Stories from Real Families

6 Children: 5 on Earth, 1 in Heaven

(For the privacy of the family, we have used initials for the children’s names)

Like many families, we have sadly experienced a miscarriage. Ours was quite early in the pregnancy. I woke up one day, hoping to be pregnant and was beyond excited to see two little lines show up on the pregnancy test. I ran out to tell my husband, and we immediately shared the news with the kids, as we always do. Later that afternoon, I began to bleed and lost the baby. Before we even got to share the news with our families or celebrate, she was gone.

As you might imagine, this was quite difficult to process for both us and the kids. We tell them in the morning that there is a new baby growing and in the afternoon that the baby died. We had recently gone through the death of my mom, so they knew what that meant. As a family, we mourned the loss together.

As time went on, I worried that she would be forgotten, not celebrated and remembered as a member of our family, so we found a few simple ways to keep her with us.

First, we named her. I was able to attend a beautiful healing retreat for moms who have experienced a loss of a baby. During adoration, I felt God telling me that she was a little girl. I prayed about her name and felt drawn to a specific name, so we named her Ruth. Her name has a lot of meaning, but that is a story for another day.

We thank God for Ruth by name everyday. For many years, our daily family prayers have included thanking God for each member of our family by name. “Thank you God for A…, I…., P…m, mommy & daddy.” As we had more children, we included them in this list. We decided to add the baby we lost to this list. She is a part of our family whether she is here or not.

We make sure our younger children know who Ruth is. As we have had more children after this loss, they have heard her name during prayers everyday, but that is not enough for us. We have intentional conversations with them, sharing how R is one of their siblings, but she sadly died. They know they have a sister in heaven.

Finally, we celebrate her birthday into Heaven. We celebrate this on the day we lost her each year, marking it on the calendar, singing Happy Birthday, and sharing a cake, just as we do for our other children. Even when our evenings are busy with activities, we make it a priority to celebrate Ruth on this day. (I do thank my parents for this tradition as this is something I grew up doing for my sister who passed away as a baby.)

It it hard sometimes when people casually ask how many children I have, and I answer five, feeling that sharing Ruth’s story isn’t appropriate in that situation. But I will never forget my daughter. And my biography will always remember her, as I have 5 children on Earth and 1 in Heaven.

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