Do you ever feel like God has abandoned you? Do you wonder if He sees you? If He cares? Sometimes the circumstances in life make it seem like God has forgotten us. Let me assure you, He cares deeply for you and desires to redeem even the smallest details of the broken pieces of your story.Read More
For the woman who experiences a miscarriage, the shock and grief can be overwhelming, isolating, and defeating. It is easy to think that life will be this way forever. That the veil of grief will never lift, and joy will never return. Let me be the one to confidently lift your chin, look you in the eye, and tell you that it isn’t true. You will never be the same, but that doesn’t mean that even this pain cannot be transformed into something beautiful.Read More
I tend to believe that if I could only have ______, then I would be happy. The problem is that when we can’t have whatever we put in the blank, we fear that we will never be able to achieve happiness. The good news is that Jesus offers something much better in exchange- JOY.Read More
Why her and not me? It's a question that I asked a lot while watching everyone around me having babies but I was standing still, But that season isn't the first time I asked it and it hasn't been the last.
This question destroys the relationships that should be our support system. How we can clear the space to see this question from a new perspective?Read More
Listen to an interview about Learnable Moments and Inconceivable Redemption to learn a little more about seeing God at work in the menial moments as well as the ones that shake the foundation of our beliefs.Read More
A little bit of my story...
A year ago today was one of the happiest days of my life: I found out I was pregnant with our first child! Six weeks later I had a miscarriage, and we were devastated. We never stopped trying, and I was sure that baby number 2 would not be far behind. But as the months continue to pass, I have learned that waiting can be just as devastating as losing a baby. Miscarriage is something not many women talk about, and trying to conceive is another category we keep to ourselves as women.
I won't attempt to say that I know what every woman in this or that scenario is going through. I don't. We all deal with it differently. But if you can relate to this season of waiting, then I just want you to know that you aren't alone!
What to Expect When You're Still Not Expecting
1. Little Things Will Really Annoy You (a whole new set of pet peeves)
Babies are sweet and adorable, and you want one more than anything, so how can they seem to make you so angry? It won't be everyday, but some days, you will really dislike everyone who has a baby. But even more, you will get overly annoyed when someone complains about their kids. Or says that you are lucky not to have them. Or gets pregnant without trying. Or...well you get the idea. No one does these things to intentionally upset you, but it is a challenge to not take everything in the kids realm personally.
2. Social Media is not Your Friend
Facebook. Just don't go there. All those baby pictures...and baby bumps...and pregnancy announcements. And Google. Quit googling. I mean it! There is no secret position, food, vitamin, supplement, phase of the moon, etc. that will magically get you pregnant. Most forums offer false hope with strange one in a million scenarios that may not even be true. Oh, and resist the urge to pin baby stuff. I know that's a cute nursery color palette, but leave it alone.
3. You Could Win a Debate Championship With Yourself
Every little change in your body will become a sign. Going to the bathroom in the middle of the night, breaking out, being moody, etc. could mean that you are pregnant! But you try not to think about it, because you don't want to get yourself too excited just to let yourself down. Again. But then again, the signs are all looking up this time. This could be the month! But what if it really is nothing? There is no use in thinking about it for another two weeks until you can take the test. Two weeks! Torture...why can't I make myself stop debating with myself?
4. Your Calendar Takes on a Whole New Look
There is a lot to keep track of if you are charting cycles at all. You will create your own system of keeping up with all the symptoms: circles mean one thing, squares another, lines another, not to mention diagrams and numbers. What did I write in my calendar before? It is starting to look like a Pollock painting!
5. You Learn a Whole New Set of Acronyms
If you spend any time at all on TTC (trying to conceive) forums, you will quickly learn an entirely new language comprised of so many acronyms it will make your head spin! Anyone TTC using OPKs to detect O will debate on using FMU or how many DPOs to wait before using an HPT until AF visits. We're all just waiting for that BFP and the EWCM to BD. If you aren't sure what any of that means, just ask your OB-GYN! Unfortunately, reading forums will not get you pregnant, so don't overindulge. Besides, most of the comments are TMI.
