Reflections of an Angel Mom


For many parents, the playground is a happy place — running, jumping, playing, laughter — but for a select few, it is a stark reminder of what could have been, what should have been…

Seven years ago, my journey into mommyhood began and ended up with one swift trip to the hospital for delivery. The doctor’s sad eyes told us the words her mouth struggled to find the words to say,

There is no heartbeat. I’m sorry, your baby has no heartbeat.”

I survived the labor, although looking back, I’m not sure how I found the strength to pull through.

My husband and I named our stillborn daughter Samantha Grace. We felt that it was by grace alone we found the strength to continue on through the chaos and storm of her loss. She was born on February 25, 2009 here in Columbia.

Over the years we have learned to accept the loss and move on with our lives. Despite our best efforts, even the most well-meaning intentions sometimes rip off that scab exposing once again what we have tried so hard to get past.

As a young couple, family and friends alike often ask the dreaded questions of when we might try again or how many children we’d like to have. The question that seems to hurt the most, even to this day is “how many children do you have?

I often struggle to answer and honestly will often choose to answer differently according to how comfortable I am with the person who is asking. Some folks are more at ease if I bring up the loss of my child, while others would simply rather not acknowledge the past. I have grown to realize and be comfortable with this, for their sake and for my own.

The past seven years have held their own challenges, including my husband spending five of them serving in the Navy. We were lucky enough to drive through almost every state in the continental U.S. and really come together as a family. Last August we moved back to Columbia, bought our first home and started to re-kindle the old friendships that we left behind.

No matter how far we travel, we could never quite outrun the loss. And regardless of which state we lived in, our friends were in the middle of starting families which made us feel like we were on the outside looking in.

The years have helped us to overcome the feelings, but as I look outside our back window that overlooks the community playground, I can’t help but wonder how things might have been different if our 7-year-old were out there playing today…

Are you an angel mom? How has your loss affected your day-to-day life?

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A South Carolina native, Natalie has recently moved back to Columbia after several years of living in various states across the country while her husband served the United States Navy. Now that she and her husband have settled down, they are beginning the process to adopt a child of their own. She and he husband, suffered the loss of a child and due to complications are unable to have children of their own. While living in Washington state, Natalie became interested in helping families going through the loss of a child and became certified as a doula and today she runs her nonprofit organization, Healing Grace Childbirth Services, supporting families affected by pregnancy and infant loss. She is also active with the Stillbirthday program, acting as a Student lead and representative for the state of South Carolina. Natalie holds a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration and is a few months away from completing her MBA. In her free time, Natalie enjoys cooking, refinishing old furniture, spending time with her puppies and, in the fall, tailgating for the Gamecocks. She blogs about her journey towards adoption on her personal blog, Project: Build Our Family.


  1. We lost our 3rd son in December of 2013. It’s always hard when people ask how many kids do you have because I have 5… But only 4 are on this side of heaven. But sadly in our culture it’s taboo to talk about the loss of someone. So most of the time I cringe and say I have 4 boys… And then feel guilty or shame to not count our sweet Caleb in that number. Thank you for this article.


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