The loss of a baby, whether during pregnancy, at birth, or shortly after, is absolutely devastating. Pioneer Heart offers one way to find comfort and courage after miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss.
If I hadn’t lost a pregnancy over four years ago, we’d be celebrating a child’s fourth birthday around today. This time of the year is always a reminder to me of the pain of miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss.
While walking the dark road of loss, the grief and hurt can feel so all-consuming that finding comfort seems impossible. For those who care about the grieving woman, knowing what to do often seems like a mystery.
Organizations geared to helping ease the hurt of miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss have a very special place in my heart. I distinctly remember things done for me after our loss, but I also realize that some things weren’t said or done just because those around me didn’t know what to do. These organizations help bridge that gap.
Pioneer Heart is a new organization with a beautiful mission: to help women who have experienced miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss pioneer their way through their unique road of grief. I want you to meet Colby, learn about her daughter Everly, and see the beautiful work she is doing through Pioneer Heart. It might be just what someone dear to you needs.
This is a Q&A with Colby Baker, the heart behind Pioneer Heart. My questions are in subheadings, her answers in regular type. The photos shared through the post showcase the beautiful items included in the grief kits that Pioneer Heart provides for women suffering the loss of their baby.
I think that Pioneer Heart has a beautiful mission and it fills a much needed purpose. What made you decide to start this kind of a ministry?
We discovered at my 20 week ultrasound that something was wrong with our daughter. From that point on, we had good and bad appointments. We were never actually sure if Everly would be born alive, survive birth, or live outside the womb. We eventually got the diagnosis of “suspected” Osteogenesis Imperfecta, which is known as “brittle bones disease”. When Everly was born she had somewhere around 50 fractures. This wasn’t from the birth process, but just existing and growing inside me.
After we knew her health was in crisis, we began to share with everyone what was happening and asked them to pray that Everly would be healed. After one particularly bad appointment where we were told she probably wouldn’t live through birth, we had her dedication at church. We wanted it to be clear that we were fully trusting God to heal her on Earth or in Heaven and dedicating her story to Him.
During these days, it was an amazing outpouring of prayers and love from family, friends, and strangers. It blew me away that someone I had never met cared enough to pray for us and to send a prayer blanket, jewelry or flowers. Remembering how loved I felt during the darkest days inspired me to do something.
Grief is a weird thing. No one knows what to do with it, even the bereaved. I feel like Pioneer Heart bridges that gap where you can essentially say, “I don’t know what to do, but I love you and here is someone who has walked this path and gives you tools to cope.”
After you lost Everly, what kind of support most helped you process all of the grief and hurt?
Mindfulness and sensitivity helped the most. I’ve experienced incredible empathy from people who recognize how terrible the situation is and just meet me in the mess.
When did you come up with the idea for Pioneer Heart, and how did you choose the name?
Once you’re in this world of infant loss and miscarriage, you’re so much more aware of those similar situations happening around you. I had been thinking about it for a while but hadn’t decided what it would look like.
One day a friend text me when I was in the grocery store and told me she her baby’s heart had stopped beating. I couldn’t even finish grocery shopping. I went and bought supplies right away. That text really kicked the gears in motion and I knew I just had to do something. It was almost this weird grief energy that fueled my project.
I was listening to one of my favorite artists, Mat Kearney, as I was driving one day and sorting through my ideas. He has a line in the song “Let it Rain” that says “ Can we turn down the road no one else seems to go with a pioneer love?” It really stuck out to me.
As I’ve talked with other women who have experience child loss they will always say “I know our situation is different, but we have had a similar experience because we know what it is like to lose a child.” That line really stuck out to me because no one has the same grief journey. You’re really on your own and forging this new territory where you have no map and no point of reference of what to expect.
You are forced to be courageous so you can survive.
If you could tell a woman or couple anything after the loss of a pregnancy or infant, what would you want to say?
That you will survive. I don’t want that to sound trite, but I remember saying so many times “how will we ever be okay?” The way you experience life and your lens of perspective will change. The “old me” doesn’t exist anymore but I’ve learned how resilient and strong I am. In the scope of losing a child, life events leave me less afraid and anxious.
Counseling is something I would highly recommend. It is normal to feel like life isn’t real or feeling deep rooted anger. It helps me work through my grief and recognize triggers that I wouldn’t have without it. I was really wary of counseling because I thought it was only for broken people, but we’re all broken. Wrestling out your feelings with someone who is a safe place and most importantly, wrestling it out with God helps you heal.
How has Pioneer Heart impacted other women and families walking this hard road?
I’ve been blown away by the impact so far. Several of the women have told me that it was on the day they needed it the most. It reminds you that you and your child are not forgotten. When you’re deep in grief it feels like time stops moving only for you. You see everyone else moving on with life and you may not even know how to change out of your pjs. It says “I see you. You’re loved and not forgotten.”
What would be your ultimate dream for Pioneer Heart?
Child/infant loss and miscarriage almost seem like taboo topics. They’re scary and messy. If someone hasn’t experienced that, then they seem to be at a loss of how to help. No one seems to know what to do with grief, those who are on the outside of it and the bereaved.
More than anything I want it to be something that opens the lines of communication so that women who have experienced this trauma aren’t scared to share their experience; that they know they have people who are willing to walk with them through the mess.
Grief Kits from Pioneer Heart
Colby graciously sent me one of the grief kits from Pioneer Heart when she learned that this was the due date anniversary for our baby Hopeful. These kits are absolutely beautiful and so touching.
In each kit is an aromatherapy bracelet featuring a centerpiece stamped with the word “Courage”. To go with the bracelet are two different aromatherapy blends (“Courage” and “Comfort”) crafted by Colby and safely diluted in organic jojoba oil. A lovely journal and pen are included, as well as a decorative print featuring a line from Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis (affiliate link).
If you know someone working through grief after miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss, I can’t recommend a kit from Pioneer Heart enough. It’s really a wonderful set and a special way to say “I’m so sorry, I love you, and I’m here to support you.”
You can also find Pioneer Heart on Facebook.