Molly Stillman is the founder and creator of Still Being Molly, a life and style blog started in 2007, and the host of the Business with Purpose podcast. Her true passion lies in helping inspire women to know that they were created on purpose, with a purpose, and for a purpose. She is a wife to John, mama to Lilly and Amos on earth and Elijah in heaven, a dog mom to Tater and Audrey, a loud laugher, lover of Jesus, Diet Coke and all of the Chipotle burritos.
You can find Molly over on stillbeingmolly.com and also on her Instagram account @stillbeingmolly.
Resources Mentioned in Episode 019
- Bible App by YouVersion
- Loved Baby by Sarah Philpott
- Grace Like Scarlett by Adriel Booker
- Facebook Group
- The Morning 7 Day Devotional
- Something Happened: A Book for Children and Parents Who Have Experienced Pregnancy Loss) by Cathy Blanford
- We Were Gonna Have a Baby But We Had an Angel Instead by Pat Schwiebert
ASHLEE: 00:30 Molly gives honest, helpful, and healing wisdom to grieving mothers, and I’m sure this episode hopeless. You’re listening to the joyful morning podcast, a podcast about finding joy, hope and healing amidst pregnancy or infant loss. I’m your host, Ashley profit in my goal is to remind you you are not alone in your grief and that there is joy to be had even amidst morning. I’m so grateful you’re here. Hello friends and welcome to this week’s episode on the joyful morning podcast. This week’s guest has endured an incredible weight of loss over the last year, and I’m so grateful for your willingness to share her story with us today and all that she has learned and is learning still. I’m so honored to welcome Molly Stillman to the joyful morning podcast. Hi Molly. Hey. Good morning, Ashley. Good morning. I’m so glad that you’re here and thank you for joining me and for being willing to share your story with us. Before we get started, will you tell us just a little bit about who you are? Who is Molly Stillman? What do you spend your days doing?
MOLLY: 01:41 Um, I am a wife, a to John and a mama to Lilly and Amos here on earth and I am a blogger and a podcaster. I’m, I’ve been blogging for a little over 11 years now and podcasting for a little over two and it’s so much fun and um, other than that in my, in my free time, but I don’t really actually have a lot of, um, I’m on this journey right now and this sounds, I promise I’m not just saying this to sound super holy include Shay. I am just eating up God’s word with every free second that I have and it has been such a joy for me this year and it has been a huge blessing in my life and I promise, like I said, I’m not just saying that to be like, look at how awesome I am. I’m no look at how awesome God is and that is just what I’m trying to do right now. So that’s a little bit of, of my life and um, you know, taking kids to and from school and Church and dance and all those things. Yeah, that’s it. Just that alone is enough to keep us
ASHLEE: 02:47 without spare minutes in the day for sure. Um, I love that. I actually want to come back to what you said, eating up God’s word, so we’ll come back to that a little bit. So
MOLLY: 03:00 I have, you know, lots of things that I’d like to talk about, but first in case somebody is not familiar with your loss, can we start there? Will you tell us your story? Yeah, absolutely. So, um, if I go all the way back to the beginning, um, when my husband and I first started wanting to have children, um, we got pregnant with our first Lilly pretty easily and I say pretty easily within a few months of not, not trying, if that makes sense. And um, had a relatively normal pregnancy. She was, I mean, with the exception of, you know, she was breach and then I carried her to 42 weeks and she didn’t want to come out and then they have to have a c section. Yeah. Going to 42 weeks in the middle of August was not my favorite, but, um, uh, you know, it was still a relatively healthy baby.
MOLLY: 03:47 No complications or anything like that. Um, then in between lilly and Amos, um, we, I had a miscarriage but it was so early, like I think I was maybe five or six weeks. Um, I hadn’t even taken a pregnancy test yet, but I was 99 percent sure I was pregnant. Um, but it was one of those situations where it was just, it was so early that I don’t think it ever even registered, if that makes sense. And then I pretty much got pregnant with Amos the next month right away. And so I just, it was kind of going through the motions, um, had a normal pregnancy with Amos. He was born in February of 2016 and um, you know, my husband and I knew that we always wanted a big family. We love kids and um, so we, we had, you know, started talking about, okay, when would we maybe start trying again?
MOLLY: 04:41 And so in the fall of last year we were like, you know what, we’re going to, we’re going to start trying again. And I got pregnant pretty much right away. And so that was actually a surprise to us considering that, I mean, again, it wasn’t like it had taken us a long time with lily and Amos, but it wasn’t immediate by any sense of the word. And so I got, I found out I was pregnant actually the day after we got back from our Disney cruise. That’s funny. Um, we had gone to Disney or we had gone on a Disney cruise, we’ve gone to Disney and then came home and I was like, hmm, I should probably take a pregnancy test and I was pregnant and I’m at 10 weeks. I had gone in for just a routine checkup and the ultrasound and my midwife had mentioned that I had what’s called a sub chorionic hemorrhage, and if you’re not familiar with that, it’s basically a blood clot between the baby and the uterus where the baby attaches to the uterus, sometimes a blood clot can form.
MOLLY: 05:38 And so of course I hear this thing and I’m all, what is this and why should I be concerned? And all those kinds of things. And she said, you know, honestly, they’re pretty normal. I wouldn’t worry too much about it. We’ll just keep an eye on it, that kind of thing. Um, and so I went about my business again. We were having a normal pregnancy. I’d been to all my checkups and everything was looking good. Um, I went in for a checkup at 13 weeks and the hemorrhage was pretty much gone at that point. It’s because we’ve been praying and praying and praying that it would, that it would just kind of disappear and did. And so at 13 weeks I’d had another checkup. The core, the hemorrhage was gone, everything was looking great. And so we finally, at the end of January, we’d done our announcement that we were expecting our third and we were really excited and we, we did because with all of our kids we’ve done like video announcements and we wanted to do something really creative.
