Tuesday, July 29, 2008

a silent heartache

I can remember praying in high school, and then later on after I was married, that God would spare me pain revolving around miscarriage and infant death. I was specific on what I wanted: healthy pregnancies and healthy children. There was certainly nothing wrong with the asking, but in this particular area of my life, God chose to say "no." Instead, He gave me experiences that span the gamut of the child bearing strata--miscarriage, a healthy baby and pregnancy, infant death, and adoption.

As I was thinking about that, I realized that throughout the 95 posts I've written since starting this blog nearly a year ago, I've not really touched on the part of my story that involved miscarriage. It is my strong belief that miscarriage is often a silent sorrow. Something that isn't talked about much, but that is devastating to the one going through it. It's unbelievably common, but the frequency of the occurrence does nothing to lesson the pain when it actually happens to you. This is how it happened for me.

Nathan and I were married three years before our minds started turning toward the possibility of a baby. Our dachshund, Chum, had done a fine job of filling the child void up that time, but suddenly, he wasn't enough. We were thrilled when we found just a few short months later that we were pregnant. It's crazy how fast the wheels of your mind start turning when you begin to contemplate your first child. My mind was going ninety to nothing, and I was excited about all of it. We wanted our friends and family to know immediately, so I wrote funny poems for our parents, and we made a big announcement to our friends. I was a school teacher at the time, so after a few weeks I also let my middle school student in on what would be coming in the not so distant future. I wanted everyone who cared about us to share in the excitement over this new stage of our life, and never being one for caution, the thought of waiting to tell people never really crossed my mind.

It was before any of the initial excitement had worn away that I was hit with devastating news of the miscarriage. What was it like? It hurt. Everything about it hurt terribly. All of my dreams for what was to be were now empty and dead. What was worse, I had to tell everyone the new news, and it was a whole lot harder to spread around than the first. I couldn't get through any of it without crying, and the pain was very real. Even though we didn't even know if that little baby was a boy or a girl, we were connected! I thought about it constantly, and I felt that every day that ticked by was one day longer that I shouldn't have had to wait to be a mom. Bitterness was licking at my heals, and if not for God's grace, I would have fallen deep into that pit. Of course looking back, God's presence is so evident, but at the time, even though I trusted Him, I was hurt that He had allowed me to go through the excitement only to have it all taken away such a short time later.

Over time God did heal that wound, and He has since given us Marianna, Poppy, and Adrienne. But even though the wound is healed, I can remember the heartache that came with that miscarriage. I know that there are untold numbers of people who have also experienced this same loss, yet I believe many feel misunderstood or ignored. Not to say that people are callous when they hear that someone has had a miscarriage, but the loss is simply not given much weight. That is a broad generalization, and it is not even something I came across much in my own experience, but the more I have heard, the more I feel like people need to understand that the pain is real and legitimate. It is something that requires grieving just as any other loss, and it is not something that someone "snaps" back from in a weeks time. I wanted to share this because while it's not everyday that you come across someone who has lost a child, you are probably acquainted with more people than you think who have gone through the pain of of miscarriage. If you haven't faced it personally or walked beside a close friend or family member who has gone through it, you probably will sometime in the future.

Who knows God's purpose for miscarriage, but what I do know is that He uses us, whether we have personally been through that or not, to reach out and be His physical arms to the people who are going through pain.

27 comments:

Jena Baker said...

Angie--thanks for writing this. I have lost two babies to miscarriage and it truly is a silent heartache. I remember every year the days that I lost these babies and the due dates that I should have met them. My one comfort is that they are already in heaven and I will meet them both there someday.

Robin said...

