This month marks the anniversary of the second time my world was pretty much shattered. It marks the moment my perfect marriage and “becoming perfect” life was given its first hurdle that left me in a pit of despair, self-loathing, and bitterness. It also marks the fourth time I clearly felt the presence of God completely embrace me at the end of an eighth month journey- a small measure compared to what others walk through. A year after this moment I took a creative writing class and this was the short poem I wrote:
This is a poem to my miscarried child
The face that I will never know
The hands and breath I will never feel
Whose 6 weeks of life were
Vanquished, stolen, and lost
Before my flowing eyes
And aching heart.
My anger grew from despair
I felt your life leave
Mingled in the blood that was shed,
That I tried to contain in me.
But I was not strong enough,
In the wrong time and
So I write this to you, my first,
My unborn, who would be one this year
But has never been known to anyone
A year later I wrote this and yet could not write anything more, did not want to make raw what had been scarred over. I only have just begun to share this process and people often are surprised at just how deeply I felt, how much I struggled with anger, depression, and apathy. Numbness. My first time getting pregnant, my first chance to create life and I blew it. That’s how I felt. And yet I thought that in comparison to what others go through, my story did not matter, my story was not sad enough, my pregnancy not far enough, my struggle not relatable enough.
1 in 4.
That’s what I was told when I walked out of the emergency room that night with a prescription to help with the physical pain of losing a child. 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. I was nothing special. There was no empathy. No prescription for my heart, for my feeling of complete failure as a mother-to-be and crippling fear that this would be my story, not a story of children gained but only of loss.
For a while it was. I acted like I was over it, did what everyone thought I was supposed to do. I could not believe that so many bought into the thin veil I placed over my true emotions. I feared even speaking to my husband, not knowing what he thought and not wanting to make him sad. We tried again and each negative test made me feel more hopeless.
Oh but then.
I wrote about it in my book, wrote how I cried out to God and poured out all I had welled up in me, tore down the walls in my heart and spilled anger, bitter tears, questions I was afraid to ask, and cursing myself that I could not “get over it.” And God’s tender touch came down, seized my heart and began to wrap me in a love I had not felt in a long while, a healing salve for the rawness I finally allowed myself to feel.
Nine months after I lost our first I found out I was pregnant again. I held my breath until 12 weeks, held my breath for each ultrasound, and nearly fainted from fear when delivering and the complications that arose. And then we did it again. And a third. And now a fourth. Each time tinged with fear from that first time we tried to start a family. Because no one wants to see an empty ultrasound, hear silence when the sound of racing horses indicative of a heartbeat should be present. Once was more than enough. Too much.
And the more I thought about it, the more I realized, 1 in 4 is not uncommon. There are a lot of women, families, that have stories like mine. Not everyone has to endure the pain of multiple miscarriages or other issues; many have the one time fear and loss that grips them and they too think, Well I am nothing special because my hurt is not as bad as that hurt.
But being brave does not always heal. Sometimes, we need to know we are not alone.
I know I am not alone because I know enough people, close or acquaintance, who have shared their stories, their loss. I know simply for the statistic, 1 in 4, my own statistic of 1 out of 5, feeling that my womb was only 80% effective.
But I also know that feeling of healing. The feeling of sharing with others, not shying away from the pain but being real, honest, and letting your pain turned hope sit with someone else and just be. Because these four babes of mine? They are a testimony that it can get better, that our God is a God Who heals and restores. And if my womb had not completed a child ever? I believe that is why God gave me the heart for adoption. Once I have walked that path I can help others more, be encouraging and testify that He is good in every situation.
When you are reduced to a statistic, a removal of the personal, you are made to feel that you are nothing special. But there are plenty of others who have experienced pain like mine, that have wanted someone else to speak up and say, yes, it hurts too. And yes, there can be healing.
So let us lift up our stories, our lives that make us uniquely who we are and be comforted in the fact that we are not alone. We walk similar paths and we can laugh and cry and share together and grow and move forward. Maybe not move on, but move forward, embracing the past as part of who we are becoming and find strength in that.
Because a story shared is a life shared. And too long I have not shared enough, have missed opportunities to relate at the most human level, a scared moment of breathed fears and whispered hopes.
Sometimes I think about that baby and I am sad. Sometimes I miss her, try to re-write in my head what life would have been with her. But then my first son would not have been conceived when he was; things would have been much different. And looking back, I see that while I may not understand why she was lost, why I could not have just had a negative test and moved on, I see the unfolding of my family and the first time I truly had to depend on God to take control. The undoing of my need for control started there. Seven years later I am still learning that lesson but it comes a little easier. And it makes me relate to so many more women, reaches my heart out to them. It becomes a part of my testimony. Her lack of voice becomes my voice to speak that God is good, truly good.
And hope comes in the morning.