MOLLY: 06:36 And so we did this like still been family news report where our kids were like newscasters. It was cute. It was really cute and funny. And Amos was the sports caster. Lily was on whether that’s hilarious. Yeah, it was really fun. And so we, we did that and we shared that at the end of January and then I, you know, 14 weeks go by, 15 weeks go by and I go in for my 16 week checkup and I was like 16 and a half weeks at that point. And uh, go in for just a routine checkup. I was by myself with Amos. Lily was at school. John was at work and walk into my midwife’s office and she goes to put the um, the doppler on my stomach and can’t find a heartbeat, can’t find a heartbeat. And I immediately started to feel concerned because I, we’ve never had that issue before.
MOLLY: 07:32 She’s just like, don’t worry the 16 week or sometimes like to hide, no need to stress and I’m just sitting there going, oh, okay. And she really can’t find it. So finally she says, I’m going to go, let’s go hop you on the ultrasound and let’s see if we can find this baby. And so she leaves the room and I immediately started just shaking and I remember calling or texting my best friends and I said, I need y’all to pray immediately. I, they can’t find the heartbeat. I did not actually text my husband at that minute because I didn’t want him to worry, but I just knew I needed somebody to be praying. And so I texted my best friends. I, I just, I need you all to pray. They can’t find a heartbeat. They’re taking me into the ultrasound and they are immediately like, do you need us to come there?
MOLLY: 08:15 Do you need to, do you want us to call John? And I was like, no, I just, everything is probably fine. I just want you to pray to pray. And then they took me into the ultrasound room and they brought Amos in there with me because again, he was with me and um, they put me down on the ultrasound table, put the doppler or that the whatever the wand on my belly. And I knew immediately that something was wrong. Um, and you hear, I heard those words that you just never want to hear. And just my midwife and the ultrasound tech said, I’m so sorry molly. There’s the baby’s gone. And I just immediately started screaming and I just remember laying there and just saying, no, no, no. Over and over again, because I was like, this can’t be happening. This is not happening. Like I’m almost 20 weeks.
MOLLY: 09:02 Like I’m at, my anatomy scan is in a week. Like this is happening, this is not happening. And everything was fine. And the baby was actually measuring like, right at 16 weeks, so they think the baby had passed within like maybe a day. Um, and it was awful. It was the worst experience. And I was in a dark cloud. I texted my husband to just come to the office, but I didn’t tell him anything over text message because I didn’t want to and I said it, but I need you to, to, to come here. And of course he came to the office and we, uh, I, I told him what happened and we just cried. And um, it was awful. And that next, those next few days were I was in a fog because we had to make decisions on what to do and I just, those are decisions that nobody, you know, nobody wants to have to make.
MOLLY: 09:57 And, and, um, I was faced with having to make decisions that I never understood that I would have to make or I are never that I would ever have to make, if that makes sense. And I’m not articulating that super well. Um, but we, we learned that we, with all of our kids, we’ve waited until birth to, to find out if they’re a boy or girl. And so at that point I didn’t know if we were having a boy or a girl because we, again, we were keeping it a secret and because of the position of the baby and since they couldn’t obviously get the baby to move, they couldn’t tell on the ultrasound. And so, um, I just had this prayer, I was just like, God, please, please show us, um, at birth, like if this baby is a boy or girl, like we need to know.
MOLLY: 10:39 And I was so worried that because since the baby was measuring right at 16 weeks, I was worried that the baby would be too small. And um, yeah. So, um, we ended up learning that our baby was a boy. Um, and we named him Timothy and we named him that because Elijah is the prophet who is a, did not die an early death. He was taken up to heaven in a fire pit. And I like to believe that our son was taken up to heaven in a fiery chariot and Timothy, because the apostle Paul told timothy that he was never too young to be used by God and bring people to God. And so that’s why we named him that and we chose to have him cremated. Um, and we got a lot of questions about that. Um, and I, you know, I don’t fault anyone for loss is loss at different stages and everyone can choose to, you know, whatever they are most comfortable with.
MOLLY: 11:33 For me personally, I had actually had a full on panic attack, um, while I was still pregnant because there was a, it was a week between the time we found out we lost Elijah until, um, until my surgery. And, um, it was. Yeah. So we had a week between the time we lost Elijah and until my surgery. And I remember having a panic attack, thinking I don’t want this hot, this hospital to just dispose of him. Like he was nothing. And I just had this horrific feeling that they were not going to let me see him, that they weren’t going to let me hold him, um, that they weren’t going to let us take him home. Like I just, it was awful. Um, and that was my prayer was that, that the hospital would let us see them and that they would let us take him home and be able to have him cremated.
MOLLY: 12:24 Um, and those prayers were thankfully answered. Um, and so we did get to see him. I got to, and he was very small, but I, so I, you know, I got. But I did get to at least see him and hold him. Um, but that was, that, that was one of those turning points for me because there I was in this hospital and I was holding this tiny 16 week old baby, put the detail in his hands and his feet and his legs and his eyes and his ears. And He, yeah, he was, he was tiny, but he was a baby. It was a fully formed baby. And I just remember looking at him and just thinking like, God is so amazing to put that detail into him this early, um, and that was just such a gift in that moment. Um, and then like I said, we chose to have him cremated and that was something that was really important to us.
