This month we are honored to publish a blog written by Wichitan Ashley Opliger. Ashley and her husband started "Bridget's Cradles" after the loss of their daughter, Bridget Faith. To read Ashley's story and to learn more about Bridget and the ministry of Bridget's Cradles, please visit their website: www.bridgetscradles.com
Coping with Hope after the Loss of a Baby:
5 Helpful Ways to Heal through Grief
by Ashley Opliger
The loss of a baby is one of the most heartbreaking experiences a person can go through on this earth. The grief is not only incredibly painful but can also be very isolating and lonely. Feelings of extreme sadness, panic, and fear are normal expressions of grief after the loss of a child.
After the loss of my baby girl, Bridget Faith, I knew I would need to find ways to heal my heart in order to not only survive the grief, but to one day live with hope and joy again.
There were many aspects that contributed to my healing, but the following five ideas were the cornerstone of how I learned to “cope with hope”:
- Grieve Real and Raw. It’s important to let yourself feel the weight of your grief. Try not to push down your feelings and hide them. Let yourself cry. Give yourself permission to cry. Pray, write, draw. Find positive ways to express your grief. You cannot find healing without first grieving.
- Journal. After Bridget passed away, I started a journal so that I could write letters to her and share with her my heart and grief. I wanted to share my hopes and dreams for her and how much I loved and missed her. I also started a prayer journal to God to talk to Him about how I was processing my grief and to lift up requests to Him for comfort and healing.
- Seek Support. Find a support group in your area so that you can talk to other bereaved moms who know and understand your pain. Talk to your friend and family about your baby. Consider seeking the help of a counselor to process your grief and trauma. There is no shame or weakness in asking for help.
- Healing through Helping. Helping others has been paramount in my healing. Focusing on others has taken the focus off my own grief and given me purpose in my pain. Find ways to give back such as volunteering, donating in memory of your baby, or blogging your story to help others through a similar pain.
- Focus on God. Lastly, but most importantly, remember His promises and the hope we have to see our babies again in Heaven. We are promised eternity, through faith in Jesus, and have the opportunity to see our babies again forever. Though we grieve, we grieve with hope!
Closing Prayer: Dear Lord, we lift up every grieving heart who is reading this article and missing their sweet baby or babies in Heaven. Be near to their broken hearts and comfort them in ways only You can. Give them peace and walk alongside of them in their sadness. Hold their heart near to Yours and remind them of the Hope we have in You to see our babies again, not just for mere moments, but for eternity in Heaven with You. Thank You for giving us that Hope and comforting us here on earth. We love You and need You. Amen.
Bridget’s Cradles Resources
-Hope Gatherings: Local in-person support groups and craft nights for grieving moms in the Wichita, KS area; we also offer online support groups over Zoom for any bereaved mom in the country to attend.
-Memorial Ideas: Are you looking for ways to memorialize your baby in Heaven as a way to remember them on a daily basis? From her own experience after losing Bridget, Ashley shares practical ideas to honor your baby in your home and daily life.
-Recommended Books: We recommend the following books which are focused on providing hope and healing after the loss of a baby.
-Quotes & Bible Verses: A list of quotes and Bible verses to offer hope and healing for families who have experienced pregnancy or infant loss.