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Embracing Hope and Love After a Loss

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Cross Radio
January 19, 2022 5:00 am

Embracing Hope and Love After a Loss

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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January 19, 2022 5:00 am

Dr. Gary Chapman and Candy McVicar describe the grief process and offer practical help & comfort to couples who have experienced infant loss.

Receive Gary Chapman and Candy McVicar's book "Holding on to Love After You've Lost a Baby" for your donation of any amount: https://donate.focusonthefamily.com/don-daily-broadcast-product-2022-01-19?refcd=1304504

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Has the hurt in your marriage become too much to bear. Focus on the Family's hope restored marriage intensive. Can we work with you so you can have a thriving marriage you want. Find out how to receive your free consultation and help restore.com will imagine that your baby's heart and clear evidence of a life growing in your room. It's a joyful sound of the shared love of future eagerly anticipated for your family but if that life is cut short unexpectedly. It can feel like your world has come to an end today on Focus on the Family will explore the tragedy of infant loss and how that can impact your life, your marriage, your faith, your hostess folks president and author Jim Daly and I'm John Fuller, John.

Nothing can prepare parent for the death of a precious child like that. That's simply not the way things are supposed to happen and the grief the couples experience with the should have the could have the what-ifs than the F only seems insurmountable. Losing a child through miscarriage stillbirth SIDS or some other kind of loss is devastating and we truly hurt for that couple that individual but has gone through that or might be going through right now. We often don't comprehend the depth of the pain and sorrow that depression that can happen to the bereaved parents and that experience and we often struggle to say the right thing or say what will help them and today we do want to cover this tender subject, so we can equip you to be the best friend the best spouse you can be in that circumstance. In fact, I know you and Dana experience something in this area. We had a couple of miscarriages early in the development of our family losses at about 12 1314 weeks and those were really hard times. They were lonely they were a lot of shared tears and we did have a lot of folks come around and love on us what help you as a listener.

Learn how to do that in a really meaningful way. As you surround families who are dealing with difficult that's why again were going to tackle the subject. It really is to help those that are grieving right now to equip those who may encounter this in the future and to help us do better at being that good friend that we need to be yeah and we have Dr. Gary Chapman and Kenny McVicker with us here in the studio today. Dr. Chapman is of course a frequent guest on this broadcast is a counselor or a speaker and an author, best known for his series of books. The five love languages and Kenny McVicker is a grief and trauma specialist who speaks and writes about infant loss.

She is the founder and CEO of missing Grace foundation which provides support and resources and education for families and professional care providers in infant loss situations and together candy and Gary have written a book holding onto love after you've lost a baby and we have copies of that here. Just click the link in the episode notes Gary welcome back to focus. Always good to have you will think is good to be back in candy it's so good to have you for the first time.

Thank you for being with this suppression in such a tough subject and candy you have first-hand experience with infant loss you and your husband Stephen lost a child. In fact, I believe your ministries named after that child explain what happened and a little bit about your ministry thinking about how we were excited to have a big family. We had that number four related for children and we got started right away after getting married and we got pregnant with grace and it was a very difficult pregnancy planning challenges and dad that we just felt like we just passed through and get through this and that the prizes at the end and at the last two weeks of her life.

She didn't move very much and we didn't know was a girl he didn't find out the gender at that ultrasound. And so we just new babies not living a lot and something doesn't seem right. So I called the doctor. In fact, seven times I went in the last two weeks I was really concerning.

There is no movement. You know in that context. In the book describes that they were very responsive. The doctors had this Mama's instinct that something may not be right but it really it was really difficult.

Right yeah you know and that's one of the things we teach on were really big on education, moms know best. They know their babies. They know their bodies and they need to trust that God given intuition and I believe if they can just really become mama bears and be advocates for their babies that will do well. You just have to keep asking to get somebody to listen. Sometimes you know there are kind of in militant.

