Bloom: A Christ-Centered Wellness Blog – Part 2 Ruth’s Journey

My name is Ruth Harris.

My passion for helping others has been a lifelong calling from God. I grew up in an ordinary family, with four kids, a dad who faithfully went to work every day taking the subway into town, and a stay at home mother who made everything from scratch. When I was still in college, I experienced the disruption that major illness can bring into the family through my mother’s battle with breast cancer. We were surprised, unprepared, and devastated, by her cancer.

After enduring surgery, chemo, and radiation, she lost her three year battle at age 47. Our entire family was torn apart. We had no grieving support, the family dynamics changed, we began coping on our own, and everyone was trying to make sense of this loss in their relationship with God—all by themselves. This journey and my mother’s legacy taught me so much. It made me treasure life, good health for myself and others, and I gained an appreciation of navigating major illness, death, and the many impacts it has on a person’s life.

Fast forward a few years…

I was a busy mom trying to be super woman. I was working night shifts as a labor and delivery nurse at Rex, and volunteering at school and church. I tried to do it all. I was constantly tired, irritable, and extremely overcommitted. During this time, I experienced the full-term stillbirth loss of my third child. Life came to a stop. I was devastated for the second time in my life. The unexpected loss of a baby brings a grief journey that is very isolating. It takes time for physical, emotional, and spiritual healing. Healing from this experience placed me in a unique position as a L&D nurse throughout the years, as I continued to help take care of other patients going through the loss of a baby.

Fast forward once more…

A few years ago, I was with my daughter and her husband, when unexpectedly she started to go into labor at 18 weeks. There was nothing anyone could do. My granddaughter, Lennox, was born alive and then passed away. It was heartbreaking. This same child had been with me when I found out my baby had no heartbeat so many years ago; and now we were going through this together again, but in reverse.
Seeing her go through her own struggle with grief and walking with her through her physical wellness journey (including testing and surgery, followed by her struggle to get pregnant again) has led me to an appreciation of those who walk through infertility.

She recently walked through another difficult pregnancy and near loss, but I am overjoyed to say that little Sloane was born at 34 weeks! She is still in the NICU as I write this. I have learned again, this time about how very challenging it is on many levels to have a baby in the NICU, and the impact that going back and forth to the hospital has on all aspects of one’s spiritual journey, health, and wellness.

Throughout all these experiences God has been with me. My faith has been reshaped and strengthened, and I have felt Him calling me to apply what I have learned in order to help others.

I read about Lily of the Valley Catholic Ministry in our church bulletin. There was an invitation to attend a mass in commemoration of St Gianna and for all going through prenatal and postnatal challenges and loss. I went and it was beautiful. I felt the Holy Spirit telling me to reach out to Lizzy and Whitney.

It is my prayer that by working with this ministry, I can help support others in their journey by putting Christ at the center and addressing aspects of the whole person in order to foster wellness— despite seasons of uncertainty, grief, fear, and worry.

Pregnancy, and or trying to become pregnant is a sacred time in a marriage. Through the sacrament of marriage, we are, in cooperation with God, giving of our total selves in the creation of life. It is a vulnerable and sacred space for both husband and wife. I hope the upcoming blog posts are helpful to you in some small way.

I am grateful to meet you all here, together, at the feet of Christ.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” ~ Phillipians 4:13