6. You Will Have Bad Days and Good Days
Some days you will wake up and everything is great. You have a purpose today. If you never have a baby, you know that it will be just fine. You may have weeks of these days, or even months. But sooner or later, you wake up one day and it is not alright. You have waited and waited, you are doing everything right, and life is not fair. You get discouraged. Your friend's baby born long after you started trying is celebrating their first birthday, or second, or third. You can't make it one more day like this. Something has to give! Don't worry, something does give, and it will be the bad day. After some bad days you will wake up again one morning, and you will realize that it is another good day, and you are ok with life just the way things are. It would probably help my husband if there were some kind of meter to show him which day I am on, but I try to keep him up to date :)
7. You Will Have an Identity Crisis
What am I here for? What is the best way to use my time while waiting? Is there a reason that I don't have kids yet? Is there something that I am supposed to do first? Is there a kid out there already that is there for me to adopt? Is there something wrong with me? Am I broken? Am I inadequate? Am I not supposed to have kids? Or is it all just without purpose and the way things are? Am I okay with the possibility of never being a mom? How much longer will/ can/ should I wait? Sorry, I don't have the answers. Just questions. Lots of questions. My advice- ask the questions, but don't dwell on them too long. After all, I'm not sure I am ready to handle all of the answers.
What do I do now?
Ok, so you're waiting. Whether you are waiting actively or passively, time is passing, which means it must be filled with something. So what do we do with the time while we are waiting? This is a question I asked myself a year ago, and still find myself constantly asking. You know what you want to be doing, so what do you do in the mean time? As I tell the elementary students that I work with, you can either pout and miss out or change your attitude and get to play with the group. The time will pass one way or another, so let's choose to use it the best that we can!
1. Make Plans
I am a planner, which means I usually have all kinds of projects lined up. When you are trying to conceive, it is difficult to not base all decisions about future plans around possible due dates. The thought process goes something like this: "Do I want to teach a dance class? Well, if I get pregnant tomorrow, then I will be 4 months pregnant at the end. Can I teach dance while being 4 months pregnant?" There are so many things that I have said yes to over the last year that my hopeful calendar would have told me to turn down. I am so glad that I did not miss out on those experiences. Besides, keeping busy will help keep your mind off of what you are missing. So make plans! Take trips! Make commitments! And we can only hope that you will have a reason (like being pregnant) to cancel them later ;)
My husband and I took a trip to China! There is so much life to be lived!
2. Don't Count by the Month
I know that feeling. Month after month. Another failure. Another negative pregnancy test. It is easy to fall apart every month with the disappointment, but I would encourage you to use something else to keep track of the time. I used to mark time by the months, but each one was so discouraging. I still get discouraged, but now I wait until I get to the bottom of a bottle of prenatal vitamins. I can hold it together for 100 days until I take that last pill, and then have a day where I fall apart. I know it sounds strange, but find something longer term to use as a time keeper, and it will help you have a more positive outlook during the waiting.
3. Live in Today
I know you want a baby. I know you want the baby shower, the cute nursery, the life of being a mommy, but that is not your life today. Don't peruse the baby aisle at Target. Don't pin articles on making your own baby food. Resist the urge to buy that really cute preggo shirt that's on clearance. There will be a day and time for all of that, but it is not today. Today you are child-free. So go do something that can only be done today. Focus on what is happening around you here and now and let the future take care of itself.
4. Cancel the Pity Party
I am a really good hostess when it comes to pity parties, but let's fact it, they don't help. When I think about my situation and put it into perspective of what the average person in the world is going through, I quickly realize that I really have nothing to throw a party over. There are people starving, living in war torn areas, fighting cancer, and losing their families in tragic natural disasters. I live an amazing life- I just haven't been able to reproduce yet. It is a real struggle, but definitely not at the top of the list. Okay, I guess I can put away the party hats...
