I really struggled with this project. The subject matter is incredibly heartbreaking and sacred for me, but I felt it was time to tell the story. It was extremely difficult to recall this time of my life but I hope that by doing so, I might be able to help someone. My audience is anyone who suffers from the loss of a child. The story comes from my own experience of my daughter’s passing.
My Little Ladybug, overcoming the lies of the adversary
Nothing could compare to the joy of finding out I was pregnant after almost two years of trying to conceive. This baby, a little girl, fulfilled my ultimate dream of motherhood; a dream I didn’t think would ever happen. During my pregnancy, I nicknamed her Ladybug. But the joy turned to anguish when our little Ladybug, our precious baby Ella, passed away just hours after birth.
In the wake of so much grief, I struggled to keep from drowning in despair. My husband and I clung to the gospel and found solace in the love of family and friends but my mind became a target of the adversary’s deceptive poison.
It isn’t fair. Why did this have to happen? I kept asking questions like these over and over. But it didn’t stop there. Horrible thoughts bombarded me: Ella’s death was my fault. I’d done something wrong that affected her fetal development. I delayed going to the hospital when I couldn’t feel her stir within me. If I’d gone sooner, she might still be here.
It got worse.
I was denied my miracle. God loved me but not the way He loved everyone else. I wasn’t good enough to deserve what I wanted. Ella was taken from me because I was unworthy to be her mother. I was unfit. I would have messed up.
Lies like these continued to brew in my mind, caustic and embittering. My faith hung by a thread, my arms were empty, and my heart drained like a sieve until I couldn’t bear any more breaking. I tried so hard to trust in the Lord, in His love and mercy, and in His plan of Salvation. But at the end of the day, I still missed my baby.
Satan doesn’t only use sin to frustrate our progress. He uses fear, guilt, envy, lies—anything that will turn us away from our Father in Heaven and dwell on our misery.
The first lie: Ella’s death was my fault.
No matter how much I wish it, I can’t change what has happened. But it was never my fault. Mosiah 4:9 states: “Believe in God ; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom , and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.”
Ella needed a body and through my husband and me, she received one. Then God called her home. I won’t understand His purposes until the next life. In the mean time, I can be faithful. Instead of thinking of Ella as something that was taken from me, I can think of my precious, perfect little girl as a beacon waiting to welcome us to exaltation. God is in charge.
The second lie: I was denied my miracle.
After so much fasting and prayer, the outcome was still different than what we wanted. That doesn’t mean God said “no.” He only said “not yet.” We still got our miracle. Because of Jesus Christ, Ella is mine forever. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, in an October 1999 Conference talk stated: “Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come.”
My miracle will come. But like the Nephites in 3 Nephi 19, I need to labor exceedingly to be where Christ is. Where Ella is.
The third lie: I was unworthy and unfit to be a mother.
This was perhaps the most heartbreaking lie of them all. The truth came to me simply and quietly: Ella was given to us because of our worthiness… not taken from us because of our inadequacy. In quiet moments when the veil is thin, this child will be able to reach through and touch the hearts of her family, bringing us closer to the light, closer to the truth.
Christ is the way, the truth, and the life.
I still miss my Ella every day. Though I’ve healed and gone on to have more beautiful children, I still have momentary stabs of sadness. But every day I rely on my Savior to remind me the truth: He created the whole earth and worlds without end. He is the beginning and the end, the light of the world, a god, a glorious, eternal, powerful Being. And yet he condescends to sit a while with a lonely woman who misses her baby.
God lives. He loves us. He has prepared a way for us to live eternally with those we hold most dear. These truths transcend all else. He taught me these truths through His gospel, through the Holy Spirit, and through Ella, my perfect child, my little Ladybug.
Sidebar Quote: “The Atonement also satisfies the debt justice owes to us by healing and compensating us for any suffering we innocently endure.” Elder D. Todd Christofferson
I’m almost thinking of combining elements from both of them.
images courtesy of Leigh Root Photography and Jen Roberts Photography
Photo of Elder Christofferson: http://media.ldscdn.org/images/media-library/church-leadership/first-presidency-and-quorum-of-the-twelve-apostles/elder-d-todd-christofferson-lds-560237-wallpaper.jpg
Magazine Spread project continued:
I took the lower sketch from above and created a shape map:
Then I inserted my pictures and text. I received wonderful critiques from classmates and from Brother Stucki. Melanie suggested moving the alignment of the pictures so they were both overlapping the center. Brother Stucki suggested blending the pictures into the background. He also suggested I let the type flow into the picture (making sure the type was still legible), align my columns, and turn the three-column first page into two columns.
Then I printed out my finished product and realized my colors were a bit off, along with a few other things I needed to fix. So I painstakingly went through every part that looked off and came up with this:
I really love how it turned out. I had it printed on 80 lb glossy white paper and my husband said it looked like it came from the Ensign! Here is a video of my final spread:
Fonts: Centaur (oldstyle), Avenir (Sans-serif), Great Vibes (decorative)
Pictures courtesy of Jen Roberts and Leigh Root. See above for link to Elder Christofferson picture source.