Not Less Painful–Just Better At Handling It

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A couple of months ago, a friend of mine was speaking in church about the death of her father. She said that over time, the pain hadn’t lessened, but she had gotten better at handling it. I clung to her statement so tightly in my mind that I basically didn’t hear another word she spoke that day. It struck me as so true!


As many of you know, between Brayden and Kaitlyn, we lost a baby boy, Braxston, when I was 20 weeks pregnant (for more about this, see Miscarriage and Stillbirth). It was on this day, in the early morning hours, that I delivered him. He was a tiny little baby who looked absolutely perfect to my eyes. It has now been seven years! And it still hurts. But I am better at handling that pain. 


Last year, we started a new tradition of planting a plant in Braxston’s honor. This is what we planted:



The terribly sad thing is that this beautiful plant is struggling to live right now. I guess it is fitting. Last summer was unusually harsh and hot and it really reduced this plant to a tiny thing fighting to live, despite my constant effort to keep it alive. I guess maybe my efforts kept it alive? I don’t even really have a point to that–just that it is bitterly sad. I am hoping it will pull through and grow to be the beautiful plant I want it to be to remind me of my lost son–something that brings a smile to my face rather than a wrench to my stomach. I guess in a way I enjoy nurturing it and trying to will it to live. Braxston died inside of me and I don’t want his plant to die under my care! 


These are the kinds of of things you cling to when you lose a child. Anything tangible. And these are the kinds of things you get irrationally upset about. 


I do have a sweet, tender mercy given to me this year. Kaitlyn is in the same grade Braxston would have been–Kindergarten. In Kaitlyn’s Kindergarten class, there is a sweet boy named Braxton. He was born really close to my Braxston’s due date. I think some people would encounter this situation and it would be hard for them to face. For me, it is a strength. I love this little Braxton. He is such a sweet and polite boy and I just look at him and know my Braxston would have been, too. He is good friends with Kaitlyn, and they are even in the same assigned group at school, so when I go to help in class, he is there the whole time. I have come to know his mom and his grandma actually lives on my street! I am so grateful to have him to look to in my life. 


I seem to always have a song that makes me think of Braxston, and a very likely song this year is “I Will See You Again” by Carrie Underwood. I love the message of this song.





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Valerie, also known as The Babywise Mom, is the mother to four children. She has been blogging on Babywise and general parenting since 2007. She has a degree in technical writing and loves using those skills to help parents be the best parents they can be! Read her book, The Babywise Mom Nap Guide, to get help on sleep from birth through the preschool years. You can also find her writing at, Today Parenting, and Her View From Home. Read more about Valerie and her family on the About page. Follow her on FacebookPinterest, and Instagram for more tips and helps.

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  1. Unknown
    April 27, 2013 / 2:22 AM

    Beautiful post. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Courtney
    April 28, 2013 / 3:15 AM

    You are so strong. Thank you for letting us into our lives.

  3. Courtney
    April 28, 2013 / 3:16 AM

    *your life

  4. Kristy Powers
    April 28, 2013 / 1:55 PM

    Thanks for sharing with us the pain and the struggle along with the joy. This blog is really special.

  5. Amy
    April 28, 2013 / 4:25 PM

    I really appreciated reading this beautiful post. Thank you for your wonderful thoughts and writing – you are very kind to share them with us.Amy

  6. MeganRuth
    April 29, 2013 / 2:45 AM

    That was incredibly thoughtful and inspired. Thanks!

  7. Valerie Plowman
    April 29, 2013 / 9:27 PM

    Thanks for all of the kind words everyone 🙂

  8. Emily
    May 2, 2013 / 8:12 PM

    totally crying!!! thank you so much for sharing this. one of my closest friends lost her son when he was 2 months old to SIDS and I often have a difficult time knowing how to handle it. I want to be there for her and help but i know there isn't really anything i can do to comfort that pain.

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