5. Choose Joy
My life is wonderful and I am blessed in so many incredible ways. So why is it that I get so focused on the one thing that I don't have instead of all of the things that I do? It is easy to get discouraged when I look at everyone with babies and me without one. But if I made a list of all of the amazing things that I have been blessed with while being completely undeserving, I could fill a book. Instead of putting my attention on what I don't have, I have to make an intentional effort to be thankful for the many blessings in life that I do have!
6. Keep the Faith
I don't know what your beliefs are, but I am a Christ-follower. Between the miscarriage and the waiting, my relationship with and faith in God has been tested. At the end of it all, here is what I know to be true- God loves me, He has a plan for me, and while this world will bring me trouble, He will work all things together for good for those who love and obey Him. I trust His timing and judgement because His thoughts are higher than my thoughts and His ways higher than my ways.
God has given me all that I have, and it is His to take away.
If I am never able to have a baby, I am made complete in Him. Nothing that happens to me changes those truths, and it is all that I can stand on when everything else gives way. I pray that you find that same certainty and peace! And when you have a bad day, come back to this truth and rest in it!
I don't pretend to have all the answers. Honestly, this list is as much to make a reminder for myself as it is to help anyone else. Whatever day you are having, and no matter how long you wait, know that you are NOT the only one. Keep your head up- there is a lot to be learned in the waiting. And who you are and become in the waiting is the truest reflection of your character. Make it beautiful rather than bitter!
If you found this post helpful, I highly recommend the book Inconceivable Redemption: God’s Presence in Miscarriage and Infertility. This book takes readers by the hand and walks them through the grief process, including the crisis of faith that often accompanies loss. Even better, the Kindle version on Amazon is only $0.99 right now!
Earlier this year, my husband and I were expecting our first child and went through the pain of having a miscarriage at nine weeks. For more on the first few months of dealing with miscarriage, see
. After having a miscarriage or struggling with infertility, there are so many questions that surface and resurface while dealing with the emotional, physical, and mental battles that go along with these issues.
Questions like, "Why has this happened to me?"
"Why do bad things happen to good people?"
And for Christians, the questions go much deeper, “How could a God who loves me take away something that I love so much?"
"Is God punishing me?"
"How could God’s plan include me losing a child, or facing a childless future?"
And then a particular one that I struggled with, "I know that God wants me to surrender everything to Him, that He has given and so He can take away, but what else does He want me to give up?"
When you google verses about infertility or miscarriage, you will get pages of flowery promises that all things will work together for good, and you will have a child as promised, and your descendents will number more than the stars in the sky. If these verses are meant to comfort the hurting woman, they are failing miserably because it only makes us question more why that isn't coming true in our own lives. As always when a situation is very personal and we are emotionally invested, we are only seeing one side of the story. It is time to look at the Bible for answers, yes, but not just the parts that we want to be true for us, but the entire redemptive story as a whole.
Here is my disclaimer- I am not a Bible scholar. I did not go to seminary. I do not know what the Greek word means. I have a Bible, and I read it, asking God for discernment to see what perspective it has to offer us because it is God's Word, and it is always true and relevant. I'm in the same place you are. That said, let's dive in!
Why do bad things happen to good people?
To begin, let's admit that our definition of good and bad is relative. We look at the evil in the world and anything better than that is considered good. Unfortunately for us, the only perspective that matters is God's. He looks at His own perfection and anything that does not match it in every way is sinful. "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." (Rom. 3:23) "All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one." (Rom. 3:12). I will not be so audacious to claim that I am a “good” person. I am a sinful person who has been forgiven by God’s grace. SInce I did nothing to deserve this grace, I can cannot demand anything of God based on my “goodness”.
How could God's plan include me losing a child or facing a childless future?
Setting the Scene from the Beginning
With that in mind, let's reset our perspectives to focus not on ourselves, but on God, whose thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and whose ways are higher than our ways (Is. 55:9). To get the right idea about any issue that we face, we have to have a correct view of God, His character, and His intentions for us as human beings. God created Adam and Eve to live in perfect harmony with Him in the Garden of Eden. The Garden was a home for them that was free of sin, death, jealousy, pain, pride, illness, and tears. It was a place of perfect communion with the Creator of the universe and his creation. THIS was the plan- THIS is what God wanted to share with us forever.
