March 31, 2014 · Personal
I thought, months ago when I began to make something for other hurting mothers, that I would keep it a private thing. A secret that very few knew I was even doing behind the scenes. I kinda liked it that way.
I think it was because I am a perfectionist. I put 100% of myself in everything I do…especially things I make. I also get super critical of myself sometimes, and a little voice inside me says, “You’re no different than the rest. What do YOU have to offer that isn’t already being done?” I’ve battled this voice MANY times with my photography business. Now, I’ve been battling it with this.
When you go through a major trial and you’re an open book about it, God can work through the mess. Your mess. Your imperfections, shortcomings…YOU. He can show up in awesome ways and put people in your path at just the right times.
Because when you’re in that mess, it’s pretty obvious any good coming through you is not you at all…but God showing up and being that strength when you haven’t any strength at all. There is no way…NO way…that anything good and encouraging and uplifting that came from me this last year and half was me. Not after burying your only child and feeling all those dark things that you feel.
People who know about your mess know that you may not have any answers. But, when you’re an open book…even showing those chapters you’d rather keep hidden? You are a SAFE place for them to share some of their deepest hurts…and people will start coming out of the woodwork.
I have had a number of women contact me since we lost Owen. Some, I only know through Facebook messages and texts. That may be as personal as it ever gets. Regardless of how “well” I may know them, or the fact that I may not even know what they look like…They are women, like me, who have lost little ones. Miscarriages, pregnancy loss…and infant loss. Women just…like…me.
As these women have come forward to talk about their losses, I felt like I just needed to DO something. Up until this point, other than participating in the Cleveland Congenital Heart Walk, I haven’t really known what to DO to help other women who are coming behind me and walking in similar shoes. I haven’t felt this deep passion and drive to start a foundation in Owen’s name. To fundraise. Set up a 5K race to raise money for Congenital Heart Defect research.
I just felt like God was asking me to simply BE there for these women. To just BE. That was all I had the energy for anyways.
Our first Christmas without Owen, I found tiny beaded angel ornaments at the local craft store. So dainty. Their tininess reminded me of my littles. My two precious kiddos waiting for me in Heaven. I picked up a blue one for Owen, and an amber colored one for our first baby we lost to a miscarriage. Amber seemed like a good color choice because it is gender neutral. Our first baby’s heart stopped at almost 9 weeks gestation, so the gender was still unknown. Amber was perfect.
Months later, as other women were coming forward, I went back and searched every square inch of the store for these ornaments. They were no where to be found. A special seasonal item that wouldn’t be restocked. I had missed my chance. I was disappointed in myself, as if somehow I “should have known” to buy more. As I wandered the aisles trying to come up with a Plan B, I came across some beaded angel wings.
I’m going to make my own.
I made some. Then tweaked the design. Then made some more. Each time, I would send some out to the girls that needed them. Women who know the emotional and physical pain that comes with this kind of loss. Where, oftentimes, the greatest gift is the gift of recognition. When someone gives you a momento that symbolizes the love shared for that little life that was taken too soon. Something simple that says, “Your baby had a place here. Regardless of how long he or she was with us.”
People? It’s time we start recognizing. Not avoiding the subject. Not minimizing the loss. RECOGNIZING. CALLING OUT. HONORING the loss of our sister’s, co-worker’s, niece’s, granddaughter’s, neighbor’s babies. THAT is the best possible thing we can do for someone in that degree of pain.
I found a way to do so without being intrusive. Without blubbering over the “right” words to say. I had come up with a simple gift that says so much.
First, it was just the amber colored ornaments for early miscarriages. God then began to stir my heart to come up with a way to make these gender specific. For those baby boys and baby girls who passed away in utero or in infancy.
For a while, I thought that was as far as God was going to take me. Ornaments for miscarriages and early infant loss.
And then I found them.
As I was just browsing the Internet, my eyes filled with tears as the page scrolled down and the cursor hovered. I had no idea when I first started making these that I would end up so easily slipping into a design for little ones who passed away from Congenital Heart Defects. It was at that moment that I knew, this is going to be bigger than me. Bigger than my insecurities. Bigger than the limitations I put on myself. Bigger than my plan to “keep this small.” God was preparing me to make this public.
I went over the logistics and decided an Etsy shop would be best for these. As I began my registration I hit my first hurdle. I needed a name. For a second, I thought, “This is my way out. I can’t think of a name. You HAVE to have a name.” Without delay, God dropped the name in my spirit…and it was perfect.
If you’ve been following our story, you remember that Nugget was a term Owen’s nurse, Katie, used to call him. A nickname she also calls her own kids. A detail I found out months after he passed away. She opened her beautiful mother’s heart to love on MY boy. MY nugget. Treating him like one of her very own. These ornaments started out for MY “Heavenly Nuggets” and now they are being made available for others’.
What you are about to see is more than just beads and fishing line.
It’s a little piece of my heart.
That is why this is such a difficult thing for me to make public. To put out there. Because I know how much these ornaments have meant in my life and in the lives of the women who have already received theirs.
I also know, that there is a reason I am sharing this. There is a reason I tear up when I talk about these. A reason why the design, construction, and selling set-up went so smoothly it freaked me out a bit.
Maybe you’re reading this and you’ve been wanting a way to remember your little one.
Maybe you’ve been walking alongside a family who’s felt this type of loss and you just don’t know WHAT to do. How to show you care.
Or maybe you are a family member or close friend who wants your own momento to remember the life of a specific “Heavenly Nugget” that holds a special place in your heart.
These simple angels and what they represent could be JUST the recognition someone needs to help them heal a little more and hurt a little less…
Click here to visit my Etsy shop and see the current Heavenly Nugget designs.
Click here for the very beginning of our 8 year journey through life, loss and our unexpected struggle with secondary infertility. Starting with what we shared at our 3-week-old son’s funeral.