Pain with Purpose; Peace in the Messy
May 2023 Issue
by Edwina Hoyle
Photography by (top) Cassidy Dunn Photography
Consider the fact that one in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage. Imagine leaving the hospital with an empty baby carrier knowing you must now plan a funeral. Rebecca Childers-Fairchild and her husband, Luke Fairchild, have experienced this loss nine times.
Through the grief and pain, God gave them a mission: To help others who experience child loss. They launched Fifty-Eleven Things, a three phase business and ministry. Their mission is to design and distribute Christ-centered products, resources, and experiences that will become household tools for managing life, strengthening marriages, processing grief and promoting healing. They started by creating and marketing journals to help others “seek peace in the messy” and will use the proceeds to move to phase two—resources and classes to strengthen marriages and offer helpful tools after child loss. Phase three is to build retreat experiences for families as they process grief related to child loss. “It’s all in God’s hands, all designed to find peace in the messy,” Rebecca said.
“We weren’t meant to fly past our emotions. God created us with emotions, and it’s okay to grieve despite cultural expectations. Our business was birthed as a result of our pain. Someone else’s mountain may be a mole hill to you. Pause and be there for them. If you haven’t experienced something, you can’t understand. It’s a huge deal.”
Rebecca said after their third miscarriage, their marriage barely survived, but God intervened. A pastor at their church asked her what he could pray for just for her. “It was the first time I broke down, and I couldn’t stop crying,” she said. “The church had launched an infertility support group, and we went just to be flies on the wall. It blew me away. God gave us a voice that night.” Soon Rebecca and Luke took over leadership of the group.
“The group revitalized our marriage. We learned how to reconnect in our intimacy, something nobody wants to talk about. There is so much pressure in a marriage bed, it’s a task. You have to take temperatures, consider timing…but we learned to pray in our intimate moments and take it to God. Change it from a task back to how it was in the beginning. We learned to fight for our us.” Rebecca said they came to understand God’s vision for them was to help others navigate child loss and grief. “I’ve learned if you share your story, God gives the opportunity to help others.”
Then they lost five more babies—one every three months, and now had eight angel babies. The pain was almost unbearable, and it was highly difficult to function. “We dried up and retreated. We left the group and the church.” Later they found a hospital chapel where they met a nurse who helped them.
“We learned to be more mindful with emotions. Sit with it, feel the emotion, and intentionally be present. We have five senses, so, ask what are you feeling? What are you smelling, touching? Don’t linger in the emotion and let it pull you down. Everyone has triggers and life is messy and imperfect. My husband helped me and showed up for me when I was swirling in anger and emotion. He is my purpose partner, and God gives us blessings, mercies and joys. Perfection isn’t possible, so be present.”
Twelve years ago, their son, Skyler, was born, and when he was about three years old, he began to pray for a baby brother or sister. In 2020 Rebecca became pregnant and Skyler was very excited about having a baby brother, and they named him Walker. Unfortunately, Walker joined their other eight angel babies. Rebecca and Luke had to help Skyler deal with his little boy grief, as well as their own, explaining that birth and death are both part of their story. “We talked about how we face our fears, acknowledge our pain, and go through it, and how to focus on how we respond. And we prayed,” Rebecca said. “We all process things differently.”
Today Skyler is over the moon. He has a 14-month old sister named Luna. “We call him Sky and Luna means moon. He kisses her so much, and she now blows kisses to him. They are almost 11 years apart, and we weren’t sure how it would work out. He feeds her and takes care of her. And, he would like another baby.”
“Our blessings are the bookends to our sandwich filled with hurts. We have two living children and nine angel babies tucked between their births. After great loss comes an opportunity for healing; however, restoration is not spontaneous. There is an intentional component to pulling oneself up by the bootstraps, and taking a step or two in a direction of recovery.”
At Home: Rebecca lives in Beaufort with her family, and her mother, for whom she is a caregiver.
Teacher and Mom: She home-schools her children.
Grandmother Wisdom: The name of their business, Fifty-Eleven Things, comes from Rebecca’s grandmother who used the phrase. She would say, “I have fifty-eleven things to do” to explain how busy she was.
Learn More: For more information visit FiftyElevenThings.com.