However, humans have free will, and Adam and Eve sinned by breaking the one rule that God had given them, not to eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. By eating the fruit, they choose a path different from what God had planned and sin entered the picture. All sin comes with consequences, because God is just (I would have Him no other way!). The specific consequence for Eve’s sin demonstrates, in my opinion, one of the greatest struggles that she will have to face as a woman.
Genesis 3:16, "To the woman he [God] said, "I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you."
The second part of the curse is that her desire will be for her husband (a discussion for another day). But the first part of the curse is that she will have pain in childbirth. Growing up I always believed this to be a physical pain in the actual birthing process, but I would like to assert that this curse is a much more comprehensive pain that every woman experiences. This pain could take the form of frustration over not being able to have children, the grief of losing a child before it can be born, the burden that drives some women to take the life of their children prematurely in the womb, or the weight of responsibility that comes with actually giving birth to another human being that is solely in your care. As all mothers know, the pain does not end with birth but continues as they grow- pain when they hurt, pain when they choose not to follow God, pain when they reject you. The pain of childbirth is only one form of this curse.
The one thing that is unique to women, the ability to procreate, comes with an amazing bond between mother and child, a love that transcends any other kind of love, but now it comes at a price. This love for your child, and this desire for them, brings pain no matter what the circumstances that surround the conception, pregnancy, birth, and beyond. We have been cursed as a result of our own sin, and this is our burden to bear as women. God did not do this to us, and this was NOT His plan. Satan gave us a temptation, and we traded God's plan for our own. Romans 6:23a says, "For the wages of sin is death." And God even warned Adam and Eve that if they ate from the tree they would surely die. We have all chosen sin, and we have been dying ever since. We chose death.
How can a God who loves me deprive me of something that would make me so happy?
I came across a verse months after I thought I had fully processed and “accepted” the miscarriage that said:
Exodus 23 24-26 Do not bow down before their gods or worship them or follow their practices. You must demolish them and break their sacred stones to pieces. Worship the Lord your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you, and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span.
I just "happened" to run across these verses in my daily Bible reading. I stopped in my tracks, reread it, and reread it again. And then I found a similar passage in Deuteronomy 7:14, "You will be blessed more than any other people; none of your men or women will be childless, nor will any of your livestock be without young." What does it mean? I am a Christian, a follower of His word, so am I taking this promise out of context to want to grab hold of it and show it to God expecting to get my way?
First of all, yes I was taking it out of context, God is speaking to the people of Israel at a particular time in history which does not apply to me on either count (I'm not an Israelite and I was not alive thousands of years ago). And secondly, as I began to look closer at the verses I noticed that the condition for this promise was that the people follow God exclusively and not follow idols. I immediately consoled myself that I was not worshiping any idol besides God!
However, further thought made me realize that this was not the case. I am not worshiping just one idol, but many! Hobbies, work, family, time consuming things like social media and other time-wasters, but the most consistent and recent idol of all...having a baby. It consumes more of my thought than Christ does on any given day. So to address the question of whether a God who loves me would deprive me of something I love, the Bible makes it clear that God is a jealous God with one requirement, that He be first (Exo. 4:14). Always. Of course He should not give me the very idol that I am so fervently seeking to replace Him with, and nor should He! That wouldn't be love, but enabling. I have straightening of priorities to do if I am to be the mother that Christ would desire me to be. I am not there yet! I do not want a God who feeds my addictions or spoils me into an inability to focus on His will.
Is God punishing me?
Even in light of this thought, no, God is not punishing you. Punishment is given out of anger, and consequences are given out of love, in the same way that a parent trains a child in the way that they should go. I do not think that my miscarriage was a direct result of the idols in my life, but it does prove a point. You see, our perspective has been a selfish one all along, looking to our own interests instead of God's. And because of that, God can use these broken times in our lives to rebuild us into followers that know and understand Him more clearly. He can fix our eyes on Him (Heb. 12:2).