MOLLY: 13:14 Um, and I’m glad that we did that. Um, and then the story does not end there. So, um, the next month was really, really difficult obviously. Um, and I was very much in a fog, um, my husband and I, about a month after we lost Elijah were able to take a weekend to get away and go to the beach, um, and just, we spread some of Elijah’s ashes at our favorite place on Oak Island. And that was just a really healing trip for us. Well, about a week and a half after we got back from the beach, uh, I, I was prompted to take a pregnancy test and I kept thinking to myself like, no, this is no. Oh, I mean, it’s not possible. It’s not possible. Like it’s, it’s actually not possible. Um, well I took a pregnancy test and lo and behold, I was bringing, um, it was a complete fluke. I’m apparently you’re super fertile. Just sorry. Tmi. Apparently a real fertile after her parents. Sometimes that can happen. Your body just kind of freaks out and relates, will that happen to me? Um, I absolutely lost it. I was, I was flipping out. Um, I immediately go, I will. My husband thankfully was home, but I immediately called my therapist and I was like, do you have a session right now?
MOLLY: 14:40 Gender culminative 30 minutes typically told my husband and called a therapist. Um, and I, yeah, because I was sitting there just I was, that was the first time I felt a tinge of anger at God because I just was looking at. Because during that time, between the time we lost Elijah in between the time I found out I was pregnant, I was, you know, not angry at God at all, but just asking him what is he wanted to do with this situation? What, what is he trying to do through me and through this suffering. And um, I was beginning to feel a sense of peace and as difficult as it was, it was just really, um, I was feeling that sense of peace. And so I was, that was the moment that I started to feel a little bit angry at God being like, what are you doing?
MOLLY: 15:32 What are you doing? What are you trying to kill me? Like, what are you doing to me? And I realized in that moment that like God can handle my anger, he can handle my sadness, he can handle my confusion, he can handle my questions, he can handle it. And so I just gave it to him and I just said, what are you trying to do to me? Because I am not ready. I am nowhere near mentally ready to be pregnant again, like not even close because we had talked about not even thinking about trying again until after my due date because I was like, I need to get through the due date. I need to get through that mental hurdle. And then we can maybe talk about it and hear God was like, that plants cute. I’m here. Here’s my plan instead, and so, um, I, the first 10, 12 weeks of my pregnancy, my second pregnancy or fourth, fifth, I don’t even know at this point, um, my pregnancy, I was really given at the highest men, so to speak, like just keeping it at an arm’s distance.
MOLLY: 16:33 We did not tell many people at all, very, very close circle of people knew we had waited a long time before we told our families. Um, and I was really, really nervous and my midwives were obviously holding my hand through the whole thing and they were, you know, we were going in for multiple checkups and everything was looking great. In fact, we found the heartbeat super early, had ultrasounds really early. Everything was looking great and no matter how much reassurance they gave me, I just could not ease my anxiety and I was just so terrified that something was gonna happen. And so I went to my 13 week appointment or maybe it was. Yeah, it was like 13 weeks right before we were leaving to go to the beach and had an ultrasound, doppler, all that kind of stuff. Everything was looking great. My midwife’s like, you look amazing, baby looks great, you look healthy.
MOLLY: 17:30 I think you can can breathe now. And I’m just like, oh, okay. Everything is great. So I was feeling the baby move at this point, like I was feeling flutters and it was very clear, like not gas. It was flutters sometimes. Is it gas? Is it flutters? I don’t know, but I felt those letters and so we went to the beach for our beach trip and um, and we went back to Oak Island, which is where we’d spread Elijah’s ashes. And um, the last day of the trip was actually father’s day. And so at that point I was 14 and a half. No, I was, yeah, I was 14 and a half weeks almost with 15 weeks. I’m just about 15 weeks. And uh, I walked down to the end of the little pier at the house we were staying to where I’d spread her ashes, ashes and I kind of.
MOLLY: 18:16 Right, right. As we were about to get in the car to leave and my husband watched me and I just said I got to go say goodbye to my boy. And even though we have a session at our house, like I just, there’s sort of that connection of being there again at that place where we spread some of his ashes back in March. And little did I know that that was kind of a bookend on our second son’s a story. And so we got home that night. I’m on father’s day and I actually had an at home doppler because of my anxiety. And so after dinner I was like, kids, you guys want to hear the baby’s heartbeat? Because they would ask to hear the baby’s heartbeat all the time. And so I’ve put it on my stomach and I couldn’t find it and try it about eight or nine times over the course of the next couple hours.
MOLLY: 18:57 And I finally called my midwife probably about 10:30. And I said, hey, you know, I’m sure everything’s fine, but I can’t find the heartbeat here at home. I’d like to, you know, what should I do? And she said, why don’t you come in in the morning? We’ll just, we’ll just double check. And I was like, okay. But I, I, I think I knew already in that moment, I think my husband did too, but because it was father’s day, we didn’t want to say it out loud. So my husband actually had both. My kids came with me to the appointment next morning and it actually happened to be the same midwife that was there with ’em when we lost Elijah and she just said, we’re going to pray right now and everything’s gonna be okay. And um, put the doppler on. Couldn’t find it. Took me into the same ultrasound room.
MOLLY: 19:41 I have like so much ptsd now from that ultrasound room and say midwife, same ultrasound tech and got the same answer. And she said, molly, I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. And I just screamed. And I remember it was a, it was a scary moment actually because my kids didn’t know what was happening in Lilly was there and she just started crying and Amos started crying and John just like put his body over me and he was just holding me going. I like kissing my forehead saying it’s okay. I love you. It’s going to be okay. And I was just screaming and I was like, why? God, why, why? Like I wasn’t ready to be pregnant again, and I spent the first trimester are completely like with my guard up and here we are in the second trimester and I let my guard down and you and why I was so confused and I just didn’t understand what was happening.
