You can read the miscarriage statistics. You can watch your friends experience the profound loss of a pregnancy. But I think most women carry a certain degree of separation and distance, unless it becomes their reality.
I was a mother of two healthy children and the veteran of two relatively easy pregnancies. When my husband and I found out we were pregnant with our third child in April of this year, I had many thoughts: unplanned! excited! a Christmas baby?! But concern about whether the pregnancy would result in a baby? Nowhere did that thought cross my mind. And almost instantaneously, the next eight months populated in my head. I was pregnant! There would be a new baby for our family to love!
That was not to be. The silver lining of my miscarriage was that I felt a deep connection to my body throughout the experience. I’d suspected I was pregnant very early, and at five weeks, some worry had already entered my mind as I continued to feel great as opposed to the very sick rememberings of my two earlier pregnancies. Spotting at six weeks progressed to bleeding by the end of the week, and an ER visit confirmed that I’d either miscarried or was much earlier than I’d thought.
Having a miscarriage was intense, emotional, isolating, and so very difficult.
At the time, I could imagine no worse fate and wasn’t sure if I’d ever stop feeling sad. For me, it was helpful to be open (when the urge struck), to keep busy, and to take help. I simply didn’t have the energy in the early weeks to be the type of mom I normally was to my two little ones, so I’m thankful for my own mother, husband, and other help I got in that time frame. I was also comforted by my faith in a God who I knew loved me and hurt for me, and who, I believed, cared about my pregnancy just as I had. This hymn was especially comforting, as was the book What Was Lost: A Christian Journey through Miscarriage.
In the end, it was a matter of time passing and continuing to move forward. I kept occupied with meaningful things, and I gradually began to feel more like my “old” self. I knew I’d gradually gain some perspective on the miscarriage as I watched my life story continue to be written. I know through my own pain that I now have the ability to be supportive to other women and I know I’ll take that very seriously when the time comes.
You can imagine I was pretty excited to find out in July that I was pregnant again. You might also imagine that this fourth positive pregnancy test was a different experience than the first three. I’d waited to take the test because I wanted to give my body more time to “make up its mind,” whether that makes sense or not. My first week of pregnancy felt like a big “…?…” And then the gift to womanhood that is morning sickness and early pregnancy exhaustion reared its head at 6 weeks, and the waves of sickness carried away most of my anxieties and have swept me through the rest of the first trimester.
But at every milestone, I’ve felt a degree of uncertainty: will there really be a baby at the end of this? When I saw the little 8 week fetus on the ultrasound; when I heard the sound of a heartbeat coming from a place unseen and unfelt as of yet. It’s a miraculous concept and one I’m so excited to watch come to reality.
And in case you or someone you know needs to hear it today:
Fear not, I am with thee, oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen you, help you, and cause you to stand,
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.
When through the deep waters, I call you to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;
For I will be with you your troubles to bless,
And sanctify to you your deepest distress.
When through fiery trials your pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be your supply;
The flame shall not hurt you; I only design
Your dross to consume and your gold to refine.
The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not, desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.
How Firm a Foundation, hymn