Stephanie Paige Cole
Your life began and
ended within my womb
I am a sacred space
because of you
It all began with this short poem. A short poem filled with so much meaning for so many women. It’s first appearance debuted in a book called To Linger on Hot Coles. This book is a collection of writings from mothers around the globe pouring their grief about the loss of their babies. Stillborn but still loved. So.very.loved.
I have despised my body for years. For the things it hasn’t done, can’t do and even for the things it has done-to my babies. And then The Sacred Project helped to change that, to begin the process of loving and respecting my body for what it is. Four little lives began and ended in my womb. Four little angels that knew nothing in this sinful world but love. Pure love. And I find that beautiful. They will never feel deceived. They will never feel defeated. They will never feel the trenches of grief. Just love. That’s all my babies have and will ever know.
And I suppose I gave that gift to them.
As much it aches.
This project was led by writer Stephanie Paige Cole of The Sweet Pea Project and filmmaker Pia Dorer of It’s Not All Black & White. The Sacred Project is a collection of images, voice clips and the most beautiful music created by Ian Aeillo of 497 Mothers from 17 countries honoring 727 babies who left this world before they even entered it outside the womb. A special necklace was designed by Larisa Barth of Held Your Whole Life with the beautiful mandala designed by Carly Marie Dudley of Project Heal. I look up to these contributors so much as they have held such a strong voice for awareness and advocacy to inspire healing after the loss of a baby. I can only hope to be “one of them” someday. You can learn more about them here.
Bret and I felt an immediate need to participate-to truly honor my body for the first time in six years.
So I told Bret, please make the image feminine and strong. I put my trust in him and he made the most beautiful freehand painting across my belly, across my womb. We were pregnant with Hope and didn’t even know yet. I hope he felt our love that night. The love of his Mommy and Daddy. The tears, the gentle strokes across my belly, the laughter and the beauty of that night.
This body has been through a lot. So much I can’t even remember to be honest. Tests that I never knew existed-in that position, drugs that made me almost lose my mind, injections that felt like glue being driven into my body, five IUI’s, four pregnancies, three D&C procedures, a manually removed placenta, induced child-birth, engorged breasts filled with milk and no baby to feed. I have urinated on more sticks that I care to remember. LH strips, pregnancy tests, hundreds of blood tests. I grew to despise this body that I am forever stuck with. But this project helped me to breathe and to refocus as my husband painted my belly for two hours. I quickly began to forget about all of that and remember my babies. It was worth it all.
They make it worth it all.
I am a sacred space because of them.
Here are some other brave Mama’s who participated:
Here is the film created to honor the sacred space of other mamas like me. Somewhere in the collage is my photo and I am so honored to have my photo aside these hundreds of brave women. Thank you Sacred Project for helping me heal just an ounce more. The love and dedication has been so obvious from the very start. Every personal email, every detail, everything about this video pours out love. Thank you.
Hint: At the end of the film you will see the babies names scroll out of the mandala. My babies, Faith, Harbor, Jake & Hope scroll out of the center left gold leaf.