Recording artist and author Becky Nordquist tells me that one in four women will experience pregnancy or infant loss. Even while delivering this jarring statistic, her voice contains a hard-earned joy that bubbles over with such hopefulness that you are immediately drawn in to her story.
With the October 15th debut of Before We Said Hello, a project which includes two song recordings and devotional book released through Music for the Soul, Becky has bravely chosen to share her story of overcoming grief with other women and families who mourn. She and her family have endured five pregnancy losses and one stillbirth, a baby boy named Niklas.
What was once a taboo topic has now found a voice in women like Becky who no longer wish to hide their pain.
“Our culture has changed so much with social media and we’re more open about sharing things like this. But there’s a courageousness even within a lot of churches today to bring to light things that used to be hidden. I feel like there’s this beautiful movement. It’s about being honest and not hiding that we’re flawed and broken and that we live in a flawed and broken world. Our only answer is the hope of Christ. What is hidden can’t be healed. Because where the light is, darkness can’t remain. There’s a common thread in this – isolation, guilt, and shame.”
There is great significance in the date which was chosen to release Becky’s songs and devotional. Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day is observed on October 15th annually across the globe, and she wanted to mark the day in memory of all those who have lost babies.
The project started coming together after Becky attended a small house concert in Nashville. Having already worked with Grammy Award-winning songwriter/recording artist David Baroni, Becky was introduced to Dove Award-winning songwriter Steve Siler. Steve is also the founder of Music for the Soul, which is a community of professional musicians, therapists, pastors, and ministry leaders committed to offering life-giving resources to those whose hearts are hungry for understanding, self-worth, wholeness, and peace.
Steve would eventually ask her to record “Before We Said Hello,” which joins the song “Heaven’s Playground” in this project release. The day baby Niklas was buried, Becky stood by his graveside on a cold January day, and was having a hard time leaving him there. But God gave her a vision of comfort.
“He gave me this picture of this little blonde-haired boy running through a meadow of wildflowers toward outstretched arms that had nail scars in the hands, with playgrounds in the background behind him. And there were children laughing and running and playing in the playground. It just gave me such a peace and assurance that he’d never know pain and he would only know the love of a perfect father.”
The devotional which accompanies the project was a challenge for Becky. Music is her specialty, and she never expected to have to produce a book. She wrote much of the material, but also called on friends and strangers to contribute their own stories. Two special ones came from her own brother, and a touching story of a woman who hadn’t spoken of her grief for 50 years.
“We tried to create a resource so if you don’t know what to give or do – if you want to do something more, you can get the book and get the music and they can keep it for when they are ready. Because you’re not always ready right away.”
Becky is awestruck at how God has “plucked” her out amidst her familiar home of chicken, horse, and goat farms (she still owns goats today). The coming months promise to be a whirlwind, as Becky will be taking her songs of hope across the country.
“This is a place where God wants to heal and move, and I am humbled. The best part of traveling and doing all of this stuff is the moments where I get to put my arms around people and help to be a tear-catcher of their faces and show them the love of a God who walks with them and has not abandoned them in their sorrow. There is no greater calling in life than to be a vessel for Him to use and express His love for mankind.”
She offers some advice for those who don’t know what to do for someone after a pregnancy loss.
“Just be present and give them the gift of grief. So many people want to slap a Band-aid on it or some nice, quick Christian truth. I know the word of God and I love and cherish the word of God. It is my fire. But in a moment like that it wasn’t what I needed, because I knew all the truth. I just needed someone to hold me and fight with me. Asking is fine because everybody’s different.”
And to those who are currently grieving a loss (women, men, and young siblings), Becky would like you to know one thing.
“You’re not alone. We’re all walking this journey together. But you’re not alone because you have a God that helps you walk forward. You don’t get over this. You learn to walk forward with it as you hold the hand of mighty God. Your baby’s life matters. And it doesn’t matter if the baby wasn’t planned, or if you didn’t really want the baby. It doesn’t matter if you were four weeks or four months gestation, or the baby was four days old – your baby’s life matters. God doesn’t waste one step of our journey. He wastes nothing that we lay down before him. He will take up the broken pieces and fashion them together, and they will be the most beautiful thing that you could imagine. In the middle of heartache it’s hard to see that anything good can come from it, but when we hand it over to him, it does.”
Learn more about Becky and the stories behind Before We Said Hello here: