How a Texas-Based Songwriter Turned Pain into Magic
After losing her baby, this country singer is striking a chord with moms and would-be moms worldwide
Scores of women in America are too embarrassed, ashamed or upset to share their heartbreaking stories of infertility and miscarriage with others. Worse, they think they’re the only ones experiencing the lasting pain of loss.
Texas-based country singer Sunny Sweeney chose to hit this topic head-on — and bring the subject out into the open so that those in pain could find solace, companionship and hope.
She knows of what she speaks: She’s endured the anguish of these experiences. And her new song and video on the topic, “Bottle by My Bed,” has struck a chord with thousands and thousands of women across America and across the globe. See her video just below:
"Yes, my song is absolutely autobiographical," Sweeney told LifeZette in an interview. "It's about the troubles I've gone through personally to have a family. When you're 20, you just assume you're going to have a child when you want one, you know? And then when you don't or you can't — you second-guess and question everything. You wonder, 'My gosh, why isn't this working?' So this is our direct story," she said.
Sweeney shares her life with her devoted husband, Jeff Hellmer, to whom she's been married since 2011.
"We felt it was our time to have a baby," she said, her twang shining through as she revealed her story. "All of my friends are having babies. And a lot of my friends are in the video, and the children in the video are my friends' kids, too. These children represent all of the ways people can become parents today. Some of the children were planned, some were a surprise, and some were adopted. Some of the moms are young moms. Some are older parents. The people and faces in the video represent the different ways people have had children and can have children today. I really wanted to show that."
Sweeney also said, baring her soul, that if "it doesn't work out for me, and if [having children] isn't in God's plan for me, then that's what is supposed to happen. And I have to be OK with that. I will come to grips with whatever decision is being made for me."
In terms of why there's been such an overwhelming reaction to her song and her video so far — Sweeney was equally forthcoming.
"It's a real song. It tells a real story. The more factual the material is in a song, the easier it is to share with listeners. Also, I didn't realize how many people had experienced infertility and miscarriage — now they're coming out of the woodwork. My video had something like 110,000 views in just three days on Facebook. It's also on YouTube. And People magazine did a story on it. So we are not alone. I am not alone. We are not the only ones experiencing this."
Sweeney revealed that prior to recording her new song and making the video, when those she knew in the past had had miscarriages, "I didn't give them much sympathy. I thought, 'Well, whatever — get over it.' I didn't mean to be insensitive to them or their pain. I just didn't get it. Now I get it. Now I know about seeing the heartbeat of my child and experiencing the loss when that heartbeat just stopped — when my baby just went away. I was multiple months along [in the pregnancy]. And I was even starting to think about things like, 'How much longer can I disguise this?' And then it just went away. Everything was fine — then suddenly I had what's called a silent miscarriage. My baby just went away. It was the most heartbreaking thing I have ever experienced in my life."
In the midst of her suffering, Sweeney realized there was one other key person feeling the pain she was feeling.
"My husband was really upset, too, but I wasn't giving him credit for his feelings. I kept thinking, 'I'm the one who went through this.' But it was both of ours — I didn't realize until afterward that men would actually be relating to this as much as they are, which is kind of cool. It seems like this would just be a woman's song, but this has really resonated with men, too." (go to page 2 for the rest of the story)