For the last couple of months I have started typing several blog entries and then stopped. Even more “partially written posts” reside in my head. This week I have a little more time and plan on posting one of these entries a day…today through Friday. I write this as an explanation for the amount I post this week and for a little accountability too ;).
The last several months I have learned how differently each woman can grieve the loss of a child through miscarriage. The following are just a couple of the many examples I have heard. Some friends have recounted their stories with realization that a child they now hold in their arms would not be here had their previous pregnancy gone to full term. For them, they feel like they are able to see a blessing come out of the pain. Others have shared that the grief they experienced during the first year after their miscarriage made it difficult to even see others pregnant without the painful reminder of their own pregnancy that ended in loss. For those of you who shared your personal story with me—I am honored you shared with me and saddened by your loss.
Once I knew my baby was no longer living, I felt like I had a whole new battle to face—grieving the loss of this life. Here are some of the emotions I felt and thoughts I pondered along with where I rest on these topics as of today.
Is it right for me to feel so saddened by a baby that was lost so early? This was difficult for me at first, while others were compassionate and comforting no one else was as devastated as I was and I began to wonder, was I was making the loss a bigger deal that I should? While I was struggling with this thought my answer came in the form of an email from a sweet friend. Here is a small excerpt of what she wrote, “I think grief for the loss of this child is a way of glorifying the work God does in our bodies. He creates humans, and we as Christians know that babies are formed at conception. To not grieve would be to not acknowledge this miracle.” Those words were powerfully freeing for me; I have not since questioned if I am grieving my baby too much.
What is the best way to honor this baby’s life? I am an incredibly sentimental person, maybe to a fault. I have carefully planned photo books for each of my boys’ first year of life. I have regularly scheduled “photo shoots” in our backyard for appropriate milestones. Yes, I’m going to admit it—I still have every positive pregnancy test from all three pregnancies (stored airtight in plastic bags) and even Micah’s umbilical cord stump. Joel’s was lost in the hospital otherwise I’d probably have his too. I just can’t bear to throw those things away. With limited memorabilia from this baby I decided I wanted to have a necklace made that I could wear on days that were tough or whenever I felt like it. I also ordered a little garnet heart that would go in the family birthstone locket I bought myself last Mother’s Day. Also, when the timing is right, I will not shy away from bringing up this baby in conversation with my family, friends, or anyone else I meet.
Sometimes it’s easier for me to write than talk. For the first month after the loss especially, I felt like it was so hard to have a conversation about the loss unless the setting was just right. That often meant unless I was able to give my full attention to the conversation, I didn’t want to have it. So, my kids had to be sleeping or happily under the care of someone else in my presence which meant a very small portion of my day. I found it easiest to text or email during this time. It’s easier for me to have spontaneous conversations about my miscarriage but usually feel I can organize my thought and “speak” more freely through writing. Let me be clear—if you see me in person, feel free to ask me how I’m doing or if there is anything I am struggling through. Just be prepared for a much shorter response depending on how many children or responsibilities I have at that moment. J This blog has also been a part of my healing process. Being able to share with others about my baby makes me feel like I don’t grieve in silence.
What milestones or reminders will be hardest for me? The answer to this question has changed from month to month. Most of the time, I could tell you how many weeks I would be if I had still been pregnant. I would have been 23 weeks today. The days surrounding our scheduled gender reveal ultrasound at the end of March was hard. I was so looking forwarding to knowing more about the baby inside me. Would our family have three boys? Or would my boys have a little sister? Part of me grieves that we don’t have a name for our little one besides baby number three.
I miss not feeling this baby move inside of me, especially a 23 week old baby. At this stage both of my boys’ kicks could be felt from the outside but were not quite strong enough to make me wince in pain yet.
How will I feel on my due date, Sept 10 and the two weeks leading up to it (both of my boys were born almost exactly two week early)? I believe my heart and my arms will be aching during that time.
Mother’s Day hit me a little harder than expected. I was crying almost the whole time during worship at Church. Not just because of my sadness, but also because of how amazing the goodness of God is during times like this.
What books should I read during this process? I’ve only read one—Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo. During a few parts of this easy-to-read book I sobbed tears of joy. I am open to reading more, if you have any suggestions I’d love to hear them.