My Pretty Peggy

Originally posted October 2019

I am over the top excited to share with you today’s Wednesday Story! Oh how I wish I would have known about this wonderful product years ago. I was recently connected with Erin who hand paints heirloom peg dolls. And one of her lines is all about a mother’s grief when going through a miscarriage or stillbirth. She has a beautiful etsy shop called MyPrettyPeggy. The photo below is of the unique kit that she has lovingly put together for each order.

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Erin is no stranger to miscarriage and infant loss. She has gone through seven of her own! It is rare for me to find someone who has gone through so many like I have. I felt an instant connection to Erin via the Internet.:) I am truly grateful for her talents that she is sharing with the world.

Today I am going to be sharing a few photos that Erin has given me permission to share along with the stories behind them. I will start with hers. She shared this just over a year ago on IG.

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“I’ve been thinking a lot about grief lately. I’ve been sad a lot. These bereavement dolls for mothers are also me working out my own years of loss. I can’t always find the right words, but I think this particular doll comes closest to my thoughts. Grief for a baby is hard to describe. It’s the loneliest kind of homesickness. It’s a womb that feels so hollow, yet so heavy. When I was pregnant with my son Theodore and I’d graduated from specialist to OB, I noticed something about myself that kind of troubled me. At my new doctor’s, I was often asked to recount my gestational history for nurses. They couldn’t fit my info on the forms. Several times, I overheard them talk about me outside the little room where I waited for my screening. And I LIKED it. Because it was VALIDATION, and validation that your baby losses are significant is hard to come by.

I have no idea what people do with their dolls once I slide them into the mailbox, but I will tell you what I’m thinking when I paint them:

Valid-when your heart is shattered for a child you didn’t know

Valid-your rage

Valid-your absence at baby showers

Valid-your fear during your next pregnancy

Valid-the awareness that grief is always is the periphery now

Valid-because a baby, uniquely yours and 100% irreplaceable, was alive and then wasn’t and no one ever refers to your baby’s name.

I spent a long time in fury before I came to a place of peace. It takes TIME.

My experience is inextricable from my faith, so I will share just a little more. I believe it is no accident that when God planned his greatest demonstration of love for us-when He showed all He would sacrifice just to bring us home-He put a story of child loss right in the CENTER. Earth is filled with damaged chromosomes, accidents, and illness. He’s got a better place planned though. Now I’m finally in a place where I can say, ‘Yes, Death stole my babies but He did what He did to steal them back from Death.’ And I find that deeply reassuring.”

If you are like me when you read Erin’s story, you needed some tissues! Erin has gone through sorrow, yet her faith has sustained her, and brought her to a place where she can help other moms to heal. The following stories will also bring warm feelings and the need for tissues.:)

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This mother wrote: The newest of the new, only a moment old, gripping her heavenly big sister in fingers just pinking. Sweet little girl, a balm to grief, and so much more…”
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Erin wrote a post about this beautiful picture:

“Friends, I am overwhelmed. I hardly know where to begin. Not very long ago, I painted this baby doll for Tina in memory of her daughter Celeste. Celeste passed away before her due date from Turner Syndrome. This tiny doll was anonymously donated by one of you and I am deeply thankful that you did. Tina used this doll as her focus object as she labored to bring her second daughter, Cecillia, into this world. And this photo was taken shortly after Ceci’s birth. Look at the layers of love: Ceci holding big sister’s doll, Dad holding Ceci’s hand, and Tina holding everyone. I feel tremendously blessed to be trusted by Tina with her story and photo and for getting to be the vehicle between a donor’s generosity and a grieving mother’s heart…”

This Christmas season, consider making a donation to Erin’s etsy shop for a doll for a mother grieving. I know for me, some Christmas’s were very hard, especially the one where I should have been holding a new baby.

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Erin wrote about his photo: “There is nothing like the sight of a sleeping baby-it’s a little like staring into a crackling fire; soothing and warm. Sweet baby Emma is holding the doll of her sister in heaven.”
This sweet mother was given this doll as a gift in memory of her son Tadhg. She said, “When he arrived in the mail, I opened him up and burst into tears. I requested shamrocks in honor of his Irish name, and Forget Me Not flowers.”

This wonderful mother wrote a follow up post about her son. “August 2017, on the day of the solar eclipse, was the hardest and most heartbreaking day of my life. That day I lost my baby. I never spoke of my miscarriage. I felt it should be a secret. But this baby was my child who I prayed for, who I was looking forward to knowing, to hold and love. I was excited and full of joy! Liam was thrilled to become a big brother! We were visiting my parent to surprise them with our happy news when it happened. I had the hardest time after this for months. My heart was broken. To help cope, and to always remember our baby, we named him. Tadhg Daniel. Pronounced “tie-g”. It’s an Irish name we planned on giving our next boy, Middle name Daniel, after my dad. He would have been turning one this month(April 2019). A mother’s love starts the moment that stick says positive and that love never ends. I know my angel baby is in heaven and one day I will get to hold him. God blessed us with our ranibow baby, Amelia. Oh how I love her! She truly is my rainbow after the storm. I love her so much words are not enough!! My heart is overflowing with love for my children. All three: Liam, Tadgh, and Amelia.”

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This last photo has a tender story too. Erin was working with a mom to make peg doll birth announcements last October, but then in December was given the sad news that the baby girl had passed away. In that mother’s post there was an empty blanket with a floral muslin pattern. Erin knew she needed to paint that on a doll for this mother. She miraculously found the exact pattern when searching on Amazon-it was miraculously on the first page(I don’t believe in coincidences!) After an hour of painting, she received news that someone was gifting the next two peg dolls. She had lost a child and wanted to pass that love she felt onto another mother.

Erin said of this story, “The Holy Comforter shows up in the details. When He was dying on the cross to clear our path home, he directed his friend to care for His mother. healing comes slowly but know that your baby was important. YOU, mother, are important and not forgotten.”

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