chapter leaders

Welcome! I am Amy Balentine. I am a follower of Christ, a wife to Adam, and a mother to Teddy, Simon, Thomas, Peter and Goldie and Founder of You Made Me Mom and group leader of the Kansas City chapter. This support group is a result of my experiences with my children who made me mom, but also our Lord, Jesus Christ, who ultimately made me mom.  

Amy Balentine

founder 

In October 2012, I gave birth to our first child, Theodore (Teddy) Boyd. He is so wonderful. In May 2014, I gave birth to our second child, Simon Adam, who lived 7 glorious days and 22 grace-filled minutes. He died on May 21, 2014. Simon had full Trisomy 13 - typically a life-limiting diagnosis. In November 2014, I gave birth to our third child, Thomas Job. Thomas went to be with our Lord at 13 weeks gestation. I birthed his body via induction and we were able to set eyes on his magnificent body. In September 2015, I gave birth to our fourth son, Peter Simon. He brings us much joy and happiness. In August 2017, I gave birth to our fifth child, our first baby girl, Marigold (Goldie) Joy. Goldie adds a sweetness to our family we didn't know we were missing. In 2020, I miscarried our sixth and seventh children at 5 weeks gestation and thought the growth of our family was complete.  However, God had a different plan as we anticipate new life come August 2022.  

To read more about my family's story, visit my family's blog or click on the links below to navigate directly to the related story.

I am honored to walk along side each You Made Me Mom mother - experiencing the valley lows and mountain highs is a gift from the Lord.  All the glory to God.

 
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HannahWeiland

milford, in group leader

Hello! I’m Hannah Weiland. I am married to Josh and am mama to our sweet boy, Charlie. We live in northern Indiana where my husband pastors a church and I work for an international missions organization.

Our journey with loss began in 2014 and since then we have said goodbye far too early to five little lives. We’ve experienced loss through two ectopic pregnancies, each at 7 weeks, and three miscarriages (13 weeks, 8 weeks, and 7 weeks.) Our son Charlie, born in 2015, is an absolute gift and miracle. I can’t say it was my dream to have one child on this earth but goodness, what a blessing he is.

Through these years of loss and grieving what we thought our family would look like, we have felt and have been carried by the goodness of God. While we would never choose this road, this is our story. I have been honored to be able to walk alongside women facing loss, seeing firsthand how God uses every part of our stories to encourage others and bring him glory. You Made Me Mom has been such a gift in my life and I’m so thankful to be a part of this community. 

 

Nicole Lauer

wichita, ks group leader

Hi! I’m Nicole Lauer, wife to Brian and mommy to Kade and Kinsley. We reside in Wichita, Kansas. On January 4th, 2018, we found out I was pregnant with our first baby, Kade. We were so excited and quickly began getting things ready for his arrival. However, on April 11th at work, where I am a first grade teacher, I knew something wasn’t right. I left school immediately and met my husband at the hospital. Six days later, with a terrible infection that caused me to go into premature labor at 20 weeks, I gave birth to Kade at 2:30am. It was the most physically painful and emotional thing I have ever had to do.

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We were told Kade would only survive a minute or two once I gave birth. But, God gave us 99 beautiful minutes with him. Kade was so healthy and he was so strong. Kade passed away in my arms, surrounded by his daddy, all of his grandparents, and his uncle at 4:09am. I will never forget how perfect he was. I will never forget when I saw him take his final breath. He weighed 9.5 oz and was 9.5 inches long. I will forever be thankful that God let us meet our baby boy and spend time with him before he was called Home.

The night before the one year anniversary of Kade’s birth and death, his little sister, Kinsley was born at the same hospital. My pregnancy with her was anything but easy. Weekly progesterone shots given by my husband, weekly trips to see the high risk doctor, and a scary infection that led me to be hospitalized for a few days were just part of my experience. I ended up having an emergency c-section and I remember praying that Kinsley would arrive safely. I was terrified and full of anxiety throughout my pregnancy and the night of her arrival. I am thankful to say that she’s thriving and is the sweetest, cuddliest baby! God is good!

I feel incredibly honored that I get to walk with other brokenhearted mommas, pray with them, and develop a community here in Wichita that helps other bereaved mothers navigate through this horrible loss.

