For the Mama Missing her Baby

For the mama missing her baby. This blog post is written for you. Sometimes with great love comes great loss. 

Dearest Mama, 

Something happens to us when we see those two little pink lines. A rush of excitement,  gratitude, and oftentimes fear coinciding with a fierce, instinctive responsibility to keep our little one safe. Not many things can compare to the depth of a mother’s love for her baby, and yet sometimes, with great love comes great loss. 

Our Story

Six years ago, my greatest fear became a reality when our second born, Harrison, went to Heaven shortly after birth at just 20 weeks 1-day gestation. I was on bed rest with a  chronic placental tear, but at the anatomy scan at just over 19 weeks, our baby boy was healthy, growing, and was surely going to be tall like daddy! He was always snuggled so tightly in my tummy, sometimes stretching and often times sucking his thumb. We headed home from the appointment grateful and ready to tackle another half of the pregnancy on bed rest. Then just one week later, I went into labor, and we delivered our perfect little son in the early morning hours of Sunday, January 29, 2017.  My husband and I held him, prayed over him, and sang to him.

We were in deep love and simultaneously deep shock, our minds having difficulty comprehending that when we handed our baby boy to the nurse later that afternoon, we were not going to be seeing his sweet body again on this side of Heaven.

Both of us were completely blind-sighted and shocked at our new reality, and we were subsequently tossed into this new life, this new journey with grief and parenting a baby who no one other than my husband, Bryan, and I had ever met. Discharged from the hospital less than 12 hours after meeting our son, with empty arms and shattered hearts,  we were sent home to a life that felt like a distant stranger, like a bad dream we so desperately wanted to wake up from. 

And now here we are, a six-year cushion in time between the trauma and today, six years of a journey walked and experienced and learned. As I have now entered a place where I can reflect on our road with grief, I have so many thoughts swirling in my mind as I type, deeply hoping that I can shepherd others in a way that helps them to grieve well in their own journeys of loss and pain.  

I am not a believer in a tidy, one-way, step-by-step process of how to grieve and heal, yet, I do believe our grief can share so many commonalities, lending it crucial to share and do this together. With the combination of faith, professional therapy, and community, my family and I have arrived at a place of deep gratitude, beauty, and resilience. Not without pain or longing, I assure you. However, our grief has evolved and softened in a way, and we have developed so many resources and tools to help us process and navigate it personally and for our living children at home, and now—for other families navigating pregnancy or infant loss as a part of their own story. 

If you and I were seated across from one another, sipping coffee and sharing tears, I  would begin first by listening to your story and then offering an invitation to consider facing this pain head-on and going straight through it rather than avoiding it. These words of advice are not to replace medical or professional instruction, as I am not a doctor nor a certified counselor. They are not words of pushing or force but instead gentle nudges and encouragements. I am a fellow mama of loss and have been in a  similar place (by no means, however, will I ever say I know exactly how you feel), I truly desire to come alongside you. Like a fitness instructor coaching you through an intense workout, I’m not telling you the things to do that I myself haven’t done—in fact, I’m right there beside you doing it with you still. 

I close my eyes and imagine the stories, your story of love and loss. There are so many stories that have been shared with me, and so many more I’ve yet to hear.

You made plans, some of you. Perhaps you had just started to prepare a nursery, and you bought a matching outfit for a sibling at home. Now, the empty cradle echos the emptiness in your heart. Your milk has come in, another postpartum cruel reminder that you held and carried this baby, and now he is nowhere to be seen to snuggle and rock and feed. You are angry with your body and the Lord as you grab the cabbage leaves from the freezer with hot tears running down your face. 

Perhaps this was your first baby, a positive pregnancy test after years of infertility and battling and longing and the immense joy you felt over finally carrying a baby was immediately crushed with immense sadness when that precious heartbeat could not be found. Hope has been deferred, and your heart is now so very sick. 

Or maybe you brought this miracle baby home, rocked her to sleep, sang to her, played peek-a-boo, and laughed at her toothless grins, living a beautiful few months filled with cherished memories. And now your mind has a white-knuckled grasp on these moments that you are so afraid you might forget and cannot fathom that there will not be anymore. 

