Dear pregnant woman on the playground (With love from a baby-loss mom)

Dear pregnant woman on the playground, with love from a baby-loss mom. xx

Dear pregnant woman on the playground,

I’m sorry if you noticed me staring at you today. I hope I didn’t make you feel uncomfortable or insecure. And I sure hope you didn’t think I was judging you or criticizing you or sizing you up in any way.

The fact is, I was thinking about how beautiful you are. Truly.

I looked at your belly stretched tight and the way you patted and rubbed that growing space and I wondered how far along you might be – 30 weeks? 32? Was it a boy or girl? Have you chosen a name? Is the nursery ready?

Honestly, I was trying not to stare, but every time I willed myself to look away I found myself wanting to find you again.

I wondered how you were feeling. Was your baby kicking at that moment? Making himself known? Was she pushing? Hiccuping? Reminding you that she’ll be in your arms soon?

You would never know but I wish I could tell you – I was supposed to be celebrating 31 weeks in a few days. We might have even shared a due date, you and I. But instead my belly is excruciatingly flat. (Well, aside from the little pooch that I always have, pregnant or not.)

But my womb? My womb is empty. Painfully so.

I know you never meant to bring me to tears – neither did the beautiful one on facebook, the radiant one at the mall, or the glowing one on the other end of instagram – but just so you know, that’s why I keep my sunglasses on in the shade.

Because I see those bellies swelling and teeming with life and promise and dreams-coming-true, and these days there’s a longing that comes rushing in on the tails of my admiration. It’s bittersweet, dear mama-to-be. That longing is so bittersweet.

I’m not sure what it is about the four-month mark after miscarriage, but for me it came with a wave of sadness that caught me a little off guard. We mothers that have lost think about due dates and anniversaries and other obvious markers, but I suppose we’re never really sure when a wave will hit us during the unremarkable in-between.

And we’ll never forget our lost babies but sometimes we’ve forgotten that although healing, we’re still tender. Although strengthening, we’re still fragile. Because most days? Most days we actually feel pretty normal again.

But I’ve felt a finality lately, a permanence, another layer of acceptance pushing on my door and reminding me that she is never going to fill my arms, or even fill my nights with midnight feedings or my days with cooing and crying.

We won’t mark milestones or endure growth spurts or encourage bonding or grapple over discipline or pray for more sleep or wrestle with expectations of what normalcy may or may not be for our baby that is gone.

Oh dear belly-swollen mama, do you know how much I’d gladly deal with indigestion right now? Or swollen ankles? Or sore ribs? Or crazy hormones? Or a tired and weary back?

I feel for you – carrying a child is not for the faint of heart – but I also wish I was you.

Maybe it’s the knowledge that I should be fumbling with a body pillow by now, or washing newborn clothes, or dusting off the baby capsule. Maybe it’s the quiet pain of not needing to ready the newborn diaper stash or fold tiny, fuzzy blankets.

There’s an ache deep in my bones because there’s no need for a birth plan or a baby sling, and the “preparing for baby” books that I should be reading to my toddlers are getting dusty on the shelf.

So please, if you notice me staring, know that it’s not you. It’s me. I’ll do my best to avert my gaze; the last thing in the world I’d want is for you to feel gawked at. You may already be struggling with feeling awkward or fat, forgetful or uncoordinated, scared or unsure. There are so many things that vie to keep you from realizing how gorgeous and amazing you really are.

Please know that you’re stunning and blessed and the bearer of hope and goodness, life and promise, possibility and potential. Please know that what you’re about to give the world is nothing short of a miracle, an answered prayer, an actual extension of God’s very heart to a world that needs the joy that only a new baby can bring.

And please know that I – among the sisterhood of the bereaved – just wish I was in your shoes. (We all do.) I don’t say that to make you feel guilty. Oh no, no, no – mothers don’t need more “reasons” to grapple with guilt. Mercy, no.

I just say it to help you know why some of us might have eyes that linger on your belly a little longer than perhaps we should.

We admire you, celebrate you, and pray for you to know how blessed you really are. (As I suspect you already do know.)

Enjoy these belly-swollen days, sweet, beautiful mama. I know they feel long when you can’t see your toes. But one day soon when you’re kissing someone else’s little toes you’ll look back and realize just how short, and just how wonderful these days really, truly are.



