I’d had a hunch amidst party-planning and birthday chatter, but decided to wait. If I was right, I wanted the celebrations to be separate–each their own wonderful expression of our life at this stage. We wrapped up a weekend honoring Henry’s first year in our world, and when the dust settled, I snuck quietly away that Monday morning to take the test. Two lines. Inside, I was beaming. Life felt rich, full, incredibly good as I whispered the secret to Henry that morning. “You’re going to be a big brother!” I told him, as quietly as I could. I laughed as the words became real in my mouth–he smiled at me as Henry would, as if to say he was celebrating right along. That day, we wandered downtown to find the perfect memento, and I carefully wrapped our selection–a soft, giraffe-shaped rattle for Henry to give to his daddy that night at dinner. We were sorry for the early Father’s Day present, we wrote on the card, but we thought he might need this new toy to ring in the New Year. A baby brother or sister was on the way!
For a short time, we exchanged knowing looks as we encountered friends–too early to share of course, but oh how we loved the secret! We talked about baby at the dinner table, both quietly pondered necessary changes to the house, a second nursery, holidays with a little one due in the midst of them. A New Year’s baby! January 2nd was the bullseye on the calendar. Not quite eight months away. Our chatter was pure bliss to my mama heart.
And then what you never want to have happen, happened. And what you dread as an expectant parent became tangible. We didn’t have to wonder what it felt like anymore. We knew. We weren’t having a baby, and it was raw and hard and heart-wrenching and terrible. We called our parents to tell them two sets of news: “We were pregnant yesterday, but today, we aren’t.” We sat on the couch and looked at each other and wondered how in the world we were going to come to terms–with this outcome, with our sadness, with the days ahead.
It really does feel this bleak with you’re in the midst of it because a child–your child, is no longer going to born to you a living, breathing, beautiful soul. Still beautiful, yes. But in an entirely different way than you ever imagined, and when it happens, you don’t want to think of all of the beautiful right away. You just want to grieve. To throw in the towel. To know that it’s all going to be over. And that’s exactly how we were left processing that day.
Millions of families go through it, and far fewer of us believe it’s ok to talk about it, and far fewer of us still actually do talk about it. It’s not easy in the least bit–not for a moment. I’ve never wanted to pretend that it was, and so this story has had to unravel itself slowly, until it was ready, six months down the line. We had a miscarriage and lost a baby, and some days, it is still hard and raw and painful to think about. But now I can see some of the beautiful in it, too, and I’m here telling the story because I think it’s important to share our aches as much as our joys. Our life is so full of joys. This year, it has been riddled with its share of heartache, as well. And God has been generous and faithful and abundantly gracious in the midst of the ache.
By now, I would be seven and half months pregnant, seven weeks from my due date, taking weekly photos of my exponentially growing bump. We would probably have the tree up, envisioning a shorter-lived holiday stretch in anticipation of baby #2, hustling around putting finishing touches on a new space for the little one–another re-working of our cozy home to make room for more cuddling and cozy. Instead, we are fully embracing the growth of a gentle-spirited and chatty eighteen month old who reminds us daily that life is still blessed, beautiful, essential. Our days as parents remind us that it is also challenging, wearing, imperfect. We don’t have any more figured out than we did six months ago, but we’re weathering it better and we’re expectant for God to move in His timing. There are plenty of days when this knowledge of God’s sovereignty doesn’t make our humanity feel any easier.
(I know that for a dad, losing a pregnancy has its own set of emotions. I respect them, pray for them, grieve them alongside Jason. But I won’t pretend here to know entirely how he feels or what he thinks about in this strange season of our lives. I say this just to recognize that I’d be remiss to attempt classifying his thoughts on this subject here in a blog. And I want to honor his privacy here, so to speak. Where I have said, “we” I mean we. And from here, the rest is me, knowing that our hearts are similar, but not the same…)
Since May, my world has often been consumed by my own thoughts, riddled with broken and pleading prayers, and compounded by everyone else’s questions. I don’t say this to offend, but perhaps to create an awareness if it isn’t already there. When someone isn’t pregnant, you never know the circumstance. Maybe they don’t want to be, and that’s ok. Maybe they desperately want to be and aren’t. Maybe they were, and they’re not anymore, and there’s no easy way to say it, so they just answer as politely as possible and add the question to the pile. I would put myself in categories two and three. And some days I weather it better than others.
When you’ve had a miscarriage, I’m not sure you want to explain to everyone in the world that you’ve had one. You don’t necessarily want anyone’s pity–although you might require a few amazing friends and family members to be lifting you up, encouraging you, and praying for you on a more than regular basis. This was me, and still is to a great degree. We shared our news with a handful of trusted prayer warriors and loved ones. I leaned harder into those relationships, drew away from others, avoided some social settings because I knew it would just plain be too hard. I challenged myself to still show up to moms groups and play dates and baby showers and church events for two reasons: first, because I needed to feel normal, and second, because I still wanted to celebrate the good in the lives of people around me. It’s been a harder fight than I’d like to admit, but God’s grace over me still swoops in at every exact right moment. I still assist births in this season with great joy, as though there is a protective shield guarding that part of my life. I still delight in new babies being born, new pregnancies announced. I just wish that mine was among the bellies gaining momentum in my life, and I have to slay my dragons as they appear. It’s a very ragged-edged kind of healing that I don’t understand.
But I don’t need to.
God is crafting my story–our story, out of the good and the bad, and still making all things new. I have faith that our family will be added to in God’s timing (which I confess to questioning somedays, even though I somewhat grasp the process). When we want things, we want them now. We can only see a small, narrow field of the greater picture He is crafting for us. It promotes us to fight impatience and to trust more than we are humanly capable of. It urges a sense in us that we didn’t know before great pain, and strengthens our muscle to hope when we apply the hurt as it fits with faith and our knowledge of a Savior. At least, at this stage of life, it does for me. I am learning to get a little better at this “peace in the midst of suffering” business, although I don’t pretend to want to. Not really one bit…
more to share…
But with you there is forgiveness,
so that we can, with reverence, serve you.
I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning…