Sweet little Josie Duggar was due on March 18th, 2010...just four days after my Lily's due date. Two days after Lily's birthday. When I heard Michelle and Jim Bob were expecting at the same time I was, I felt a special connection to their family. I had always liked the Duggar family and loved how they are so open about their love for the Lord on their show. But, when I discovered that their sweet girl was literally just days younger than my girl, it made me like them even more. From then on, I knew that I would watch the show and see Josie, who would always remind me of Lily.
Well, those of you that know the Duggars, know that they fought long and hard to keep little Josie alive. Weighing in at a mere one pound, 6 ounces, Josie arrived at 25 weeks gestation, on December 10th, 2009. My precious cousin (Daniel's son, Owen) was born a day after that, on December 11th. So, that gave me another special connection with them. I was heartbroken to learn of her premature birth and that she wasn't doing well for a long time. I was always cheering this sweet girl on! I just don't understand that Lily made it PAST her due date and didn't make it. Yet, this precious preemie girl did. I am so thankful she did.
I don't watch The Duggars often, but when I do, it always takes my breath away to see how much Josie has grown. And I always think...that might be how Lily would look now, how she might be acting now.
This past fall, 2011, something tragic happened in the Duggar family that gave us something else in common, something I wish wasn't so. Michelle and Jim Bob were at a routine 19 week ultrasound and were thrilled to find out if the baby was a boy or girl. They waited and waited to hear that sweet, familiar flicker, but no heartbeat was found at that appointment. They discovered that their precious twentieth child had already gone home to be with the Lord, at around 18 weeks gestation. They were devastated and so was their whole family. Their sweet baby, due April 2012, would not be coming home with them.
I don't get cable television, but knew I wanted to watch the season finale of the Duggars, because it dealt with her miscarriage. So, for all those of you who want to watch the episode, but don't have cable or satellite, you can do so by purchasing the episode for $1.99 on amazon. You can make it full screen on the computer. We have a cord that allows us to connect it to the tv, which is pretty neat.
Anyways, when I looked up the episode, I saw that the original air date was March 27th. The anniversary of the day I buried my daughter. Another thing in common.
I really respected and liked how they handled the miscarriage, especially with being in the public eye. They got a lot of nasty comments, but they didn't allow that to change how they honored Jubilee's life. With such a big family, it was so beautiful and precious to see how much they all grieved the loss. How much they already loved this life. How much she, Jubilee Shalom, will always be a part of this family. A part that nobody else can replace. Just as nobody could ever replace Lily or take away the beauty and importance of her life. I think with abortion being an accepted part of this culture, people are less affected and saddened when someone miscarries or has a pregnancy loss. People aren't seeing the value and beauty of each individual LIFE. But, it is wonderful to see the Duggars standing up and being a voice for those that have lost babies. They are showing that it is a devastating loss that brings much sorrow. They are showing it is healthy and normal to grieve that loss. Yet our hope is in eternity...Our hope is in Jesus.
They got a lot of scrutiny for sharing Jubilee's photos. This really makes me upset. I too have gotten nasty comments about sharing Lily's photos. Yet, I won't let that stop me from sharing. Those are the only photos I will ever have of my child. Those are the only memories I will ever have of her/with her. And I am proud of my beautiful daughter and want to show her off, just as any mother wants to show her child off. All babyloss moms can understand this. The Duggars had pictures done by Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, a nonprofit organization that offers free professional portraiture photography to those experiencing pregnancy and infant loss. It is a gift of remembrance. A gift to honor that child's legacy. I so wish my hospital had told me about this service. But, I am so thankful the Duggars got it. I am thankful they are breaking the silence about a topic that so many are uncomfortable with.
The episode shows Michelle and Jim Bob at the appointment, when they first find out about the loss. It also shows Jubilee's service and burial. They played part of the song, "I Will Carry You" by Selah on the show. They played it at her service, which is also the song I played at Lily's services. I won't give away any more, so those of you that want to watch it can. It was beautiful.
This is the recording of the letter Michelle wrote to Jubilee Shalom, which was read at her service. It is precious. I also wrote a letter to Lily and read it at her Celebration of LIFE Service. You can also read what was written about their loss on the Duggar's blog.