Expecting And The Unexpected Vol 5/ Miscarriage
While I have not myself experienced the grief and loss that comes with a miscarriage I know that many of you have. From time to time I love to open this platform up to other women to share about their pregnancy experiences. I was incredibly thankful when one of my closest friends, Annie Burdine, was willing to share the story of her miscarriage. I have often stood in awe of Annies wisdom, honesty and unwavering faith through trials. I know you will be blessed by her voice on this topic as much as I was:
“I was about 11 weeks pregnant when the bleeding started. The moment is forever seared in my memory. I remember what I was wearing, what I was doing right before it happened, who I was with. And I remember the fear. The fear that maybe there wasn’t anything to be done. The fear that my reality was about to be overturned.
On the phone, the OB was encouraging. My first ultrasound had been normal, making the chances of a healthy pregnancy much higher. I held onto her reassuring words with all I had. There was little to do except wait until morning. We were in the middle of a hurricane and we were staying at my parents’ house since our own home was without power- sentenced to darkness for the time being. I tried not to think about the metaphor.
The next morning, I awoke hopeful. So much so, that I showed up to the OB’s office for an ultrasound completely alone. No one was with me when I saw my baby, small and still on the monitor.
“I’m so sorry,” she said. “You’re having a miscarriage.”
Miscarriage. The word reverberated in my mind. Mis-, mis-, mis-.....mistake, misguided, miscalculated...miscarriage. The word was crushing. Heavy. Like all things wrong and unintended and somehow unwise. Like someone had made a wrong turn, and maybe that someone was my body.
As if she could see the road my mind was calling me towards, she reached out her hand and gave me a lifeline, “Nothing about this was your fault. You didn’t cause this. You couldn’t have stopped it.”
The sincerity in her eyes gripped me. And in that moment, her words rescued me. Not from pain, but from guilt. From the “what if’s” that were ready to prey on my wounded soul.
Over the next few days, life returned to its regular rhythm. But I struggled to know my part. Because there’s death and there’s dying and it’s right inside of your very own body, but nobody sees. On the outside, you are the same as always- without any physical changes to evidence the emotional battle wounds you are carrying. Coworkers, neighbors, parents at daycare drop-off, they haven’t a clue what has happened to you. That overnight you went from hopeful to destroyed, from whole to broken.
But you see. Everyday. For weeks on end. Where there once was life and growth and promise and dreams, now your body bleeds. Your body that was supposed to nourish and provide for your baby, now weeps in defeat. The baby you immediately loved and who already belonged to you. The baby you will not hold, will not bring home, will not raise.
People say things. Well-meaning people. People who love you, even. They say things they wouldn’t dream of saying if your 2 year-old had died. They mean to comfort you, but instead they dig the wound deeper.
“There will be other children.”
“At least it happened early.”
“Maybe it just wasn’t meant to be.”
But then why in God’s name do I hurt so much? Why can I think of nothing else but the empty ache inside my body and soul?
It can feel like society gives a lot less permission for grief when your baby leaves the world this way. Most people do not rush to bring you meals or visit you. Or just sit with you.
But Jesus- He weeps with you. Because those well-meaning friends- they’re right about one thing. It wasn’t meant to be. It wasn’t meant to be this way. Your baby was never meant to die. You were not made to know the pain of death and loss. That’s why your soul rips open and feels like it might never repair. This isn’t the way the world is supposed to be and God Almighty agrees.
Pain and heartache and loss- they crashed into the world a long, long time ago when humanity chose to go their own way. But, God, in his great mercy, set in motion a plan, through Jesus to make all things new again. To make all things right and good and the way they were intended to be. Without disconnect and disappointment. It’s happening now. Sometimes, I know I can see it- like the budding of a long awaited springtime. But spring has yet to fully come. And so we still walk the way of broken things.
Dear Sister, if you are walking this road, I pray that today you feel just a little bit less alone. I desperately want you to know that while your road is your own, there are many on parallel journeys. Even if you haven’t found them yet. Pain is so often a horrible isolator of souls designed to connect with and carry each other.
And Dear Sister, I pray you find permission to feel your pain. Because it isn’t okay when babies die. If overwhelming emotions should find their way into your soul, feel them. They are not to be feared or reasoned away. Just felt. And shared with a spouse, or good friend, or counselor who will feel them with you.
My story eventually unfolded to include 3 healthy-enough pregnancies and 3 beautiful healthy children. I could not have known this at the time of my miscarriage and that wasn’t the promise I needed most in that moment. Because in those visceral hours, I just longed for someone to exist in the wreckage with me.
You and I don’t know each other. I don’t know your story or the pain you are carrying. But the One who is writing your story sees you and breaks over what’s broken with you.”
Annie is also a pediatric nutrition counselor and conducts online sessions. If you would like to know more about her you can find her at Annieburdine.com.