I am truly blown away by the submissions and the comments to this idea of telling our stories, and seeking to understand.  I am posting the first today, about stillbirth.  While I have not experienced this personally, I do know the grief of multiple pregnancy losses, and I appreciate what Tara has to say:

My name is Tara Beth Warrick, I am 25 years old, I live in a small town in western North Carolina. I am a pediatric occupational therapist by vocation, a dance teacher for fun, and wife to a wonderful man. I am also a mother, but not a tangible or typical mother. This fact alone has re-shaped the lens through which I view and construct my entire life. My first baby, Scout, was stillborn on December 15, 2009. I parented by making choices while she was in the womb, and I parent her now as I make choices as to how to tell her story and give her short life purpose. I have planned a community-wide event, the first of its kind in my tiny town, for parents who have lost children via miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death. You can see more details here: http://scoutingforhope.wordpress.com/

What I want you to know is that there are millions of families around you in everyday circumstances- at the grocery store, the post office, or even in that annoying line at IKEA, who are dealing with the loss of a child. I have been overwhelmed to learn of just how many of our babies leave us too soon, and I have been somewhat taken aback at the multitudes of parents that seem to take the very presence and good health of their living children for granted.

What I want you to know is that I define ‘parenting’ more loosely than most. I believe that you choose how you define it, and it does not have to be directed toward a biological, living child. I am a parent, I count. Mother’s Day is for me too.

What I want you to know is that though men aren’t ‘supposed to talk about their feelings’, there are a lot of men out there that are grieving a baby. It has been interesting to learn of men in my community who are still dealing with the sting of the loss of a child from decades ago.

What I want you to know that sometimes saying nothing at all is just as harmful as saying the ‘wrong thing’ to a grieving friend. Your presence and attention are more appreciated than you realize. You don’t have to do the standard ‘send a card’ or ‘send flowers’ song and dance. Bring a friend some groceries. Mop her floors. Ask if he just wants to go for a walk. These gestures have been so meaningful to my husband and to me. I feel that we are called to carry the burdens of those around us so that the weight isn’t so overwhelming.
What I want you to know is that is has been 39 weeks since I delivered my baby and I am still in deep sorrow over my little one. I am a follower of Jesus, and I believe He has so many wounds of mine to heal, and so many lessons to teach me.

What I want you to know is that I am terribly afraid of getting pregnant and terribly afraid of never getting pregnant again. Both options seem impossible some days.

What I want you to know is that you are a valuable, human being. You have purpose in this life. You are someone’s baby. Maybe you are someone’s parent. I appreciate what you are and what you will be. Let’s take this attitude toward each other- that we are important in each other’s stories and day to day lives. Thanks for allowing me to share a brief excerpt of my journey.

What would you like me to know?

***If you have a submission for this series, email me at howertons at hotmail dot com.