Whose fault is it?
One of my first thoughts after having a miscarriage was that this was not, and could not be my fault. I had done everything right, I had followed the letter of the law when it came to "what to expect when you’re expecting" and every other piece of literature I could get my hands on. I was certainly not at fault, and couldn't handle the idea of any guilt on top of the grief I was already processing. However, looking at the story of Adam and Eve, it is pretty clear that all consequences in life that are painful are a result of sin. It may not be a direct result, for example, doing something to intentionally harm the baby, but it is indirectly all a consequence of sin- because before sin, none of this pain existed. It is our fault. God is not punishing us, but it is a consequence of our actions as a human race.
There are many situations in the Old Testament where infertility and miscarriage are a direct result of a sin that someone committed.
Here are just a few of those examples:
2 Samuel 6- Michal, the wife of King David, despises and rebukes him for dancing before the Lord, and is never able to have children as a result
Genesis 20- Abraham lies to King Abimilech that his wife Sarah is his sister, and when the King takes Sarah as his wife, every woman in his household is struck with infertility until Sarah is returned to Abraham
But if we continue to look at Biblical examples of infertility, we see many women who struggled with infertility, some for decades, and then were able to give birth, and almost always to extraordinary characters who play major roles in history.
A few examples include:
Genesis 15-21- Sarah, the wife of Abraham and mother of Isaac, the patriarchs of God chosen nation of Israel, was infertile until she was 90 years old
Genesis 25- Rebecca, Isaac's wife and the next generation of patriarchs, was infertile for 20 years, but eventually gave birth to twins, Jacob and Esau
Genesis 30- Rachel, the wife of Jacob and third generation of the patriarchs also struggles with infertility while watching Jacob's other wife bear son after son, she eventually gives birth to Joseph and Benjamin
Judges 13-14- Samson's mother, unnamed in the Bible, struggles with infertility for years before being visited by an angel and given instructions for raising her son, the strongest man who will ever live
I Samuel 1- Hannah, the mother of Samuel, dedicated her son to the Lord after years of infertility, and he became a prophet for the people of Israel
Luke 1- Elizabeth gave birth to John the Baptist in her old age even though she was barren for many years
As you can see, there are many Biblical examples of women of faith, who follow God wholeheartedly, and still struggle with infertility and miscarriage. However, it is amazing to me to look at the ending of these particular stories, because they always result in being a part of a much larger and more fulfilling plan. Hear this clearly: having a child in the end was not what made their lives more fulfilling, it was the process of faith and releasing their hopes and dreams to the Lord for Him to do His will with, no matter what the end result. You see, tragedy and triumph go together. When we overcome the pain with the love of Christ, when we work through the grief knowing that God will lead us through the valley of the shadow of death to the other side (Ps. 23:4), there is a promise for those who are faithful. This promise is not to make our dreams come true as we so often want to believe, it is not for us to get our way, and it is not for us to be happy.
God’s Work of Reconciliation
In light of the scripture, we wonder then, is here no hope for Eve? Has her sin cast her and our sin cast us out of ever having the possibility of having children? Are we doomed to this cursed fate forever? Just as in every story, there is a turning point! A point at which all odds seem bent towards destruction, but that is not the end. Jesus is our turning point. Even after we chose sin, God loved us so much that He did not leave us to die in our sins (1 John 1:9). Instead He made a way for us to be restored to Him.
Throughout history, death and life are closely knit together and are interrelated. Jesus’ death and life overthrew the former system of the power of sin and death. There is a new theme in scripture, and that is that Christ is making all things new (Rev. 21:5). He restores our soul (Ps. 23:3). He is seeking and saving what was lost (Luke 19:10). He is in the act of reconciling all things to Himself (Col. 1:20). This restorative, reconciliatory work will not be complete until we are united with Him in an earthly death, which results in a new, eternal life for those who follow Him and have called on His name (John 1:12). However, we do see the beginnings of this reconciliation taking place on earth through the demonstration of His grace. Children are born, lives are saved, women do experience the joy of conceiving and giving birth, and every time that happens, it is an extension of God’s grace to us, an undeserving people. You see, we have had the wrong perspective all along- it is not God who keeps us from having children, it is God who gives us the opportunity.