MOLLY: 20:35 And uh, and there we were again. I mean it was like literally the worst kind of Deja Vu. Everything was the same and there were so many parallels to our situation with Elijah as their word of this situation. And we ended up learning that that was a, another son. And so we named him Malik. Hi Jude. Um, and Malakai actually literally means my angel and Jude means praise. And so we were just, um, we were broken. Um, and so we had to do the same thing all over again. And so, uh, we chose to have Malakai cremated as well. And, um, I just never thought I would ever be. I mean, nobody ever thinks that they would be, but I just could never have imagined that I would lose two sons in the second trimester within a course of six months. Like I just know it, it, I did not even think it was possible. Um, but here we are and um, I’m still standing and uh, I have, uh, a piece, uh, now, um, that I can literally only be explained by Jesus, like there’s no other explanation for it. Um, and so I realized that was a really, really long story, so I apologize.
ASHLEE: 21:46 No, I’m so grateful. And I think your story is unique in that, um, you know, to back to back really hard losses, you know, and so you can keep talking if you want. I’m just, I’m grateful for just the vulnerability in your story, just the rawness of what you’ve walked through and um, and just your, your view of, of what you’ve been through. I just, I think you, you share it in a way that’s really helpful. I just want to say I love your boys names so much, so much. Um, I think that, that it just means a lot and I, I would encourage any, I just think it’s really special. I don’t know if women who have experienced, um, you know, even, you know, second trimester losses, I don’t know if they know what options are available to them in the decisions that they are even allowed to make.
ASHLEE: 22:56 You kind of alluded to that at the beginning. Um, and I would encourage women like name your baby. Yeah. You know, because it just validates life. It affirms that that baby was alive, you know, and that they matter. And so I don’t know. I don’t know if the women listening, you know, once I, once I get to them, it may be after the fact and I would still say it’s not too late to name your baby. Yeah. So, um, but I love their names so much and I love the meaning and it’s just really beautiful. Wow.
MOLLY: 23:35 I do want to share a little something that just really, um, because a lot, we’ve gotten a lot of questions about this and of course they’re all from people who not lost lost babies, which is, hey, that’s okay. And that’s part of my prayer is as I share the story of Elijah and Malakai that to, to show people that these are, these are lives and um, these were not feed, this was not fetal tissue. Uh, this was not, um, an embryo. These were living, breathing babies, um, that I felt move. I saw their heartbeats. I saw their hands and their legs and their eyes and their ears. Um, and even we, I mean, we lost Malakai about a week. I think, you know, when they say that they had stopped growing, he was like, right at 14 weeks to days is what he was measuring. Um, so he, we lost him again just like maybe a couple days before I went in for that appointment and I was, because even though he was a week and a half smaller than Elijah, I was, I just wasn’t sure what we would experience.
MOLLY: 24:38 Um, and so I’d gone into the hospital and um, my, my midwives were there and I just remember praying so much and that was just like, I just need to know if it’s a boy or girl and I want to see him and want to see him. Um, and due to some complications actually during the surgery I was able to hold him, but he was already kind of in a container. I was not allowed to see him, but, um, we were blown away. I still can’t. I still have a hard time telling the story and we were blown away because a nurse actually was able to get his hand prints and his footprints for us. Um, and I actually, if you can go to my instagram a couple months ago, um, I shared the picture of them, um, have the little hand prints and the little footprints, but it was, I mean, that completely wrecked my husband and I because we did not expect that.
MOLLY: 25:30 Um, and that was a gift to us. But thing that, that, that did for me was because when I just sat there and I held that little piece of paper with those little hand prints and footprints inked on it and I stared at it and it’s still sitting actually on our shelf in front of Elijah and Malakai’s earns. Um, you can see it’s kind of hard to tell in the picture I took and posted on instagram. But when you see it in person, you can see his fingerprints, you can actually see the lifeline in his hand. You can see the details between his toes. And I just looked at it and I said, how can anyone look at that and tell me that’s not a baby? Yeah. Because the like, think about the amount of detail that God put into that baby, into that child into Malakai at 14 weeks, two days.
MOLLY: 26:23 He’s barely in the second trimester, but he has fingerprints and he has a lifeline and he has individual toes. And I can see the curve of his, the heel of his foot. How can anyone look at me in the eye and tell me that’s not a child. You can, and that I’m like, how can anybody look at that and tell me there’s not a god, because I say this all the time. My husband laughs at me. I’m like, a big bag. Did Not do that. I’m sorry, y’all can fight me on this one. But like a big thing to know that because that the detail in those hands and those feet, the only thing that can explain them is an incredible God who cares so much for his kids. Only thing that explains that. And that gave me a level of peace that I, that as I say, it surpasses all understanding because I didn’t send anything in that moment and I didn’t understand why this was happening and why this had happened back to back and why the doctors couldn’t explain this to us.
MOLLY: 27:21 And My, my ob who, who’s been an ob work for 35 years, he says, I’ve never seen a case like this before. And yet God is saying I’m here and I am holding you literally in the palm of my hand. And that was just such a gift to me. And um, and so that’s when I, when I share that story, I’m just like, that’s why we gave our children names and we will never hear them talk. We will never hear them laugh or know what their favorite color is, but that was a baby that mattered to God and it matters to us and are we tell, we tell lily and ams about Elijah and Malakai they know all about Elijah and Malakai. They talk about their babies, brothers and heaven. And so that is, that is an important part of our story. And I, I very intentionally say I have two babies here on earth and two babies in heaven and you know, like I said, everybody’s lost is different and sometimes people will try to downplay it like a first trimester or second trimester loss as opposed to a stillbirth or an infant loss.
MOLLY: 28:18 And I just say yes, those are awful things and everybody’s last walk is different. But like that was your baby too. And that baby matters to you and it doesn’t matter how long you carried them because that baby was your child and God’s child and it mattered.
