Join us for a conversation with Moria Rooney, founder of Mother of Wilde. After losing her son, Noah Wilde, she started a business that sells memorial prints of babies who passed due to miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss.
Moria shares how her faith in Jesus allowed her to grieve differently than the world grieves: with hope. Even after unanswered prayers and a devastating loss, she learned to trust in God's good and unchanging character. Now, she blesses grieving moms with beautiful prints of their babies to remind them of the hope they have to see their babies again in Heaven.
In this episode, we discussed:
How to have faith when God doesn't perform the miracle you prayed for
What it's like giving birth to death
Why don't we blame Satan for our loss instead of God?
Suffering's role in the Christian's life
Searching for answers and the 'why'
The complexities of sharing photos of our babies who have died
Why memorial prints are so special and important
How Mother of Wilde began and what they do
Planting seeds for the Gospel
Using your strengths, skills, and even college degrees for God's glory
A coupon code for 15% off a baby memorial print
Full transcript below.
Each episode has a special Hope Guide that you can download by clicking the button below. It is packed with hope-filled resources and extra information from the episode!
Discussion / Application Questions (leave your answers below in the comments!)
Mother of Wilde exists so that grieving moms can share photos of their babies in Heaven in a dignified and beautiful way. Do you have photos of your baby and if so, do you feel comfortable sharing them? If not, what barriers exist that prevent you from sharing? If you'd like a customized memorial print, you can use BRIDGET15 to get 15% off a print at www.motherofwilde.com.
Moria says that as Christ-followers our grieving should look different than the world's grieving because we have hope. It doesn't mean that we don't grieve, but that we do so knowing that we will one day see our babies again. Do you feel that your grieving reflects the promise of Heaven or do you feel your grieving more closely mimics the world? Why or why not?
In this episode, Moria shares that everyone has the opportunity to say yes to God, but you have to be willing to say yes. In what ways has God given you opportunities to be a willing vessel for Him? Have you said yes? If not, what is holding you back? Share your thoughts and feelings below.
Graphics to share on social media or pin on Pinterest!
MEET OUR GUEST
Moria Rooney is married to Brian and together they have two sons, a two-year-old named Roman, and Noah who was born into Heaven at 35 weeks.
She is the founder of Mother of Wilde, a faith-based business that creates customized baby remembrance prints and gifts for grieving families who have experienced miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss.
Connect with Moria:
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MEET OUR HOST
Ashley Opliger is the Executive Director of Bridget's Cradles, a nonprofit organization based in Wichita, Kansas that donates cradles to over 1,250 hospitals in all 50 states and comforts over 26,000 bereaved families a year.
Ashley is married to Matt and they have three children: Bridget (in Heaven), and two sons. She is a follower of Christ who desires to share the hope of Heaven with families grieving the loss of a baby.
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Episode 21: Grieving Differently after Pregnancy Loss with Moria Rooney
Ashley Opliger: [00:00:00] You’re listening to the Cradled in Hope Podcast where we believe that the hope of Heaven, through faith in Jesus Christ, has the power to heal our hearts after the loss of a baby. It’s a pain no mother should have to endure and we want this podcast to be a safe place for your broken heart to land. Here, we are going to trust God’s promise to restore our joy, use our grief for good, and allow us to spend eternity with our babies in Heaven.
I’m your host, Ashley Opliger. I’m a wife, mom, and follower of Christ clinging to the hope of Heaven. My daughter, Bridget, was stillborn at 24 weeks in my first pregnancy in 2014. In her memory, my husband and I started a nonprofit ministry called Bridget’s Cradles, and God has given us purpose in our pain and we’ve seen beauty come from ashes.
Although we wish you didn’t have a need to be listening to this podcast, we believe God has a reason for you to be here today. We pray this time would be a source of healing for you as we remember that Jesus cradles us in hope while He cradles our babies in Heaven. Though we may grieve, we do not grieve without hope. Welcome to the Cradled in Hope Podcast.
Ashley Opliger: [00:01:26] Hi friends. A few weeks ago, I received the most beautiful prints in the mail of my sweet daughter, Bridget, from a new friend, Moria, who is the founder of an organization named Mother of Wilde.
