Join us for a conversation with Sarah Philpott, author of Loved Baby, about how to navigate the painful journey of grief after pregnancy loss. Sarah shares her story of growing up as a rainbow baby herself and then experiencing multiple miscarriages while trying to grow her own family.
Living a life acquainted with loss, Sarah discusses with Ashley how she grieved with hope and found joy in the perfection of Heaven. She encourages grieving moms to embrace Christ and use their spiritual gifts to shine His light after pregnancy loss.
In this episode, we discussed:
Why you shouldn't feel guilty for grieving losses early in pregnancy
Practical ways to navigate triggers such as baby registry emails in your inbox, formula packets coming in the mail, and invitations to baby showers
How to protect your heart while you're grieving by putting up boundaries with social media and friends or family who are pregnant
Breakdowns in marriage after loss and how to reconnect with your spouse
Why our spouse cannot be our source of healing and how to rely on Christ instead (and give our spouses grace in the process)
How to choose faith over fear when trying to conceive again
Honoring our babies and our Father in Heaven by rejoicing in our suffering, shining the light of Jesus, and being sanctified to be more like Him
Sarah's healing process of writing Loved Baby and how God used her spiritual gifts to comfort other grieving moms
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!)
We discuss how to navigate triggers after pregnancy loss. Which triggers have bothered you the most? Sarah shared some ideas on how to protect your heart (in response to these triggers). What advice did you find most helpful that you can put into practice moving forward?
There is a potential for breakdown in marriage after loss, and Sarah shares some tips on how to reconnect with your spouse. Write down the key points that resonated with you in order to strengthen your marriage.
Sarah encourages grieving moms to let their lights shine for Jesus and to lead others to Christ using their spiritual gifts. What talents has God given you that you could use to spread the Gospel or comfort others in their pain in memory of your baby in Heaven?
Graphics to share on social media or pin on Pinterest! Find more here.
CONNECT WITH OUR GUEST
Sarah Philpott is the author of the award-winning book: Loved Baby: 31 Devotions Helping You Grieve and Cherish Your Child After Pregnancy Loss.
Sarah lives in Tennessee on a cattle farm where she raises her four children and is farm wife to her high-school sweetheart. Sarah is the founder of the Loved Baby support group and #HonorAllMoms Mother's Day movement.
Connect with Sarah:
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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 1,090 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 3: Navigating Pregnancy Loss with Sarah Philpott
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.
Today we have the honor of welcoming Sarah Philpott to the Cradled In Hope Podcast.
Sarah is the author of the award-winning book, Loved Baby: 31 Devotions Helping You Grieve and Cherish Your Child After Pregnancy Loss. Sarah lives in Tennessee on a cattle farm, where she raises her four children and is a farm wife to her high school sweetheart.
Sarah is the Founder of the Loved Baby Support Group and #honorallmoms Mother's Day movement. Today, we are going to talk to Sarah all about Loved Baby and some of the key messages she shares in the book, including navigating triggers after pregnancy loss, and also how to reconnect with your spouse.
I can't wait for you to hear all of the amazing wisdom Sarah has to share with you. Let's welcome Sarah Philpott.
Welcome, Sarah. We are so grateful you're here today.
Sarah Philpott: [00:02:16] Oh, I'm so excited to be here with you. Thank you so much for having me.
Ashley Opliger: [00:02:24] We just had a wonderful conversation before we clicked record, and I am so grateful for your ministry and this book, Loved Baby, that you wrote. I would love to have our audience hear more about you and your story and how you came to write this beautiful book.
Sarah Philpott: [00:02:40] Oh, let's see. Where do I even begin? So I'm Sarah and I live in Tennessee on a cattle farm, and I have four children. My oldest is 10 and my youngest just turned one on May 5th. And I have a wonderful husband and we've been blessed to live outdoors and enjoy our life with each other.
My journey of loss, I am actually myself a rainbow baby. I was born on the night of a double rainbow, but I was also symbolically my mom's rainbow because my mother before I was born, had a stillbirth at seven months. So I was always really aware of loss and how it could impact people. And there was something a little different about even being the sibling of a child who I knew was in Heaven. And we had a grave at our local church for him. His name, they always called him Bud; my mom just called him Rosebud.
So I guess my whole entire life I've been impacted by loss. I had my first child Titus, who's now 10, actually, he'll be 11 in two weeks, and it was a great pregnancy. And when he was about a year and a half old, we decided we were ready to expand our family.
