This story is by Spilled Milk Mama
“My journey to motherhood was not easy. Like so many other women I have survived a miscarriage. Before my first pregnancy I knew miscarriages happened, I just naively assumed because I was healthy and young it would never happen to me. I had no idea how common it really is. Miscarrying feels like a secret society that you don’t learn about until you are smack dab in the thick of it, then others open-up and reveal they’ve survived it with you as well.
It was spring break and my husband, Alex, and I were vacationing for a week in the Dominican Republic. On March 30, 2018, we learned that I was pregnant while we were still there. It was one of the happiest moments of our lives! We immediately carved out a special place for our little one in our hearts and our minds. We began to dream and plan what life would be like for the three of us. A week later my doctor confirmed that I was six weeks pregnant. We told a few close friends, family members, and our pastor. I continued to imagine what our life would be, the sleepless nights, decorating the nursery, the warm cuddles, the loud cries, rocking our baby to sleep. We fell so deeply in love with our precious baby. A few weeks later, at our second prenatal appointment, I knew something was wrong when the doctor was speaking casually and then fell silent as she performed the ultra-sound. After what felt like an endless pause, she finally told us, “I can’t find a heartbeat.” A tsunami of grief crashed over the both of us. We questioned, “WHY Lord?”
Miscarriage is death. It is a loss unlike any other. It is impossible for me to fully describe what it’s like to have someone you love die on the inside of you. I felt like my body betrayed me and failed my unborn child. I wrestled with the idea that it was somehow my fault. I spiraled into over-analyzing what I ate, drank, and what activities I did in the weeks before our loss. But the truth is, it wasn’t my fault, and if you’ve experienced pregnancy loss, know that it wasn’t your fault either. For the days, weeks, and months afterwards, it felt like a dense fog of deep sadness set over me. I wondered at work if colleagues could see beyond my empty smile. A smile that was desperately attempting to mask immense pain. Could they hear the shallowness in my laughter? Could they tell my eyes were fighting back tears? Could they sense my mind was drifting in mid-conversation thinking of my lost baby?
Miscarriage is lonely. For something that is so typical, it is so rarely discussed, which makes it taboo, and adds a layer of shame to the experience. After a quick internet search, I learned 15-25% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage. Most people who have not experienced it do not know how to respond. Be prepared to show grace to others who may accidentally hurt you. We had to forgive several insensitive questions and comments. But once I shared with a few trusted friends, I learned some incredible and painful stories of women who survived, multiple losses, late miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies, and infertility. These friends prayed and cried with me. I knew I was not alone.
It took 10 days after that appointment for my body to realize that my baby was no longer alive inside of me. 10 days of waiting for my body to empty itself. That day I felt God give me His peace. It has never felt more real to me in my entire life. He reminded me that He is close to the broken-hearted and will carry me, as I carry this vacancy in my heart for the rest of my life.
I buried myself in scripture. I knew I wanted to have a child again and as soon as possible. I was encouraged by the stories of women in the bible who struggled with pregnancy. The story of Hannah, Rachel, Rebecca, Sarah, Elizabeth, and Manoah’s wife.
I’m blessed to say that five months later Alex and I found out we were expecting again! On May 16, 2019, I gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Josiah. Which means, “The Lord has healed.” I love my son with everything in me and I am so grateful for him. But children are irreplaceable, BOTH of my babies have their own special place in my heart.
If you have a friend or family member who has experienced a pregnancy loss here are a few simple ways you can support them:
Listen. My friends who really helped me are the ones who simply listened. They sat in the silence, in the awkwardness, in the pain with me. Don’t try to explain why it happened, don’t offer a hopeful cliché, “You can always try again” or “Everything happens for a reason.” Just be present with her.
Check in on her (or them). Call, text, reach out in some way and see how she is doing. Men can also feel deeply saddened by a miscarriage, so if she has a partner, don’t assume he isn’t mourning also.
Show that you remember and care. We shared and prayed with a married couple from our church about our loss. They remembered our due date and gave us a thoughtful card in November. It meant so much to me that someone was still thinking of us and remembering our first baby.
Share this blog. Let them know that they are not alone.
If you have survived pregnancy loss I encourage you to share your story with someone you trust. They may have even gone through it themselves and have not shared about it. Like most grief it never fully goes away. It evolves, it becomes less raw. Know that you are not alone. Know that I am praying for you sis. Know that you may have never got to hold your baby in your arms, but you did hold your little one in the most intimate place a person can be held, on the inside of you. I LOVE my first baby more than I would have ever imagined. To love someone so deeply but to have never met them is the remarkable love and pain of motherhood.”