Sahar's Birth Announcement Card

The day Sahar’s condition was diagnosed, our world was smashed to pieces. We had to wait for a while before saying goodbye, and this was a terrible time. Days of disbelief, crying and grieving… Grieving while she was still alive… How do you even do that? I completely hid myself from the world.  We stayed at home and didn’t go anywhere unless we had to go to the hospital. I just couldn’t stand the idea of running into someone I knew that would touch my belly and happily ask me what my due date was. Or having a stranger walk up to me and tell me how cute my belly looked. When all was good, I would actually appreciate these kind of things…. But now… It just felt, well wrong. We knew we had to say goodbye. Dealing with happy reactions was not something I could handle at the time. Giving explanations was not something I could handle either. There were only a handful of people that knew what was going on at the time. And I cannot tell you how grateful I am to them, they have been there to support us during the most difficult time of our lives…

But now a days, if you want to hide, there’s also the social aspect… I turned off all notifications of social apps such as Facebook, e-mail, and anything else that could confront me with situations like the above in their digital form… It wasn’t easy… Apart from friends, there was more… I had been photographing babies as a hobby for a few months, and I had people sending me e-mails and Facebook messages with inquiries, people asking about their photo shoots, and every message reminded me of what I couldn’t have… A healthy living baby…

After she left us, Frank and I needed to figure out how we were going to tell people about her. Almost everyone we knew was aware that we were expecting, so we had to make an announcement of her passing. This was not easy. We figured, that if she was born healthy, we would celebrate her life with a birth announcement card, and it didn’t need to be any different now.

She was born still

but she was still born…

Frank and I created a custom birth announcement card, personalized to our feelings, to the situation, and to her special, short, but tremendously impacting life. Frank came up with an awesome illustration, and I loved it instantly. Our little girl, shining bright, up in the sky. Two lonely, but united trees looking up to her… You wouldn’t even need words to understand it…

I designed the inside of the card. I included everything a normal birth announcement would include: her name, her date of birth, her length and weight… I put her name in two joined hearts, to symbolize how she will always be in her parents hearts. I also used a few lines to tell people that this is the hardest thing we’ve ever had to endure, and that therefore, we needed a little bit of space. An ocean of phone calls, although much appreciated, was too much for us to handle at the time. So we asked for some space, leaving room for people to e-mail or text us if they needed to.

Sahar's Birth Announcement

 

I also included a small little text about her short but beautiful life. It’s obviously in Dutch on the card, so I’ve translated it here below. Somehow it sounds better in Dutch though, after all, we came up with it in Dutch :-)

On New Year’s eve we toasted on you joining our lives,
You spent 22 weeks warm and cozy in mom’s belly…

On May 7th, a little bit after nine, you were born into this world,
For about an hour you felt mom and dad’s warmth and love,
And we enjoyed your incredibly beautiful existence…

You slowly let us go, lying peacefully in our arms,
You embarked on your journey, to you reserved spot in heaven…

We look up to the skies and see you shine,
the most radiant star of them all…

Forever my love, in our thoughts, in our hearts,
You will live on…

We love you,
Mommy and Daddy

~ Frank and Laila

If you’re going through the same thing, I can only say that this was something very rewarding. If you have the time and strength to do this, please do. You celebrate your baby’s life and you say goodbye at the same time. Your baby deserves to be celebrated. To have a name, to be known to the world. He or she was a little being, that no doubt left a tremendous impact on you, your partner and all those who love you. This card will also be a key part of Sahar’s space in our house, but I will talk about that later.

If you want to include a small text as I did, let me give you some advice. Try to keep this text positive and beautiful. Make it reflect love and warm feelings. It isn’t always easy to write words positive words when all you can see is black. I know. But the way I did this, was simply thinking of her. Your baby is not sad, black nor dark, it’s precious, beautiful, special and radiant. And once you think of it this way, the words will just flow. If it’s too hard, you can also look for a poem you like on the web. There are tons of beautiful words out there that will honor your baby. You’ll be grateful that you did afterwards. You’ll have beautiful words to remember your baby by. Beautiful words to show his or her brothers and sisters. It’s sad that they left us, but it’s beautiful that they were with us at all.

I’ve had tons and tons of people e-mailing, texting, and telling me how beautiful the card was and how everyone would remember her with us. I even have a dear friend that framed the card, and hanged it up in her house. And I’m so thankful for that, so honored… These are the things I will never forget, the most precious gifts ever received…

You will always remember your baby. Having other people remembering your baby with you is a miracle, a blessing and a true gift of love.

Love,

Laila

 

5 comments:

Lindsey Henke17/07/13 at 5:25 pmReply

This is very brave of you to create a custom birth announcement. I didn’t even think to do it. It’s so beautiful that you did.

Peace,

Lindsey

noctovis17/07/13 at 5:36 pmReply

Thank you Lindsey!

Nena22/07/13 at 8:34 pmReply

Het, geweldig wat je allemaal doet om ouders in hun donkerste tijden te helpen, een ‘geboorte’kaartje daarbij is geweldig! Wij hadden voor ons eerste dochtertje het ‘geluk’ dat mijn zus haar eerste kindje ook ‘verloor’ , zodat zij me er kon aan herinneren wat ik nog allemaal kon doen voor onze kleine meid, wat er belangrijk was … herinneringen maken van de korte periode dat je dat kleine mensje kent …

Wij hadden als geboortekaartje een foto van onze 3 handjes in elkaar , met op de achterkant haar gegevens en deze tekst:

Niemand die weten kan
Hoeveel ik van je hou.
Niemand die mij troosten kan
In mijn verdriet om jou.
Niemand die begrijpen zal
Hoe vreselijk ik je mis.
Niemand die beseffen zal
Hoe erg die pijn wel is.

Ik had relatief veel tijd om het afscheid van onze meid te plannen … ik had voor haar een speciale afscheidsmand gekocht (ipv een kist) en heb de tijd gehad om nog alles te doen wat mogelijk was voor onze meid, en ik weet dat dit helemaal niet is hoe het bij de meesten gaat dus goed van je dat je mensen daarin wil en kan helpen, steunen …

Je bent een geweldige vrouw!

noctovis22/07/13 at 8:47 pmReply

Dag Nena, bedankt om te sharen! Wat een prachtige tekst, en zo gepast, zo waar… Het spijt me heel erg van je dochtertje, en ook van het kindje van je zus. Het is zo verschrikkellijk erg… Maar dat moet jullie enorm bij elkaar hebben gebracht! Bedankt voor al je lieve woorden! Anderen helpen door mijn verhaal te vertellen vind ik een kleine moeite, want ik ben er zelf ook zo enorm mee geholpen. Vrij kunnen spreken over Sahar* is iets moois <3

Loving an angel instead… | Sahar’s space at home – Part 322/08/13 at 7:13 pmReply

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