Infant Loss and Healthy Grief (or, why Rick Santorum isn’t crazy)

Last December, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar lost their baby daughter, Jubilee. They wrote a beautiful, touching letter to her, which you can find here. And then…

They received public backlash, which I won’t reiterate here.

This month, we found out that former Senator Rick Santorum and his wife also lost a child years ago. They held him, cradled him, and let their other children see their baby brother. And now…

They’re also feeling public backlash, started by two political commentators who called his behavior “crazy” and “kind of weird”.

I generally stay away from discussing politics but this makes me spitting mad. It isn’t really a political issue, anyway. It’s about death — about being afraid of death, yet being forced to look it in the face at the very moment you were expecting life. It’s about grieving the loss of a very real person, whether you’re someone running for president, or someone who has more children than most, or someone who’s just a regular mom or dad. 

Tiny feet by twohandedmommy, on Pix-O-Sphere

So if (God forbid) you or someone you know is mourning a little child, let me offer a few not-crazy, not-one-bit-weird ways to start healing your heart:

  • hold your baby
  • cry
  • talk about your baby
  • discuss the loss with your other children
  • create memories (name the child, write a journal or letter, take photos, have a funeral or memorial service)
  • remember anniversaries

In other words, consider the excellent example of the Duggars and the Santorums. Do what helps you heal; and do what brings honor to your little one. And never listen to anyone who says that’s crazy.

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About Heidi

I'm a pastor's wife, striving to live generously. I'm also a homeschooling, gardening, knitting, cooking, reading mom.
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5 Responses to Infant Loss and Healthy Grief (or, why Rick Santorum isn’t crazy)

  1. Kenneth Drees says:

    Dear Heidi,
    Feel free to edit this heavily or not include it on your blog at all.

    I have never talked much with you about Isaiah because I don’t like to reopen wounds. But of course, some wounds will never really heal anyway. I have been really proud of you for your blogging about death, starting on All Saints Day. You have spoken very well about our faith and our God. I had planned to talk with you about these things when we were together in November, but it never seemed like the right time.

    I don’t remember if I held Isaiah, but I feel very privileged to have seen him. I remember feeling so very helpless. As your dad, I had fixed many things for you (although I couldn’t fix the balloon), but this time I couldn’t do anything to help. The balloon would have been easy, compared with this. It still hurts, and I do not really want it to stop.
    I love you.
    Dad

    • Heidi says:

      It’s a pretty well-healed wound, so don’t feel like you need to find a “perfect” time. I know I have a picture of you and Mom with Isaiah… I’ll send a copy if you don’t have one.

      I’m over the balloon incident now… and am happy to let Jesus heal the rest. (So you’re off the hook!)

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