Maybe you spent weeks in and out of the NICU, a roller coaster of emotions and exhaustion, visiting your tiny baby boy as he wrapped his little fingers around the tip of yours, each little print swirled with God’s design and faithfulness. He was a fighter and so strong. Then, after all that time and struggle and fight, you feel completely robbed and the unfairness of it all for yourself and for him.

Or perhaps your precious little one was born sleeping, with a deafening silence only broken by the cries of mommy and daddy in that hospital room. Little eyes closed that you longed and ached to see, so you shut yours tightly to envision them and pretend that when you open your eyes, this will have been a terrible nightmare.  

Did you adopt? A miracle little blessing you opened your hearts and home to, a heart and family grown with unconditional love for this bundle of pure joy, and now this child, your child, has been adopted into their Heavenly home instead. 

No matter your story, whether pregnancy loss, stillbirth, premature death, or infant loss —you have lost a child, and that out-of-order, upside-down type of loss is unimaginable and extremely traumatic.

I am never going to tell you that it is okay— because it’s not. Things like this should never ever happen.

Mama, your greatest fear has been realized, and where do you go from here? How can you possibly experience joy again after this impossible pain?

Here are some of the practices that helped me, especially in that first year of missing my baby.

Seek professional counseling

Bryan and I had an amazing grief therapist, Dr.  Judy Wolfe, who was a pastoral counselor with extensive education and experience with grief—in particular, child loss. Her expertise was pivotal in guiding us in our grief work and helping us process our pain in a healthy way. 

Find community

You are now part of a “club” that you never wanted to be in, and yet, you will find that you long to be with someone who understands what you are going through. You can join a local support group or bereavement group (many hospitals can point you to ones in your area), or you can simply share your story, and you will find that so many have gone through something similar or know someone who has. Even if it is just one friend, try to stay connected and avoid isolation at all costs. 


Staying involved, or perhaps getting involved for the first time, in your local church will be so helpful. Our hearts, and oftentimes our faith, are shattered after the loss of a baby. Cling to the promises of God in scripture, keep going to church even when you are angry, and take all of your pain to your Heavenly Father, who grieves with you and will be your greatest source of comfort. 

Prioritize Marriage

Friends, you need to know that divorce rates are staggering when child loss is a part of the story. I do not tell you that to discourage you but instead to encourage you to press on in the work of pouring into your marriage.  Your husband has also lost a baby, and he is grieving while also trying to support you in your grief. He is sensitive to the fact that your grief is different, and he may not know how to respond. Be patient. Understand that he will more than likely return to life and normal day-to-day functions before you, and this doesn’t mean he is necessarily ready to do so, but he may simply have to in order to keep the family functioning. Support his personal grief work and cheer him on as he processes the pain alongside you, even if it looks completely different than the way you are processing yours.  

Give grace

To yourself, to your spouse, and to your friends. No day-to-day, no moment-to-moment, will look the same or feel the same on this road of grief. Give grace to yourself when you feel like you should be doing something or feeling something that you aren’t. Also, give grace to your husband if he isn’t meeting you where you need. Give grace to the friend who says the wrong thing or, even worse,  doesn’t say anything at all. You will inevitably be disappointed by the humans in your life during this time, but thankfully we have a Savior who collects our tears and meets us right where we are in our pain every single time. Allow Him to soothe your soul, giving thanksgiving to those who beautifully comfort you and granting grace upon grace to those who fall short. 

For the mama missing her baby, I ache with you. I hate that this has happened to you, and I long for the day when these tears will be redeemed and wiped away for good. You can and you will survive this, and I would love nothing more than to come alongside you and help shoulder the weight of your pain. To hear your story and to remember your baby.  

When Bryan and I were praying about Hugs for Harrison and feeling the stirrings in our hearts to launch this ministry, the Holy Spirit whispered the words of 2 Corinthians 1:4, that the God of all comforts comforted us in our trouble, “So that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are  comforted by God.”

