This article was originally written in November of 2013 for Our Witness, a website that highlights personal testimonies of Christians all over the world. Thank you for reading!
The day after I lost my baby was the only day I literally wanted to die. I’ve met other women who suffered a miscarriage before, but they still seemed “normal”, so I didn’t think much of the impact it has on women until it happened to me.
They said it was “hard” and “one of the most difficult events they’ve ever been through”, but I couldn’t imagine the attachment they had to their unborn child no matter how brief or how long their baby was wrapped in its mother’s womb.
We weren’t trying to get pregnant, but it was something I could hardly wait for. I always joked that I’ve been wanting a baby since I was a baby, so since I’ve been married I’ve had multiple talks with my husband asking why we couldn’t have a baby…NOW. My period came like clockwork and so did the symptoms, however the day before I was supposed to start my cycle, me and my husband were watching our favorite shows and I had this overwhelming and exciting urge to yell “I’m pregnant!”
Well, for obviously reasons, I didn’t.
The days came and went with no visit from Aunt Flo, so we got two pregnancy tests which confirmed on March 11th, 2013 that I was indeed with child. Talk about exciting, overwhelming, scary, amazing news! Weeks went by before we got a legitimate pregnancy test done, and we hadn’t told anyone because we wanted to be sure before we did. March 30th—the day before Easter—we finally told our parents and even recorded their reactions hidden camera style because we were planning on making an announcement video for the “public” later on in the pregnancy.
Within the next few days, I started telling more family and close friends…and within those few days, I started cramping and spotting. I didn’t think anything of it until April 6th when the spotting turned from brown to red. I had been warned by nurses and online forums that this was an early sign of miscarriage. I’ve heard of other women who spotted or even had full blown menstrual cycles during their pregnancy and were fine, but my spirit—the same spirit who told me I was pregnant—told me that something was wrong. I didn’t say anything to anyone because I didn’t want to set off an alarm if there was no reason to.
The following Monday night on April 8th is when the cramping got more painful and I felt a tug in my uterus. The only way I can describe it is if you were to pluck a grape off of the vine, it would have felt something like that. I went to use the bathroom, and once I sat down, all I could do was cry because I knew that this was it. My husband happened to come to the bathroom door the moment the baby was released from my womb, and he sat down at my knees and tried to comfort me. I think we were there for over an hour before I finally had the courage to get up. I figured the worst was over, but I had never been through this before, so I was still hesitant to move around.
All I could think about for days after that night was how many milestones I would miss out on with my son or daughter. I was hoping for a girl, but it was too soon to tell at eight weeks. I thought about her little fingers and toes that never got to be kissed, and even though she was wrapped in the warmth of my womb, she never got to be held in my arms. I almost felt worse for her missing out on life than I did about me losing a child. However, the more I look at it now; I realize she’s in the best place she could possibly be. She missed out on her first steps, her first words, her first time seeing her parents, but she also missed out on the sin that fills this world. I take some solace in that, though I still wish she was here.
For a few days I lived in bed and cried uncontrollably with my mind still reeling. My husband was there every time I needed him and didn’t work for almost a full week because I didn’t want to be alone. He stayed very strong for me, but broke down a few times because this was also his loss and his pain. Mostly he was hurting for me because neither of us knew for sure what had happened, and his faith was still open for a miracle. Witnessing death really made me think about the fragility of life like I hadn’t before. I started to have illogical fear of losing everyone. Anytime my husband left the house or I got a phone call, I would immediately think that bad news was around the corner. If my baby could die, why not my husband…why not anybody?
Miscarriage is a very common thing, but knowing that the odds are about 1 in 4 doesn’t make the reality sink in any easier. Having read countless articles that say it’s not my fault and there’s nothing I could have done to prevent it doesn’t stop my mind from reliving the moment my husband sat at my knees on the bathroom floor and prayed while I screamed with tears pouring down my face after my baby came into the world 32 weeks too soon. If anything, I would almost rather that it was something I did so I could possibly prevent it from happening again.
I thought about keeping everything to myself. I wasn’t even able to tell everyone in my family about the great news before the great news turned into very sad news. I thought about hurrying up and getting pregnant again and not even telling my parents what had happened until months down the line when they could still be happy about child number two. I wanted to keep them from the brunt of the grief I had to experience with my husband for as long as I could. However, that’s what’s wrong with this picture. Even though I read about other women who experienced a miscarriage, it still seemed like such a foreign thing because very few women actually talk about it.
I understand not wanting to scare a new mom with everything that could go wrong and try to overwhelm them with one of the worst case scenarios (believe me, once you discover you’re pregnant, most of what you do is worry). I also understand that knowledge goes a long way and is important in embarking on such a huge journey like parenthood. I wish there was more of an open dialogue and I wish I had asked more questions with the moms I knew who had miscarried before. However, dredging up that memory isn’t something most of us are comfortable doing. In order to save you the discomfort of having to ask, I decided to open a window into my experience.
You know the saying “misery loves company”? Well, it’s true, but it’s also true that happiness loves company, confusion loves company, fear loves company, and new experience loves company. The more we relate to someone and say “You too? I thought I was the only one who liked/thought/feared/didn’t understand that!” the more we feel connected, validated, and understood. I’ve read a lot of forums with women who shared their story of loss and it really helped me to heal…even through tears. It helped me to see that others went through this…and others survived. I even wrote private letters to women apologizing for not being there for them when they went through the same thing. I tried to share as much of my journey without being offensive in case there was someone who needed to hear my story or use the resources I posted online.
I can tell you most assuredly, that if you’ve been through this or if you go through this in the future, you will be okay. Life will go on and you will be “normal” just like the rest of us. It was hard to imagine getting to this point when I was in the thick of the darkest valley, but God has helped me to look forward to having children again and not live in fear of death every day.
We are dealing with this as best we can, and the support we’ve gotten so far has definitely helped us through it. It’s important for us to know that this was NOT God’s plan for us, and we know that it didn’t “happen for a reason”. We live in a world that fell under a curse when Adam and Eve sinned against God, and that’s why bad things happen. The Lord will work everything out for those who love Him, but that doesn’t mean that tragedy is His divine plan. I know that everything will be okay because of who my God is, and I put my faith in that. I know one day I’ll go to heaven, and it gives me great comfort to know that she’s there waiting for us.
A resource that helped me a lot was www.unspokengrief.com. If you feel comfortable sharing your own personal account, please do. It’s amazing how starting a dialogue can help heal you and others. Thank you for taking time to read this today, and I pray it blessed you.
(In memory of Promise Conner who was expected to arrive November 14th, 2013.)
[Update, God is faithful. I now have an 18 month old happy and healthy baby girl who’s feet are shown in the photo above. Follow my journey of motherhood here.]