A Father’s Love ~ Baby Owen

owen5 

He stood beside his wife, feeding her ice chips, tenderly. Sometimes using humor to soften the heaviness of weary moments as they waited to meet their son. Because, if he can make her laugh…then all is still right with the world…even when nothing seems right at all. Humor is a wonderful diffuser for the most painful moments. A man who can make you laugh in any circumstance. That’s a treasure.

I know. I married a man with that priceless gift.

They planned every detail, as they waited for Owen’s arrival.

Beautiful outfits, a Cuddle Cot, how they would spend their time, what pictures they wanted captured, support through SGM.

I had the privilege of walking with them a bit, during the months of planning. As baby Owen’s mother labored. And, as he was welcomed earthside.

His mother planned every moment…beginning his legacy, even before his birth, through Owen’s Gift. I’ve never met a mother who was already planning a way to help others, while still walking her own agonizing and beautiful path as she soaked in the moments with her son.

As Owen’s heart slowed on the monitor before his delivery, it was his father’s hands searching along mother’s belly to find their son’s sweet last kicks. He took her hand and gently led her to the spot where they could feel their son’s goodbye together, as she clung tightly to her Comfort Bear.

owen1

owen3

Owen’s father wanted to give him his bath. And, so he did.

His father helped us do the footprinting, and the foot molds. His father helped to dress him. Not only his mother, but his father held him lovingly in his strong arms….arms that protect and provide for those he loves.

A builder by trade and a problem solver by nature, he used ingenuity to help us maneuver the mementos and dressing time.

Both mother and father were able to parent in the sacred moments they spent with their son.

I am so in awe of their courage and strength…and most of all, the great beauty of their love. Love can sustain a family pushed beyond the brink more than once. Love can enable a father to stand and care for his tiny son, born silently. Love can help a mother plan for a brief life. Love can carry them both through the moments and years to come.

As we are often concerned with many mothers walking through loss, let us never forget the sacred love of a father…and the deep and real grief he carries in his strong daddy heart. Not all dads are able to stand so boldly in love and protection of their families, even speaking bold truth in moments when it is needed.

For the dads carrying this weight quietly, you are not alone. Your part in your child’s life and your family’s life are so important and valid….and so is your grief.

A poem shared in the Walking With You for Fathers Booklet:

It must be very difficult

To be a man in grief,
Since “men don’t cry”
and “men are strong”
No tears can bring relief.

It must be very difficult
To stand up to the test,
And field the calls and visitors
So she can get some rest.

They always ask if she’s all right
And what she’s going through.
But seldom take his hand and ask,
“My friend, but how are you?”

He hears her crying in the night
And thinks his heart will break.
He dries her tears and comforts her,
But “stays strong” for her sake.

It must be very difficult
To start each day anew.
And try to be so very brave-
He lost his baby too.

Eileen Knight Hagemeister

If you are a father walking through loss, and would like a copy of Walking With You for Fathers, please email sgm dot shipping at gmail dot com and we will send you a copy free of charge.

To request a Dreams of You package, click here. To learn more about birth and bereavement doula support or perinatal hospice services through SGM, click here.

*Photos by SGM/SBD Birth and Bereavement Doula and Remembrance Photographer, Kelly Gerken

Servant to All

DSC_0376 copy

Sometimes in the midst of walking with a family, there are moments when my own cup is filled in the pouring out. There are many moments really.

He came to pray with the beautiful parents waiting to fill a lifetime of love into the moments they were given with their son. I met him after the introductions were made beside the hospital bed.

While snapping pictures and preparing for the coming birth off to the side, he stepped beside me, looking into my eyes as we shook hands.

“I’m the doula.”

I’m used to people not knowing the meaning of the title…or this sacred work. I waited for the question.

“Doula,” the pastor repeats. “It is a Greek word…correct?”

“Yes,” I answer, “a biblical word.”

“It means servant,” he said, eyes focused and shining…like they do when delivering a holy message.

My eyes locked with his.

He continued…

“Mark 9:35 says, Jesus called the Twelve and said, ‘Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.’ This is an amazing ministry you have been given.”

“Thank you…I’m honored to serve in this way.”

Only our Father can send a message that humbles us and lifts us up at the same time. A word of encouragement in the midst of days of pouring out.

Because He sees. And, because…although I would never call my flawed, stumbling along self great…it is a great honor to be used as His vessel…even in the smallest way. To wash tiny baby feet, to wipe the sweaty brow of a laboring mother, to gently caress the tears from her face, to speak love and truth in the dark moments.

To be a doula…servant to all.

Winners of the SGM Christmas Giveaway Extravaganza 2014

Thank you to everyone for your patience, and for participating in this year’s SGM Christmas Giveaway Extravaganza 2014! We wish we could give something away to every heart who entered. Please follow the directions on the reply to your winning comment on each post by emailing your shipping information and the item you won in [...]

[Continue reading...]

SGM Giveaway Extravaganza 2014 Precious Moments Finale

690007

Today’S finale giveaway…the much loved and coveted Mommy’s Love Goes With You Precious Moments statue!

[Continue reading...]

SGM Christmas Giveaway Extravaganza Day 4 ~ Two Beautiful Books

I want to wax poetic about today’s giveaway, but I need to post this very quickly. I’m off to support a family about to meet their little one today…and need to make this brief. First…one of my new favorite books to give to offer a piece of hope and understanding to grieving hearts, my dear [...]

[Continue reading...]

Day 3 ~ SGM Christmas Giveaway Extravaganza ~ Diffuser/Essential Oils Giveaway

elevate

Welcome to Day 3 of the SGM Christmas Giveaway Extravaganza 2014 I’m in a bit of a hurry getting this post up a little late. I’ve been on quite a journey with my health in the last year. Without getting into too many details, migraines and other autoimmune issues have led me to try a [...]

[Continue reading...]

SGM Christmas Extravaganza Giveaway Day Two ~ Dreams of You items and SGM shirts

Dreams of You items Carmine2

Welcome to Day Two of the SGM Christmas Giveaway Extravaganza 2014… Every year, SGM donates hundreds of beautiful Dreams of You items to bereaved families worldwide. While we never charge families for our materials or services, we’ve had to ask for shipping costs the last couple years. Today, we are giving away to 5 families [...]

[Continue reading...]

Day ONE ~ Origami Owl PAIL Bracelet and Remembering Heart ~ SGM Christmas Extravaganza Giveaway

PAIL bracelet

Christmas is hard for those missing someone they love at Christmas. It can be filled with the lonely ache for so many, so many for whom someone or something is missing from the perfect Christmas picture we hold up as an ideal. Growing up, my mother faced many challenges, keeping our family together…raising three children, often [...]

[Continue reading...]

SGM Christmas Extravaganza 2014

  It’s that time of year again. Time to remember together…and time for the SGM Christmas Giveaway Extravaganza 2014!! Beginning on December 1, 2014, we will be hosting the SGM Christmas Giveaway Extravaganza 2014, a week of giveaways for those missing someone at Christmas. The holidays can trigger those memories and missing like no other [...]

[Continue reading...]

To the Ones Who Miss It

It takes incredible courage to look on the broken and painful things in this life…to not look away when others shield their eyes. To be willing to enter in with another human being, and carry suffering together awhile. I’ve written before about the “courage to see.” Those who are so brave are greatly blessed with [...]

[Continue reading...]