I know you cannot see it now, but one day, another mama, broken and shattered by the loss of a baby, may come to you for support, and in doing so, we,  together, will create a wave of comforts in the years ahead, giving all glory and honor to our Heavenly Father who created, loves, and holds our babies until they are handed to us one precious day when all pain is redeemed, and life is eternal.

Sending you love, hugs, and a million whisper prayers of comfort, 


For more information on Hugs for Harrison, please visit or email [email protected].

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Postpartum Depression: More Than the Baby Blues

Postpartum Depression: More Than the Baby Blues

Becoming a mother comes with extreme physiological changes, sleep deprivation, and an entirely new role in life. Yet, it still comes as a surprise to people that postpartum women struggle with their mental health. My work is dedicated to raising awareness and offering support to mothers and their families as they navigate this transition to parenthood.  PMAD: A Perinatal Mood or Anxiety Disorder, Postpartum Depression Nearly 80 percent of new mothers experience down days, commonly called “The Baby Blues.” But for an estimated 20 percent of moms, these feelings can signal that they face the most common complication for pregnant and postpartum women: a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder (referred to as a “PMAD”). PMADs can include a variety of disorders, including postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and rarely, postpartum psychosis. While giving birth is often the triggering event for a perinatal mood disorder, please note that symptoms can occur anytime during pregnancy. Also, adoptive mothers, as well as new Dads, may notice they are experiencing symptoms. Symptoms can include: Frequent crying Sleep and appetite changes Feelings of loneliness, sadness, helplessness Frequent mood swings Repetitive, sometimes scary thoughts that won’t go away Anger, frustration, irritability Difficulty bonding with baby Anxiety, panic, excessive worry Feelings of being trapped Fear of being left alone with the baby Sense of doom Lack of interest in life, feeling sluggish, fatigued, exhausted Difficulty making decisions or discerning what’s best for you or your baby Feeling overwhelmed Feeling speeded up or wired Thoughts of hurting yourself or those around you I notice these symptoms when I hear women in my office say things like: “I feel like this was the biggest mistake of my life,” “every day feels like 100 hours, and I just watch the clock,” and “I wish I’d never had this baby….” Shame about having these thoughts and feelings can keep women from seeking help, but consider that these may be your symptoms talking. Having a new baby is hard, but it shouldn’t be miserable. Your life shouldn’t feel over, just profoundly changed.    These symptoms can also manifest in a client’s indecision and feeling overwhelmed. For example, my clients who obsess over following a suggested schedule, struggle with breastfeeding, or guilt over not breastfeeding. Who revisit and ruminate over decisions or have an exceptionally hard time adjusting if the day doesn’t go exactly as planned.  Sometimes this is just a Mom’s personality and isn’t a symptom, but if this resonates with you and you are having a hard time with basic functioning, consider that you may want to consult a professional for additional help and support.  Finally, women in the throes of postpartum anxiety can’t sleep. And sleep is hard to get with a newborn. So I like to ask: “Given the opportunity to sleep, can you sleep?” if the answer is “no,” and you are feeling speeded up, irritable, and anxious, you might be experiencing anxiety that warrants treatment. The scenario can look like this: Baby fed and asleep at night, Mom in bed wide awake, exhausted, with racing thoughts or racing heart…not just once, but again and again.  Let me share some other information that can be helpful to know. What Factors Increase My Chance of Developing a PMAD? Personal or family history of depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety or panic disorder, bipolar disorder, or any other emotional illness, including pregnancy or postpartum mood disorders History of severe Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) Unplanned or unwanted pregnancy Thyroid disease or other chronic illnesses Lack of support from family or friends High level of physical, emotional, or financial stress History of sexual, verbal, physical, or mental abuse Pregnancy complications and/or a traumatic delivery History of infertility Chronic sleep deprivation Abrupt weaning from breastfeeding, breastfeeding challenges History of miscarriages or pregnancy losses What can I do to help myself avoid Postpartum Depression (PMAD) or feel better if I think I am experiencing it? FIRST: Self-help measures are essential, but do not delay getting additional treatment if needed.  The longer you wait to treat a perinatal mood disorder, the harder it is to treat.  Ask for help. Being a mom is hard work. New and expectant mothers cannot do it all. Ask for help and support from loved ones.  Educate yourself. Learn the factors that increase the risk of developing PMAD and be aware of the signs and symptoms. Knowledge is power. Educate your loved ones about PMADs. Share the information you are learning here. They must be aware of the signs and symptoms. Eat a balanced diet. Take your prenatal vitamins and ensure you get various foods in your diet. Avoid high-fat and high-sugar foods. Limit caffeine and AVOID alcohol altogether (Alcohol throws gas on the fire of anxiety. Not popular to say, but essential). Exercise is important. Walking 3-4 days per week benefits your mental health. Get plenty of sleep. Take a nap when you can. Listen to your body and rest when it tells you to rest. I often recommend Mom’s on Call for this exact reason – It allows predictability to the day (nap windows for Mom!) AND supports good rest for the baby, which means good rest for Mom and Dad! Take time for yourself. Support for Postpartum Depression There are excellent resources (online support groups, information, reading) and a directory of clinicians in your area that can be found on Postpartum Support International’s website,  Your pediatrician or OBGYN can also be a resource for local support (sometimes, not always).   As I often say to those I’m talking with, I love you; keep going. As bad as you feel, I want you to know you are loved. Some people care and want you to feel better. And keep going because no matter what, you are worth the effort and work it may take to feel better.  Kate Ferguson is the founder of Kate Ferguson Therapy and Associates in Atlanta, GA. Her website is and you can also follow her on Instagram @katefergusontherapy Be sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook to stay up-to-date with our content! Also, visit to check out all the resources we offer.
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National Rainbow Baby Day – My Rainbow Story