This is where our promises from God come in! The promise is that God loves us unconditionally (Rom. 8:38-39), He will never leave or forsake us (Deut. 31:6), He has a plan for us that has hope for our future (Jer. 29:11), He will give us peace through the journey (Phil. 4:7), and He will restore our souls (Ps. 23:3). Once we are able to look at the situation with faith, not a faith that believes that our will will come to pass, but a faith that trusts that God’s will for us is greater for His Kingdom (not ours) then we will receive His peace and have the opportunity to joyfully take part in what He is doing. In this life we are not promised health and wealth, but instead we are promised hardship and sacrifice (John 16:33). God is not punishing you, it is a result of our sin. But at the same time, He will use even the consequences of sin to work together for the good of those who love Him (Rom. 8:28), even when that good may not take the form we want it to.
When people would find out about the miscarriage, they would usually say “I’m sorry that happened.” In the back of my mind I would think, but there is nothing to be sorry for. You didn't do anything. I didn't do anything. It just happened. But I have a different approach now. I do have things to be sorry for, attitudes that I need to confess. I need to be careful that I approach this issue with God’s perspective and a correct view of Him. I encourage you to take down the blame, doubt, guilt, shame, pride, and grief that you are working through for a moment so that you can be real and authentic with God. It is time for me to confess.
I am sorry that I have put other things before you, God. I confess that I have put my own will above Your will at the risk of Your kingdom. I am sorry that I have questioned your love, that I have been tempted to give blame to you when the true sinner is myself, and for not recognizing that the ultimate blame is on Satan for his temptation in the garden. Satan is so tricky to deceive us into blaming You for his handiwork! I confess that I have wanted my great faith and my own dreams to be an answer and solution to the problem, instead of having faith in You and Your will, that You are working all things together for good. I lift up the cursed women around the world and ask that You would restore our souls. We humble ourselves and and submit to Your will. Forgive us. Give us patience. Give us strength. Give us a renewed mind and spirit. But above all else, give us a desire for You first and foremost. For You are making all things new!
If you found this post helpful, I highly recommend reading Inconceivable Redemption: God’s Presence in Miscarriage and Infertility. It takes readers by the hand and walks them through the grief process as well as the crisis of faith that accompanies loss. Even better, the Kindle version on Amazon is only $0.99 right now!
I have read that 30-50% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, most before women even know they are pregnant. I couldn't care less about this statistic until I became one of the 30-50%. If you are as well, it's time to talk.
A little bit of my story...
My husband and I were so excited to find out that we were pregnant in March. I am a planner, and already had nursery colors picked out, top baby name choices, and yes, even the crib set up in the would-be nursery. We couldn't be happier to be new parents! At our nine week ultrasound, we got the news that every woman secretly fears every day of her pregnancy...there was no heartbeat. Devastation is the only word to describe the feeling. At the doctor's office they were running behind on the ultrasound appointments. They needed the room, and we were ushered out. And so began one of the most difficult seasons that I have ever had to walk through. If you are faced with a similar situation, I hope this helps.
What to Expect When You're No Longer Expecting
1. You Will Feel Very Alone Because No One Talks About it
Women do not talk about miscarriage, and I'm not sure why. Why do women wait to tell everyone that they are pregnant? Because they might have a miscarriage. Here's my question: so what? I am so grateful that I had told my family and close friends that we were pregnant before the miscarriage happened! How do you tell your mother, "I was pregnant, but I had a miscarriage." It was really nice to be able to rejoice with all of them for a time, and then let them share in the loss as well.
The worst part about miscarriage is that you feel so alone, whether or not people know. Others wonder what you are still upset about, I mean, you've been crying about this longer than you were pregnant! When you are still dealing with the pain, they have forgotten that you were even expecting (if anyone even knew at all). And even those closest to you, like your husband, will be sympathetic but will not understand the emotions that you are going through. You will feel like the only one in the world without a baby, but you're not. There are so many women who are experiencing the same emotional and physical roller coaster you are, but no one talks about it.
