.
Keep plastic sacks off the floor and out of reach.
Keys look like such fun toys! However, they have all kinds of jagged edges, which are particularly dangerous for teething babies who stick EVERYTHING in their mouths. (These are a super fun alternative!)
The pull strings on window blinds pose a big strangling hazard. Take a glance at your windows. If any of the windows are lower to the ground – or if the cord comes to toddler level after raising the blinds, you can install a small Command brand hook right next to the window so the cord will be out of the child’s reach.
Store medications out of reach in a medicine cabinet or upper kitchen cabinet. (Go one better and find natural wellness options, like essential oils and homeopathics!)
What is your favorite home safety tip? Leave a comment and tell us!