And that bliss that comes with youth, that it's just going to be easy, we just decide when we want to have a baby and we're going to have a baby, was really, I guess the idea of that, did not come true, because after I saw the pregnancy test and we were so elated and excited, very soon after I found out that I was going through a miscarriage. And it really rocked my world.
We were no strangers to loss. My husband's sister actually passed away at the age of 20, about three weeks before my husband and I had gotten married. So we had been very impacted by loss our entire life. There were a lot of other things that happened and here I was having a miscarriage.
And one of the first things I felt while having the miscarriage was I felt guilty. I felt guilty that I was sad, because here my family had been through such loss of siblings, and here I was mourning a baby that was in my body for just a few weeks. And was this even worthy of mourning? I found myself holding all of my loss inside of me because I didn't really want to talk about it. I didn't know how to process it.
And I really at that time had to rely on God to figure out how and if I should mourn. And one of the first places He took me was to meet Hannah in 1 Samuel. And I realized then that if Hannah can mourn the loss of infertility, that of course I could mourn the loss of this child.
So that was my first experience of loss, and it really brought me so much faith, in retrospect, that my very first loss is the thing that I really do credit with knowing God, knowing Jesus to a better degree, because it forced me to truly look inward.
So we had that loss, and then I was petrified. I didn't want to have another baby. I was going to be happy with our child, Titus. As most women or a lot of women, you're fearful of trying again, putting your heart on the line.
And when I found out I was pregnant again, I don't want to say I didn't want that child, but I was scared to death when I saw the pregnancy [test] and I just had this fear of, “What's going to happen? Is this child going to make it? Should I try to love this baby?” Of course, we all love our babies, but I think women of loss could understand what I'm saying. “Do I put my heart on the line?”
Ashley Opliger: [00:07:19] It’s scary to connect when you don’t know. And you have a whole chapter about being pregnant again and choosing joy over fear and you talk about this. And I think this is so common after you've experienced loss to experienced fear, and it's a traumatic experience to have a miscarriage or go through stillbirth.
Your body and mind, it's so hard to want to put yourself through that again because you don't know: “Will this happen again? Will I be able to survive this again?” So would you speak to what you shared in this chapter about how you were able to find hope and find faith to go through future pregnancies again and not live in fear?
Sarah Philpott: [00:08:03] Yes, because that is the key, is to not live in the fear of the future.
After I became pregnant that second time after the loss, unfortunately, I did lose that baby again, so I had a recurrent miscarriage, and that again, brought me to my knees. But I knew that with the cross I could do anything. So then we found out I was pregnant again, and this time I decided that I was going to have to choose faith over fear.
And I think as women of loss, we have to completely surrender to the fact that God leads our path. We don't have to fear because God's going to lead our path. And it really brought me such joy to know that my children that I had lost weren't gone forever. They're in Heaven.
We all know that Heaven is perfection. And how can perfection exist without children's giggles? So I like to think that I am, although I'm a mother of loss, I was chosen to be a mother who is helping fill Heaven with little children dancing on the streets of gold.
So that was one of the great images that helped me through the next pregnancy, and so to put my trust in God that I had helped create Heaven to be an even more perfect place, but that this child that I was carrying, it's God’s. And no matter what happens, whether this child is born into earth or into Heaven, it is God's child and I'm going to just fully embrace and love, and let Him direct my path.
So it's a challenge when you're pregnant after a loss, it's a challenge after a loss, truly, Anytime you have a loss, your whole life becomes a little bit more complicated, but it gives way to so much opportunity for truly embracing Christ and what faith means, to walk forward even when you don't know your future.
Ashley Opliger: [00:10:01] Absolutely, and that connection to Heaven becomes so much more real. And I love that beautiful image that you just painted for us of Heaven being filled with precious children and babies. And like you said, this is a temporary separation. We are not eternally separated from our babies. Death separates us now, but we'll get to see them forever and ever in eternity.
And I just love the song Amazing Grace and how after a thousand years there's going to be even more days and a thousand more years after that to rejoice and be with our babies forever. And the short amount of time that we had to hold them in our wombs on earth, that will pale in comparison to what we’ll have in Heaven. And it's a beautiful thing to look forward to and to have that hope. And honestly, without that hope, I don't know how we could grieve our children. You know?
Sarah Philpott: [00:10:53] I don't either. I think that's what separates Christians from non-Christians is that we get to grieve in that hope. And the Bible tells us it'll just be a little while ‘til we see that glory.