This is how they are typically doing things but maybe your babies not typical, and their situation needs special attention. Like I said let me take you back and I appreciate the vulnerability you and your husband Stephen Stevens in the gallery right now and it's a pleasure to meet him and to get to know him, but being a couple in this so you have to speak for both of you, but in that context take us back to that ultrasound that you finally were able to receive that you talk the doctors into providing what happened during that ultrasound. Yes, on the seventh visit. They said all right, fine. You can have the ultrasound but prior to that they would just do what's called a Doppler text, stick the Doppler on and all that does is it it's listening for fetal tone it's listening for that heartbeat and he hears both the mother's heartbeat and the baby's heartbeat and and and the last one I think she realized there's not a second heartbeat, but I didn't know well enough what the different heartbeats wherein I was new to this end, so when we got the ultrasound. I really just knew something wasn't right, but I just figured I'm to be rushed into a C-section or something can happen because this baby needs attention. I had no idea that she had Artie passed and still at that ultrasound date they just they wouldn't talk to us. They were totally silent.

It was very awkward and strange and she put the ultrasound on the Doppler and I was asking many questions and she was not willing to answer anything and she just got up and left the room and didn't say anything and and then radiologist came back in and for many of us have gone through this. It's like that final moment. It was just so horrible because the doctor just came in and she put on her glasses looked at the ultrasound and she said well as you can see there is no heartbeat and it is dead and that is etched arrow totally sterile and I was calling after me. I don't understand what you're saying and she turned around.

He said its debt and she left the room and then that stenographer stood up, turned off the machine and she backed up and she is you need to leave now you need to the hospital and take care of it and I said I don't understand what happened and she does. We don't know that you have to deliver it now and sell it was very traumatic and very icy cold and in fact there is a waiting room we had coming through and there were other moms waiting to get their ultrasounds and and as I was getting dressed. She said can you please go out the back exit and not go through the front step will be parked right at the front and she said I don't want your kind upset our new moms and sell my house and said no working out the front and so we went in and we were induced and highly untrue 24 hours a very difficult labor and we didn't have any attentive care. I think a lot of times nurses state they get kinda callous to this essay and it's hard for them. I think it's very important hospital settings that they they really work hard to make sure they have the most compassionate staff who are in that role working with the family to go through a demise and we didn't happen to have those people with us at the time so they were very cold twice and him and as I experience really challenging labor.

They said you know the laborers heart and especially hard with the stillbirth so you know what you chose not to get the medication. Now you're suffering the consequences.

I just was hoping that if I II think I was bargaining with God, praying, if I if I go through the pain. God please give her back to me because I do believe in America working God and I'm still praying all the way to the and maybe God will breathe life into her lungs and she would be with us, and I'm waiting get that story behind recently delivered a perfectly healthy beautiful baby girl and she died of an umbilical cord issue, which is very common with stillbirth and and we weed we just had a very short time with her wheat we didn't know what to do.

We are very scared.

It was all very foreign and strange to us and that we had about four hours and and then we gave her it does speak to the indifference that some have about a child and I think abortion was played a huge role in dampening the sense of life for that baby.

And sorry, but that's where I would like the blame that some just don't embrace the idea babies are precious in God. Given that they are made in his image and deserve every bit of humanity. The person outside the womb would good, but that's more weeping look the concert.

Let me move if I can again I so appreciate your tenderness in your willingness to Sheridan. I know some people are listening.

That may have just gone through it or about to go through or went through years ago on their feeling it right now, but that grief. Afterword that night you and Stephen are at home you have talk about this, I'm sure.

How did you cope with the grief just a few days after this well you really in shock. All of us to go through traumatic loss you you have shock that can carry you through you function. But you don't even know how your functioning and I sort of feels out of body like you're watching yourself going how my doing this and and you know my my thing is when I'm in pain or hurting. I am highly alert and awake so I I went into an insomnia mode. I couldn't sleep which is devastating because the rest would have been so helpful, but no matter what, even with a sleep mad at just really I couldn't get more than two hours of sleep and my husband's motive sleep and I would stare at him and I would say I don't think he just he does when he was exhausted from the stress and the strife in the grief of what that caused him and watching me. You know he is my provider my protector and he's an amazing father and so for him not to be able to protect us from that was really painful for him. He felt like I can even keep my baby safe in my life safe and and so his mode ways to shut down emotionally.

