I had an early miscarriage between my children. Please bear with me as I feel the need to recognize that life today.
Here is my only picture of a child I will one day meet:
Some women are able to shake early miscarriages easily as "not meant to be." I wish I could have, but I am not such a woman. It felt like the loss of a child to me. Not the same, I am sure, as losing a child who had the privilege to be born - how could it be? The grief of two women having an early miscarriage is not even the same. I would imagine that the grief of two women losing a born child is never the same either. Circumstances are different. Situations are different. Support systems are different.
One of the blogs I read regularly, and pray for regularly is of an amazing family. They lost a baby at 3 months old. The dad has since had an accident and is paralyzed from the neck down. Their lives have changed in unbelievable ways that I cannot begin to understand, and I don't pretend to. They have been a remarkable, inspirational example of what it means to have to rely on God, and not in an "everything is perfect because I have God in my life" way - but in a "this really sucks, but God is helping us through" way. She is very real, and I appreciate that.
She recently wrote an heartfelt guide about how to "just be" with someone who is in deep grief. It was a great post that was all true and good to read. Some things cannot be fixed and we shouldn't try.
She did not mean to be hurtful - I know that. But, she made this comment: "Those who had had early miscarriages cannot possibly know the grief of losing a living child, or of a having a birth where the baby was too young to survive. We held our babies. We saw their faces, Saw the potential for life. Don't get me wrong, I know miscarriage is heartbreaking, but please don't compare it. Comparisons are nasty, especially at the beginning of the grieving process."
You know what, she's right. Comparisons are nasty. The point of the above sentence was that we should not "compare" grief. We should not make someone else's grief about us. We should just be with them and let them grieve. And she is absolutely right.
I have been guilty of mentioning my miscarriage when others are grieving. It is the deepest pain I have ever experienced. It's all I have as a connection. It's what I think about. Her post was a good reminder that grieving people don't need that connection - they need support. And hugs. And prayer. And someone to listen.
Just like I needed when we miscarried.
Because I didn't get to see my baby's face.
I didn't get the chance to see with my eyes my baby's potential for life.
I didn't get to find out if it was boy or a girl, though my heart tells me it was a girl.
I didn't get the opportunity to cradle her in my arms.
I didn't get a chance to name her.
Or see her smile.
Or hear those precious baby noises.
We desired to have our children close together. My brother and I are only 16 months apart. I love being part of a close sibling pair. We shared friends, we had classes together, we got along well most of the time. I want that closeness for my children.
We never did anything to prevent another pregnancy between the kids, and we started actively "trying" when we could. It took over a year, as it had to conceive Punkin. But, we were finally pregnant. We did one of the super early tests because we were with family for a few days and we thought how cool it would be to maybe be able to tell them that we were expecting face-to-face. So, we did. It is a precious memory to see the grandparents faces when we told them.
Ten weeks later, I began to bleed.
Ten weeks is long enough to attach, to dream, imagine your kids together, wonder what they will be like. Gain 8 pounds.
My heart stopped when I started bleeding. The pregnancy was very different from Punkin and Little Man. I never felt sick. I mentioned to my husband so many times that I "just didn't feel right" that he finally asked me to stop saying that. When I began bleeding, I knew it was not good. I went for an ultrasound, and found that there was no heartbeart and that based on the baby's size, she had quit growing several weeks before.
Two days later, early in the morning, I did hold my baby in my hand. She was about 1 or 1 1/2 inches long. She nestled into the very inner of my palm. She looked exactly like those pictures you see of babies at 7 or 8 weeks gestation. I could see her backbone on its way to being perfectly formed.
I heard many of the same things that the mother mentioned above wrote of:
"It's in a better place."
"It just wasn't meant to be."
"Something was probably wrong with it anyway."
"You can have more children."
"At least it was early."
Eyes that say, "You're being dramatic - it was so early. Get over it."
My heart said, - "I wasn't ready for her to be in a better place. I wanted the chance to love her here." "What are you saying - my baby didn't matter and I'm supposed to just forget about it?" "I don't care if something was wrong with her - I would have loved her anyway", "How do you know I can have more children? It took us a long time to conceive this one!" "oh, there is a good time to lose a baby?"
"I'm not just being dramatic. I lost my child. And it hurts."
I know that my early miscarriage was God's design for me and my child. And I have complete faith and trust that everything worked out exactly as it should have. It's not about that. The grief of an early miscarriage for me was the grief of hope, of potential life, of moments that I wanted to have, of a lost dream.
It is not the same as any other grief, including the loss of a born child. And I am not trying to say that it is.
But, can I just continue her guide and say a miscarriage IS a loss of a child? I was on the couch for 2 days while I was miscarrying. And I had a 2 year old. Mostly alone. Was I supposed to go to the grocery store while my child was literally falling away from me? Was I supposed to fix dinner?
5 plus years later, how much my heart still aches for that baby and what might have been.
I think her comment hurts because, self-centered as it may be to feel this way - once again, it feels as though my loss is pushed to the side. As if to say, "It wasn't THAT serious. It was THAT great of a loss."
And honestly, maybe not to her, as she and her family have experienced what may be more intense, serious losses - I haven't experienced those so I honestly have no idea. I would imagine that to be true. But, it is the greatest loss of my life. My greatest grief to this point. Yes, I am a lucky and blessed girl. But, we can "well, at least you didn't...... " for quite a long time, and even when we find the one woman who has experienced the greatest loss in the whole world, it does not take away my grief over my lost child one iota, nor would it take away hers. Or yours.
One friend brought me a meal. She will be my friend forever.
One friend gave me a teddy bear for my baby that would never be. She had walked this road before.
One friend gave me plant.
My pastor came and sat awkwardly on the edge of the chair and tried his best to say the right thing. He did not succeed.
I felt, and continue to feel, very alone in my grief. It was so early, that my loss doesn't seem to matter.
No one, including my husband, remembers the date that we found out we had lost our child. Or that the day we brought Little Man home from the hospital was the one year anniversary of that day.
No one remembers the date that our child could have been coming into the world or having a birthday.
No one remembers my child.
Except me. I remember and I will never forget. She is my child and someday, in Heaven, I will get to meet her and see if she is really a girl and what she is like. Who God designed her to be and her purpose in being in my body for a few weeks. And, oh - I look forward to that.