It seems like after I had my miscarriage, almost everyone I talked to had had a miscarriage at some point as well. And some of their stories kept me from having pity parties- women who had 14 miscarriages in a row, lost their baby at 8.5 months, or who had three miscarriages and two stillborn children. Talking to women who had not only lived through such tragedies, but could also praise God for His provision through them were such a huge help for me. This is something we need to talk more about.
This is our 6 week ultrasound when baby was doing well.
This is the only photograph we have of our first child.
2. You Will be an Emotional Wreck
You will cry, a lot, and it's ok. Cry away! Months may go by, and you still see something randomly that makes the tears stream down your face uncontrollably. If it makes you feel better, you can blame the crazy amounts of confused hormones in your body (I know I do!). Whatever you are feeling, its ok. When you see yet another baby announcement on facebook, and you want to throw your laptop out a window, it's ok. When you see a newborn in the grocery store and start crying, its ok. When everyone around you seems to be progressing in life, and you are standing still, it's ok.
A good friend of mine wanted to have lunch a few months after, and since we hadn't seen each other in several years, I just knew she was going to tell me she was pregnant. The whole way driving to meet her, I was physically sick to my stomach because I literally couldn't handle one more person's joyous news. She wasn't pregnant, thank goodness! And then I felt guilty for feeling that way, and you know what, it's ok.
When I would try to keep the pain away, it would follow me into my dreams! One night I dreamed that I was walking along a road and saw a birds' nest in a tree with a mother bird sitting on three eggs. The nest fell out of the tree and the eggs broke on the ground. Immediately I fell to my knees with heaving sobs, crying uncontrollably, the kind of sobbing that comes from the stomach and you can't breathe. Everyone around was looking at me like I was crazy for crying over such a small thing. I woke up with that renewed feeling that you get after a really good cry. Take my advice- give yourself permission to cry a little every day, just don't let yourself stay there.
3. Others' Ignorance Will Cause You Pain
People who hardly know you will ask with a playful smile if you are expecting anytime soon. Why do they do that? Because they have no idea, that's why. It isn't their fault, but I have decided to NEVER ask this question to anyone. If they are expecting, and they wanted you to know, they would have told you. If they want a child, but are not expecting it is because they are dealing with something very painful, whether it be a miscarriage or infertility. People will ask you, and it always seem to be on the most inopportune days. You don't have to smile and answer like nothing is going on, but then again, you don't have to answer at all!
That was the happiest moment!!!
4. Mother's Day will Come
My miscarriage happened early in May, and the following week was Mother's Day. That was a tough day. I so desperately wanted someone to tell me, "Happy Mother's Day", to legitimize the fact that something real had happened! But at the same time, I was so afraid that someone might say something and I break into a thousand pieces and never recover. If you have had a miscarriage, you have the right to celebrate or not celebrate mother's day.You are a mother. You will always be a mother. And you have lost a child.
This is a painting my husband and I made
to announce our pregnancy to family and friends.
It is now a precious memory!
5. Your Body Will be Confused
I will not go into details here. Besides, I have a feeling it is different for everyone. But here's what I do know- your body will be very confused, and it will take a while to get back to normal.
Your body is probably in shock, which is why it is doing crazy things right now, not to mention the huge amounts of hormones driving you half insane. Quit googling and call your doctor, they will help you know how to deal with whatever the issue is. This won't last forever. And if a male doctor tells you what kind of pain to expect during a miscarriage, keep in mind that he has no personal experience in this area.
6. It Will Shake the Very Core of What You Believe
Whatever you believe, having a miscarriage will call your faith into question. I am a Christian, and I take God at His word. In return, I follow Him with my life to the best of my ability. I had some people tell me that this was part of God's plan. I also had people tell me that my baby was looking down on me from heaven with angel wings playing a harp in a beautiful garden. I'm sure they meant well, but the Bible doesn't say either of these things.
