Love with reckless abandon

Quite a few years ago, I did a poster presentation at a conference that turned out to be painfully dull. None of my target audience was very interested in my discussion of Perinatal Loss interventions. Oh Lord, why did you bring me here and am I really going to stay overnight and interact with these folks again tomorrow?

Then a gentleman came by, a vendor from some company selling equipment of some sort. He was well groomed with perfectly pressed clothes and a proper briefcase. He said to me “I have been the recipient of this type of care”   “Your baby died?”   “Yes, would you like to see a picture?”  “oh yes”.

He showed me a photo of a lovely term baby who looked a lot like him….and he told me his story. His baby girl was born just shy of a year before…sudden unexpected stillbirth. We spoke for a long time about many aspects of his daughters death and the decisions and experiences that followed. He was a man of faith and he focused on this part of his healing.

“What are you going to do for your wife on the anniversary of the day your daughter was born?”  “I have NO idea” and his face showed that he had thought of that long and hard.

And then words started flowing from my mouth…words that came from someplace else. Under normal circumstances, I give ideas and options and speak in generalities, but suddenly I was giving very specific directions. I wonder if maybe this man had prayed to God to tell him what to do for his wife on this special day and I was pulled into this as an unsuspecting accomplice.

“Buy her this book…Life Touches Life by Lorraine Ash, get her flowers and a card and in the card write this (I never tell people what to write in cards…who is controlling my mouth?)  ‘On the day we married, I had no idea what lied ahead, good or bad…Im glad that if I had to go through this, I went through it with you’ “. I have a lot of words in any given situation, but this is nuts.

“Could you record that on my phone?”   “No”  (the whole experience was weird enough without that).

“And she is pregnant again, 12 weeks, and I’m afraid to love this baby.”

“Which is worse, the death of a baby who is loved or for a well baby snuggled in his mother who is not loved by their own parents out of fear?  God doesn’t give us the capacity to love so that we can dole it out in safe little morsels. Would you consider loving your baby with reckless abandon?”

He reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a small notebook and pen and spoke as he wrote… “Love with reckless abandon” then returned it neatly to his suitcoat.

We said good bye and he left, never to be heard from again. I looked around at my presentation for a second and paused….then I packed it all up and went home.

My work there was done.


  1. Im expecting my rainbow baby and decided to do this from day one – Love with Reckless Abandon – absolutely beautiful!

  2. We learned on a Thursday that our son had failed out of college (rather spectacularly…$75,000 worth of spectacularly) and that Saturday he told us that his girlfriend was pregnant. I care for pregnancy losses everyday and my very first thought was “If the baby dies tomorrow, it would be wrong for him/her to go to heaven not being loved by thier grandmother…the time to love is RIGHT NOW”.

    The baby thrived and now lives in my house (and my heart).

    • Five months after I lost my son at 12 weeks, 5 days (I have five prior living children) I was pregnant again. I was very happy and simultaneously terrified. I knew women who had decided that they wouldn’t consider themselves pregnant until “out of the danger zone” – whenever that is. I decided that I wanted this baby to know he or she was loved from the moment I found out. I talked to him, prayed with him, kept my hand on my stomach and said goodnight every night, thanking God for ‘one more day’. I lost that baby at 13 weeks. That morning I couldn’t find his heartbeat on the doppler and it was confirmed by ultrasound. I was devastated, but not nearly as devastated as I would have been had I thought that this baby had left the world unloved. My husband kept reminding me that he (it was a boy) had never known anything but love and comfort from the moment he was conceived.

      • Yes Anna, exactly ! I have been a parent for 24 years on Saturday and I will assure everyone, there is NO “safe zone” during or after pregnancy !!

  3. MB

    You do not give yourself enough credit. If you have to believe in a god, then at least give him/her enough credit to know that one needs to stand aside from children to let them make their own way in the world. God is probably clapping his/her hands at your ability to have given such wonderfully kind advice to that man just when he needed it.
    By the way, I like the concluding popular culture reference.


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