Today is International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Being such, I had opportunity to share the following at my MOPS group this morning. I hope it reaches those that need to hear it. <3
I remember holding 6-week-old Canaan, looking down at him and weeping. I had never loved a person like I loved him. He was perfect. But looking into my son’s face, I felt a whole new emptiness and it stung. Naively, I thought getting pregnant again and finally having a baby would heal wounds. I was shocked to feel those wounds sting with such intensity while cradling my precious newborn.
I wanted Canaan. But I also wanted “her”. But the realization that having both was never an option hit me like a ton of bricks. I couldn’t understand how joy and grief could be so deeply entwined.
I had what I wanted, a baby. But I also had the scars losing our first baby made on my heart. Those scars forever changed me and who I am as a mother and as a woman.
I was in control
Before my miscarriage, I thought I was in control. I got to decide when we were going to have a baby. But losing our baby showed me I was literally just a vessel and that God was weaving together our family, not me. With each loss I am reminded that had any one of those babies lived, I wouldn’t have Canaan. Rylann. Hadley. And as much as miscarriage hurts, the thought of not having any one of those amazing kids makes my heart hurt. So I just have to trust that God has the vision for our family and it’s not mine to create, it’s only mine to accept His gifts with open hands.
Before my miscarriage, I thought I was above losing a baby. My family was fertile. My mom never lost a baby. So no way would I lose one. But I did lose one, then three more. I thought for sure I’d have my one miscarriage and get to move on with other healthy pregnancies but that’s not my story. Instead my story is that of a woman that gets to teach three babies the love of God and four who are already enjoying that rest with Him we all long for.
Not so free membership
Before my miscarriage, I had no idea that after losing a baby I’d get membership to a club no one wants to be in yet somehow embraces new members in ways unimaginable. Fellow loss moms rallied around me. They showered me with gifts but most of all of understanding. We are a strong group of women that not only love babies here on earth, but love babies on the other side of earth. We know all of our babies ages, even the ones who didn’t get to celebrate their birthdays with us. And only we know that gut wrenching emptiness felt when your body fails to do the one thing it should do, protect your baby. None of us want to be here but we’re so thankful we get to be the ones to help new members of our club.
Before my miscarriage I had no idea that every future pregnancy would have a dark cloud hanging over it. Those early weeks were spent with bated breath. Each bathroom trip brought a sense of dread. Every day brought questions of whether or not we should fully love this baby or if we should protect our hearts in case this one didn’t stick. But I try to remind myself that even if their time here is short, I’ve played a small part in helping their souls be with Jesus. So of course I should love them and celebrate them!
Before my miscarriage I had no idea that someone so small could change not only the course of my life but also the very fabric that makes me, me. I’m not above stress and frustration of daily child rearing but at the end of the day I look at my sleeping children and praise God that He saw fit to finally and completely grant me my heart’s desire. Remembering those feelings of emptiness and desperation helps me feel a little more grateful when these tiny people I’m raising invade every bit of my personal space because I’m thankful I have them here to share space with.
They all matter
In a lot of ways, I wish I didn’t know what this was like but in a lot of ways I’m thankful God entrusted me with this experience and ministry of sorts. At times I feel unjustified to mourn the loss of babies so early in pregnancy. Satan would have me think that because we never saw a heartbeat or never felt them move or never saw their face that my grief and my story does not matter. But just in preparing this for you all today, I am seeing that my story does matter. My pain mattered and most of all MY children matter, all seven of them. And your children matter, all of them.