Women having miscarriages was never God's plan! God's plan was perfect, and humans brought sin into the world in the Garden of Eden. As a result, we live in a fallen world and bad things happen, but this was never the plan. However, I do believe that God uses everything that we go through to shape us into people who look more like Him. James 1:3-4 says, "you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
But what about the promise in Jeremiah 29:11? "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." It occurred to me in this process that maybe my plan for me is not the same as God's plan for me. And then the true question- can I trust that God's plan is best and follow Him no matter what? Is Jesus enough? Truly enough? If I lose everything, not just this one thing, will I still trust and follow Him with joy? I wrestled with this question for months, and I think I will never know the answer to that question unless I am forced to by my circumstances in life. But for me, in this loss, the answer is yes! After all, God knows what it's like to lose a child.
God is not punishing you for something that you did wrong, the Bible says that he grieves with us, bottles up our tears, and will never leave our side. He never says that this life will be easy, in fact He promises the opposite! In John 16:33 Jesus says, "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." Jesus promises that He will carry us through the hardships and that He is making all things new! The hope and future that He has for us is in heaven, not this world.
The first question I asked my husband after we found out, was "what do I do now?" How do you move on?
1. Take the Time to Figure Out What You Have Lost
This may seem simple to do, but in fact it is so much more complicated than I have even still figured out. This was our first child, and the list of loss to mourn is long. Obviously, you are mourning the death of a child. It is amazing how much you can miss someone that you never met, amazing how deep the loss of a child you were never able to hold in the first place. You will feel like a piece of you has died, and the empty hole it has left is so overwhelming. You are grieving the loss of knowing their gender, their personality, what they would have looked like, and all of the times you would have shared...you know, the ones you had already thought about in your mind with each passing week of pregnancy. First time holding them in the delivery room, first steps, first words, first day of school, learning to drive, getting married- you are mourning all of it at one time.
But you could be mourning so much more than that. For me as a first time mother, so much hope and anticipation was wrapped up in that plastic stick that announced the news. I have always wanted to be a mother, and I think that it is a miracle to carry a life inside of you. Releasing my "right" to be a mother, the hopes for this new life, the plans that I had for raising him or her is just as much a loss. Each person is losing something different.
The crib is still set up...
2. Take Time to Figure Out What You Have Gained
While you are experiencing loss on so many different levels, you will also gain some things, and have others to be grateful for. Make sure to make a list of those things as well. As this was our first, we are grateful to know that we can conceive. I am more grateful for life in general, and do not take this gift for granted. I am extremely grateful for an amazing husband who has been with me every step of the way, on the good and bad days, when I wasn't sure if I was crazy or sane. He will make a great father :) I am grateful for God's grace, that peace in the storm that is so reassuring that this is not the end, but a step along the way. Take time to appreciate the things that you wouldn't have noticed otherwise.
3. Look to the Future Without Forcing it
I wanted to get pregnant again as soon as possible. How better to recover from the pain than to experience the joy of new life again? Unfortunately, my body has taken a long time to recover, and I am realizing that it will take even longer to emotionally and mentally recover. Don't rush it. When the time is right...I know, it's cliche, but I am hoping that it's true.
Know that getting pregnant again will not cancel out that the miscarriage ever happened. It will be a joyous day, but it will not take away the fact that you have lost a child. I have spent months waiting to finally be "over it", and I'm discovering that that day will most likely never come. I have yet to decide how to spend December 19, what would have been the birthday of our first born child, and I'm not sure if that day will ever be the same. There will always be a part of you that loves that child and misses them. Progress to healing will be slow- a few steps forward and a few steps back, but it will come.
4. Lean on Jesus
It make take a while to come to terms with what you believe. I avoided spending time in the Bible for a while, and my prayers would bounce between being deep and vulnerable to being shallow and superficial. It will happen, but don't close out the One who does truly understand how you are feeling and has the power to give you peace in the midst of it. He does have a good plan for you, and He will carry you through this difficult time to show you what He has next.