Alycia Thornton

newton grove, nc group leader

 
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Hello! I’m Alycia Thornton, wife to Eric, and mother to Jackson. We live in Newton Grove, NC, and I’m so honored to open up my home each month to new friends and moms. 

 

Our son Jackson was born still on April 21, 2020 at 32 weeks. He weighed 5 pounds & .06 ounces and was 18.5 inches long. I noticed a decrease in fetal movement which prompted us to go to the hospital where we learned the heartbreaking news that our son was no longer living.

Jackson’s life was a gift to our family and especially to me. I’m thankful that the Lord allows me to share our story with other mothers who may find themselves in times of grief during their motherhood journey. I’m confident that the women you’ll meet at You Made Me Mom will lift you up, inspire you, and pray for you. Since Jackson passed away, God has blessed me by placing inspiring bereaved moms in my life who are walking alongside me. I would be honored to do the same for you.

 

I work for NC State University. I’m actively involved with my church and with Kappa Delta Sorority. Some of my favorite hobbies include gardening, reading, crocheting, cross stitch, and spending time with our family! 

 

Rachel Van de Burgt

barrhead, alberta, canada group leader

Hello! I’m Rachel van de Burgt.  Wife to Ryan, mother of the twins Jantiena Joy & Felicia Faith and the precious baby in heaven Dominique. We live in Mellowdale, close to Barrhead (AB) Canada where my husband works at the CooP Service Center.  I work as a full-time mom, writer and education consultant.

We were married for six years and with little hope of being able to have biological children. We had been waiting for adoption for two years, with no response. The day after we received a visit from the social worker we found out that I was pregnant for the first time with eight weeks of pregnancy; after this week, I had a subchorionic bleed. I was on bed rest for the entire pregnancy.  At 35 weeks, our daughters were born prematurely. I had the experience of spending two and a half weeks with them in the NICU.

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In April 2020, we had the joy of another pregnancy.  However, on June 3, after an ultrasound, we heard the news that our little baby's heart was no longer beating. The time it took the ultrasound professional to give me the news seemed like an eternity. I could see on her face that something was going on. Hearing the news that the little heart was not beating anymore was a shock and it seemed that this could never be a reality for me. On June 21st, at home, the water broke, and then Dominique was born. He was born too soon. Only the Lord Jesus Christ can give us real comfort when we feel so powerless and weak. I also had to have a D & C.  After the procedure, I prayed with my husband that the Lord would carry us as we left without our baby. Yes! God carried us in His arms, while our legs could not move. We also saw the goodness of God during Dominique’s funeral when our pastor friend and his family said this was a time of “See you later! Not goodbye!  We will meet one day again!” 

 

My heart is inclined to listen to and cry with mourning mothers.  I will always be praying for pregnant mothers and for mothers who have lost their precious babies. It is a comfort to know that God is always with us. May His Grace fill us with tenderness, kindness and hope when our tears overshadow our vision of eternity. It will be an honour to walk by your side.

To read more about my family's story, visit my blog.

 

Sara DeVoto

virtual gathering group leader

sara@youmadememom.com • 402.681.1177

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I'm Sara DeVoto. My journey to parenthood started with welcoming our oldest in 2013. In 2016 we were eagerly awaiting the arrival of our 2nd child. During delivery Logan suffered an umbilical cord injury and was only able to stay on this side of heaven for 15 hours with us. One month after losing Logan I walked into a strangers home for You Made Me Mom and found a group of moms who understood and allowed me to share my grief in a space I hadn't found with other mom's. 

Following Logan's death we were excited for another child who left us at 10 weeks into pregnancy. We welcomed our 4th child into our home in 2018. We are now continuing to learn how to parent to both children on this side and the other side of heaven. In processing my grief I have found a new love of writing and speaking to other moms. You can find more of my story at my blog Behind The Willow Trees.

 
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Carissa Pipkin

parsons, kansas group leader

carissa@youmadememom.com • 703.507.3952

Hello! I’m Carissa Pipkin. I am a follower of Christ, a wife to Matt, and mommy to Asher, Hunter, Harper, Rowan, Brynn, and Eliana. I have the great honor to be a mommy to Hunter and Eliana here on earth.  My other sweet 4 are now in heaven with Jesus. 