I lost a baby to miscarriage 19 years ago and I have never forgotten. I remember the day I lost my baby and the day my little one was supposed to be born. It broke my heart. It was an incredibly hard time. Healing finally began when my doctor, at a post/miscarraige checkup, listened to me talk about how difficult the emotional healing was, took my hand, and said these words: "Robin, you lost a child. Of course this is going to be hard." It was the first time anyone had acknowledged that I had lost a child. It helped me so much.
God in His mercy, gave us our daughter Jessica. It took me a while to realize that if we hadn't of lost the baby we wouldn't have Jess - and that is uncomprehendable to my mind today. So even though I don't understand why or for what purpose I carried a sweet child in my body for several weeks only to lose him/her before I could meet him/her, I can rest in God's Sovereignty. And that is enough for me. Even through the pain. It is

Jennifer said...

Angie~

I came to your blog many months ago from Yvette's. Even though I haven't walked the Trisomy 18 road, I have had 2 miscarriages and your blog along with Yvette's, Kenzie's, Emily's, and others have been such a blessing to me. Thank you for writing this post because, like you said, it can be a very silent heartache and it's not something you "snap back from". Since my first one last August I've learned that many other ladies I know have known the heartbreak that comes with miscarriage. Thank you for sharing.

Colie said...

Thanks for this. I lost a baby to miscarriage last week. I appreciate your comments and encouragement. I think of you often through this because of how hard it would be if I carried this child to term. Not to negate the pain of my miscarriage but how much more painful it would have been. However, as you have beautifully blogged - more beautiful as well.

I have followed your story since before Poppy's birth but I don't think I have ever commented. So - here is to my first comment:-).

Joy said...

Angie - thanks so much for writing this. I have been following your blog quietly since the time of Poppy's birth. I have lost 3 pregnancies to miscarriage one pregnancy where I was carrying naturally conceived twins. My husband and I do have a 3 1/2 year old daughter and we so deperately have wanted to give her a sibling. I never have forgotten these children that I would never know and think about them often. It was my experience that people don't know what to say so just don't say anything which is the worst kind of pain for me. For me these babies had been real and I want to be able to talk about them but it has been difficult to find people that will listen. Many feel that I should be able to move on and be happy with the child I do have. It has gotten easier as I have read your blog and others like yours and as I start trusting more in God's plan. While I don't know what His reason was for my miscarriages I am more at peace trusting that His plan is what is best for me. Thank you again for sharing your family's story. You are a comfort and inspiration to me.

Joy
joympieri@gmail.com

laura said...

angie-
i have followed your story, as well as the stories of your sweet friends since before Poppy was born. Thank you for mentioning miscarriages. I also have lost a wee one due to a miscarriage. It was a difficult loss- but the Lord does see us through our pain. i agree it is a silent heartache- that i truly believe one cannot understand unless they walk the same road.

Anonymouse said...

I'm echoing all of the other comments. Acknowledging the loss of miscarriage is what is so often absent...at least that has been my experience.

Thanks for talking about the healing too. I think as awareness and acknowledgment are raised, the healing for others can come sooner.

cookfam said...

Angie- i have been keeping up with you since Poppy was born, ( I came across your beautiful video on You Tube). We share similar stories. I too, had a miscarriage with my first child, 3 years into my marriage. I also am a school teacher who told her Kindergarten students - try to explain that one to 5 year olds!! Reading your story brought back so many memories - even though it was 5 years ago - it seems like yesterday! I have a special ornament that we hang on the Christmas tree in honor of that baby. It is a crystal pacifier - my mom tied a pink ribbon and a blue ribbon to it, and it just seems fitting that we left them both on there - not knowing whether it was a boy or a girl. We now have 2 children, a 4 year old boy and a 1 year old baby girl. Thanks for sharing!

Life As A Newlywed said...

Angie, my name is Becca. I think I came across your blog through the Farley's?

Beautiful words. One day I was at the grocery store with my niece, who was about 10 months (you know, that irresistibly cute, rolly polly stage?) and an older woman walked by, gently stroked her hand and said "what a sweet girl!" I didn't really think much of it till a few minutes later she came by again. This time she apologized. We stood in the middle of the condiment isle where she told me of how she lost a baby girl...40 years ago. She had given birth to a healthy boy years later. Yet to this day, little girls still take her breath away. I know people must have thought we were nuts...two strangers crying in the middle of Winn Dixie!