And while we're earthside, living our life. I think that was one thing that I really just fell into that this is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and I'll be glad in it. I kept telling myself that every single day when I was going through my anxiety and going through the fear of moving forward, that this is the day, whether I'm saying it crying, “this is the day the Lord has made,” or I’m angry or I'm rejoicing, I am going to choose to rejoice because God has given us so much beauty all around to live.
And it is our responsibility as a Christian to let our lights shine and to lead others to Christ. And the way we do that is through living out the walk of life He wants us to live, but at the same time, knowing that our children are in Heaven. It's such an important thing to rest in the hope of the future, but also live in the present and allow ourselves to shine our light.
Ashley Opliger: [00:12:05] That's so beautiful. And I love that you mention that because of course, we know grieving is so important. We have to grieve. We have to let ourselves feel the sadness and go through those emotions. But something I always tell moms is: Our babies and our Father in Heaven, He doesn't want us to live in this perpetual state of sadness and depression because of the loss of our babies. There's a time to grieve and then there's a time to heal. And then to shine our light [Christ in us] and our babies are honored when we do that.
And our Father in Heaven, He is honored when we use our grief for good and we shine our light [Christ in us] and we share the Gospel and we share this hope with other people because we don't want to live the rest of our lives in anger and bitterness and sadness. We need to process those emotions. I'm not saying we shouldn't, but at the same time, we really do want God to grow us in this, through this pain, and make us more like Him, like Christ.
And so I just love that you shared that perspective of grief because I don't think that's talked about enough. And that's part of our faith journey as well, being sanctified through the trials and the losses that we go through in this world.
Ashley Opliger: [00:13:17] 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: [00:14:56] Will you tell us more about Loved Baby, you writing this book and having a heart for sharing the message of hope with other moms and where, in your own grief journey, you started writing and how God put that on your heart?
Sarah Philpott: [00:15:11] It's kind of ironic, you mentioned that, after just saying that we can't pass over the stage of grief.
I actually wrote Loved Baby while I was smack in the middle of the ugly grief that we all face as mothers of loss. It started out as a book, a journal. That's how I process. I have lots of friends and I love talking to them, but for me, I need to write down my emotions to process them.
I needed to figure out how I felt. And so I just started writing and that process of journaling was so cathartic to me. And I encourage loss mamas to just get a piece of paper and start writing because it really made me break through a lot of the painful memories that I didn't even want to acknowledge that had happened.
So the book started as my journal. And then I had just recently earned my Ph.D., and I had decided at that time that I wasn't going to go back into the education field. I was going to stay at home with my then baby, my rainbow baby, who had just been born, but I was really praying about, “God, how can I use my spiritual gifts, because I'm not going back into the classroom. I'm going to be at home with my little girl, Sophie, for a while. How would You have me use my gifts?”
And it couldn't have been clearer. I opened up my mommy Bible one day and, I kid you not, it said, “So you just bought a new house, you just got a new job, or you just earned your Ph.D.”
Ashley Opliger: [00:16:49] Oh, my goodness!
Sarah Philpott: [00:16:49] “How can you use your gifts for God?”
And I thought, “Okay, God, you have my attention. I'm listening.” And it had some follow-up questions and I analyzed the: What are my gifts? And I just started laughing. I was like, “Well, I'm great at research. I love finding out what other people think. You've given me a gift of writing,” and I just laughed. I was like, “God, I don't know how I'm going to use this to Your glory.”
And the follow-up Bible verse took me to 1 Samuel, where Hannah appears, where she's crying out to God about her infertility. And it all came together in one of those moments. “Okay, God, You made me feel less alone by me reading about Hannah. I'm supposed to help other women feel less alone by writing about the experience of loss, but not just my experience.
I'm going to use the gifts you've given me of research by amassing a group of women and letting them tell me their stories. And I'm going to share those stories in a book so that we get a wide range of experiences,” because I had faced a miscarriage, two miscarriages, but I'd never had a stillbirth so I didn't feel like I could authentically write to that.
So. I put together a group of women who were also willing to share their stories of loss, the husbands started sharing their stories, and I put it all together and used my random skills as a researcher to put it together in the form of a book. And a year or two later, and a lot of fighting to try to get the book published, I was able to get it out to the world. And Broad Street Publishing, who published this book, they knew that grief books were not a hot topic; it wasn't probably going to appear on a bestseller list.