These memorial prints are truly gorgeous and so sacred. And I know they would be one of the prized possessions for any mom who would receive one in memory of her baby. Moria was so kind and thoughtful to send me two of these memorial prints in memory of Bridget. They are absolutely so precious, and I will cherish them always.
I can't wait for you to hear more of her story and how she became the founder of Mother of Wilde, a faith-based organization in Wilmington, North Carolina that creates baby remembrance prints for bereaved parents.
Moria has been married to her husband, Brian, for seven years and together they have two sons, Roman Sol, who is two, and Noah Wilde, who was born into Heaven at 35 weeks.
Every day, Moria strives to know Jesus more intimately and be a light for families walking through baby loss. Through baby memorial prints, Mother of Wilde points families that have experienced pregnancy and infant loss to the joy, healing, and peace that can come only from Jesus.
I am honored to have Moria here today to share her story and introduce you to the beautiful organization she's created in Noah's memory. Be sure to listen until the end, as Moria will share a discount code for 15% off memorial prints as well as details on a free giveaway we are doing with Mother of Wilde. Let's listen now.
Ashley Opliger: [00:03:03] Welcome Moria. Thank you so much for being here.
Moria Rooney: [00:03:06] Thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited.
Ashley Opliger: [00:03:10] Well, I have been so in love with your Instagram page and all of the beautiful memorial prints that you do for babies in Heaven and for their families on earth. You are so kind to make two prints for Bridget and they were so beautiful, and I am so grateful for you making those for me.
And I can't wait for all of our listeners to see the beautiful work that you do. And we're going to talk all about you starting Mother of Wilde and those beautiful prints. But before we do, would you share Noah's story and your journey of motherhood?
Moria Rooney: [00:03:44] Yeah, absolutely. Well, first of all, it was an honor to create this for you. I was so excited to do it.
I'll tell you a little bit about me. So I've been married for eight years. I live in Wilmington, North Carolina, and we have two boys. So Roman is two, he actually just turned two in January, and then we have Noah.
And Noah was born March the 9th of last year. So we actually will be celebrating his Heavenly birthday in a week from today. So yeah, he's the inspiration behind everything we do at Mother of Wilde and it’s amazing how God has transformed that. It was never something that I planned to go into. And I mean, you know how God works, in those mysterious ways and brought this to fruition.
But yeah, I can tell you a little bit about the pregnancy. So my first son, Roman, he came at 34 weeks, and so I knew when we got pregnant with Noah, that he would come early. And we had a really normal pregnancy, and I guess normal is relative, but we had a really normal pregnancy. I didn't have any scares or anything like that. I was told he would be early.
And so when we went for our 34-week appointment check-up, they saw that I was four centimeters dilated already. And I remember just having a complete meltdown in the room because our first son, Roman, he had been in the NICU for a couple weeks. And that was the last thing that I wanted was to have to be in the NICU with Noah.
And looking back on it now, I would have taken the NICU for months and weeks at that time to just have time with him. But I guess after that appointment, it probably was a couple of days later and I just noticed a decrease in movement with him, and he's usually really active.
And so we went straight to the hospital, my husband and I, and had my mother-in-law come and watched Roman. And they put the Doppler and tried to check everything, and they told us his heart had stopped, the dreaded words that no one wants to hear.
And honestly, up until that point, I was so naive. I had no idea that this could even be a possibility because they say, “Well, once you get to 12 weeks, you're in the safe zone.” And looking back on it, I guess my perspective has just changed drastically because there isn't a safe zone. And really, even when the baby's in your arms, it's still not a complete safe zone because it's kind of scary how that looks.
But after they told us that his heart had stopped, I remember just not being in agreement with anything that the nurse told me, because I knew God was capable. And I prayed against everything that they shared with me, because I guess it was quite a parallel from when Roman was born, because when he was born at 34 weeks, they told us the exact same thing. “Well, he's early, and so he's not going to come out breathing.”
And I think I have quite a bit of feeling on how I was feeling with Roman. I'm like, “Gosh, I'm experiencing this same exact emotion with Noah and this is the baby.” It's crazy. It's just crazy how it all works. Like I knew that God was going to do something in that time.
