I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart) I am never without it. ~e. e. Cummings
A person’s a person, no matter how small. ~Dr. Seuss
A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father. John 16:16
As I sit comfortably in The Husband’s reading chair with my feet propped up on the matching ottoman and covered in my and Baby Girl’s favorite snuggling throw, I look out into the quiet night waiting for a predicted rainstorm of horror and terror to make its appearance. And I’m a little bit afraid to fall asleep. All my life, I have been a deep sleeper. Storms projected to hit in the middle of the night unnerve me. So, I sit unsettled about this storm and as I try to write my anxieties away, I can’t help but think of my dear friends who, as I type these words are dealing with their own horror, waiting for their personal storm to pass.
Last week, these favorite friends of mine shared with us the grief in their hearts that they are losing another child—their fourth—to miscarriage. For them, this makes three miscarriages in a row. My own experiences with miscarriage aside, I can’t begin to express deeply enough the pain and sadness I feel for them and their family. These friends of mine are beautiful, decent, moral, giving, loving, healthy, young people. Their only living child is much like her parents—a beautiful, sensitive, loving child. She deserves a sibling to love. Her parents deserve to be freed from their trauma and heartache every time a pregnancy test renders positive. It just does not make sense to me—the suffering and loss one couple must endure.
Years ago, I tried to make sense of my own losses. “Why again? What am I doing wrong? What are the doctors missing? Will I be childless forever?” And the questions continued in my mind and sat still in my heart for many, many years. These unanswered questions and debilitating doubts only deepened the wound of infertility for The Husband and me. They never fully left even with fostering The Girl, after carrying The Boy to term, having The Girls’ adoption finalized, nor later with Baby Girl’s surprisingly easy pregnancy. Only recently was I able to break free of the horrible hold those chains of infertility and miscarriage held over me. But, then I miscarried again—after the three kids came–and some of the old heartache resurfaced. And the doubts? They doubled along with the grief.
Through the painful infertility years, I felt misunderstood and alone. No one I knew at the time had had a miscarriage which made going through each one even worse. I felt like a failure in so many ways and that I was failing my husband in his dream to become a father. Of course, I realize now that these feelings and thoughts were unfounded. It took me awhile to figure out that God’s plan was larger than my own and more fulfilling than I could have ever imagined for myself. But as I was living in the drought of infertility—and I mean a deeply physical, emotional and spiritual dry period—what made it worse was that I felt wrong for grieving so hard. So many, well-meaning, lovely people in my life wanted me to just get over my feelings and leave the questions alone. But how can you ever truly get over the loss of a miraculous life? Four lives, no less. Infertility was a tough road to endure then, and the scars that remain from that time are deeply sewn.
For anyone reading my words tonight, I beg of you to be sensitive and compassionate toward a loved one you know who has miscarried their child. Be extra-supportive in your actions and tender in your words to them. Bring a home-cooked meal or send a gift card. When it’s all said and done, a miscarriage can take weeks to complete. Keep checking in, keeping praying, keep offering help and love. Even if you don’t get it–couldn’t imagine what it might be like to lose a child you never even held or named–please go above and beyond for your friends. And when in doubt, hold your tongue. Take it from me, well-meaning phrases like, “It just wasn’t meant to be.” Or, “Be glad for the child(ren) you already have.” Are not helpful, aren’t really for you to declare, and can add more pain to their suffering.
For anyone reading these words who have had in the past or are now experiencing a miscarriage (also infant or child loss) you have my deepest sympathies. You are not alone. Your grief is justifiable and real. Your loss, unimaginable. You will one day have peace and joy again, but you’ll never be the same.