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About Author

Adriel Booker is an author, speaker, and advocate based in Sydney, Australia who believes storytelling, beauty, and the grace of God will change the world. Adriel has become a trusted voice in areas of motherhood and parenting, Christian spirituality, and global women's issues. She's also known for her work with the Love A Mama Collective—serving under-resourced women in developing nations through safe birth initiatives—as well as her years spent as a Bible teacher and leadership coach. Her latest book is Grace Like Scarlett: Grieving with Hope after Miscarriage and Loss and she's made the companion grief journal available for free. Find Adriel across all social media platforms at @adrielbooker or sign up for LoveNotes, Adriel's 'secret posts' that aren't published anywhere else online. ✌️


  • Nessa
    7 August 2013 at 3:13 am

    This is so achingly beautiful. Such a reminder of how during for first pregnancy I took for granted the big belly and swollen feet that wouldn’t fit in shoes. Worried about how I looked and felt huge and cumbersome.

    A few months after our second pregnancy was lost – when I was blessed with our third pregnancy – every ache, every stretch mark, every wobbly and every back ache was a blessing. A piece of magic. Thank you for always being so open and honest. Sharing your heart to help others.
    Nessa recently posted..little man, my tiny babyMy Profile

    • Adriel
      7 August 2013 at 7:45 pm

      Surely there is nothing more thrilling or terrifying than pregnancy after a loss.
      Adriel recently posted..A mother’s confessional (This might get a little ugly.)My Profile

    • G
      9 March 2014 at 3:42 am

      This was beautiful to read. I can relate to every word. I too suffered a great loss but unfortunately I had to make the choice to terminate. Neither baby or I were safe and doctors said my little love had no chance of survival. The decision was excruciating as well as the aftermath. I still feel a sense of guilt and treacherous loss a year later. I still fight tears while “belly watching” and wonder. My biggest fear was that due to my health and family history of health that my lost love was my one chance at motherhood and pray that my fears are just that, fear. Thank you for this beautifully written and painfully honest post in helping me feel a sense of normalcy in my awe of expectant mothers that surround me constantly.

  • Becca
    7 August 2013 at 8:26 am

    I found 4 months after our miscarriage to be the hardest as well (also our due date, then there was some kind of release). This is really beautiful, I had tears reading this and I’m two healthy babies away from that kind of pain … Keep writing friend. Many women are going to stumble upon this for years to come and feel understood. Xx

    • Adriel
      7 August 2013 at 7:48 pm

      I kind of wrote this without thinking about it much – just poured it all out, you know. And then when I was reflecting on it later I remembered what you had said about four months. Strange. I wonder if that is a coincidence? Or if there is a hormonal factor weighing in or what? I know every woman’s experiences are so different, but interesting that four months was a specifically hard marker for us both…
      Adriel recently posted..How to teach your child to stop eating his boogers My Profile

  • Nicole Corman
    7 August 2013 at 1:37 pm

    Thank you for this beautiful reminder that I should celebrate our ‘surprise’… Prayed for you tonight as I cuddled K-girl to sleep 🙂

  • Tamika
    7 August 2013 at 1:54 pm

    So very true….so true.

    I remember the due date of the first babe we lost – and although I was already carrying a babe again, it was a bittersweet moment. I grieved for the loss of that babe – but without THAT loss I’d not be carrying the babe I was then…..such a mixed emotion.

    Your words are a reminder that every ache, kick, pain and sleepless night is a blessing.

    • Adriel
      7 August 2013 at 7:51 pm

      i’d be lying if i said i wasn’t desperately hoping to be pregnant again before my “due date” rolls around. and yet, the thought brings a bit of trepidation as well. yes, mixed emotions in the most intense way.
      Adriel recently posted..Ladies, I’m reclaiming naptime. Will you join me? My Profile

  • Brittany
    7 August 2013 at 3:08 pm

    This was very touching. Thank you for sharing your vulnerability, Adriel. I learned we lost our first at 11 weeks by them not finding the heartbeat at a routine appointment. I was heartbroken. That was 3 years ago and I still think of my sweet baby I had already grown so connected with and loved so deeply. I still cry some days at the memory of what I went through during the whole process.

    I have a beautiful, healthy son who turns 2 next month and praise God for blessing me with him. He is my world. Although the ache in my womb isn’t there anymore, I absolutely feel the heartache of what it felt like to lose a baby. Joy after sorrow is still bittersweet, since I’ll never forget what it meant to me to be pregnant for the first time and go through what I had to.