I knew that the nurses were wrong. I knew that I had faith that God could perform the miracle. And I remember whenever they had said his heart had stopped, I wear glasses, and so I threw my glasses off on the floor and I looked at my husband and I said, “How is this God's plan for us?” And for sometimes I still didn't know that answer, even months after.
And I think sometimes even creating this ministry, I still sometimes wonder, “God, is this what You wanted to come from Noah's life? Is this what you birthed during that time?” It's been a road, giving birth to him was really traumatic for me. I stayed up and prayed and prayed, and I knew that God was going to breathe back into him.
And so when Noah was born, I placed my hand on his chest and I begged God to breathe back into him. And it's hard sometimes whenever you have that faith, because they say, “Well, you just need mustard seed faith,” but what do you do when you do have that faith and God doesn't perform the miracle still? God is still sovereign and holy.
And even when we walk through these seasons of pain and suffering death and tragedy, He is still good. And so I think it took me a while to really understand who God was during that time, and to realize that His character never changed, even though we're going through something so tragic, You know?
Ashley Opliger: [00:08:58] What did that look like as you were holding him and you had this faith that God could perform this miracle, but then you left the hospital empty-handed and you went home, and you were grieving his loss and also trying to reconcile who God is and how He can still be good even in the midst of this pain? What did that look like for you to grieve with hope and to grieve with those unanswered prayers?
Moria Rooney: [00:09:27] Well, holding him was incredible. I mean, he looked so much like Roman, my goodness, they looked like they could have been twins. And so I think seeing him and how much he looked so much like his brother was very emotional for me.
You don't ever picture that being how you would see your child, you don't ever picture giving birth to a lifeless baby. And I think I wasn't quite sure what to expect. You go from 24 hours before thinking that your baby could come any minute and it's supposed to be this beautiful celebration of life, and then to quite literally be giving birth to death.
I mean to think about that, I think I just sat there really trying to understand, “What does that look like?” Your body and your womb is meant to create life. And even though it still was life and it still was beautiful. it was just much different than what it was with Roman. You expect something different than what you're getting.
That was really traumatic, having to leave the hospital without a baby in your arms and having to say hello and goodbye at the same time. And also trying to see it through the lens of my husband, because being pregnant and having all of that time with him, months with him, my husband never got a chance to have that. So I just felt I had a much more intimate relationship with him.
But God has been so good through it all. Even leading up to Noah's birth, we knew something was going to happen to him. I think I've mentioned this to you before, but God shared with me in a dream that something was going to happen to Noah before it did.
And it's actually a pretty terrible dream, but I was face-to-face with the devil. And I was pregnant and he looked at my stomach and he went to grab for Noah in my belly. And I remember lashing out and saying that I would spend my life ensuring that this baby knew Jesus.
And I also saw in the dream my husband coming in and out of consciousness, like a demonic spirit over him. And so I sat over his body praying the Lord's Prayer over and over.
And so though I think that was one thing that told me something was going to happen; I just didn't realize how severe it was going to be.
And then my husband and I were also reading the book of Job and we were listening to sermons on suffering and pain and pruning, and it all really made sense after Noah was born.
I didn't realize God was preparing our hearts for what was coming and it all clicked after that. He was trying to prepare us, get us into this place where we were going to be okay, that we would really have to lean on Him more than ever before.
And so grieving with hope. I think it looks different for everybody, but for us right after Noah was born, I mean, we jumped right back into the Word. We had so many people reach out to us and pray over us.
To me, I think that was really what helped us through. It was people interceding and praying for us and not throwing in the towel on God and not pointing our fingers at Him and blaming Him for death.
That's one thing with Mother of Wilde that I try to tell moms all the time, that the same God that created life in you, in your womb, He didn't take it from you.
And it's hard for them to understand, but I think we always want to point the finger and to blame someone for this because we may not ever get answers. You know?
Ashley Opliger: [00:13:19] Yeah. And going back to your dream, actually in a support group recently, we were talking about this. But it's so common for women to blame God for their loss. And I have experienced that.
I felt abandoned by God. I felt like I had petitioned and prayed so many prayers for Bridget to have this miraculous healing in my womb and for the complications to go away, for the hemorrhage to heal, and none of those prayers were answered. And I just see so many times we want to blame God.
