Tag Archives: trisomy 18

Mourning Turned to Eternal Joy

1427832-3-the-butterfly-quoteThis weekend marks the anniversary of our daughter’s death. Rebecca was a Trisomy 18 baby who’s three weeks of life far exceeded the doctor’s expectations. If you have ever lost a child, you know there are many questions that torment you throughout the grieving process. For me, one of the hardest ones was, “would she remain a baby in Heaven or would she grow up there?” Before I could move on with my life, I needed to know if I would recognize her when I reached Eternity myself. I searched the Bible tenaciously until I finally found my answer.

When Jesus returned to His disciples after His resurrection, they did not recognize Him until He showed them His scars. It seems to me that a resurrected body is healed and whole–but it is the same body. My heart has settled on the idea that maybe Rebecca will remain a “baby” for eternity (though I am sure that she will not be held back by any physical or mental ailments). This brings me great comfort because I cannot think of anything that contends with the joy of holding a baby, and I feel as though I see a glimpse of a bigger picture.

Right after Rebecca’s death I lost my business partner to lung cancer. Janice never had children. I can’t help but wonder if God wants babies in Heaven to complete His family there and bless those who missed out here. I do not claim to understand it all, but one thing I believe with all my heart: Some things we just cannot understand because we do not have the whole picture, but we can trust the One who does. Maybe the things that break our hearts while we live here on Earth were actually designed to bring us great joy for all eternity.

God, would you help us with the things we just cannot get our head around? There is so much we don’t know, but we thank you that we can put our confidence in You and Your character. Amen.

*****

Catrina Welch is an image- and life-coach whose message is not as much “what not to wear” as it is, “Know Who You Are,” which is the title of her book of guidelines for your personal image identity. Catrina has also written a Bible study to help women overcome their confidence conflicts; it is titled Supreme MakeOver: a Rich and Refreshing Devotional Experience. Her other books include Footprints Through the Sand: a Consolidation of Life-altering stories about Loving and Losing our Trisomy-18 Baby and Confident Beauty: Reflecting the One Who Made You with the Images in Your Mirror and Your Soul, which will be available in book stores this spring. All of these books are available now at www.CatrinaWelch.com

Let Them Stare!


And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

Rebecca w ron's fingerI was pregnant with Rebecca when the doctors were trying to count her fingers and thought maybe she didn’t have them all because she held them so tight and they overlapped. Rebecca was my first girl and I was looking forward to the day I would hold those hands in mine and give her her first manicure. But they were telling me that the number of digits she had was the least of my worries.

You don’t hear of Trisomy 18 too often because most babies with this condition are aborted or stillborn; and those that do survive birth do not usually live longer than five days.

Rebecca lived three weeks before she passed away. During those three weeks, and the many, many long ones to follow, we had to wrestle out this stuff with God: Why is life unfair, and what do we do with all the people staring at us?

It wasn’t just our daughter’s uncommon beauty that people stared at.

Losing a child is out of the norm, and it makes people uncomfortable. Many times I’ve had conversations suddenly become awkward after I spoke of my loss; suddenly I became “different” to the one I was conversing with, and unless they had dealt with grief themselves, they no longer knew what to do or say around me; they stepped back and just stared.

Some things just don’t make sense in life, and we just have to choose to trust God or not. It’s not an easy decision, but I can tell you from experience that it is easier to give it all to Him than to become bitter toward Him. My husband and I figured out that if we could not trust God, there was no one we could trust, and we would be completely alone in our battle.

We chose to cast all our cares on Him, and He carried us through … not that the battle is over, but He promises to give us strength to handle whatever comes our way. We look at it like this: If there were nothing “unfair” and we had no weaknesses or challenges, then our lives might be easier, but they would be empty and meaningless.

As they say, “nothing good in life comes easy.” Having confidence in who you are and what your purpose is may not be easy, but it is good!

If you struggle with life being unfair to you, or you are tortured with thoughts about who you are–or who you are not–wrestle it out with God. Tell Him how you feel about it. Ask Him to help you deal with it. Perhaps that is the very purpose for Him allowing it: to draw you closer to Him.

He knows you better than you know yourself. Maybe He wants to use you the way He is using my husband and me. We have come to believe it is an honor and a privilege that others stare at us because of our loss. You see, if we were just like everyone else, no one would really get drawn to God by us.