He went to sleep and I would just stay awake and I would cry and eventually I found my way to a computer and started reaching out to the world out there of grief and reaching out to others who had gone through stillbirth and that was my survival link.

That's how I got through this was starting to connect with other moms and dads who had been through this before me and they were able to be a guide to help me get through and that is actually how I got introduced the five love languages will and thank the Lord had that lifeline.

The jury were right up your alley. This issue of dealing with grief and how we do that as human beings.

What how do we recognize that were in that state.

And then what are some things to cope well I think anyone is going through the death of a stillborn baby or any death in the family for that letter. It's a loss tremendous loss. Think of natural response rituals. We cry as if we are emotional it all week and we cry, we cry, we grow and and that's good because it is releasing some of those painful emotions and we know the grief we work through grief list over talk about that as we get to the place where we can talk. We talk about it and we asked the questions that are in our minds and those questions are everybody's mind and we asked the questions and let's face it, they're not always satisfactory answers that come to arm when we say why God you know why did this happen, but it's okay the question it's okay to tell God how you're feeling, whether it's anger or disappointment or whatever so that we poor inscriptions we pour our hearts out to God and then we also pool our hearts out to members of the family immediate family as well as our church family and and in so doing, if people listen to us just the foremost you can't fix it right there with the person you can't fix it for them, but you can show empathy you can identify with them.

You can acknowledge, you can understand the pain know that like that so that's the primary way is processing about talking and it takes time to do today does not happen in two weeks or three weeks and that's part of the problem is, sometimes we after six months or nine months were so you gotta get over this life's gotta go all Nuno and a friend of her husband wife and your husband can say that to what you gotta get over this now and she wants to get over this, but the reality is we don't ever get over the snow when you lose a baby, you don't ever get over it, but you do learn how to cope you learn how to go all trust God even when you don't understand why questions you. You're making such an important point that time has to do with good work, which is to soften to some degree the sting of that loss, and I'm sure candy that's been your experience with your let me ask you though you have something in the book called the grief ohmmeter and you explain what the grief ohmmeter is and how that's useful to this is the tendency on the part of some people think that some deaths are less painful than other dates, like if you had a miscarriage at 12 weeks. Let's not as bad as curing the baby to the and and then the baby is born. It would distinguish so that we as a mentor. It's not as bad down here, or if you already have six children. You know then it's not as bad as it was your first and so are is a 90-year-old person, which I will. It's not as bad as if there were a 50-year-old person that his death benefits your spouse or your child or anyone else. It's painful, and so one of things we try to emphasize in the book is will need to be putting a monitor on these things and so I will.

This is not as bad as you know something else. We are where we are in the person of suffering is where they are and we need to let them before they are comparisons just aren't helpful and that's one response that you don't want to offer somebody's going through this, but this is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly and our guests are Gary Chapman and Kenny McVicker. They have this book called holding on to love after you've lost a baby and it's a wonderful application of the five love languages for parents who are really struggling will encourage you to call us 880 family or go online to get your copy of the book of the link is in the episode notes dear let me ask you this year again I said this in previous broadcasts we've done together in the Lord gave you a great insight into the five love languages. I mean, that was used to a spiritual awakening for so many people in this wonderful when you is the author capture that. I just think it's a brilliant moment with the Lord said, I want this information, people, science, and he chose you to speak it through an amazing experience.

In that context. So I'm thinking of the five love languages and if you can restate them real quick.

In this moment of grief like candy and what she and Stephen went through does it weekend that are our love language doesn't stress us in that area. So as you go through it like give us the response of calamity like this when it comes to a person who likes physical touch or a person who likes words of affirmation and how do we calculate as a caregiver is a family member.