My sweet, sweet mother-in-law still to this day tears up when she speaks up the 3 babies she lost...back in the 70's.

Your pain is something many of women have felt, and the rest of us pray to never, ever know. Thank you for your transparency.

Anonymous said...

angie-
i came across your blog through my friend boothe farley. your post is so relevant, so honest. i recently had a miscarriage of twins. thank you for speaking out and posting about this silent heartache. it eases the pain-just a little- to know there are others out there who do not forget.

Adam & Amy Wilson said...

wow, I can't even begin to express how much this post means to me- thank you, sweet friend.

Anonymous said...

angie
i have been following you blog since poppy's birth. i found out about you through a friend and i
check your blog everyday. you are
such a inspiration to me!!
your family is so precious..

t h a i t r a i t said...

What a heartfelt post. I've not gone through this, and hope I never have to...
Thank you for your touching perspective.

Anonymous said...

I hear your pain over the loss of your baby and I am so very sorry.I lost two babies.First in 1969 during" the baby scoop era "when pregnant girls were abandoned by parents and sent away to have our babies and then have them taken from us for adoption.Adding to the pain we were told that we would forget and go on.And of course I was to remain silent about my loss.I never forgot and now I are not keeping silent.
My second loss came years later when I had a tubal pregnancy and lost that baby and almost lost my life.At least because I was married than,I was sent home with cards and flowers instead of empty arms. The pain of losing my precious daughter to adoption loss was never validated and it should have been.Both times the pain was horrific .I was given permission to grieve the second loss of my babies simply because I was married .
I have reunited with my lost daughter and thanks to my recovery support group, I am healing.The lost years/memories can never be regained however.
I truly believe that someday I will be reunited with my other lost child. If there is one thing that needs to happen is for women to be there for other women ,that for the most part is unique to being born female.

friedrichfamily said...

Angie,
You have such an inspirational style of writing. Thank you for sharing so many of your thoughts and emotions with us. I realize that your blog is just one avenue to express what you're feeling and that there's so much more, but I appreciate the way you share your life experiences and faith in the Lord through those experiences. I had two miscarriages before my husband and I turned to adoption. We had been home from Vietnam with our beautiful daughter for 6 months when we learned we were pregnant. We now have our daughter (almost 2 1/2) and our son, 7 months. While the loss of those first two babies will always have a private place in my heart, I know we would not have turned to adoption without those events, and our daughter so surely belongs with us! (Not that any words remotely like this would have healed me then - I was too caught up in grief, and I shouldn't have been expected to feel better with these words. God allows us to heal at our own speed and wants us to hurt so that we can grow.) God does His work as He sees fit, and so often, it's not the way I would have things. However, He continues to weave things together in a way that assures me it's a good thing He is in control! Blessings to your beautiful family!

Laurie said...

