Light in the Darkness of Miscarriage

P1040411eLast week felt like the longest of my life.  It started with the joy of a positive pregnancy test and the delightful anticipation of everything symbolized by that little pink line.  I celebrated with my husband and our children, rejoicing over the new little life that was joining our family.  My older boys started mentally trying to figure out exactly how long they’d have to wait to hold the new baby in their arms.

Then subsequent pregnancy tests showed a line that faded away to nothing, and by the end of the week, I had miscarried.  Our sweet little bud was gone without ever having a chance to bloom.  All the joy I had felt a few days before was washed away in a tsunami of grief that caught me completely off guard.  Our culture tries to convince us that it’s not really a child dying when a pregnancy ends in such an early stage, but my mother’s heart just couldn’t accept that.  So I let the tears flow, I mourned the loss of a precious baby I would never hold in my arms, and I looked for light in the darkness.

I know everyone mourns differently, but in case someone stumbles upon this post while facing a similar situation, I wanted to share a few of the things that helped me through those first few days of grief.

Leaning on family and friends

The night my miscarriage began, I couldn’t sleep because I couldn’t stop crying.  Finally I got up and emailed a few friends, telling them what had happened and asking them to pray for me.  Even though I knew it would be hours before they read the message, I felt their support, and it was as though they were now helping carry my burden and letting me get the rest I needed.

When morning came, that support was felt in more practical ways.  Someone brought us dinner that first night, and several others offered to do the same if we needed it in the days to come.  My parents took our older boys to spend the night with them.  Friends prayed for me across great distances and while giving me hugs at church on Sunday morning.

I think the most meaningful thing friends offered, however, was love for our baby.  I had several friends who told me they loved our little one, and for me that was the most supportive thing I could hear.  This wasn’t just some medical event; it was the death of our child.  Knowing that other people loved that child too meant we didn’t have to carry the burden of mourning alone.

I hadn’t really announced my pregnancy yet, but only because we’d just found out about it a few days before.  I’m sure we would have started telling people soon, and part of the reason I’ve always announced my pregnancies right away rather than waiting until after the first trimester is because I knew if we ever did lose a baby that I would need the support of those around me.  I can’t imagine going through that pain alone.

Looking to those who have been there

I was so thankful for the support of all my friends, but knowing that several of them had experienced the loss of a child (either before or after birth) gave me strength.  I’d seen many of them walk through their own grief, and knowing that God had brought them through it helped me trust that there was a way out of the darkness.  I was so thankful to be able to share feelings of grief with others who were familiar with it, even though I know it makes no sense to many in our society who have believed the lie that somehow this little life was less precious than others that have had time to fully bloom.

As my little ones napped one day, I put on the episode of 19 Kids and Counting when the Duggars learned that their 20th child had died in the middle of the pregnancy.  I watched and wept and let Michelle Duggar’s letter to Jubilee express some of the feelings I had trouble putting into words.  Watching the Duggar family grieve helped me feel less alone as I worked through the jumble of emotions inside me.

Trusting in the Giver of Life

My true peace, however, comes not in the process of grieving but in the hope I have through faith in Jesus Christ.  One night Eric pulled out a CD from Family Strategies on “How to Talk About Miscarriage.”  I found it so encouraging.  Rather than focusing on everything we’ll miss in not watching this child grow up, I found myself feeling blessed by the chance to play even a small role in ushering a new soul into eternity.

We’ve said that we’re willing to receive any blessing God chooses to give us, but we know they are not ours to cling to.  Our children are really the Lord’s, and who am I to say where the best place is for this precious soul to dwell?  I am thankful to have caught a glimpse of that quick flicker of life, and I look forward to someday rejoicing in heaven when I meet my child at last.

“The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Job 1:21.