    I read your story on your blog and it felt so personal to me. So much like my own experience. I’m so sorry for what you went through, and what your heart still endures through time. Many thoughts and prayers for you and your family. It’s not easy, but you’re using your experience to reflect and share and encourage others. I admire that.

    All the best to you,


    • Adriel
      7 August 2013 at 7:58 pm

      Hi Brittany. I’m so sorry that you lost your baby three years ago. It’s beyond wonderful that you have a healthy son now of course, but we all know that it doesn’t replace the pain of loss. Bittersweet, indeed. I just pray it helps me (us) to take even more seriously the blessing and gift that our children really are.
      Adriel recently posted..A mother’s confessional (This might get a little ugly.)My Profile

  • Rachel
    7 August 2013 at 10:53 pm

    Hugs to you today, Adriel.

  • Tara E
    8 August 2013 at 12:00 am

    so honest and true… as a mom who’s lost three babies by miscarriage, and now am holding my little rainbow baby born July 7th… i can identify with this. the only thing that kept me from losing hope was knowing our God is good and faithful. He will carry you through and hopefully soon, you will be the mom with the baby belly! blessings!

  • Miyatch
    8 August 2013 at 3:59 pm

    My aunt had a miscarriage too so I sent her your article post link. I got carried away when I was reading it. I like it when u said, “mothers don’t need more “reasons” to grapple with guilt.” So relatable. stay strong! I admire you.

    All the best,

  • Jules
    9 August 2013 at 2:21 pm

    So touched by how you’ve articulated so well, many of the thoughts and feelings that I & many others have been through!!!

    What a beautiful ministry, your writing is!

    Thanks for sharing what’s on your heart!

  • I'm diggin' it |
    10 August 2013 at 1:34 am

    […] been getting all serious around these parts, talking about anger and baby loss (and crashing the blog because I guess there are a few women out there who can relate). So to shift […]

  • Bronwyn Lea
    10 August 2013 at 6:40 am

    Found your site through the ping back to mine (on your I’m digging it post), and I’m so glad! What a beautiful post. We’ve been there too, ached too, experienced the bittersweet. Thank you.

  • Lindsey Whitney
    28 August 2013 at 2:36 am

    I’m so sorry to hear about this. I just miscarried as well…we found at the 12 week check up and I often find myself staring at other women’s swelling bellies. Both my sister and sister in law are expecting now as well… so it’s such a steady reminder of the loss. I’ll be praying for you. I’m so sorry…..
    Lindsey Whitney recently posted..Best Friends and Mean Girls (Book Review)My Profile

  • Mandi
    8 September 2013 at 5:23 pm

    Thank you Adriel for writing this. I just miscarried yesterday. I was only 5 weeks but still hard nonetheless. I remembered you had wrote about this and it has been comforting.

  • […] been crying a lot about losing baby Scarlett lately. For a long time my tears had dried up but recently I’m not sure that I’ve missed a day without […]

  • Linda
    17 January 2014 at 10:26 am

    This really is a lovely post. I came across your blog yesterday and there’s so many wonderful articles! But this one definitely hit home. We lost our first baby at 11 weeks, just before Christmas of 2012. This Christmas I was 31 weeks with a sweet little girl I get to welcome into the world next month. It’s such a hard thing, losing a baby, and the anniversary of our first’s loss while carrying this one, definitely a bittersweet time. I never really knew at the time what I missed out on as far as pregnancy and birth, and it’s an amazing reminder, now with back pains, no sleep, and stress that I would completely have done this again with our first. I’m glad to read that God has strengthened you and your husband through…it’s been probably the biggest struggle of our marriage (3.5 years young) and we’re still struggling. But I take so much of what you’ve said to heart and remind myself that God IS good and he’s in control. I really appreciate your posts. Thank you.

    • Adriel
      13 February 2014 at 11:03 am

      I’m so glad you’re doing well, Linda. There’s just no easy way around dealing with grief and loss. How exciting that you’ll meet meeting your little girl soon. What a sweet, sweet time.

      I hope you enjoy it with every fiber of your being!!

