Broken Breeds More Broken

July 25, 2016

2016-07-23 10.47.45

Photo credit – Art by Ian Melchor

Brokenness. Devastation. Sitting on the kitchen floor, huddled in a corner…don’t ever want to get out of bed and live in a world where this pain is your reality – broken.

We know it well, those of us who have said the ultimate goodbye. Heard the words…

I’m so sorry. There is no heartbeat.”

“Your son is incompatible with life.”

“He isn’t breathing.”

What happens when that kind of grief enters a soul, waging war on your heart, changing the very fabric of all that you are. It lives there within you. An ache you learn to live with, like a wounded soldier learns to walk with a limp. It’s there, even with the passing of time. There with the healing. Even there when beauty is born from the ashes. Some let it ooze, the grief…with it’s cleansing bitterness. And, some let it fester.

It should bring us together. Like a sisterhood or the kind of brotherhood one experiences on the battlefield. It should help us to love deeper. Hold on to the fleeting beauty of this life. It should make us want to soak in the rare moments of joy when they come. Laughing with all that we are when laughter graces our lips. Because we know. We know how very precious this gift of life is. We should never want to squander it again. Right?

We should understand one another. Stand together in this wilderness of pain and sorrow and grief and healing and joy and life and love and brokenness. Because we get it. And, not everyone does. So that should make us more tender…more gentle…more compassionate with one another and with others. We should walk together in this…so that none should walk alone.


Families fight over mementos and inheritances before the casket is in the ground. A tiny seed of brokenness grows into a mountain of bitterness as people ignore the feelings of the person in front of them, because it’s hard to see past your own pain when all you feel is a gaping hole in your bleeding heart. That pain becomes bigger than everything else for awhile. And, for some people…forever. If we hold on to it, that pain can divide and destroy. It can fill you and everyone around you with the kind of ugliness that consumes until all that’s left is broken.

In that festering pain, as we seek a sisterhood…a brotherhood…we feel separated from those who don’t understand. So, we huddle together with those who do. And, some of those relationships forge a bond of family we never knew existed. Beauty abounds.

But, others…in the depths of that inescapable, gnawing pain…instead of forming a bond…form a web of hurt that just keeps growing.







Because all that broken when left unattended to…unhealed…breeds more broken.

Broken breeds more broken.

But, it doesn’t have to. It shouldn’t be the legacy of our babies’ lives to leave a path of brokenness and destruction that honors no one. We don’t have to live there in that pit of pain and despair. We don’t have to allow hurt to consume us by living in the place where every word spoken stings…where misunderstanding abounds, driving canyons of forgiveness and bitterness deep into our souls.

Let’s ask ourselves a very difficult question…one that may not be popular or comfortable.

Do we really want the legacy of our babies’ lives to be one of bitterness, perpetual pain, and brokenness?

Do we want to be left with a path of destroyed relationships bred from the pain of our empty arms?

Do we really want to allow our brokenness to breed more broken?


What if we started to emerge from the tangled web of brokenness by not holding on to the hurts?

What if we let go of the list of hurts and wounds born in the midst of grief, the ones that attach like a tumor draining life and hope from us?

What if we surrender and even forgive?

What if we look beyond our pain to see the hurts in the person beside us…not to compare or measure…but to stand for a healing moment in the canyon together?

What if we began to build a legacy of love not just because we are the mothers and fathers of babies who died…but because we are the parents of babies who lived? What if that became our identity?

A legacy of life…not death.

What if hope replaced despair?

It can. It truly can. Because just like broken breeds more broken….hope breeds more hope.

There’s a bible verse that speaks of reaping what we sow. In this world we have a chance to reap seeds of more pain and destruction or seeds of hope and healing. I know the pain of losing my child…the pain of not being understood. I know what it is like to have that pain ignored or belittled. But, living in a place of pain and darkness will never make those very valid injustices right. It will never heal my broken places or yours. Everyone carries pain…even if  yours feels so big right now it’s hard to see anything beyond it. You are not the only broken one. Everyone needs grace. Everyone needs compassion. Everyone needs healing. Everyone is stumbling through this life, doing the best we can to survive.

What is so very interesting is that when we do that…when we look beyond our own pain to see the needs of the person in front of us…it begins to hurt a little less. The more love we pour out, the more love fills our hearts. The more hope we offer, the more hope we feel. The more grace we give, the more grace we are given.

We can set ourselves free. We don’t have to live in a sea of broken because they died. We can embrace a life of hope because they lived.

Broken doesn’t have to breed more broken when it’s replaced with hope. Instead all those broken pieces can grown to form a tapestry of beauty…if we let them.





  • Kelly Gerken

    Kelly Gerken is the president and founder of Sufficient Grace Ministries, an organization providing perinatal hospice services, bereavement support and Dreams of You memory-making materials to families facing the loss of a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth, infant death and the death of a young child. Kelly has walked through the loss of three of her five children, and now reaches out to walk with other grieving families as an SGM perinatal loss support doula and SGM Remembrance Photographer. She is a creator and facilitator of training for birth professionals on compassionate care for bereaved parents facing perinatal loss. Her memoir, Sufficient Grace, was published in 2014. You can read more about Kelly's journey of grace, hope and healing and the outreaches of SGM, order resources or find her book here:


    • Catherine

      July 25, 2016 at 3:35 pm

      I really needed this message today. Thank you for your beautifully written words!

      1. Kelly Gerken


        July 25, 2016 at 3:42 pm

        Thank you! So grateful the article was encouraging to you. Sending love and grace. 🙂

    • Caro

      July 28, 2016 at 5:03 am

      Thank you for your beautiful words.

    Comments are closed.

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