Sweet Angie,

This post really was a huge piece in the puzzle of my life that I needed to find. Thank you for writing this.
Thirty nine years ago I lost my first baby to miscarriage. I was 3 months pregnant and a very painful labor. It felt so lonely leaving the hospital after a D&C, empty handed with a hurting heart. It was dismissed by most as a blob of tissue and not compatible to survive. I knew in my heart that it had a spirit and WAS a baby boy or girl. No ultrasounds back then to determine anything. A year and a half later I had my twin sons who were born full term and healthy. I always thought of my first and that I had 3 babies, but kept it to myself in my heart. My husband always spoke openly of it and felt it was a girl. I just felt guilty and somehow it was my fault. Now, I have followed all of you girls through your heartbreaks and losing your precious babies. I have followed along as you find out who is in there, boy or girl. It amazes me that I was more than far enough along to find out if todays advances were available. I have realized the healing that has been taking place in my heart as I have followed all of your lives and losses, and I have been able to honor my first baby and grieve for it through this time. My baby was not compatible and therefore, I miscarried. I have cheered with all of you with this same diagnosis, as your babies have made it so much farther, have names, and you have seen their faces. Your babies have become my lost baby. And then I grieve with your losses as if it were my own and now I know why, I really know why in my heart now. I so cherish you and the other girls Angie for allowing me to follow your lives, pray for you, share your burden and all the while healing my own. Back in the late 60's, it was just a blob of tissue, and in so many ways, things haven't changed much. But they are all babies with spirits from the moment of conception, with value and weight and purpose. I realize that my loss in the 60's secretly led me to all of you girls in the past year, bringing healing to my heart.
I am sorry this is so rambling but I have realized this morning in a deeper way, why I love these babies so very much and the burden for them. Thank the Lord and you for my breakthrough today. I am 60 and still learning new things every day. I love you to heaven girl.

Hugs and Hope, Laurie in Ca.

Trudy said...

It is a true and deep pain. When I look back I remember going through all the stages of grief. I will always remember our little soul in Heaven and always count 'her' as one of our greatest blessings.

Thank you for recognizing the pain!

The Lenda's said...

Angie-
As a mother to seven babies in heaven I appreciate you mentioning miscarriage. I do think it is the fact that a miscarriage is not really considered a loss that makes it so difficult.
Prior to having children I had four miscarriages and them my fifth pregnancy I went on to delivery a beautiful healthy little girl. Rose will be turning four in Oct. When she was one we got pregnant again and loss that baby shortly after that we became pregnant with our second miracle baby Pearl is almost 2. We are praying and trying for a third baby but have had two more miscarriages this year. I pray that my story gives hope to to others out there deciding whether they can go through this loss again. If I had given up because the pain after my first four miscarriages was to much I would not have had my girls here today. Praying for those without children to be comforted and blessed with a child someday.
Rachel
Mommy to
2 blessings on earth
and 7 in Heaven

Just Me said...

Thank you for continuing to share your heart. It looks like you have touched a lot of people by writing about this, myself included. I suppose I "knew" that it hurts terribly no matter when you lose a child, but this was beautifully written and a good reminder to be there for those whose loss isn't quite as obvious. The grief is real, and they too need extra love and support.

Continued prayers to you and your family,
Amanda

Melody said...

You can never fully understand the pain until you've been through it. Before starting our family, an acquaintance of mine had a miscarriage. I can remember sitting right next to her on a couch at out home group, and saying NOTHING to her! I just kept thinking how awkward I felt.........ugh.

Two years I found myself walking down that very same road. Then I really understood that pain. Oh how awful it felt every time someone pretended like nothing had happened, totally ignoring the loss I was grieving. Oh how I wished I could go back to that night and do it over again. Now I know that saying nothing is the worst possible thing you can do. My friends that ministered to me the most were the ones who were just honest and said, " I'm so sorry. I don't even know what to say, but I'm here for you." So simple, but it meant so much!

Kim (marygracesummons.blogspot.com) said...

Angie,
I was just thinking the other night when I was giving in to the sadness that not only did I lose Mary Grace, I have had 5 pregnancies and only have 2 babies with me. It's sad, it hurts and it's hard to understand. But..I will choose to continue to see all the goodness in my life and pray that it's all used for His glory.
Thanks for this post.
I love you,
Kim

Linda said...

Thank you for this post. I have three beautiful boys here and three children in heaven. It is a very misunderstood experience to those who have not walked through it.
Blessings,
Linda

Anonymous said...

