If you’ve read my stuff enough, then you know I have a heart to bring awareness to pregnancy and infant loss. When I found Sarah in a writing group, I was immediately drawn to her genuine, raw, and honest writing that is grounded in God’s truth. Her book, Loved Baby: 31 Devotions Helping you Grieve and Cherish your Baby after Pregnancy Loss, is filled with wrought grief that grasps onto hope. It’s a place to bring your anger, fear and doubt so you can release them at the foot of the Cross and walk away feeling hopeful. I am honored to have Sarah here for an author Q & A about her new book.
I am also honored to have a product from my friend Julie and her business partner, Courtney from Wild Cedar Co. These ladies make beautiful hand-lettered designs. You can have them customize signs for you or buy from their pre-made ones. They have customized a couple of signs for me with a quick turn-around and they turned out beautifully!
(This post contains Amazon affiliate links. Read full disclosure here.)
And just so you know, I don’t receive any sort of money for writing up this giveaway. This a pure and honest post to bring some encouragement to a mama who is going through a loss. When some of my close friends experienced pregnancy loss, I felt unsure about how to support them. I feel like the items in this giveaway would have been perfect to give her. In fact, I’ve given a friend of mine a personalized wooden sign when she went through a miscarriage and I just recently gave a friend of mine a copy of Sarah’s book. The both have said to me how much these items have helped on their journey of healing. That is why I’m doing this giveaway!
And now, let’s hear from Sarah!
|| Tell us a little bit about yourself. ||
Hi, everyone! Thank you for inviting me to your corner of the world, Gloryanna. My name is Sarah Philpott. I live in Tennessee on a cattle and row crop farm with my hard workin’ hubby (who has been my sweetheart since highschool) and my three children. We have chickens, llamas, cattle, donkeys, horses, and a host of other beautiful life out here. We live nestled along the side of the Cherokee National Forest. I love watching the seasons change—right now the fall colors are vibrant. But I’m a summer girl and like nothing better than days at the river or beside the pool.
|| How did writing this devotional about child loss change your perspective on grief? ||
I have researched the affects of miscarriage, stillbirth, and ectopic pregnancy for the past three years. One of the things that most surprised me, although it should not have been a surprise, is how closely aligned the process of grief is both biblically and from a grief research perspective. We can find countless instances in the Bible of people (such as Hannah) crying out their anger to God over feelings of grief. It was so freeing to me actually studying the full-range of emotions people display in the bible. We don’t have to hide these emotions. And one of these emotions that seems to hit many of us after pregnancy loss is the false anxiety of “I did something wrong.”
You see, after both of my miscarriages I felt this deep sense of responsibility for the loss of my child—as if I was the one who caused the death. Even though I knew rationally this was not true, I couldn’t shake those misguided emotions of self-blame. I had to constantly remind myself that I was blameless in this matter. As I began researching the feelings of women post-loss, I found that my reaction was not unusual. Most women feel this same weight of misguided blame. I found this to be true from my own research and found it also corroborated with what grief researchers tell us. Self-blame is an intrinsic reaction that is often not discussed. Therefore, in the book I really try to provide tactics—both spiritually and through self-care, that women can use to fight these feelings that try to consume our minds. These untruths can make the anxiety and depression worse and need to be actively tackled. Fighting the battle of self-blame is thing women must do in this journey of mourning. In the book I provide a variety of techniques. My perspective on grief changed after I saw that we can be active participants in our fight toward resilience.
|| How is your devotional different from others? ||
First, let me just say that I am so grateful for all the other books that are on the market dealing with pregnancy loss. We have memoirs, medical books, and other non-fiction offerings written by amazing women. These authors have done an outstanding job and all I can say is bravo to them. However the shelf is mostly bare on this topic. So I wanted to add to the resources. Some of us need a few books on this journey, right? The Loved Baby devotional is different from the books that come before it for several reasons.
First, it intertwines research, spiritual truths, and real-talk from myself and other women and men. But I use a writing style that is extremely easy to read and feels as if you are sitting down with your girlfriend having a good chat and a good cry. I felt women — post-loss, needed something with short chapters and written in a style of writing that is easy to read. Not because we can’t undersatnd complex thoughts, but because sorting through information when our minds are so full of grief can be taxing. In my personal experience, pouring through hundreds of pages of heavy theology or medical knowledge wasn’t something my mind could take in the fragile state it was in after my losses. So I condensed the knowledge into an easier to digest format with manegable tasks women could accomplish. And I wrote it directly to women.
