Poppy Jane

It’s a little early to be sharing this, as my cheeks are still stained with the pain of it all, but being that Mother’s Day is approaching, it seems appropriate.

Over the weekend, I was inducted into a club. It’s a membership I didn’t seek out… but still, the invitation arrived. On May 6th, I became a bereaved mother on the eve of National Bereaved Mother’s Day.

It’s something women haven’t spoken freely about for generations, but our voices are beginning to rise up. I too have struggled with whether or not to tell my story. I never understood why anyone would feel shame in the midst of a loss, but I do now. I never understood the depth of grief for a lost baby, never even seen, but I do now. I wondered how it would be perceived if I shared this secret out loud. But then I felt reminded that if we call ourselves “pro life” then we must celebrate ALL life, even the smallest of lives. So… today, I would like to announce and celebrate and grieve the little life of our second child, Poppy Jane Ullah.

Yes. We know her by name. As I did with her big brother Oliver, I asked God to confirm to us her name. And we believe that He did. It’s a name I’ve loved for years and I have giggled, felt giddy even, each and every time I have said it out loud. It’s as happy as the bloom it represents, it even bounces right off of your lips. And the week we learned of her, she happened to be the size of a poppy seed. And then there was a poppy festival in an adorable neighboring town. And then there were the lively poppies playing hide and seek all around us because apparently, they bloomed a bit too early this year. And so, Poppy Jane it is.

On Saturday, I woke up with all of my pregnancy symptoms in full swing. I was cranky and joyful as I got dressed and then sick and smiling as I walked through rows of fruit trees filling a basket with sweet nectarines. And then later, I was whoozy still while roaming the streets of Georgetown, sneaking tummy caresses to love on the hidden life tucked inside. It’s such a sacred time for a mother, those first precious weeks. It’s obvious to no one, but she quietly rejoices over the little bud of life blooming from within. And for me, the sickness and the fatigue comes in waves of reminders of a promise fulfilled. I love being pregnant. And I loved the short time we had smiling at the knowledge of her tiny existence.

And in a moment, while wiping red sauce smudges off of Olivers face in a pizzeria, she began to slip away. And what started as a lovely day, filled with
hope and wonder, became a day of pain and fear and sadness and isolation. I asked Billy to find more poppies on the way home. I wanted one more picture. I knew they were almost gone for this year. He patiently obliged. We stopped the car and I crouched down to cup one in my hand, but as I touched the perfect petals, they quietly blew away. And my heart knew in that moment that our own Poppy Jane had slipped into eternity.

And so… Happy Mother’s Day to my Mama and my Mamaw in heaven. Hold my little one close for me. Mamaw, please humm off key in the lovely way that you do. She will love it as much as I did. Mom, make sure she hears your giggles. I sure do wish I could.

Friends, don’t forget those silent mothers all around you, whose arrows that should fill their quivers, pierce their broken hearts instead. You may find her serving breakfast to her family, but crying lonely tears in solitude. You may find her forcing a smile as she teaches a class just moments before seeing an empty ultrasound. She’s sitting on a church pew, with her hand stretched towards someone else’s baby being dedicated on the stage. She’s holding her first born safely in her arms, while her second child slips away. 

So dear mamas, Happy Mother’s Day to all of us. Those who hold our babies close and cherish every minute, those who hold our babies in our hearts and long to see their faces, and those with mothering spirits who are silently awaiting the sweet embrace of pudgy little arms. We are all precious to the Lord and I know He is near to us today.

Psalm 139:7-10

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there. If I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.

24 thoughts on “Poppy Jane”

  1. Beautiful .. a piece of you, Flossie, for your Mom & Mamaw to hold until it’s time for you to be with them again. All in His time, dear .. it’s ALL in His perfect timing .. I can truly relate. I love you!?

  2. So beautifully written
    So touching and yet so very real. To hold a tiny life in our hands and his or her heart stops beating as s I did a year ago, feal s like yesterday. Loves my sweet Woman, you are not lone.

  3. I am so sorry for your loss Ami- Beth! so beautifully written… Poppy Jane is in good hands and although no Words Can comfort your broken heart…God in His infinite wisdom knows the beginning to the end… He knew your precious angel before she was conceived. Allow God to comfort and give you peace as only He can… God Bless you all! Love you! ❤️

  4. Praying for each of you during this time. I’m sorry you were allowed to join this “club” that we are now in together. Allow yourself as much time as you need to grieve as it comes in waves. We will be praying that God comforts you during this time and blesses you guys with an amazing “Rainbow baby”. Love you guys. ?

  5. I love this and glad I you shared. I am sorry you are a member of the club. Maybe Spencer and he two siblings will show Poppy Jane around up there. Maybe they will have play dates!

  6. America I am truly at a loss for words as this sinks in. I’m sorry for your loss but I know rhat Poppy Jane will be in wonderful hands as her mommy chases her big brother. I can even hear her giggling at his antics. She won’t be forgotten. Love you mucho much ?