And I posed the question to the group. I said, “Why is it that no one's mad at Satan after they've lost the baby? Why is it that no one is blaming him?” And we came up with a couple of answers in the group discussing this. Why don't we blame Satan for this? Because it is his fault. The brokenness of this world is his fault and evil, and obviously humans’ free will that Adam and Eve chose to sin and chose to disobey God.
But going back to that, the answers that we came up with were, one is we don't have a relationship with Satan like we have a relationship with God. And we trust God to protect, and we know because He's all-powerful, that He has the power to breathe life back into lungs or to heal a subchorionic hemorrhage, in my case.
And so I think it's easy for us to blame because we already know and trust and have a relationship with God and wonder, “Why didn't He do anything? Why did He allow it to happen?” And we don't have a relationship with Satan to put the blame on.
And that was kind of eye-opening for me to think about why that's the case. But he is the one that is to blame, but we oftentimes point the finger at God because we have the relationship. And we wonder, “Why me? Why are You doing this? Are You punishing me?
Did I do something to deserve this? Why would You sit back idly and allow it to happen?”
And I have those questions of God even in the world sometimes, like how can He sit back and allow wars and pandemics and evil to triumph, to seemingly triumph? Obviously, we know He's going to be victorious over it all.
But how would you say, in that time that the Lord was preparing your heart for heartache and you were listening to these sermons and reading the book of Job, do you feel that impacted your grief journey afterwards that you were able to walk in confidence, knowing your suffering was earning you these crowns in Heaven and that all of this was going to be viewed through the lens of eternity?
Moria Rooney: [00:15:54] Yeah. I mean, it definitely gave me a different perspective on Job. It says he was a righteous man. He wasn't deserving of all of these things that he went through, but still he was faithful.
And for me reading his story, it's showed that the Lord actually said, “Have you …” I mean, He recommended Job, essentially. “Have you thought of My servant, Job?” And I look at it differently now, in the terms of seeing as this being an ordained suffering, if you will.
And I think everybody has something that they have to go through and probably multiple things in life, but they always say, “Count it joy.” Sometimes that's hard to do when you're in the midst of it. But looking back on it, I want to be able to say that I did count it joy.
I was still faithful, like Job, even in things that are hard, because I don't think that we have the capability to allow God to be God over our life when things are good.
I mean, the very emblem of our faith is rooted in suffering at the Cross. So why do I think that I shouldn’t have the opportunity to suffer just as Christ did? You know? So it gave me a different perspective.
It also really gave me a different perspective of Mary seeing Jesus on the Cross suffering, and how He was in her womb and kicking as a baby and Him growing up, where He had to go to the Cross. But just her perspective and how it changed.
I'm grateful that God had all of these things aligned out for me to ease my heart into the transition of what was going to happen with Noah. But I wouldn't say it makes the shock of it any less painful.
I was really hoping it wasn't going to be something this severe, but I guess that's just my humanness. It’s like, “I hope it's not this, God, but if it is, I'm still going to worship You through it. I'm still going to praise You through it.”
I heard something one time and it said, “Even if the Lord doesn't do another thing for you, He's already done the most that He could ever do at the Cross.” And so I just have to continue praising Him for what He's already done for me, not for what He's going to do for me.
And even if He doesn't ever reveal any answers to why this happened with Noah, He's still good. It doesn't change who He is.
And so I think for the longest time I was in search of this, “Why God, why me? Why us, why our family?” I felt I was the closest with God right up until Noah was born. And even now I’m still close with God, but for people that really want to have Your heart, Lord, want to have Your eyes, want to really hear You, “God, why our family? Why? Why us?”
And I think once I finally stopped trying to search for that answer ‘why,’ and started embracing being in God's presence, He really started to do something in my heart and working towards healing it. You know?
Ashley Opliger: [00:19:02] Yeah. And I would say also in seeing how your story has played out, when you stopped asking the ‘why’ and searching for the ‘why’ and started being in His presence and following in obedience to what He was asking you to do, He started revealing that ‘why’ to you, and has shown you purpose in pain and ways that you've been able to glorify Him and honor Noah in your story.
And going backwards a little bit when we were talking about, “Why do bad things happen to good people,” that's the question about suffering. And I've heard it said: “That has only happened one time in history, where something bad has happened to a good person, and that was Jesus on the Cross.”