Asher was our first baby and the very first who got to meet Jesus in heaven.  We were so excited when we learned we were pregnant with Asher. 

As most moms do, I was already envisioning what life would be like. We lost our sweet Asher early in the pregnancy which was the same day my Grandpa passed.    I took comfort in the fact that our baby would not only meet Jesus that day but also my Grandpa.  Not long after we lost Asher we got pregnant with Hunter.  I was so nervous we would lose him, but in June of 2013 we gave birth to a healthy little guy who has blessed our home with much laughter and joy.  A couple of months after Hunter turned one we lost Harper very early on in the pregnancy, just as we had Asher. Three months later we found out we were pregnant again.  Everything seemed to be going well until my 9 week checkup at which we were told our baby no longer had a heartbeat.  That’s when I learned what a missed miscarriage was.  It took my body 3 weeks to recognize that our sweet Rowan was no longer alive. No one can quite prepare you for what you go through emotionally and physically to bring such a precious little body into this world.  It was one of the hardest things I’ve had to endure physically-- bringing a baby into this world you don’t get to hold or keep.  Six months later we were pregnant again, and again at our 9 week appointment I heard the dreaded words-- there is no heartbeat. We were devastated.  Three losses in less than a year.  I didn’t know how much more I could take.  My body waited another 3 weeks to our lose our beloved Brynn. Shortly thereafter we were sent to a fertility clinic to see what was going on.  With the clinics help nearly a year in a half later we gave birth to our treasured Eliana, on October 13, 2016.  She is our sunshine and such a ray of light and hope for us.  

 

I have long felt the pull to walk alongside other moms who have experienced the loss of their precious babies.  God calls us to share each other’s burdens but sadly grieving moms often feel alone and misunderstood in their grief.  It would be my honor to come alongside you as you journey down this road of heartache and indescribable grief.  My prayer is that YMMM will be a place where you feel safe to open up about your experience of loss, a place you can talk about your sweet baby freely and a place where healing begins and support is there for you as soon as you walk through that door.  

 

Megan Gamboa

kansas city group leader

megan@youmadememom.com • 832.567.4168

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Hello! I am Megan. I am a follower of Jesus, wife to Joshua and mother to Marin (born 2016), Levi (born 2018) and Bennett Eleanor (born 2020). I recently left working full time in hospital as a physical therapist to be a stay at home mom. I went from gait training patients in the ICU to making PBJs and drinking cold coffee because I am busy playing with my girls. I am thrilled to be home and to help with this group as Amy takes a maternity leave. 

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I attended You Made Me Mom in 2018 after the loss of our son, Levi. Levi was diagnosed with trisomy 13 at 11 weeks in utero and we received the awful phrase “I am sorry but your baby is incompatible with life”. I carried Levi to 36.5 weeks and we were able to spend 22 indescribable minutes with our son. My husband and I quietly ushered Levi to the Lord. Levis life and death changed me. Grief has been my constant companion for over 4 years now. As seasons change and life shifts, I am always aware of the missing little boy at my dining table. Life feels a little too quiet and my home a little too clean. My husband and I have found peace and joy knowing that Levi is healed in heaven and we will one day join him in eternity. 

 

Six months after Levis death, I found out I was pregnant with our 3rd baby, Bennett Eleanor. 10 weeks later, she was diagnosed with Turners syndrome, a potentially fatal diagnosis. My heart shattered into million pieces. Trusting the Lord felt dangerous and I struggled with deep anger. Walking into all the same ultrasound rooms and the same boardroom at the specialist felt cruel and too much for my heart to handle. My husband remained steadfast and trusted that we would bring this baby girl home. I carried Bennett to term and we received a normal karyotype on day 10 of her NICU stay. There are no words for the joy I felt. We brought Bennett home 15 months to the day that we left the hospital without our son.

 

The last 4 years have been filled with deep lows and beautiful highs. As my faith wavered, the Lord was faithful and near. I am honored for the Lord to use Levis story to help another mother who is experiencing baby or infant loss. 

You can listen to my whole story on The Joyful Mourning podcast:

Part One

Part Two