Is there something about you that makes others stare at you? Let them look! And let God use you! I believe that is why He put your imperfection there; it captures others. Think about it: He trusts you to show His glory far more than the average girl who blends into the crowd.

.********

Catrina Welch is an image- and life-coach whose message is not as much “what not to wear” as it is, “Know Who You Are,” which is the title of her book of guidelines for your personal image identity. Catrina has also written a Bible study to help women overcome their image issues. It is titled Supreme MakeOver: a Rich and Refreshing Devotional Experience. Her other books include Footprints Through the Sand: a Consolidation of Life-altering stories about Loving and Loosing a Trisomy-18 Baby and Confident Beauty: Reflecting the One Who Made You with the Images in Your Mirror and Your Soul, which will be available soon.

If you are interested in getting these books or having Catrina come speak at your event, you can contact her at www.CatrinaWelch.com or on facebook.

When Others Stare

One of my favorite topics to speak to women about is the Image Issues and Confidence Conflicts that come with exceptional beauty and unusual beauty.

No one really wants to look like the average girl, yet we can become so uncomfortable when our image is outstanding-be that good or bad- it is simply an “issue” when others stare.

Your beauty has a purpose to draw others toward you, to reflect to them the heart of the One who made you. It does not require perfection. Just as the moon reflects the glory of the sun though it has many blotches, is far dimmer than the sun, and is even a different color, it brings forth light to the world. The moon is not bright and beautiful because of it’s own glory, but because of the glory it reflects. A woman’s beauty is the same way.

If you are drawing others to your Creator, you are beautiful!

Rebecca close upYou may know, my husband and I had a Trisomy 18 baby who is now with Jesus. Rebecca had one more of chromosome number 18 than you and I have, which is why she had so many deformities (apparent ones, and ones unseen; including five major heart defects.) I do not believe that any of these irregularities came as a surprise to her Designer. I believe He chose each chromosome for her, just as He does for each of us.

I remember the day of Rebecca’s dedication. During the service I was holding her tiny body in my arms just staring at her delicate deformities, completely in awe how different she was. As we began singing “I sing for Joy at the works of your hands, forever I’ll love you, forever I’ll stand. Nothing compares to the promise I have in You” I realized I was holding in my arms a great work of the hands of a Mighty God. This child was not a mistake; she was a special design of a very creative Father.

Our baby was absolutely beautiful to me and to her daddy, and certainly to the One who created her. His Word says it, I believe it, and that is something that forever I will stand on. Why do I tell you this? Because I want you to know that you are beautiful to your Father in Heaven too; no matter what your imperfections may be, compare them only to the promises you have in Him.

.********

Catrina Welch is an image- and life-coach whose message is not as much “what not to wear” as it is, “Know Who You Are,” which is the title of her book of guidelines for your personal image identity. Catrina has also written a Bible study to help women overcome their image issues. It is titled Supreme MakeOver: a Rich and Refreshing Devotional Experience. Her other books include Footprints Through the Sand: a Consolidation of Life-altering stories about Loving and Loosing a Trisomy-18 Baby and Confident Beauty: Reflecting the One Who Made You with the Images in Your Mirror and Your Soul, which will be available soon.

If you are interested in getting these books or having Catrina come speak at your event, you can contact her at www.CatrinaWelch.com or on facebook.

 

God’s Comfort to our Friends and Family

 What an honor it was to be interviewed by talk show host Kellie Peterson of  Everyday Wisdom for Families this morning. Whether you got to hear it or not, I’d love to share with you the poem I read to her listeners.

This is a word God gave to me one night after laying Rebecca down to sleep. We shared it at her funeral less than three weeks later. Please feel free to print it and share it with someone you know who may be going through a difficult season. 

The Joy of the Lord is our strength.

This child is my gift to you, like a delicate flower.

Do not expect her life to last like that of a carnation.

Her purpose here is a quick and powerful one.

Enjoy each moment.

Do not waste time in meaningless comparison,

And do not get caught in the trap of self-pity,

Or you will miss the blessings I have in store for you.

I love you and long to bear this yoke with you.

I want to ease your pain; I do not want to take it away.

Because if I did, I would take away all the victories, the lessons,

The character being created in you.

I promise, I will never leave you, nor forsake you.

I will bear this load with you, if you just draw near to me.

Trust in me, and tell of the wonders you will see.

There are great riches in store for you,

But if you only look at the pain and sorrow, that is all you will see.