National Rainbow Baby Day – My Rainbow Story

Written by Olivia Pinheiro, Moms on Call Team Member, Photo Courtesy of Whitney Sims Photography August 22nd marks National Rainbow Baby Day, offering mothers a chance to share, grieve, and celebrate their experiences for their rainbow babies together. The term “rainbow baby” signifies the healing after loss, or “the rainbow after the storm” of a healthy living child after the grief of a child lost by miscarriage, stillbirth, or neonatal death.  My Rainbow Story (Left to Right, Demetrius Age 8, Grandma, Audrey Age 3, Olivia) The joy, grief and confusion my heart is filled with is indescribable. As this day nears, my heart is full of joy for my healthy thriving three-year old, sadness for the child I never got to meet and confusion because how on earth could I possibly be sad when a little one stands before me. And without the loss of my second pregnancy, I wouldn’t have my second child.  My second pregnancy was fast and full of emotions. We found out earlier than most that we were expecting. And with it, shared our excitement with our closest friends and family. Before we knew it, our biggest fear was coming true. My spouse stayed positive as I feared what was happening was more than what it seemed. The doctors confirmed my fear and our hearts were broken as quickly as they were filled. The hardest truth to this was that before I miscarried, I knew very little about it, or how common it was. The thoughts that filled my head of blame were silly, yet I couldn’t make them go away.  As my body healed, we waited, and prayed for the right moment to conceive again. But the fear didn’t go away. And although we were incredibly blessed to conceive fairly quickly after and carry to term, the fear didn’t leave.  The sadness followed each year after on the due date and the date of loss, and sometimes in between. And though the pain is present, I am thankful. I am thankful for my little one, with enough personality for two. Knowing that if we hadn’t had a loss, we would have never welcomed our rainbow baby. Our colorful little love, full of spirit and spunk.  We are blessed to have her in our arms and keep her little for as long as we can. The emptiness that I felt or feel at times isn’t there to pain me. It’s a reminder of the love and life we have with our little ones, and I am thankful for that.   “To the love and to the days of tomorrow, good-bye to the rain and sorrow, hello to my rainbow baby.” –Olivia PInheiro
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