ASHLEE: 28:35 Yeah, I agree. We’ve made similar decisions about the way that we talk to our children. Um, which is a good segway. I’d love to hear just tell me a little bit more about talking to your children about what happened and even explaining death or loss to them. Yeah. Tell me, tell me a little bit about that.
MOLLY: 28:58 Well, um, are, you know, my mom passed away when I was in when I was 17. Um, and so I’ve gotten a lot of questions, especially from Lilly mean Amos is two and a half, so he’s a little over two and a half so he doesn’t quite fully understand it yet. Um, although he’s getting there, but lily knows that Mommy’s Mommy’s in heaven. And so we talk a lot about heaven. Um, but I will say that losing babies like this and having to say that, um, you know, Elijah and Malik Higher in heaven with Jesus and when we cremated them, like explaining what the ashes were like, that was, we got a lot of really difficult questions about heaven that I did not how to answer. And I was not prepared to answer by any stretch of the imagination, but we just try to put it in as simple of terms as we can and we just say, you know, like we talk all the time about Jesus.
MOLLY: 29:56 I mean, he, we know that he’s in heaven and we just talk about sometimes babies or sometimes people are too, you know, wonderful for this earth. They just have to go straight to heaven and we don’t know why. We don’t, you know, but, but we know that God is good and that he loves us and that he sees us in our grief and our sadness and it’s okay to talk to him about it. Um, but that your baby brothers were real. They had eyes and ears and mouths and noses and they had arms and legs and toes and fingers, but they just, they were too perfect for this world. And he had to go right to heaven with Jesus. Um, and I think after Elijah a lily, lily kind of understood it. Um, but it wasn’t until we lost Malakai that I think it really actually hit her what had happened.
MOLLY: 30:43 Um, and I think part of it was because she was there in the room, uh, and I, you know, we probably should not have had her in there. Hindsight’s 20 slash 20, it’s just, it was the situation we were in at the time. We had both of them there, there was nowhere else for them to go. Um, so I think they saw the pain that we were in. Um, we did have a couple of books that people sent us to read to them. There’s one called, something happened, um, you can get it on Amazon and then there’s another one called we were going to have a baby, but we had an angel instead. Um, and those are the two books that somebody sent us. Um, you can, like I said, you can get them off to Amazon and they put in very plain, simple terms about what it’s like for a baby in Mommy’s tummy to die.
MOLLY: 31:30 Um, and those have helped a lot because it’s given lilly the opportunity to kind of ask questions, um, and like I just do the best we can to answer them. But I’m Amos, I mean, but even Amos, I mean he is two and a half and he will come. He still comes up to my belly and he’ll put his hand on my belly and he’ll go, mommy, I miss you. I miss debate piece. I Miss uh, Miss Alec. Hi. And, and like sometimes he’ll just say, mommy, I miss my baby brothers. And like, so he knows in even in his own way because like he would ask all the time to listen to the baby’s heartbeat on the doppler. And so like I think that helped too because by having that doppler it’s like they could hear the baby’s heartbeat. They knew that there was a baby in there and when we tell them the baby is not in there anymore, that the babies in heaven, it just, it kind of gives them a simple picture of what happened. So yeah, we talk openly with them and we answer any questions that they have even if we don’t really know how to answer it. Yeah. And I think, I don’t know if this is an encouraging or discouraging, but you know, my kids have
ASHLEE: 32:40 gotten older and so it, we have talked about their brother in heaven and the baby that, um, I had a miscarriage my first pregnancy and so it was an early miscarriage so we don’t know if it was a boy or girl, but they know that mommy has that baby in heaven and that their brother Aiden is in heaven. And those questions have only gotten harder. So the encouraging thing about that is that we’re having conversations about eternity and we’re having conversations about, you know, that Jesus is bigger than death. And um, we’re having conversations about hope and finding joy in, in hard places and hard moments and you know, we’re having those conversations. So that’s encouraging. The hard thing is, is that those questions just get harder. And especially for. My daughter is six now and she, she asks really difficult questions about it. I think her heart, I think there’s just the nurturer in her already, the Mama Heart in her already.
ASHLEE: 33:43 And I think she gets really sad about the idea that there, that a baby died. And so, um, she’ll say things too, like I miss my brother and she never met him, you know, she was in, he was older than her, so, um, but it, it’s an, I always say this, that having, talking about these things with children, it can feel scary and it feels awkward to somebody who’s not in that position because we would never voluntarily, you know, talk to talk to our children our two year old about death. But when, when you’re in that circumstance, we’re, we’re not talking about death necessarily. We’re talking about a baby that was alive in their sibling. And so it’s an opportunity to say God is real, this is, you know, this is what eternity we think looks like. Um, and we’re excited about that because we want to be wherever Jesus and Jesus is an eternity.
ASHLEE: 34:39 And so I think it’s an, it’s a unique opportunity as a parent. Yeah. One that we, we wouldn’t necessarily sign up for, but it is a blessing, you know, to be able to talk to them about that. Tell me, I wanna I wanna go back to um, you know, when you, when you were going through this again with Malakai and you said you were on the same, you know, ultrasound table and all of that was like Deja Vu in the worst way. Um, and just the grief of that moment, what do you feel like you would tell molly of then, you know, what would you now just, you know, a few months removed from that? What would you, what would you tell her? Um, I think, I think the biggest thing is I’ve really struggled with the why that not in the
MOLLY: 35:37 why did this happen. I mean all while, although we’re still looking for answers to that, like the physical aspect of it. I more have been searching and especially there in that immediate moment, like the why, the spiritual aspect of this, like why is this playing out the way it did and I’ve had a lot of conversations with God. I’ve had a lot of conversations with my husband and my therapist over the last few months. I’m just talking about, you know, if in the end, if we, if the only thing, if the only thing that comes out of this year of suffering and grief is that I have a closer relationship with Jesus than okay, um, because I am closer to Jesus now than I ever have been and ever was. And I am just diving headfirst into a relationship with him every moment of the day because it’s the only thing that sustains me and keeps me going and makes me feel sane.
