Having a Stillbirth is the worst thing that could ever happen to any expectant mother or father. It is an unspoken kind of pain. It does not go away easily. A whole potential of life is gone. As a mother or father, you will never be able to swarm him with the love you had ready to give him. A year ago you are researching prams, little outfits, car seats, nappies, nursery furniture and all sorts of baby things, now you are faced with the harsh reality of getting them out of the way. Where do you start, how do you cope with those emotions and move on? You are surrounded by the endless reminder of what should have been. But life has got to go on and as the saying goes “time heals.” Fortunately, God’s grace is sufficient to overcome any hurdles. It comes in the least expected way as we shall learn from Valerie’s interesting story.
Valerie Watts from Cokata, Minnesota talked about her experience with Fox 9. She was nine months pregnant and had just a few days remaining before she was due to give birth. Like any expectant mother to be, she must have been excited at the anticipation of delivering a live baby. However, a week before she did not feel her baby move. She just had this horrible feeling.
She said, “All week I knew, he wasn’t moving as much. I was very nervous.”
When she received the tragic news that she was carrying a still born baby, her world fell apart. This is not the news she was expecting. That little person she had been so excited to meet had died in her body, she could not stop asking, “why?” This is not the way it’s supposed to be. Despite the initial shock Valerie eventually gave birth to her stillborn son, Noah. She knew the end result, but not to hear him cry was horrific.
It was devastating and her grief must have been so deep rooted. Who in this world does not grieve the loss of a loved one! What was even more heartbreaking for this young woman, Miss Valerie was the idea of being left with a nursery filled with a crib, toys and baby clothes – but no baby.
Valerie couldn’t bring herself to sell any of Noah’s things or touch the nursery she had made for him. She was so devastated that she left it untouched for a while.
Eventually after a year, in May 2014 however, she believed she had gathered enough strength to set up a garage sale and sell Noah’s belongings and baby furniture. It was a difficult decision and she forced herself to put some of the items on sale – in particular, the crib which she seemed to be attached to the most. Somehow in the back of her mind, she thought it would be the last thing anyone would want to buy. But she was not prepared at all for what would happen after it was gone.
To her surprise, an older man by the name of Gerald took a liking to the piece of furniture. Gerald restores old furniture in his spare time and thought he could make use of the crib. He was persistent about buying it but could sense a feeling of uncertainty from Valerie’s side.
“She was kind of hesitant, I knew that maybe she didn’t want to sell it. Yet she did,” he told Fox9.
Gerald had no idea what the real reason behind the garage sale was. He had seen Valerie sell baby clothes and just assumed her child had probably grown older and she no longer needed all this stuff.
Little did he know that his wife, who was also at the garage sale, had earlier been chatting with Valarie. As their conversation went on animatedly she wanted to know more about her child. You know how women get so caught up in the heartwarming stories of their children and want to share experiences. She asked her how old her child was. Valarie explained that her baby passed away in July and it just broke the other lady’s heart.
Gerald packed up the crib into their car and he and his wife headed home. On their way, his wife could not wait to share Valerie’s story. They realized what this crib must have meant to her and why she seemed so hesitant to sell it. Being parents themselves, they were so touched and thought of a way to help Valerie overcome her loss. They decided that they had to take the piece of furniture back.
But Gerald also understood that it could be just as equally painful to have it in the shape of a crib – so he decided to skillfully transform it into a beautiful bench as a memorial for Noah. What a generous act this is!
A week later, Gerald returned to Valerie’s house with the gift. The unused crib was now a beautiful bench which would sit in her home as a memory of her Noah. Valerie was left in tears by the beautiful gesture of this gracious stranger.
“It’s amazing, and there are good people out there, there’s proof,” she tells Fox9.
Talk about a wonderful and thoughtful gift from Gerald! This lovely bench can now honor her dear Noah.
Even though it cannot change the outcome of her pregnancy, nothing can bring a lost baby back. Losing her child changed her life but it left many gifts: empathy, a sense of what is important in life and compassion.
There are many parents out there who have gone through something similar to Valerie.
Please consider sharing this story as a way of showing solidarity with these parents.
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