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4 Moms Q&A – Birthdays, Switching Seasonal Clothes, and Grieving a Stillborn Baby

How do you celebrate birthdays?

Since we have 10 people in our family, we do not do big shindigs for every birthday, otherwise we would be partying every time we turn around. Our rule is when you turn 5, 10, or 15 you get to have a "friends" party. And we like to keep those to "no hassle birthday parties" with simple games and old fashioned fun, like pin the nose on Hello Kitty and pinatas.

We don't go all out with hired ponies and magicians. I don't care whether or not you do, it's just not our style, and our kids get giddy with excited just to have a party with friends. We use this birthday countdown chain to keep track of how many days are left until the big day, which makes it even more fun to anticipate!

On years when it is not time for a "friends party", we have a family only celebration with gifts from each member. This usually happens first thing in the morning, with everyone in pajamas, and we all have birthday cake for breakfast. (WHAT?! There are eggs in it!)

How do you keep up with the switching of clothes for the seasons?

Our seasonal clothes switch, or what I like to call "I would rather grab the smoking end of a red hot poker day" is not one of my favorite times. But unless you can swing a move to the equator (and I'm going to say if the opportunity ever presents itself, SAVE YOURSELF AND GO FOR IT) you are just going to have to grit your teeth and dig in.

At the above link, you will see the steps I suggest to get this done. What you won't see is what our living room usually looks like when this is going on. Think "Goodwill truck vomits in local living room" and you've got the right idea.

How do you keep it going through grief? Our baby was stillborn Saturday.

I'm not sure if getting back into a routine of schoolwork etc. will be easier for me (keep my mind off of things) or harder (like saying it never happened).

This question took my breath away. I stared at the screen and couldn't even imagine the pain, the numbness, the emptiness. I have had 3 miscarriages, but I have never held a stillborn baby. Born. Still.

Words escape me. But another Facebook friend, Kristianna, jumped right in within the hour and left the most beautiful, painfully poignant response. I asked her permission to quote it here. I hope it will bless someone today.

I am so sorry for your loss. I know you were asking Connie, but having recently walked this road, I'd love to encourage you.

Our little girl, Elizabeth Mercy, was stillborn in August of last year. After she died I was on autopilot & tried to keep a routine going for my other children's sake (we have 5 children ages 9, 8, 6, 3, 1).

I don't think there is any "right" way to walk through this grief. If I felt like I could handle the day, I did. If I started the day out & it seemed to be going downhill I abandoned ship & played games or snuggled w/ my kids & watched a movie. And on the days that I just couldn't move forward I would occupy my children, tell them I'd be in the next room, & go lay on my face & cry.

The best way to describe the grief you will & probably already are experiencing is this: it's like the ocean. You know the enormity of it in your mind but can't possibly fathom its depth & layers. The waves come. Some are small & have no effect. While others are coming at you like a tsunami. Ride the wave, sweet Debbi.

Let it flow in & let your grief come. Don't fight it. It was usually the small things that wrecked me: a pregnant friend wearing a fitted shirt, a new mom complaining about the trails of being a mother. Those things aren't bad. Fitted shirts abound in the pregnancy world & being a new mom is difficult. It was just the thing that "got" me that day. I would wait until I got home & was alone or with my husband & then I cried out to the One who loves me & understands my broken heart. Once my tears were finished I would take another step forward on my journey out of grief. I let the moments come & I felt them to their depth, but I decided not to stay in it. Life is still happening & our children here need us & we need them.

My children grieved with me some days, & we still talk about her when our hearts miss her. I would encourage you to find some friends you can call when you're feeling low. Sometimes just remembering your little one by sharing their story with another person can help.

I pray that the God of all comfort, the One who loves you, holds you close. I pray you feel His strong, capable arms carrying you & your family through this very difficult season. to you & yours.

Be sure to visit The Common Room and Life in a Shoe today to see what reader questions they are answering.

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  1. First off, I’m glad I’m not the only one who loathes the great clothing switch-out. I try to time it, if possible, to when my super-organized sister comes from Minneapolis to visit. 😛

    I’ve never had a stillbirth, either, but I have had 2 miscarriages last year, and I can (not completely) related to the “shut down” feeling. I put together a post full of resources for grieving parents on At the Well.


    One of the books, Facing Grief (Counsel for Mourners) by John Flavel was given to me by friends who lost a baby to stillbirth. Hopefully, something here will be comforting. God Bless.

  2. Kim @ Life in a shoe posted about her stillborn daughter a few years ago http://inashoe.com/2006/04/sarah/.

  3. Just wanted to say that while I have never delivered a stillborn child, that response from your Facebook reader was one of the most loving, compassionate things I personally have ever read. It really touched me this morning.