MOLLY: 36:40 Um, is, is just knowing that he is with me, that he cries with me, that he gets angry with me, that he just, he can handle whatever emotion I am feeling in that moment. Um, and I feel peace. I just feel so much peace about that. And I think I would just tell myself on that table as I was screaming, just like there will like peaceful come peaceful. And I’m still in the midst of finding it. But I would say, I mean even three months removed, like I’m way better off than I was with a better off. Um, and God has just been so real and so tangible in so many ways that I, I can’t possibly say like I don’t believe because he’s been so real to me and I know that that’s not everyone’s experience. Um, but I think part of it is like in those moments, you can choose to run from Jesus and you can choose to be angry at him and think that he caused these things and that God is causing these things in your life and that he is wanting these things to happen to you, but that’s not true.
MOLLY: 37:45 And so you can make the other choice to run towards him. And that’s what I’ve done is I’ve just, instead of running away from God, like I haven’t other points in my life when I’ve experienced tragedy, like after I lost my mom, I ran as far away from God as I could and that got me into a really dark, really dangerous place. And I don’t ever want to go there again. And so I’m just running as fast as I can towards him. Um, and I’ve only experienced peace because of it.
ASHLEE: 38:15 I think those were all really helpful encouragements that anyone who’s listening could be encouraged by. Yeah, for sure. In kind of along those same lines at the beginning you said, right now you’re just eating up God’s word, I think is what you said. Um, tell me,
MOLLY: 38:36 uh, I think I want, I have two questions about that. The first one is, what would you tell the woman who maybe is in that spot where she’s really angry at God and maybe opening up God’s word or even praying is very hard for her right now. What would you, what encouragement would you give her? I would just say again, there’s, there’s basically two choices you can make in this situation and is difficult to make these choices, but one is you can choose to do this on your own, um, and you can choose to fight with your own strength or you can choose to just surrender and say, you know what, I don’t have the strength for this, but I know God does. Um, and so I’m going to, I’m going to just trust that he’s going to provide the strength that I need. And I would say start simple, like open up the Bible App if you, if opening up a physical app is too difficult, open up the earth.
MOLLY: 39:31 Physical Bible is too difficult. Open up the Bible App on your phone. And I literally searched like the day we lost Alijah I literally searched for every miscarriage, pregnancy loss, grief, devotional plan within that APP and I’ve done all of them. Like I literally searched everyone I could and just did them all. I’m not at once but just would like save them and I would like finish one plan and then do the next. And sometimes I would do multiple plans at the same time. And um, and so I would say start there. Um, there’s a couple that have been really, um, helpful, loved baby grace, like scarlet have both have books and plans within the APP that go, like physical books that, that are out. And then there’s also a plan within the APP that goes along with it. So the ones like that. Um, there’s also another one that I think is just called like pregnancy loss or something like that or miscarriage, something like that.
MOLLY: 40:26 I’m in the youversion Bible App and those plans were just such a gift to me in a point where I was just searching for anything. Um, so I would say start there. Um, and I also, it’s interesting because said January first I set out to read the Bible chronologically this year in a year and I’ve set out to do things like that before and I almost always end up failing like a month in. Um, and miraculously I am still somehow caught up and I am still there. And so I’ve been doing that like while I’ve also been doing all of these other plans and things like that. So it was interesting because we were in job right when we last Elijah. And so like the day I lost Elijah, here I am reading job of job crying out to God. And so it’s just been interesting how a lot of those scriptures have really matched up, um, with, with what we’re going through through for the year. And that has been also just such a gift. Such a gift. That’s amazing. I’ve been,
ASHLEE: 41:33 I’m word together. I’ve been reading through the Bible this year too, which is really interesting. Now I’m not going to lie. Yeah, wait, I’m not quite, I’m not quite in the new testament yet, so maybe I’m just, it must be behind you. But it is interesting because reading through the Bible chronologically or, you know, setting out to eat, no matter what plan you use, reading through the Bible, um, especially being in the Old Testament gives you a scope that is beyond yourself. I think in the middle of suffering we can. It is really easy and understandable that our eyes are completely on our own pain. And when, when God gives us the grace to be able to look up and out to see that we’re not the center of this and we’re not the point that’s hard. I know that’s hard to hear. Um, but that’s a grace in that.
ASHLEE: 42:31 Then we get to see him and we get to see that there’s something bigger than, than my pain in that. That brings about hope in her heart. Like the one I’m walking through right now, this isn’t the end, this isn’t, this isn’t the end all, be all. This isn’t the, you know, I’m not the point. Um, and so that’s interesting that you would, because I don’t think I would ever recommend a woman who’s grieving to be like, I think you should read through the Bible in a year because it is, it’s an on taking. Um, and there’s huge chunks of it that felt confusing and hard and, um, but I do think that one of the benefits is that we get to see just a bigger scope for who god is and the way he works into learn his heart and how he loves his people and how he will bring about redemption for the most rebellious of us, you know. And so, um, he heals, he heals the brokenness. And, um, so that’s, that’s really interesting. I was going to ask you what resources you would recommend and you listed those out. And so I will for sure link all of the things that she mentioned in, um, in the show notes for this. Is there any other resources that you would recommend that have been helpful for you? Um,
MOLLY: 43:46 you will, your facebook group obviously has been like, oh, you’re the devotional that you send out. I’m just the meat and music music has been really big for me. Like I listened to worship music nonstop whenever I can. Um, even my kids now are like, mommy, are we going to listen to worship music? I’m like, yes. Pretty much. Um, and the rest of your life the rest of your life. Um, yeah, I would just say that. Um, yeah, I got God’s word really has been just the biggest, biggest thing for me though. And I like kind of what you said is just, it’s hard for us to hear that sometimes that we are not the center of our story. Um, and, but that’s the biggest gift and the biggest good news that I have received in the last year is that like, I am not going to be able to ever do this on my own.
