My Journey from Miscarriage to Motherhood Day 4: A Time to Heal
The weeks that followed the loss of our first baby were difficult ones. My body, believing I had given birth following the D & C, prepared for a baby that wasn’t there. One day, I was sitting up in the morning and felt pain and heaviness in my chest. I couldn’t quite describe it, but eventually discovered my body was making milk for our baby. I hurried down the road to my mother-in-law, who quickly went about helping me and giving advice. All around our home was evidence that something was missing—someone was missing.
Two very dear friends at the time went through their own miscarriages within months of mine. Having someone who understood was so valuable and a real source of comfort. One of the benefits of experiencing difficult trials is that it gives us a unique ability to show compassion to others who will walk similar roads. People who can say “I’ve been there, and I am so sorry” have a way of bolstering us. We feel hope when we realize—hey, they survived, so maybe I will too! I am so thankful all through life’s journey for those vulnerable and compassionate enough to share their experience while encouraging me through mine.
I had loved being pregnant, and my new reality of not being pregnant yet also not having a baby was a hard pill to swallow. Most of my closest friends already had children, and now I felt left out. I was still happy for those who were pregnant and expecting a child, but I simply was unhappy that I no longer was. When you miscarry a child, you experience grief in the same stages as anyone who loses a loved one. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance all come in some shape or form. Some stages were very quick, and some longer. If you know someone who has lost a child through miscarriage, don’t discount their feelings of grief; they are feeling a tremendous loss, and need love and support. Having another baby will not erase the pain of losing this one.
A follow-up at my gynecologist resulted in news I didn’t really want to hear: you should wait a few cycles before trying again and give your body a rest. Honestly, all I wanted was to get pregnant again as quickly as possible, and I did not even want to think about waiting. Somehow, I had to get myself through the next few months before I could get the green light to try again. I thought about my baby a lot, wondering what he was doing. Was he still a baby, or would he be an adult in Heaven? Did he look like me, or did he resemble my husband more? He seemed so unreachable and far away, and my arms were desperate to hold him and study his sweet face.
Losing a pregnancy is a death; it’s a real person who will live forever in Heaven. Just because you didn’t see them or know them intimately doesn’t make them less of a person. Allow yourself to grieve properly. Talk about it if it helps. Naming my baby helped make it real. I needed my baby to have an identity!
The reality is that 10 to 20 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage. So many more likely miscarry before the pregnancy is discovered, so the numbers are realistically much higher. Once I shared that I had lost our baby, I was blown away by how many others I knew who had also experienced a miscarriage. As I looked around, I was greatly encouraged by how many of them went on to have their own children, and I desperately hoped we would as well. It’s been 27 years since that day I walked in to that ultrasound room, and I still tear up when I talk about it. Grief doesn’t really end—the loss is still here in my heart. I have just come to accept through time that my first baby wasn’t meant to stay here. Knowing God is good, I’ve learned to trust that I don’t always need to understand everything; I just have to understand that through all things—good or bad—His goodness remains.
Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! (Psalm 34:8, ESV)
The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made. (Psalm 145:9, ESV)
For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever; and his faithfulness to all generations. (Psalm 100:5, ESV)