      I truly believe we get to meet ALL of our babies again one day. Until that day, we will probably always miss them. May God strengthen you in your heart and your marriage and your family. Bless. xx
      Adriel recently posted..What’s the Big Deal About ‘Breastaurants’ Like Hooters?My Profile

  • Jaime
    3 August 2014 at 5:04 am

    I am not a mother of human babies, but this made me cry just the same. I was brought to this link by a friend who recently miscarried near full term. Your writing is so easy to step into and relate to, I was drawn into your sadness in spite of not having shared the event. Thank you for helping me understand her continued pain just a wee bit better.

  • Sarah
    30 October 2014 at 3:53 pm

    This is so beautiful. Sometimes I have that same attitude, while some days I pray for the strength to not hate every pregnant woman that I see. I was sooo ready to be a mommy. My daughter was our first. I guess God had different plans. Thanks for sharing!
    Sarah recently posted..Streaks of Neon Yellow: Victory for Team Teacher!My Profile

  • Tiffany
    19 December 2014 at 8:34 pm

    I too went through a miscarriage finding out our baby had stopped growing around 7 weeks at our 8 week checkup….we had gotten pregnant right after our honeymoon a couple weeks after we had found out we had a baby on the way. It’ll be 4 months shortly after new years for us and it hurts more than anything. I lost our child when I was still 19 and its still hard looking at my cousin who isnt married and seeing her pregnant when we waited until marriage and had the means to actually support our child….but it’s just a jealous feeling of wanting to carry our child

  • Safiya
    11 April 2015 at 6:33 am

    This is so beautiful and so true that it brought tears to my eyes! I had a miscarriage two months ago at 11 weeks and it is all very sore at the moment. I find this warm spring weather challenging, because I had all these lovely thoughts and anticipation of a fast-growing belly as the warm weather approaches… The warm weather came, but my belly is no longer growing… Pregnant women mesmerise me and I too find myself staring at them. Thank you for putting what I think into words. Although I am immensely sad for all of us, angel mummies, it provides comfort to know that I am not alone…

  • Evelyn
    21 October 2015 at 6:32 am

    Thank you for this beautiful post. We lost our daughter this summer after 3 short weeks here with us. She was born just shy of 25 weeks and the doctors are not really sure why. Possibly a combination of Incompetent Cervix and preterm labor. Either way, it was too early for our beautiful little daughter. She fought as hard as she could and we fought with her but in the end it was too much for her little body to take. I was due this month yet all I have is her little marker at a cemetery down the road. Everyday I think about her and about how much I want to hold her and care for her and be the mother that she made me. Thank you for your post, it truly is beautiful.
    Evelyn recently posted..Back into the Gym & Tips on Getting and Staying Motivated!My Profile

    • Adriel Booker
      5 November 2015 at 6:09 pm

      Oh Evelyn. I wish I could reach through the screen and hug you RIGHT NOW. Big hugs to you as you mourn. I’m so sorry you’ve lost your beautiful daughter.

  • Amanda
    22 March 2016 at 5:12 am

    Reading this post made me feel “normal,” at least a bit more normal. Last month, I gave birth to my beautiful girl at 26 weeks. We were hopeful, but she was with us for only 6 days. Those were the best six days.

    My due date is still a month and a half away, May 10th. I am on the verge of feeling like “my normal self” again, but it is hard to see pregnant strangers. I am happy for them, but knowing that I too should be pregnant, it makes it hard. Everything about my pregnancy was going so well; it was perfect, until it wasn’t. I am mourning the loss of my precious little girl, but I am also mourning the loss of a pregnancy, of being robbed of another 14 blissful weeks of it. Thank you for your post. Every little thing that can make me feel even one ounce better or more normal does help.

    • Adriel Booker
      31 March 2016 at 12:25 pm

      Amanda, I’m so sorry to hear about your daughter. Truly, is there greater heartache than losing a child (or spouse)? I hope you have a good support system around you as you prepare to cross over that first milestone. You’ve got some time. Perhaps you can think about how you’d like to spend that day in a way that will help you in your grief process and care for your soul. Big hugs to you, mama. x
      Adriel Booker recently posted..Why I believe in early pregnancy announcements despite the risk (and fear) of miscarriageMy Profile

  • Felicia
    4 August 2021 at 4:22 am

    I noticed a comment that thanked you for writing this years ago, she mentioned that women for years would find this and find comfort. Just a note from another lady mourning a baby, 5 years after the last comment – this is still helping sore hearts!

    • Adriel Booker
      13 September 2021 at 11:00 am

      Bless you Felicia. I’m so sorry for your loss.


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