It’s really hard to discuss miscarriage. It’s not that it’s taboo, exactly. It’s just that it’s not something that’s usually very public unless your pregnancy was already public. And, when you lose a baby early in a pregnancy, many people don’t even really consider it much of a loss. In fact, I was one of those people. I mean, there has never been any question that once you conceive, that is a life with a unique soul. But, I always thought, “If the pregnancy is lost early, how could you even feel very attached to that baby?” I truly did not understand because I did not have a frame of reference for that type of loss.
But, now I do. And, it has changed me.
I lost a baby this past October. Not many people knew about it because I was only between 8-9 weeks along in the pregnancy and we just hasn’t gotten to the point of telling many people yet. Also, unique to my situation, the very same week, my sister lost a baby at 16 weeks gestation. Her pregnancy WAS public and it was a very heart-wrenching situation. I felt her loss was, not exactly greater, but it was definitely a different, more acute type of loss and pain and I did not feel it was my place to make a big deal about my miscarriage. In fact, weird as it may sound, when she began to miscarry on Monday, i KNEW that I was going to lose my baby as well. Call it sisterly intuition or the Holy Spirit, but I had a feeling that she and I would be walking that path together, just as we had both thought we would be walking the path of pregnancy, birth, and raising these children together.
Through this event in my life, several very important lessons have now been learned and, though they have been tough, I am thankful for them.
*I’ve Become More Compassion and Understanding Towards Other Women*
I know lots of women who have had miscarriages (including my own mother and sister). But, I suddenly became a member of the very precious and bonded group of women who know this type of loss. I know now that, YES, you VERY MUCH mourn the loss of a child that you have not met or seen yet and that that child is very much desired, loved, and a part of your family, even when they are barely a pea inside your body.
I realized how much I had been flippant about especially people’s early miscarriages and the ways in which they talked about and shared their miscarriages. Sometimes I thought it was overkill, but now I understood that all you want to do is have people know that there was another child in your family, that your family is missing here on earth, a precious, individual soul. But, sometimes, it’s really difficult to know how to bring it up or talk about it with people.
Also, as I sat in my OB’s office for an ultrasound and appointment, I became extremely aware that that waiting room where I had been lucky enough to always sit with expectant joy was also a place of pain and sadness. How many of the women around me were also suffering a similar loss? And, what about the women who were there because they couldn’t even conceive? My heart softened towards my fellow women, realizing more deeply that we have so many hidden hurts and scars that we bear alone or quietly with our spouses. I resolved, then and there, to be more compassionate and less judgmental – to understand that maybe that woman with only one or two kids or has long spaces between children has had multiple miscarriages or can’t conceive or has lost a baby.
*I Gained a Heavenly Perspective on Motherhood*
The morning after my miscarriage began, we went to confession as a family. I didn’t intend to tell the priest about it, but it came out in a jumble of tears. The priest told me the most comforting thing in that moment. He said that my baby went directly to the feet of God, in his perfect state of being. And, that I now had my own little Saint who would recognize ME for all eternity as his mother and would always be interceding for me.
WOW! Talk about a joy in the midst of sorrow! Our little boy (both my husband and I were in agreement that we felt the baby was a boy who we named Gale Francis) was now our personal family saint, one we could talk to and ask for his prayers and who would be there to greet us when we arrive in heaven someday. Basically, it’s the greatest thing I can think of – a perfect soul praying for ME specifically!
In that moment in the confessional, my motherhood became a vocation that spans both heaven AND earth. The miscarriage brought my eyes heavenward in a way that I had never known before and compelled me to work even harder for Heaven so that I can meet my child someday.
*I’ve Given My Reproduction Over to God*
In one of my other blogs, I wrote about how it took us over a year to conceive our first child. That year seemed like an eternity at the time and we learned a lot about God being the one and only author of life, that even if you are doing everything “right”, you aren’t guaranteed a pregnancy.
Well, the same can be said about pregnancy and miscarriage. You can be doing everything “right” and be taking care of yourself and doing what you should and even have had 3 other perfectly fine and normal pregnancies and STILL lose the pregnancy. Because, life and death are ultimately NOT in my hands. “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD” as it says in Job 1:21. It’s hard to feel that way in the midst of it, but deep in my heart, I know it’s true. And, it’s one of the best prayers I could pray during that time. And, Job 1:22 goes further to say, “Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.” It is VERY easy to say that God “did this to me”, but He didn’t do it out of spite or meanness, but because it had to happen for some higher good.
But, beyond trusting the Lord when there ARE pregnancies, I’ve been able to stop trying to control or predict God in this realm of my life. I look around my house and see the 3 precious, crazy, grey-hair-inducing, joy-bringing souls that are with me here on earth. And, I am thankful for the gift that they are and say, “God, if these three are all You choose to give me, THANK YOU!” In my womanhood, I don’t FEEL like I am finished having kids. But, in my daily attempts to submit to the Lord, I have to say this prayer over and over again, accepting the fact that perhaps I am finished carrying children in my womb.
This was a longer blog than usual, because this is a deeper, more complicated topic to write about. There are so many other thoughts and feelings that popped into my head while writing this, but I just can’t fit them all in. Suffice it to say, my experience of the loss of a pregnancy has changed me. It’s changed my perspective and my heart and my vision…and, for that, I am thankful that God allowed me this gift. And, in my daily prayers, I pray that my little St. Gale Francis will intercede on my broken and imperfect behalf so that I can someday be with him at the throne of God!
(If you or anyone you know who needs direction or support after the loss of a pregnancy or would be interested in a Life Certificate commemorating the life of their child, please visit Embrace Ministries.)