MOLLY: 44:38 And that is amazing news. Like we live in a culture where everybody’s like, you can do it, you can do anything you set your mind to like, you’re enough, like all those things, and those are great messages. Um, but I think they’re actually a little misleading because at the end of the day, like, no, we’re not ever going to measure up and no, we are not ever going to be able to do this really on our own with our own strength because it’s just in a lot of cases it’s just not possible, but God can handle it and he is enough. He can like, we are enough because he is enough because he is giving us that gift and that, that, that grace to be able to just lean on him for that strength and draw strength and peace and joy and all of the emotions that we need to feel from him and to be able to accomplish the things that we need to accomplish through him. Like that’s the best news. Like I to just breathe and say, oh, okay, I don’t actually have to do this myself.
ASHLEE: 45:35 Yeah. Like, that’s, that’s a, that’s helpful encouragement in. Yeah, there’s a lot of pressure on our shoulders when we, um, when we believe that we are supposed to be able to, to do it, do it all, you know, like those, like the messages you mentioned that are very misleading, like you can do it. I’m, no, I can’t. No, I can’t, I can, I can’t get out of bed today and I’m going to, in order to be able to parent my other children today, I’m going to need God’s supernatural power and Grace Tara to make that happen. No, I can’t do it all. No, I can’t, you know, and that’s okay that it takes the pressure off to say no, but I can’t put God can and he did and he is and best just the best. It’s so
MOLLY: 46:28 I just, I say it with a smile on my face. No, I’m not strong. No, I can’t do it, but God can. And I am like, I am grinning from ear to ear because that is the best news I could ever hear. Yeah,
ASHLEE: 46:41 I think. Yes, I agree for sure. Um, I have a lot of questions, a lot more questions. I don’t know, we might need to do a part two with molly. I was curious, you mentioned have, I’m going to ask a few more, but um, you, you mentioned that, that people have asked maybe some stranger strange kind of questions like questions that are obvious that they maybe haven’t walked through this before. What are some of those questions that you have gotten? And I think I’m asking that in order to prepare the women who will listen to this, like you might get these kinds of questions.
MOLLY: 47:21 I don’t know that I can think of all of them because there have been a lot, but I would say the most common is like, well, why did you cremate Bam, why would you a fetus? And my answer to that always was like, well, it wasn’t a fetus. This was a, this was a child. And I saw the child with my own eyes and I saw their hands and feet with my own eyes. Like it wasn’t, it wasn’t fetal tissue. Uh, and so that I’m, I haven’t been pretty strong in my convictions with that. And so I. But I’ve gotten some pushback from people who just have not been there and not walk through it. And that’s okay. And if, again, if, if somebody listening has, like, they may even feel they disagree, that’s fine. But for us personally, like I said, I had that panic attack that night and I said I cannot, I would not be able to live knowing the hospital just disposed of of my, of my child, like I just, I’ve be able to live with that and that’s just my personal experience. Um, so that’s why we chose burial, obviously is, is expensive. And um, and since the babies were in the second trimester, we just felt cremation was a better option. And so we did that and we found a funeral home who was very kind, um, and uh, gave us, you know, I mean, it’s still expensive, but it’s um, you know, they only charge you for the cremation fee. So they didn’t charge us anything else. So that, that was helpful in that moment. Um, you know, and that.
ASHLEE: 48:52 Yeah. Did you and your husband agree on that? Like what was it?
MOLLY: 48:56 Is that conversation like, um,
ASHLEE: 48:59 that doesn’t mean coming to that decision. I just, I know that there’s probably a lot of women who maybe have strong desires or opinions about these sorts of decisions that need to be made, but maybe they feel silly, not just because of other people’s opinions, but even like those closest to them, so maybe their spouse or their closest friends or family members. And so I’m just wondering what it looks like to navigate those kinds of decisions. I’m
MOLLY: 49:26 with Malakai. It was obviously easier because we’d already been through it as weird as that is. I mean, it was harder, but it was also easier because we just knew at that point, um, with Alijah it wasn’t that simple. I mean, part of it was we had a lot of unknowns going into my surgery on whether or not we would be able to take a leisure home. Um, and I would just say this as an encouragement to moms, if you are going in for, um, whether you’re going to be induced and deliver or whether you’re going in for a DNA or whatever procedure you have to go through, um, in order to deliver the baby, be advocate for yourself and fight for what you want because that’s what I did. I mean, they were going, they told me at first that I did not have a choice and they were going to have to take the baby, that I would never be able to see the baby.
MOLLY: 50:10 All these kinds of things. And I thought, I thought I looked at them and I said, I will see that baby, you will let me take that baby home. I mean, I was like, it is my child, then I child is not yours. Yes, you can take whatever you need to testing because we had to do some testing. Um, but I, that is my child. Um, and different hospitals will have different policies, but I just say be your own advocate because that is your baby is baby. Um, and so, uh, I mean with, with our situation, we got to spend time with the baby and then the hospital has to hand the baby directly over to the funeral home. So like we couldn’t transport the baby ourselves. Um, but I think most hospitals are like that, but I think you just have to ask. Um, so being an being an advocate for sure.
