The Big News

A month or so ago, on Facebook, I had posted there was big news for us. I asked for prayers and for people to come alongside us in a way they might not expect. I’m going to tell you tonight what our big news is.
Today, July 10th, marks exactly three months since we held Harlynn for the first and last time. We met our precious baby girl and had to mourn losing her before we could ever celebrate her arrival. The last three months have been hard. “Hard” doesn’t even begin to describe, but there are no words in our language that aptly describe the personal hell a parent experiences when they lose their child. Their flesh and blood. Their gift. Gone
We’ve had a lot of support from friends, family, strangers, and so tonight, on what would have been Harlynn’s 3 month mark, we had a thank you party. We invited people over who have been there for us in ways we couldn’t have imagined. We wanted to feed them and serve them in some small way to express how much they mean to our little family, and how their support has literally carried us over the last three months.
Of course the first thing people did when they received the invite was ask what they could bring and how they could help. We’re doing this to thank them, and they want to still make sure we’re taken care of. God has put some amazing, fabulous, extraordinary people in our lives. I hope they all realize it.
So! While they were here, we revealed our little announcement. And to be fair, I’m going to reveal it here as well.
Do you remember Michelle? We had never met each other before being connected so she could photograph Harlynn’s visitation and funeral. Afterwards, my interactions with her led to a friendship. She is one of a kind. She has a wonderful sense of humor, a heart as big as I’ve ever encountered, and a creative, compassionate spirit that is absolutely unmatched. Michelle called me on Mother’s Day.  Mother’s Day was a very difficult day for me. I got texts and phone calls, but I didn’t answer them. We were walking out the door, headed to the cemetery, and she texted, asking if she could call. I don’t know why (or I didn’t know why then) but I answered.
She explained she had wanted to start a nonprofit for a while, but wasn’t sure which direction to go, what the exact purpose or fulfillment would be. She told me – and I wish I could remember her exact words, because the way she phrased it was so very special – that Harlynn had come to mean a lot to her, and show her what she needed to do. She was going to turn in her notice and start a nonprofit for families like us. Families that had to walk this road. She told me that photographing Harlynn’s services was the most meaningful shoot of her life, and that our little girl had impacted her in a way she couldn’t express. She wanted to tell me, on Mother’s Day, that my little girl would make a big difference in the world.
I was stunned. I was not at all expecting that. I was thrilled and devastated all at one time. I hate that other families have to go through this, but I love that she saw a need and decided to go forward in supplying it. I love that my daughter inspired her. I secretly hoped she would call her non-profit something very specific. But I kept my hope a secret. It was her idea, her genius and wonderful idea, and I was going to help her in any way I could, and be a silent spectator of it’s wonderfulness.
Then Michelle and I were chatting one night – once again, through facebook – and she typed, “I think we should start Harlynn’s Heart.”  The phrase itself took me by surprise. It took me a moment to get my thoughts in order, but I knew exactly what she was saying. What I didn’t understand, was how she knew that was what I was secretly hoping she would call her organization. Harlynn’s Heart. I confessed I was hoping she would call it that and she told me, “I’ve been thinking of that since Mother’s Day!”
Since then we’ve been brainstorming. We’ve been gathering info. We’ve been researching. We’ve been going full steam ahead. Then…we hit the paperwork. There is a LOT of paperwork to get a non profit started. But we’re going to fill it out. And we’re going to get this rolling. 
We’re going to become birth and bereavement doulas to help families at whatever stage they need. Whether they have a perfect pregnancy and delivery, whether they find out at 20 weeks their baby won’t survive, or whether they find out like I did, moments before delivery, their baby has already passed – we will be there to provide them support, comfort, and resources. Actually, I should tell that story too. As if we need more proof God moves in powerful and mysterious ways.  I was sent a link to a website by another loss-mom friend.  I hadn’t gone to check it out until a couple of weeks after it was sent to me. In digging around the website, I saw they offered courses to become a nationally certified birth and bereavement doula.  I knew that I was going to do that. I knew that had to be a part of this.  
The next morning right as I got to work my cell phone rang. My phone rarely rings during the day because everyone knows I’m at work. I looked to see who it was, and it was Michelle. I answered, “Good morning!”
“This COULD NOT wait!”
“I was thinking about a service that’s missing. Something that we could do that we haven’t talked about yet. I think you need to become like a stillbirth doula, who specifically deals with families who are going through what you went through.”
As she was talking, my mouth dropped. “Michelle. Michelle. Michelle!” I just kept repeating her name. I told her what I had found online less than 12 hours before her phone call. She was in my head. We are literally on the same path with this.  Michelle’s phone call was absolute confirmation we’re supposed to be doing this – and we’re supposed to be doing this together.
We will give workshops for doctors, nurses, mental health professionals, churches, businesses – anyone who wants to be educated on our journey, on the journey of perinatal loss, and on how to help those who have to travel this road. We will be there. We will provide lots of other services and programs too, but we have a lot of organizing to do. We have a lot of people to love on.
We’re not an organization….yet….but we will be. And we will be there in any way we can to assist parents, families, friends, who have or will experience this heart ache. 
And we will need your help. We will need your prayers. We will need your encouragement.
There are big things to come because of Harlynn’s Heart.

5 Replies to “The Big News”

  1. Hi There,

    This is Lindsey from Stillborn and Still Breathing. I just found your site and LOVE the amazing story above and what you are going to do in Harlynn's Name. I think it's very inspirational and I was curious if you would be willing to write a guest post about this topic for my blog. I love learning from other bereaved parents about how they transform their loss into a legacy of love and healing and what you are going to do for Harlynn's Heart is so that! I can't wait to hear more about your journey. If you are interested email me at I would love to post your inspirational story.

    Peace and Hugs,

    Lindsey Henke

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