How do we calculate that person's love language when were trying to soothe their grief. Think of for example if you are the husband you probably already know the watch love language hopefully you learned earlier.

Adult you should have shame genes is affirmation. By the way, that's why it's so important to speak their love language.

During that time if it's physical touch.

Just put your arms around them and let them cry on your shoulder or just sitting beside of the but keep this in mind also specially an intense grief in the early stages, they might even push you away even physical touch of their lines of sight.

Please know that. Why is that how poor love like I think is because the grief is just so deep that it that particular moment. They just but this will be alone, as it were you and so they push all sometimes people are trying to help, but having said that, I think, is as time goes on.

After that initial those initial intense emotions speak in their love life is extremely important to them and if his words of affirmation to say honey I love you love you and I love you will love you no matter what happens we were together in this thing you know, just got of affirming words to them if it's physical touch. Yes, physical touch of affirming touches to them are so important. During that time and what we do know that this experience puts pressure on marriage because we don't always understand how the other person is responding puts pressure on the marriage and so speaking each other's love language.

During this time is extremely important in meeting the deep emotional need to feel love because when you feel loved wherever you are, you know they're there for me right now I just feel like everything in my whole life has been blown up, but in the back of my mind.

You're your communicating love and I know you're there for me so so important to bringing this closer to the relationship with your spouse, you and Stephen speak to those important observations that you both need to be aware of. You spoke about sleep or lack thereof. That's one thing the physical attribute. But what about the emotional pain and how do husbands and wives help each other in that regard fries bringing that five love languages into our relationship in relation to the grief was really impactful. Angels are not well we were rubbing each other riding and getting Inc. you can do great in marriage when there's no strife or difficulty or trauma right and honest and you add that whether it's a death or you know something hard in transition and all of a sudden your you don't have quite them on a buffer there and so with the love languages damages it brought back that offer because we started to be more cognizant I need to love you anyway. Maybe haven't before and it's good to reach your court to reach or sell a better and and so my husband's love languages physical touch words of affirmation IMAX of service quality time and so when we knew that in light of our grief he know he started to say you know I'll take care of things around the home and then honored Grace and what he did with me like you know he would he he would put out her picture he would write me a text or say I'm thinking about our our daughter today and and he went he would spend time with me email and melding with me in sharing his heart with me saying I was okay that I I like how my garden agree with you.

He wanted to be strong for me and I said actually I'm am very drawn to you and feel safer with you if you weep with me and if you show your emotions to me because I feel like then you're carrying with me congruently and sell on email and then with me just, you're a great dad like I was watching him do the best he could to parent and went and what ways we had an and I would just be more aware. I need to touch more often. I'm not as touchy-feely yeah and so I would email walk by many kitchen and put my hand around his waist and and he would need it back today. You know, I just needed that touch. I put my hand on his knee or his email and I just say were getting through this together. You know I'm still thankful we have each other and still it was really just about acknowledging I was reaching a place had it reached necessarily before and relating it to our grief and so that really was a very, very helpful, yet it's really important. Something you said and I think people need to catch this.

That had to be a mindful thing to say, between you and Steve were going to do this this way working know the love languages were going to apply that you really do say that it save your marriage is and you know, so we incorporated it into our support groups, and so whenever we have couples attending our group.

We it's okay.

