Grief, International Pregnancy and Infant Loss: the Genesis Breath

Over the last few years, I’ve been fortunate enough to live close to the water. We see it daily. The beach, my sacred place. To look out at the horizon, watch the setting and rising sun, see the waves as they roll in, it’s mesmerising.

When I was a little girl, my dad told me that waves always come in sets of seven. He said you could count them and after the first big wave crashed, six more would follow, each losing a little power until there was a pause, stillness…

Over the years, I’ve tested this theory numerous times, and still, I am unsure if he was correct. At times it seems the waves indeed follow this pattern, but mostly the patterns are unknown.

Grief can be likened to the pattern of waves. Some will tell you that there are stages of grief, that there are waves, seasons, phases… But, like the ocean, mostly it is unknown. I can’t tell you why for some, grief is reopened by the passing of a significant date, the glimpse of an item of clothing, a place that holds memory. While for others, grief lays dormant then catches them off guard unexpectedly.

Like the ocean, it is a mystery.

Wave of Light Service

On Tuesday night, I had the honour of sharing at the Wave of Light service in conjunction with world Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. If you’ve followed my journey, you may know I wrote about my own experience in the chapter titled ‘Dani,’ from Daughter Wait! At the conclusion of the Wave of Light service participants are invited to light a candle representing the wave of light that will continue to ripple across the earth.

The most beautiful thing about light is that it cannot coexist with darkness. Grief can feel dark at times. Like the shadows cast in the corners of a room. However, when light is present, it doesn’t matter how small or insignificant it is, light pierces the shadows, dispelling the darkness. Light can be borrowed, shared, passed on and carried.

To consider a wave of light, shared across the globe on this date brings hope. You are not alone. We are not alone. As we each lit a candle in honour of the precious babies we’ve lost too soon, my prayer was that Hope would be illuminated in hearts.

Hope for a brighter tomorrow, permission to feel joy and love—and the peace that these lovely feelings do not diminish sadness in any way. It is possible to feel both joy and loss. To acknowledge the pain yet still have Hope shine its kind warmth again.

The Genesis Breath

The word breath framed last night’s service. It seems fitting to me as a person of faith, a believer in God to mention the breath. At the beginning of time, the Bible records God making man, people, you and I. After forming man from the dust of the earth He breathes His breath into us bringing life for the first time.

The Greek word for breath is the word ‘pneuma.’ It is interchangeable with the word spirit. It is as though God breathed both breath and spirit within us.

Grief can feel as though we have lost our breath, that our spirit is crushed. It doesn’t surprise me that one of the main antidotes for anxiety is adopting a regular time of intentional breath and meditation. Implementing these calming practises, remembering that life began with the Genesis Breath brings us back to a place where we are conscious of His presence. Conscious of His life, His love and His Spirit within us once again.

Maybe it’s time to make the Genesis Breath part of your daily habits. Try it. Close your eyes, take three deep breaths listening to the sound of your inhalation and exhalation. Consider the Original Breath as you do. I trust it will make a difference to your day and your intention with God.

Thinking of you,


Riordan family

Carly resides on of the Gold Coast, Australia with her husband and two girls. She is the Author of the much loved Daughter Wait! a memoir on dating and relationships. Her writing is conversational, heartfelt and will leave you feeling refreshed and inspired.

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