On breathing

by arianne

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I struggled and limped and crawled my way through this last week to make it to week 19. It wasn’t how I thought it would be.

I imagined reaching week 19, now farther than we got with Mabel, and celebrating. Throwing a little party at home, dancing. Joy overflowing.

But the reality is that a new layer of grief unfolded and I didn’t know how to react. I ached and longed and felt so very guilty.

How could I be sad when such a beautiful milestone was reached? Life stresses and changes and difficulties with the kids, and my sister’s scare that triggered my own Mabel grief again, have all been this gathering storm that feels suffocating.  I haven’t been this low in a long time.  I felt darkness pulling me down, and stopped being able to function.  I’ve had depression in the past, severe depression, and I could easily see what path I was on this week if something didn’t change.

Last night was better and today is even better and things are already changing, and passing 19 weeks with a very wiggly kicking baby in my tummy has made it easier.  I’d kinda like it if my propensity for depression and my still healing grief-heart would not meet again any time soon.  One week might not sound like a long time, but it’s an eternity when you see something barreling towards you and you know when it hits there will be nothing you can do.  This is what depression is like.

But I came here today to tell you all this because of someone who has helped me so very much.

My friend Beth.

She knows exactly what I’m going through. She was in this sad club before I ever knew I would be. She lost James and Jake at 19 weeks and still longs for them like I long for Mabel.

I often feel like a grieving mother is the most alone person in the world. Without God I can’t imagine how I would’ve survived if for no other reason than the aloneness. Beth understands that aloneness.

This week I sent her an s.o.s. asking how I could be so depressed and sad when happy things were taking place. She had words of wisdom and peace and told me

“Just breathe.”

She reminded me to feel however I was feeling and that it was ok. To stop expecting certain reactions.  To know grief takes a while.

She gave me hope and she got me through a very dark night.

“…we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us…”
Romans 5:3-5

Two years ago I walked with Beth and other friends in the March of Dimes walk in honor of James and Jake. My family and I still wear our t-shirts from that day bearing a small list of name that Team James and Jake were walking for.


I had no idea that one year later my own child’s name would be added to that list of babies on the team’s t-shirts, all sweet little ones who were lost too soon. The reality is humbling.

I’m so grateful to Beth’s constant love, even as I moved away and our lives were filled and I grieved and life carried on. I know I can always reach out to her.  Beth and I are both pregnant now together, just 3 weeks apart. We’ve both been pregnant more times than our family photos show. These are the things in life that strum the heart strings that connect us.

Today Team James and Jake are walking, and my family and I so wish we could be there, somehow travel the distance from South to North and walk with the team. Since we can’t, I woud love to share the details with you on how you can support these beautiful people.

Beth has created a beautiful etsy shop called June Afternoons, featuring stunning photography prints from some of your favorite photog bloggers. Just check out this list:

Madeline Bea Photography
Tracey Clark
Aimee Giese
Kristen Doyle
Beth Fletcher
Emily Freeman
Keli Hoskins
Mishelle Lane
Lisa Leonard
Casey Mullins

Until May 31st, every penny from the sale of these prints goes to Team James and Jake and the March of Dimes.  It’s a beautiful way to offer your support, you can donate directly to Team James and Jake’s March of Dimes page if that’s more your speed.

Please keep the team in your prayers today.  Thank you so much for remembering Mabel and for allowing me to share all of this with you. I’m so grateful to you for being here!

**photos are Beth’s

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