  7. My heart aches for both of you. I know the pain you feel America. I know my Louis Joseph will embrace Poppy Jane and be her guide. I am so sadden that you are part of this club.
    Love you both and thank you for sharing. Your message is powerful and hopefully it will aid a woman out there to be accepting of her loss and know she is not alone. I pray for all Moms, Grandmas, Godmothers, and every woman who represents a Mother figure is someone’s life.
    Love you both and give Ollie a big hug and lots of smooches. ?????????❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤

    1. Oh sweet Liz, thank you so much. So much love to you. I’ll give him loads of smooches!

  8. So precious. I so love you America – keep sharing because healing comes to many as you share.

  9. I don’t usually have the time I would like to read all your stories . Somehow with this one I had some extra time, it’s late and with Grace finishing her first week of school she’s knocked out. Leaving papa equally as exhausted and knocked out too.
    Thank you for sharing this with the world , with anyone who found the time to read it.
    We lost our little girl, wow seems years ago when we moved to Australia and began our first new adventure. We never knew if she was a girl or boy but I knew she would be Rose. Wow I haven’t spoken her name since …. since I prayed and asked my wonderful amazing Aunt Saida how I grieve and say goodbye. And her words of encouragement and that of God, she said write your sweet Rose a letter and say goodbye and place it in your bible. Five years and it’s still there.
    My heart reaches out to you and those two handsome boys of yours tonight. I know what it’s like to be so far away and only have eachother and go through something like this. I send prayers and so so so much love to you three. Thinking of you smiling hoping somehow Rose welcomes Poppy and they make the best cousins. Xoxoxoxo

    1. Thank you so much! And thank you for telling me about your sweet Rose. I think they will be best of friends! It is so hard to be so far away. It means so much that you understand what that is like. ❤ Love you so much!

  10. Oh Amy-Beth… I am so, so sorry for your loss. Tears stain my cheeks for you, as well. As so many have said before me, reading this makes it seem like yesterday for myself too. I too, have experienced a loss. I have experienced many, many losses in my family. All very close and dear to my heart, yet none comparable to the grief from losing a baby. It’s been 10 years now. But every time I meet a woman/mother who has lost a child, pain grips my heart over their loss, and mine.
    I hope you don’t mind, but I would like to share my story with you. I had already had Shannon, and she was only 5 months old when I found out about our 2nd pregnancy. It definitely wasn’t planned, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t wanted. I remember telling my best and closest friend at the time, about the news, and the odds that happened next just never happen, but she found out the next day that she was expecting too. I had knew about our pregnancy for only 13 days or so when I miscarried. My mother had already bought a baby book for him, that I never did use again. It’s packed away with the pregnancy test strips, and then the hospital bracelets I wore when I went to the emergency room. Thankfully, my friends pregnancy went on, and she eventually delivered a healthy, beautiful baby girl. You actually know this sweet, tiny, curly-blonde headed, little girl, very well actually! 😉
    But, I have never grieved like I did after that loss. I was in a dark, dark place for months after that. I was young, I didn’t know Jesus and I did not understand why it happened. But one day, I went to church.. I felt then, as if I had to go to the alter to talk to God. So I did, and God met me there. I began to heal after that day. The black started turning to light, and that is the first time I remember God being tangible to me. I would lay down at night, and literally feel Him wrapping His arms around me, through my grief. I pray that over you right now Amy-Beth. I know God has helped you through grief before, and I know he will again.
    Any who, I said all of that, to say this.. I debated on whether or not to tell this entire story. But it’s finally a story of redemption, and it deserves being told, I believe!
    I prayed for years, about 10 to be exact lol! That one day, God would let me experience being pregnant with someone close and dear to me, again. And you know, He did just that.
    A little over a year ago now, my sister in law found out she was expecting, and two weeks later, I did too!! We also delivered exactly two weeks apart, almost to the exact hour!
    I always said, the child we lost was a boy, and God not only blessed me with one, but two more boys. Can you imagine the ruckus they will make when we all get to Heaven. Boy, that brings a big ole’ smile to my face!
    God is still in the miracle making business. And my story isn’t a coincidence, happen-chance, kind of story. God cares so deeply for us. I don’t know why we have to struggle with infertility or the loss of our babies/children. But I do trust God. And He is good, and His love for us is unfathomable. I know that you wouldn’t, but we all have days where we let the enemy whisper in our ear, but don’t lose hope. Redemption is on it’s way.
    I know my sweet boy, I believe his name to be Elijah, 🙂 is just one of MANY helping watch over your precious little Poppie!! <3
    I will keep you and your beautiful family in my prayers Amy-Beth.

    1. Thank you for sharing your story!! It will be wonderful to see Elijah one day!! I love that God gave you your heart’s desire in TWO boys AND in getting to experience pregnancy with someone close to you. He is such a giving Father.

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