Look unto Me and my Son.

When you want to find comfort in the sympathy of others

When you feel as though no one understands,

When you are tempted to sit and compare your circumstances with others,

Look at the cross, look at the life of my Son.

He understands.

He knows what it is like to anticipate great trials and great pain.

He understands rejection and betrayal.

He knows misunderstandings and false accusations.

He understands what it is like to be raised by a father who is not his own.

He has felt every physical and emotional pain.

He has felt separation from Me,

And I have felt the great pain of losing a child I so dearly loved.

Let me bear this cross with you.

You have honored me as Creator and Master; right now, let me be your “Daddy.”

Climb into my lap, and I will give you rest.

Wait upon me and I will renew your strength.

Trust in Me, and I will provide all your needs.

But if you turn from Me, and blame Me, How can I reach you?

I will wait, and I will welcome you back when you are done with your fight,

But I will not fight back. I am a gentleman.

I will stand at the door and knock, but you must open the door.

Only then will I enter in; and you and I shall dine together.

I will be your God, I will provide for you, protect you, comfort you and counsel you.

I love you and My grace is sufficient for you.

My power is made perfect in weakness.

Give to me your challenges, I find that to be the greatest gift of all.

And you will know my peace.

****

Catrina Welch is an image- and life-coach whose message is not as much “what not to wear” as it is, “Know Who You Are,” which is the title of her book of guidelines for your personal image identity. Catrina has also written a Bible study to help women overcome their image issues. It is titled Supreme MakeOver: a Rich and Refreshing Devotional Experience. Her other books include Footprints Through the Sand: a Consolidation of Life-altering stories about Loving and Loosing a Trisomy-18 Baby and Confident Beauty: Reflecting the One Who Made You with the Images in Your Mirror and Your Soul, which will be available soon.

If you are interested in getting these books or having Catrina come speak at your event, you can contact her at www.CatrinaWelch.com or on facebook.

Don’t Waist Your Pain

Today would have been my baby’s 13th birthday had God granted her the time. He didn’t; He gave her only three quick weeks of life.


Shattered dreams leave deep wounds in our hearts, and the healing is a slow process. It takes time to work through all the pain and confusion; but when we do, we receive beautiful life-changing revelations that should be shared with others. It is easy to become bitter, afraid and recluse, it is more challenging to believe there is good in the midst of bad. Our family has chosen to stand on our belief that God has a plan that we can trust and that He works all things to the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28)

Rebecca was a Trisomy 18 baby with many physical challenges that gave her a 95% chance of being stillborn. I was blessed to hold my baby 21 many more days than other Trisomy moms; how could I complain?

Today I have been preparing our traditional fish dinner and setting out little keepsakes for my three other children to remind them again this year that though I miss their sister, I celebrate them on her birthday. Rebecca’s short life had a big impact on their lives. That is not a bad thing. It is good for them to have a story to tell, especially if it encourages others.

I used to thi

nk that my testimony was nothing to offer because it was so simple and pure. Now I feel the pain I have suffered has brought much value to my story. I wouldn’t trade my sorrows for the world. In many ways I think of my loss as an honor. I do not like being the center of attention, but it seems to me that the difficulties, caused others to watch us, which gives us an opportunity to shine and bring hope and courage to our onlookers – who may not have ever noticed us otherwise. The process of grief has shown me that life isn’t all about me.

I want God to get the glory in all I do, and if it means being humble enough to let others look, and vulnerable enough to share my heart, even at the risk of criticism or pity, then so be it. I don’t want to waist my pain.

 

In order to give others the most beautiful things in life, sometimes we must hold a stem full of thorns.  Let’s do it anyway.

 

****

Catrina Welch is an image- and life-coach whose message is not as much “what not to wear” as it is, “Know Who You Are,” which is the title of her book of guidelines for your personal image identity. Catrina has also written a Bible study to help women overcome their image issues. It is titled Supreme MakeOver: a Rich and Refreshing Devotional Experience. Her other books include Footprints Through the Sand: a Consolidation of Life-altering stories about Loving and Loosing a Trisomy-18 Baby and Confident Beauty: Reflecting the One Who Made You with the Images in Your Mirror and Your Soul, which will be available soon.

If you are interested in getting these books or having Catrina come speak at your event, you can contact her at www.CatrinaWelch.com or on facebook.