MOLLY: 50:59 Um, but yeah, I mean I think just questions like that with like why, why did we choose this? Do, why did we choose to do that? Why did we choose to name our babies, which I talked a little bit about earlier. I think those are the questions I’ve gotten the most in some form or another that have been challenging to answer. Um, in that, um, I try not to get frustrated to some extent. Um, yeah, yeah. And Oh, and I got one when I shared that we were pregnant again, you know, some people said some things that were pretty hurtful as far as like, well why aren’t you more careful? And I’m like, yes, we use protection. Like, I did not know how this happened, but sometimes it just happens, you know? Um, yeah. So we were, we had to walk through a lot of really challenging things and then, um, you know, hearing people say like, Oh, well it just wasn’t meant to be, or Oh, you just got pregnant to close back to back, or oh, it’s because you drink diet coke or like you just the things that people will say, yes, I’m so I just have to like do everything I can to bite my lip and not say anything.
ASHLEE: 52:08 Yeah, yeah, yeah, Yep. I don’t know how to. It’s just, it is just one of the hardest parts of grief is other people’s, you know, opinions. Yeah. And they’re non empathetic questions or comments or in. And that’s just one of the horrible side effects or results of walking through through loss. Tell me, if you were able to talk with, this will be our last question. If you were able to sit down with another woman who’s walking through this and the grief is very fresh, what encouragement would you give her?
Speaker 3: 52:52 Oh,
MOLLY: 52:55 this is the hardest one
MOLLY: 52:58 because I would just say first and foremost, and this is really difficult, but don’t compare your grief or your situation to anyone else’s because that was a really hard thing for me at first was um, I had connected with a lot of other moms who were pregnant at the same time. Uh, you had Katelyn on the podcast. Caitlin and I have a kind of a strange connection. Like I remember when she announced she was pregnant. I’m Katelyn James Real estate, just like assuming everybody knows what I’m talking about. I’m Katelyn James had announced that she was pregnant. I had messaged her and I was like, we haven’t announced yet but I’m pregnant, when are you due? And we realized we were due right around the same time. Um, and then I had shared that we had last Elijah and she had actually shared our story on her instagram the day before they found out about their complications with James.
MOLLY: 53:53 Um, and I remember like she’d shared our story. We’ve got her instagram and I just was messaged her and I was just like, that was just so kind. And such a gift and all these things. And then the next day, that Monday when, when Caitlin had actually gone into her appointment, there was, I mean, I didn’t know she was at an appointment, but all I knew was I was sitting at my desk, it was about noon on that Monday and I just thought, I’m Caitlin, you have to pray for Caitlin right now and let her know. And it was the weirdest thing, like can’t be explained. And I was sitting there and I met. I just texted her and I said, hey, just want to let you know, like I just felt the Holy Spirit say that I should pray for you. So just want to let you know I’m praying for you today.
MOLLY: 54:31 Hope everything’s going well. And then three hours later she texted me back about her appointment with James. Um, and so, but like walking through our story while also watching Caitlin go through the unimaginable and then watching all these other people go through the unimaginable. And then I made a dear friend who is also in your group. I’m in her faith in our facebook group who had lost a baby and she, we were in the same bsf class together and like, there’s all these people that I began to get connected with who had experienced loss either at the same time or at different times and that was such a gift. Um, but then it also, like I would see how they were handling their grief and I would think, oh, well, should I be handling my grief differently? You know what I mean? It’s just honestly, you just start to compare yourself.
MOLLY: 55:17 You don’t mean to. But it just happens. But I would say I just had to take a step back and just say, no, these people that are walking through this unimaginable, like I would not wish this upon anyone, but I’m going to see my relationship with these people as a gift that we are walking through this together. Our stories are completely different, but we have kind of a common thread of just this, this grief and this walk that we’re having to go through. Um, and so I would say just whatever you do, you do find community. But don’t compare yourself within that community, if that makes sense, because, because sometimes we, we, we try to downplay our grief because then I was thinking like, oh, well, I mean I, I mean I only, it was only the second trimester. I shouldn’t be this upset. She’d probably, you know what I mean?
MOLLY: 56:03 Like, no, that is a lie from the enemy. Yeah. It’s such a lie. And it doesn’t matter if it was six weeks, 16 weeks or 36 weeks, the grief is going to be there. It’s going to look different, but it’s going to be there. And so be okay with that. Um, and some days like, it’s okay to laugh. Some days I was like, is it okay for me to laugh right now? Yes it is. 1,000 percent okay for you to laugh and see that as a gift and it’s okay for you to cry the next hour and an hour after that. It’s okay to you for you to go into your car and scream and cuss word. Like sometimes that’s just what you have to do. Like an experience. All of those emotions within like a 30 minute span. So, um, yeah, I think that’s been such a gift to me from my therapist, my micro, my Christian therapist has been like, it’s okay for you to go in your car and screaming crossword like God can hint at like you’re not in front of your children. Like you can go do that and then the next minute you can go watch a funny episode of the office. Like you can do that. Yeah. And then I guess that second thing would be seek counseling early and it’s okay, that’s good. Do it, do it. And because don’t put it off, don’t put it off.
ASHLEE: 57:25 I think if I were to have to soap boxes that I would stand on and shout would be both of the things that you said one don’t compare and that that comes in just a variety of ways. Don’t compare the way that you’re handling things to the way that they are or the decisions that you make to celebrate or degree, like no comparison. And the second one would be to get counseling early. Um, I would, I would echo both of those. Molly, thank you so much for spending an hour with us. Oh my goodness. I’m so grateful for the wisdom that you shared with us and um, I know that it is for sure going to bless so many women, so thank you for being here today and for those listening, thank you for listening and I know that you are loved and you are prayed for today and you are not alone in your grief. Thank you for listening to the joyful morning podcast. If you loved this episode, let us know in the reviews, in share it with a friend for show notes. Head over to the joyful morning.com.
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