Angie,
I tried to leave a post the other night when I first read this, but my pc messed up.
My wife and I had a miscarriage between our 2 boys. We never knew whether our baby was a boy or girl. Speaking as a father, I grieved the loss as much as my wife, and maybe even more so, because every Christmas (the time we lost our baby) I felt grief inside because of the absence of our other child. Oddly enough, or maybe not, it took me 12 years to finally feel I had come to terms with the Lord for allowing this to happen. Though I wasn't blaming Him, I was just dwelling on it in such a way that I needed closure. So after 12 Christmas seasons, I decided to write a letter and read it to my family, and in it I named our baby "Chris."
What that did for me was replace the greif I had been carrying for years, and replace it with joy to know that one day I will get to meet my "baby" in heaven. Yes, it's hard to loose a baby, and people are sympathetic to when a child is carried full term. However, there's a silent cry I think, from mothers as well as fathers who loose a child through a misscarriage. The world I think has tried to tell us it's not a baby yet, that we shouldn't feel bad, 'it' never formed. Ha, I know better than that (Psalms 139:13). Thank you for reminding me Angie that joy awaits me not only in seeing Jesus one day, but my 'baby' as well. Jack

Anonymous said...

Thank you for bringing this topic into the blog world. As a mom of three babies in heaven because of miscarriage one at 8 weeks, 16weeks and 22 weeks, it is still as painful as it was then. And now at 31 years old in menopause and not much hope of a biologic child I patiently wait for the Lord to tell me the next step. Thank you some much for sharing your multiple mommy journeys with the world. It is a special place that you have in my heart. And on those hard days when I want to ask why you prove to me that I know why and God is the answer.
Thank You!! Melissa (txlissa@yahoo.com)

Rog & Aimee said...

Wow! I couldn't have said those words any better. I seriously felt like you were reading my mind. I too went through that 2 times before we had our first child and I felt all that you had said!
you have no idea who I am but please feel free to venture on over to my blog if you want.
Thank you for that. wow, emotions came right back about all of that and I haven't felt those feelings of my miscarriages in a long time. I realize now why the Lord had me experience such sorrow. I feel like maybe it was so I could comfort others and be a help to those who go through the same thing. I know it helps me more every time I am connected with someone else. so. thank you.

Carolyn said...

Thank you for your words. As many have already written, your words so accurately describe how it feels to be on the losing side of miscarriage. My husband and I have 3 healthy little boys but are grieving through 2 losses in the past 6 months. The feelings are still so raw, and are overlapped with each other. I know we will be okay - and we try to rise up and understand that many people just do not know what to say or how to be sensitive to us right now. We trust that God will use our pain for His good purpose, and in the meantime, as we heal and miss our two little ones, we are thankful for ALL He gives us....especially our healthy boys.

Thanks again for opening your heart to us.

Love,
Carolyn

Inkling said...

I'm just catching up on your blog. I've been following yours along with the moms you went to Atlanta with for months now.

Thank you for sharing this post. I was just asked today by a woman who didn't know I'd had a miscarriage last year if it was "no big deal with no need to really mourn" to me since I was so early on in the pregnancy. A life is a life, no matter how short or small, so I told her that I did indeed mourn. I also gently told her that losing our first baby taught me that people can say some hurtful and thoughtless things, and that the only helpful thing is to say, "I'm so sorry," and then offer a hug.

And just the other day at a doctor's office the receptionist said, "Is this your first baby?" Without even thinking I replied, "Well, we lost our first baby, but this will be the first baby we hopefully get to meet." She was obviously feeling awful about asking me that, so I put her at ease by telling her that I never know what to say to people when they ask that. I usually don't respond that way to strangers and just say "yes", but for some reason, I just couldn't that day. It was important to acknowledge the little life that lived inside of me last year for a few short weeks.

Women need to know that losing a baby, either before they get to meet or after, is difficult and worthy of mourning. The most healing thing that happened to me last year after hearing so many platitudes and thoughtless comments from women in my church was a friend who had been in my shoes years earlier. She came up to me and just said, "Oh, Sara. I'm so sorry." And then she put her arms around me and gave me a long hug. That was the most healing balm to my whole being.