Another thing that is unique to this devotional is that it is written from the perspective of a woman (me) who has experienced loss in the last few years. So it is a modern retelling of the experience of loss that includes mulit-generational voices and the voices of those who have mostly been absent from the conversation- men!
Finally, I pursposefully poured out my heart in this book with the intent of helping others. I dug into so much grief research that it would make your head spin. I even took a grief research handbook with me on a family vacation. Sheesh. That is how dedicated I was to truly writing a book that would help women walk through this journey. I know that steping through our grief and not over it is one of the most healthy things we can do following the death of our child. So this book in itself is journey of walking through the hard aspects while reminding us to stay rooted in Christ. The book not only includes devotions, but also soul work exercises, and a place to commemorate the readers own babe.
|| What was the most difficult part about writing your book? ||
Oh my, Gloryanna! It was all so difficult. But I have to say that the feeling of “getting it right” kept me awake many nights. I was petrified about saying something that would hurt someone’s heart or using information that was not factual. I truly dedicated the last several years of my life to this mission and read everything I could about the topic and interviewed a large number of men and women so that I could include various perspectives in the book. I wanted every woman—no matter how far along she was or the type of loss she experienced, to be able to say “me too” at some point in this book. I literally started crying when the early reviews came in. I was so relieved. I had women, in all walks of loss, be early readers of the book. They all came back saying how powerful and helpful it was for them to read Loved Baby. Hearing them say that Loved Baby was helping them sort through their feelings—was the best feeling of this entire process. I truly know God ordained and helped me write this book. It is all for his glory.
From a personal standpoint it was difficult to write this book because I wrote quite a bit of it while I was pregnant with my little boy who is now 16 months old. Some of the devotionals in this book are written from a very raw place. I wrote the chapter on being pregnant after loss for me. I actually wrote it while I was pregnant and was fighting the fears of another loss occurring. Halfway through my pregnancy I started having complications. I often would have to go back and read my own chapter of fighting fear while being pregnant. I would have to force my mind to take my own advice! That was a strange feeling. Thankfully our little boy is running around our house now, but being pregnant while writing a book about loss, reading daily the stories of women experiencing loss, and also ministering to women in our pregnancy loss support group was an emotional toil to say the least. However, it also gives me this amazing perspective of gratitude for the day I have been given.
|| What is your favorite part about this devotional? ||
The voices from the Loved Baby tribe of women and men are my favorite aspect. These brave souls allowed me to mine their inner thoughts so that I could share them with readers everywhere. By sharing their stories, they are helping others feel less alone. I am so grateful they partnered with me.
|| Why would this book be a good choice for a friend to give someone who may be going through pregnancy loss? ||
This book would be a great choice for a friend for two big reasons:
First, showing love to a friend after loss is really important. The act of you giving a gift shows her you care for both her and her child. I wanted this book to be beautiful so that it could be given as a gift.
Second, this book will truly help women feel less alone after the loss. It can help a woman sort through these massive feelings of loss and be filled with love, truth, and hope in Christ.
|| What is one thing you would tell a woman who is going through a recent pregnancy loss that might be reading this right now? ||
Sweet lady, all I can say is take time to grieve because unexplainable pain must be grieved. And please know that it is okay to not be okay and to just crawl into bed with a pint of ice cream and cry for days. But, know that we can mourn in hope as well. I write in the book, “Others might minimize your loss or utter hurtful comments. But please know your tears are worthy. Your baby, who resides in heaven, is loved. You can be sad for this, but know that your little one is now in the state of complete perfection.”
|| What other resources would you recommend for someone going through loss? ||
There are some wonderful organizations out there. You can check to see if you have a Hope Mommies, Waiting in Hope, MEND, or any other local support group in your area. We have a private, online Loved Baby Support Tribe that we encourage anyone to join.
|| Where can we find you online? Or where do you hang out online the most? ||
I have to say, I love FB and Instagram the most. I also blog on my website and would love to connect at allamericanmom.net. I love to connect with my readers. For the most part, you can find me on Faceobok, Instagram and Twitter.
And remember, EVERYONE who registers will receive this free powerful printable, “I am not the hero of my own story; God is.” to place in your home.
Check your email to download it right away!