We want you guys to read this book we can ask allows an assignment to go home and take the quiz, which is available at the five love languages website and you can go either. It's all free. You can take everyone in the quizzes and find out your love languages and link you can look and see what you are and how can you guess what they are suspect asked them to take it. Ideally, and then the profile will be emailed back to you and and it was so fine around the table because it brought this joy of you guys. We tried this and it worked in, and people giggle about how how they were doing it wrong there like hi, I just really ties missing the mark and now I kinda know and and so that there is a lot of good merit marriage bantering Avenue of Lake Hayward getting through this. You guys this is really helpful as I sought work in a big part of why this book is just believe in it and it had so much feedback are so many people writing twisting. This is been so incredibly helpful even tell you one woman told me she carries around in your purse because after her baby died this year. She said I open it up and I'm like what do I do again and how do I do this thing, and she just said this is been a lifeline thank you so much Candy were right at the time was for. Let me let me ask you to describe a bit of ministry missing grace and what what are you trying to do specifically well I our ministry was based out of what we wished would have been available for us. So if it had been out there. I would've just gone there and II did reach out to many nonprofits and I wasn't finding what we needed so it was apparent the Lord was saying this is what you're going to deal and how you can honor your daughter and still we called it missing grace foundation, missing my daughter that the name grace.

It stands for, grieve, restore, arise, commemorate and educate and so were helping people get through their grief were helping them restore an emotional, relational, physical and spiritual health were helping him arise out of that dark place.

The grief I really believe that God gives us joy for mourning and beauty for ashes and strength for fear and and were really trying to help people have hope for that we connect them with other people are further down the road in your grief that lifeline yeah and you know what you can get there and work in and be there for you. Whether it's on on the phone online or in person and then and then we're going to help them to commemorate. We really believe that if you honor your left line, whatever that is. We all have different personalities of how we would've raised our kids also increase. We have different ways we would honor our children what he started foundation or you find a foundation or you volunteer in an organization or you create a beautiful memorial garden in your backyard or you go serve somebody you need. There's so many ways to do something positive in education I believe is the most important. If there's something we can learn from her story and it can help someone else down the road that is key and and so where were we have support groups. We have baskets of fish about the hospital so that everything is there any packet that is going to help them through what you're going through from Hannah for molding kits and outfits and a memorial candle in books and well thought it's really meant to be my now white. That's a lot people rent to us. He said I didn't know what to do. But now I know what to do will hopefully can link to Gary Letson here because again the Christian community.

It feels like we run from grief not through grief and there are lessons that are learned in that valley. So let me give you the last word again thinking of that listener, the viewer might be going through real tough time in their life, for whatever reason, but they're going through grief right now and I think as you read the Bible you see people going through grief through the book of Jeremiah read the book of Job, you see them going through grief and God does not condemn them for going through grief. And we we will just say positive things that think like people feel better, but really we just need to walk with them through the grief process and give them time to suffer and love them in a way that's meaningful to do whatever whatever that language is so that they know there's people out there that are not in my immediate family care about me is what the church is all about is walking with people through, and well, and the thing that I've noticed when in focus tries to do this every day.

You know the connections that are made with real people.

People that are grateful that you were there in the gap with them and helping them and that's what I'm sure you're experiencing candy during candy thank you so much for sharing a very tough topic, but certainly this was filled.

I hope with the sense of hope. I would love to get this in your hands. This book, holding on to love after you've lost a baby.

If you make a gift of any amount will send it to you. Think of a loved one near you and maybe a neighbor who's going through that kind of difficulty. The loss of a child. Just keep your radar up. What an opportunity to talk with this person had to share this great message of hope with them and can't afford it, just get in touch with us will trust others will cover the cost of the contact us and let us know if you need this help or you know someone who needs a cell you get your copy of candy and Gary's book when you call 800 K in the word family 800-232-6459 or stop by the episode notes for all the details and when you get in touch will be happy to connect you with one of our caring Christian counselors. Should you need to talk with someone pray about whatever struggles you're facing right now and would be happy to set up that initial consultation for you when you call 800 K coming up tomorrow you'll hear from Cynthia Wentz. She shares her freaking going through multiple abortions. She knew she was very aware that that was taking life children may be nave young, not blind, half Jim Daly and the entire team. Thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family I'm John Fuller inviting you back next time.

As we once again help you and your family thrive.

John Fuller and to help celebrate your love Street were excited about our loving well podcast, visit Focus on the Family.com/loving well. For more information.

That's focusonthefamily.com/loving well