Finding Belonging When You Don’t Have a Name

Out of Place – Amy’s Story

I never thought about names and labels and how they can affect feelings of belonging until I became a wife. Being “Ron’s wife” was my first label and I was eager to be a part of that club. Of course I’ve always been someone’s daughter, sister, or friend, but those labels represented someone else’s relationship to me, they didn’t identify who I was. Being a mom was another label I was longing to have and when I became one, it became my identity. Until it wasn’t.

After 4 short months of relishing this new identity of “motherhood,” my son unexpectedly passed away. Immediately I felt lost. The transition into motherhood felt like a natural progression but the transition of falling back out of it felt unnatural and harder to navigate. Not only did I feel like a misfit among new moms, but also ones that had never had a child.

Who am I?

I was living in between two worlds with no real connection or purpose to either one. Losing Alex made my world turn upside down. Not only from the grief to follow but also trying to make sense of what was supposed to be the natural order in life. I’m a very sequential person and wired in a way where order is required for me to function properly. But I wasn’t sure where to go from here. If my life had a new direction, where would it begin?

I felt completely out of place. Who was I now? What do people call me? What do I call myself? Where do I identify? There is no name or label when you lose a child. Labels like widow or widower are verbally recognizable and offer insight into someone’s situation. Yet, there is nothing to identify the loss of a child. Although the grief and pain are similar and heartbreaking, they have a name, a group to which they can identify with. I didn’t have that and so I struggled with the question of who am I?

My lack of identity felt isolating and lonely. I didn’t know where to lean in. I wanted to be with all the other new moms, but I no longer had a reason to be in those spaces. Alternately, surrounding myself with women that didn’t have children felt odd too. I had already made the choice to leave my childless status behind and I couldn’t undo the brief joys and experiences that motherhood had brought me.

Where is my identity?

Months later, and without still having a handle on where I belonged, I took a leap of faith and chose to start over. I was desperate to have my identity restored. I assumed if I could replace the experience with my son, I would feel connected again to the community I wanted so badly. I quickly became pregnant again but rather than feeling overjoyed, I became fearful and overwhelmed. What if my identity became restored only to be lost again? I would ponder these thoughts until one day I spoke with a friend who reminded me of a truth that had escaped me:

My identity, although unnamed after the loss of my child, would always be found in Christ.

It is through His love where I find my identity and purpose. No other label or group can compare to His never-changing love for me. Although I still yearned to be called “mom,” hearing her words comforted my soul and healed my heart. I did belong somewhere to someone, I belonged to Him.  

I learned that despite our changing circumstances, we will always have a place of belonging and eternal identity as a child of God and nothing could ever take that away.

If you’ve ever felt like you don’t belong, this series is for you! Every Monday, we’ll hear from someone who has also struggled to belong. Be sure to subscribe below to get The Scoop so you never miss a post! As a thank you, you’ll receive access to belonging-themed scripture cards and adult coloring pages in the free for you library!

Thanks! I can't wait to connect with you!

Meet Amy Debrucque

Amy is a wife. mother. daughter. sister. friend. survivor. encourager. believer. She encourages women to find the courage to live on purpose instead of fear. Amy offers weekly encouragement in her weekly newsletter and FREE Resource Library. She is also the host of Life On Purpose Podcast where she shares women’s stories of anxiety and how they moved ahead with faith over fear. Amy is also a regular contributor to Darling Magazine and has had articles featured in ThriveGlobal,, InDependent, DisplayingGrace, ForEveryMom, YourTango, and Today Parenting. Her first Encouragement Journal called Embolden, will be released in Spring of 2021. Connect with Amy on her website, or follow her on Instagram or Facebook.

*Feature Photo by Nynne Schrøder on Unsplash

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Sarah K. Butterfield is an author, speaker, and ministry leader who has a heart for empowering women to grow in their faith and be intentional with their time. She and her husband and two boys live in San Diego, where she writes about pursuing a deeper relationship with God in the midst of motherhood.

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