By: Ann-Marie Ferry
I never saw it coming.
Tear soaked face.
Thrown together carry-on.
Royal blue, malodorous, Grey’s Anatomy scrubs.
I must have been a sight that day. Sitting among strangers, waiting for the plane, I prayed, “Lord, I need an everyday miracle. Please sit me next to another Christian I can pray with during the flight.” An everyday miracle did occur right then and there. In my spirit I felt it, the word that was not spoken but instead known, “no.” All the sudden I understood; I was being put on this plane to encourage someone else. It seemed unlikely that I could be an encouragement on a day that I needed such encouragement myself. How will this work out? I resigned myself to the answer I had been given and went back to my prayers for my grandfather. If I were lucky, this plane would get me to Detroit before he passed.
A little while later boarding was underway when I turned my head to see a young woman running down the hall. Full of energy and charisma, she seemed to nearly crash into the back of the line. I had a suspicion. “No, Lord. Please, not a college student.” Is this the person I am here to encourage? Selfishly, hoping I was wrong, I sat down in my assigned seat and waited for the seat next to me to fill. Nearly the last one on the plane, the teen girl toted her bag down the aisle and plopped down next to me.
No longer fighting it, I settled with God in my soul. Curious to see what this every day miracle would be, I said, “hello”. Full of words and thoughts, she was not shy. I hardly spoke a word for the first 45 minutes. A kind smile seemed all she needed, and the story of her life came pouring out. Her story is one that no young adult should own. Trauma. Loss. Betrayal. At one point she said, “I have a nephew, but I don’t want kids.” With understanding I said, “I did not want children at your age either, you might change your mind down the road.” “Well, actually,” she hesitated, “I don’t know if I can have kids.” I never saw it coming, not from one so young. I listened as she spoke about two miscarriages and a full-term, stillborn baby girl. At first site, she had seemed a child but now I saw her as she was, a mother of incredible strength, mourning her children, trying to make sense of the hard parts of life. What grit and courage! So, gutted by her story I managed an “I am so sorry for your losses” and then “I too had a son that was stillborn.” As the plane descended, I told her the short version of Kuyper’s story. Once landed, I confessed the truth. “I was praying that God would sit me next to the right person today. I know he did. I think he wanted us to talk about our babies.” “I agree,” she definitively replied. During a time, we both needed encouragement, we received it, each from the other.
We parted ways that day in the Detroit airport. I will never forget her or the story of her babies. I still think about her. I still pray for her. I hope that she is well. She is a woman of genuine grit and my guess is that she is making her way in the world, finding a path and joy.
In the seven years I have been a bereaved mother, it has never ceased to amaze me how many other loss mamas I encounter. We often are not looking for each other but somehow in the chaos or the mundane of everyday life we find each other. We are kindred spirits, are we not?
Women who have so much in common, no matter our age, culture, education, ethnicity, religion, or personality. The loss mama club certainly is a club no one ever wanted to join but one thing is for sure, its members have hearts that are knit tightly together. Our hearts beat for our babies, they beat as one.
About Ann-Marie Ferry
Ann-Marie is a nurse based in the Midwest. Her and her husband have been married for close to a decade. She has three spunky girls and one sweet little boy in heaven. After nine months of hyperemesis, hemorrhage, and pre-term labor, her first pregnancy resulted in a full-term baby girl. Kuyper, her second child, was stillborn during his second trimester in 2013. Her third pregnancy concluded six weeks early resulting in a NICU stay. Although, still complicated and high risk, she would describe her fourth and final pregnancy as a redeeming experience.
Ann-Marie can be found blogging at ann-marieferry.com and on Instagram @ann_marieferry.