Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Author Interview - Stephanie Leinbach

Yesterday I shared a little about Light My Candle, Prayers in the Darkness of Miscarriage by Stephanie J. Leinbach. Stephanie graciously agreed to share a little bit about her life and book.


Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your family?

My husband and I have been married for almost 6 years. We are blessed to have two little girls in our life. Jenica just turned four and Tarica is 18 months. We have two children who have gone to live with our Heavenly Father. My husband is an appliance service technician, and I am a stay-at-home mom.
We live in a lovely mountain valley in Central Pennsylvania and attend Tyrone Mennonite Church, a recently established outreach congregation.

What prompted you to write a book and share your story?
 I didn't plan to write a book on miscarriage and certainly my story is not so unique, for many women know the pain of miscarriage. I wrote in order to deal with my pain and to give my broken dreams to God. As I shared some of what I wrote with other women, they encouraged me to open myself up on a broader scale. God began to open doors and gave me a burden for those who are grieving the loss of a baby. If I can help someone by putting my heart and soul into the pages of a book, then I want to do it, regardless of the fear that accompanies opening myself up in this way.

If you had one thing to share with a woman grieving a miscarriage, what would it be?
 Grieve. Allow yourself to mourn the loss of your baby. However, while you grieve, find something to keep your hands busy. With the circumstances surrounding the loss of our first baby, I was too physically weak in the first few weeks to do anything productive. This gave me too much time to focus on my pain. Looking back, I see how that prolonged my grieving process.

How can one best encourage a friend who is grieving a miscarriage?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. We are all unique, and we all respond differently to grief. But there is one mistake made frequently by those who wish to comfort: our desire to fix the person and the problem. She says she is angry at God for taking her baby; I start preaching God's goodness and how we need to accept what happens as God's will. She says she struggles with envy toward those who have babies; I remind her of all the wonderful things she does have. She says she fears pregnancy; I say brightly, "Oh, trust in the Lord." She says she feels like she failed as a woman; I tell her it wasn't her fault, and she needs to stop telling herself that. Am I giving her room to grieve? Or am I rushing her toward the healing I wish her to know? It seems everything these days is high-speed, but grief is not. Negative emotions are part of the grief package. If I tell her too often not to feel what she can't help feeling, she will stop talking to me about it

Allow her to express her pain. Listen. Ask questions. But don't push her toward healing. God and Time are the true healers.

Thanks so much, Stephanie, for sharing your pain and God's healing through your book. I'm praying along with you that  Light My Candle can be a blessing to many women. 

Stephanie gave me permission to share an excerpt from the book with you. I had no idea how to choose a favorite. I've changed my mind half a dozen times. But here is one of Stephanie's poems which reminded me of my first hollow Mother's Day.

An Empty Motherhood

Oh, God,
     I am a mother,
                     aren't I?
Even though my child
    lived but weeks
          beneath my heart
and now dwells 
          within Your arms,
that still makes me a mother,
                    right?
I am a mother who
     never held her little one,
           never whispered a prayer at a bedside.
I never heard my baby cry
           because my baby has gone
     to a place of no tears,
                                no pain,
                  not even a prayer,
                              for God is right there.
I can only cry,
                     and hurt,
              and pray.
God, I know You're here,
     but I wish I could see You,
                as my baby does.
I am a mother- 
                 a mother without a baby;
     I must pray for strength
                          to move on.
I'm letting my baby 
                  rest in Your arms.
Thank You, Lord,
                 that there's room enough 
                                for me there, too.

Excerpt from Light My Candle, Prayers in the Darkness of Miscarriage by Stephanie J. Leinbach

Contact Stephanie at lightmycandle@abcmailbox.net to purchase Light My Candle. Or visit her blog to enjoy more of her writing.
   



7 comments :

  1. That is beautiful and will minister to many women...

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  2. beautiful, truly. I lost my first child, due to an ectopic pregnancy. It was horrible. I still cry, to this day, over 10 years later. Thank you for sharing this.

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  3. Wow I can't believe it. I even know Stephanie. We used to go to the same church. I used to be a secretary for her Dad. Then when I got married and moved away..... Stephanie took my place. Now I really do want the book since I know the author :) :) From what I read it looks like its a good book.......Thanks to Stephanie for sharing her heart !!!!!

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  4. This looks like a lovely book! Stephanie I applaud you for allowing God to use your experience. We lost a baby at birth- a bit different than a miscarriage, but many of the feelings are the same I think.

    I especially appreciated your wise words: Am I giving her room to grieve? Or am I rushing her toward the healing I wish her to know? It seems everything these days is high-speed, but grief is not. Negative emotions are part of the grief package. If I tell her too often not to feel what she can't help feeling, she will stop talking to me about it.

    So true and such a good reminder!

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  5. I too want to read her book We lost a baby 21 years ago And it was hard, people kept telling I was rally a baby. But it was. And I love her oldest name Jenica that is my youngest name. We have only seen it one other time.

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  6. Oops! There must be more than one Stephanie Leinbach. I thought she was my cousin. Sorry!

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  7. Although I never experience a miscarriage, I did experience years of infertility. There were so many Mother's Days that were painful as well as monthly reminders of another "No" from God. When I did share my sorrow with others, there were so many pat answers similar to what Stephanie mentioned. I just wanted someone to acknowledge my pain, give me a hug, maybe cry with me..........and say NOTHING. I hope I am a better comforter to people b/c of what I learned from that experience.
    By the way, 29 and 26 years ago, our gracious God sent us baby daughters through the process of adoption. He doeth all things well.

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I'm still learning how to be a joyful homemaker and I'd love to hear from you!

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