And that's given me a perspective too, because even though I want to think, “Well, I was a follower of You, Jesus, and I've always loved You and want to serve You and wanted to raise Bridget to know You and to love You,” I am a sinner and I'm not elevated to the status that Jesus was.
He truly did not deserve what He walked through. And then I'm not here saying that I deserved it or that anyone listening here deserved what they walked through. But when we ask those questions, “Why do bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people,” that's because we're looking for some sort of justice on earth.
And actually, as sinners, we are completely unable to pay our debt for what we've done. And Jesus Himself had to die on the Cross to pay for that debt and to credit His righteousness to us so that we could stand blameless before Him and His Father and be able to go to Heaven.
And I think for me, I've had to see my place as a sinner in need of a Savior to fully understand and grasp the grace that's been given to me and the salvation that I have and the hope that I have to see Bridget again, because I'm not deserving of Heaven. I'm not deserving of grace, but God has freely given me that grace through faith in Him. So that perspective has helped me as well.
Moria Rooney: [00:21:09] Yeah. I really like that. I've never heard of it like that before.
Ashley Opliger: [00:21:13] Yeah, I really think that's helpful.
So I would love for you to share how you started Mother of Wilde, and if you could explain to our listeners what you do and why you do it and how God revealed this calling to you.
Moria Rooney: [00:21:28] Yeah, absolutely. So right after Noah was born, I took a couple months to get myself together, if you will. And I think that's an ongoing process, but I started connecting with some groups online, Facebook groups, about stillbirth and child loss, and miscarriage. And most of them were moms.
And I think my first mistake, looking back on it, is that none of them were faith-based. But honestly, God used that for Mother of Wilde, and it's very interesting but I connected with these groups and I noticed that there was a common theme in them, and it wasn't the fact that everyone lost a baby. It was the common theme that everyone wanted to share photos of their children, but they didn't want other people to feel uncomfortable.
And I realized I too felt like that. I wanted to be able to share Noah’s story and his photo. And I didn't want my family to just see him as a dead baby. So I thought that women were really getting robbed of all the joy of still having a child, when they don't get to share the baby's birth details and things like that, the things that should bring families joy of a new child.
And so that really started the idea in my brain of, “Okay, God, where am I going with this? Is this something …” So I first started creating just a print of Noah that I could put up in the house and I wanted it to be something that was classic, that would honor him and look like a birth print and would be no different just because he wasn't alive.
And so I wanted it to have all of his special details and I wanted it to have encouragement of Scripture on there so I could see it and it could just bring me joy, as opposed to his photos just being in a closet somewhere. We hadn't put any of them out yet and my husband wasn't quite ready.
And so I wanted something that showcased how beautiful he was, and people could come in and they could see it and it could just give us another way to talk about him. And so that’s how it started.
And I really struggled at first. I said, “God, if this is something that You want me to do, You're going to have to sustain it. I'm not doing this without You and I am not interested in doing this without You.”
So I kept praying for Him to reveal something to me in my spirit. And my goodness, my spirit kept tugging at it and tugging at it and tugging at it. And I knew that God was bringing me women that I could also minister to. I didn't want it to just be a print. I wanted it something that could give these moms hope that they're able to see their babies again.
We grieve, but as Christ-followers, we grieve with hope, so our grieving should look different than the world's grieving. And so I had kept praying. I remember just wrestling with God in the shower, like, “God, if this is what You want me to do, can you have somebody say something to me,” or this and that.
I was constantly after affirmation. I wanted to be sure that this was His path. He would keep bringing people to me. It’s just, not crazy, but it's how God works. And I feel like the Holy Spirit kept saying,” This is it. This is it. This is it.”
Because even before Roman and Noah were born, I always remember saying, “Okay, Lord, am I just a wife, just a mom?” And I don't mean “just” because I love those titles. They’re my favorite titles, other than being a follower of God. But I always thought that there was something more. And looking back on it, all of the jobs that I've had before this prepared me for being here.
So we started this ministry three months after Noah was born. It’s crazy to say. And God has been aligning the right people. He's been opening the right doors, even conversation with you. He's opened up this, He's opened up the right people.
And I've always said, and I continue to pray and ask for His guidance and direction because this ministry is so His. I want it to be apparent in everything that we do.
Whatever He wants me to say, I want to say it. Whatever direction He wants me to go, I want to do it because ultimately I do it for His glory and I do it to honor these babies and help moms in their grief. And looking back on it, I never would have imagined this is where I would be, but now I would never change it.
Ashley Opliger: [00:26:07] We hope you are enjoying this episode so far. We wanted to take a quick break to tell you about some other hope-filled resources our ministry provides to grieving families.
On our website, bridgetscradles.com, you can find many resources on grieving and healing including memorial ideas, quotes & Scripture, blog articles, featured stories, recommended books, and other support organizations. We share ideas on how to navigate difficult days such as due dates, Heaven Days, and holidays. We also have a page with ideas on how to care for a friend or family member who has experienced pregnancy loss.
In addition, every month I lead free Christ-centered support groups for bereaved moms called Hope Gatherings, both in-person and online. You can find a list of upcoming dates and sign up for our next support group on our website. You can also join our private Cradled in Hope Facebook group for grieving moms to find friendship and support. We would be honored to hear your baby’s story and be praying for you by name.
Lastly, our Pinterest page has beautiful graphics of quotes & Scripture from this episode, along with many other resources that you can pin and save. We would also love for you to connect with us on Facebook and Instagram. You can find us on these three pages: @bridgetscradles, @cradledinhope, and my personal page @ashleyopliger. We’d love for you to follow along and spread the word about the Cradled in Hope Podcast. Now let’s get back to our episode.
Ashley Opliger: [00:27:44] You do such a beautiful job of honoring these little babies and we've talked about earlier, but showing the value and the sanctity of their lives and honoring their parents and giving this beautiful memorial print that they can have in their home to remember their baby, and open up those conversations with people that come into their home.
And also, the first time that we met over the phone, we had a conversation about when you start a ministry in memory of a baby like you have and like I have, there are people that think that it's some sort of grief project for us. And I was sharing with you that I feel this is more of a calling from God on my life than it is some sort of healing project.
Yes, it has been healing for me. I will not deny that whatsoever, but it's a lifelong ministry and lifelong calling that God's placed on my heart to carry out the Great Commission and share the Gospel through my story and testimony and in memory of Bridget to share this hope that we have with other moms. And I love that you're doing that through these beautiful prints.
And we also talked on the phone about, I shared with you the cradle and likewise your prints, they're a seed that's planted. And so ultimately our hope is not in a cradle, it's not in a memorial print. Those things can bring about healing, but those are seeds that God plants that point to the ultimate hope of Jesus on the Cross and the hope that we have to see our babies forever and ever again.
And I think that helps us take some of the pressure off that we're just a part of other people's stories and sharing our testimony and loving on moms and on families in the moment and giving them that comfort.
I always say the cradle is a 24-hour comfort, but the comfort of Heaven, the comfort of Jesus is eternal and we can't even compare to that.
And so would you share, we talked about this on the phone, but I want you to share with our listeners why you feel it's important to have Christ at the center of what you're doing in your mission and your vision with Mother of Wilde.
Moria Rooney: [00:29:52] Yeah. So I think it's important to have Christ in the center of your mission, because at least for us, He's truly the foundation of everything in our life aside from our mission.
In a world that can change at any minute, He's our only constant. And I think our ministry points women right back to this same strength that He gave me through loss. And so I have to glorify Him in what we're doing in our ministry. There's just no other way to do it.
He gets the glory for everything in this ministry. Our prints, when we have orders come in, we pray over these prints. We pray that God sends the right families. We pray for His supernatural healing and favor over these families.
But like you said, our print, it's just a seed. We put a Scripture on the prints, so it's a reminder of the hope that is in Him.
The willing vessel, and I think everybody has that. Everybody has the opportunity to say yes to where God wants them to go. And I think there's a calling on everyone's life. I think you just have to be willing to say yes.
Ashley Opliger: [00:31:03] And it's so amazing to hear that in all your jobs before you had Noah, God was preparing you with these skill sets to do what you do. And you do have such beautiful work, so I'm assuming you have some graphic design background.