The first time I believed I was pregnant was when I saw all traces of it at the bottom of a toilet.
I have always been an avid worrier and a control freak – an unfortunate combination. Garrett and I decided in February of this year that we wanted to grow our family, and have been trying since. I have always yearned to be a mother, wanting to create a child out of the love my husband and I have, for that baby to be carried in my own body, delivered through me by the grace of God, and emerge a living, breathing, beautiful soul – with, if we’re being completely honest, Garrett’s blue eyes and dimples.
I soon began doubting my call to motherhood, at least in the way that I so desired it. For 7 months we tried to conceive; each month I bled seemed a confirmation of my failure as a wife and my inability to be a mother in the way that my heart longed. I felt that I was being selfish to want to bear a child when so many are motherless and fatherless… And what greater call does the Jesus-follower have, we who have been adopted by our heavenly Father?
Mother’s Day this year was hard. My heart ached seeing so many friends and acquaintances pregnant or having babies, hearing constant questions of when are we going to have our own and start our family. Mum was the word, but it was anything but quiet.
Then in August, a couple of days after our 3 year anniversary and day 2 of our two-week vacation in Texas, I took a pregnancy test. Being 8 days late was not a normal occurrence, but I was still terrified of getting my hopes up. I was supposed to wait three minutes, but my heart was beating out of my chest. I didn’t want to look but needed to.
Read the word. Deep breath. Re-read it. Is this happening?
I was certain when this moment came, my emotions would be loud and unforgettable – from bawling my eyes out to jumping up and down for joy. But all I felt was numb. Relieved, I suppose, because the thing I feared was impossible happened! The test read positive! Garrett was ecstatic; his blue eyes were somehow brighter, his kisses were harder, and he spoke to and nuzzled my belly, calling our precious baby his little sunflower.
But my heart wasn’t fully in it. My fear wouldn’t let it dive in. I had let the hopelessness and doubt of our trying and failing over and over again sink in too deeply. I wasn’t convinced it was real. Doubt continuously nagged at my mind. After all it was just one plastic stick. At least that is what I told myself.
Fast forward to our home a little over two weeks later, and Garrett and I are sobbing into each other’s shoulders next to a bloody toilet…our beautiful sunflower resting at the bottom in a perfect-looking sac. Tremendous physical pain, then seeing the beauty of what we had created together lifeless and distorted. In the same breath, I had two truths to reckon with – we made a life…and that life is gone. I hadn’t trusted that I had carried that life inside of me. And seeing exactly what had been growing inside now outside… I had to face a lot more than grief because I hadn’t worked through the doubt.
Choosing to operate out of doubt did not better prepare me for the immense pain of what happened. Somehow, it strengthened the fierceness of the blow. I did not get a get-out-of-grief free card. Sorrow does not play favorites.
I am 27 years old, and I had a miscarriage at 7 weeks. It was excruciating, both physically and emotionally. Apparently, 1 in 4 women have felt this pain. Why wasn’t I prepared? Why is no one talking about it? Why are we isolated? Where are these women?
I guess what I want to say on the cusp of one month since, is that you don’t have to feel like you have to be quiet about it. Don’t spare others’ feelings if it requires sacrificing your own. Let yourself feel your sadness. Deeply. Don’t excuse your pain away, hoping that shallow words will quiet the darkness. Talk about it. No one wants to share their pain with a Stepford wife anyway; vulnerability breeds closeness. This is the stuff of life – the meat of relationship. This is real and this is now. My baby mattered.
I am not the type to write up my deep, dark pain and share it with everyone outside my circle. I don’t like attention, and I don’t enjoy pity. I am a much more comfortable listener. But for the love, if anyone has had to go through this hell and feels alone, then this is for you. You are not alone. 25% of women have had to feel their body completely and utterly reject life. And then had to continue being present, still living inside these bodies that seemingly betrayed us. We are strong. We are survivors. We have hope to try again. And we can talk about this. We must.
I love this quote I found from an article titled “I Need to Talk About My Miscarriage” by Ashley Williams:
“Join me, my now-silent sisters. Tell me. Or maybe tell your Starbucks barista that you need an extra shot because you just had a miscarriage. Tell someone to carry your bags for you, not because you’re weak, but because you recently had a miscarriage and you deserve a break. Tell the bartender to make it a double because you haven’t wanted to drink alcohol for months and now you’re allowed to. ‘Why?’ Your bartender will say. ‘Because I’m not pregnant anymore,’ you’ll say. ‘And I want to talk about it.’”
If you don’t know how to talk to those hurting in this way, please don’t just pity us. Please don’t avoid eye contact with us at church or the store. Yes, come give us a good long hug. No, don’t make such a sad fuss that we feel like we have to comfort *you* in this. Yes, sit with us in the quiet and in the hurt. Don’t give us cliches; give us space to talk about it, but don’t pry. Pray for our broken hearts, for our husbands’ broken hearts. Buy us coffee – we can have it now. 😉