fostering a grateful spirit

"If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams, and you will always look lovely." -Roald Dahl




I am going to start this post out with two disclaimers:
1. What I need to write about tonight is a pretty difficult topic and deals with some very personal things going on in my life. If you don’t want to know about the deep and difficult things we’re dealing with, that’s totally fine (truly, I understand), but then this blog post is not for you.
2. There are many people that we love dearly that we have not shared this news with. PLEASE, if you are someone important to us that is finding out this news from this post, please be gracious and know that we love you and desire to share our lives with you. You are not, by any means, in the minority by not knowing what’s been going on. I was not planning on blogging about this, as it is difficult and deeply personal, but have, for various reasons, felt like I am supposed to. Even though I am writing about this news, it is still extremely difficult for us to actually say out loud, and besides the initial discussion with Drew, I’ve only actually said this news out loud once. I am sorry that you’re finding out this way, but its the best we can do right now, so please love us anyway.

A few weeks ago Drew and I found out that I had a miscarriage. I didn’t even know for sure that I was pregnant until I had miscarried, and though, in theory, that should make this easier, it doesn’t actually do much to ease the pain. I have been feeling very sad, angry, lonely and ashamed.
I was not planning on blogging about this. I actually have told very few people. I think, besides it being an extremely painful topic, the other reason that I haven’t talked about it much is because I felt ashamed–partly because of my tendency to determine my own value in my identity as a woman, and partly because no one talks about miscarriages. The statistics on miscarriages are widely varied, but (on the conservative side) 10-30% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage (and that is not counting fertilized eggs that implant incorrectly and are never viable, which skyrockets the percentage to 50-75%). If any other single thing was taking the lives of 10-30% of our children, there is no chance that people would be so quiet about it. Why are we not talking about this? If I had lost my baby at any point after birth, my grief, hurt, and anger would all be completely understandable. Why then, when a woman loses her unborn baby, does she feel alone and ashamed? It isn’t right, and that is why I’m writing this difficult (to write, and probably to read) post.

My body feels weird. Empty. Like something is missing. I feel it pretty close to all the time. I can’t get away from my own body, as much as I’d like to. So I have spent a good portion of the last few weeks dealing with feelings of anxiety, grief, anger, frustration and fear. Though I know logically that at only 4 weeks and 3 days old, there is nothing I could have done to save our sweet baby. I know that it wasn’t something I ate or drank or medicine I took. Apart from heavy drug or alcohol abuse, there is pretty much nothing you could possibly do that would cause you to lose a pregnancy that early. I’ve read tons of articles. I know it is not my fault. It would have happened no matter what I had done or not done. But I still feel responsible. I still wish, with every fiber of my being, that I could have known that I was pregnant so I could have done everything imaginable under the sun to keep that sweet baby safe. I know it wouldn’t have worked, but I still wish. On top of all of that, I also feel like a failure as a woman, wife and mom. Our bodies were created to nourish and protect our babies, and for whatever reason, mine did not. As I said, I know that there is nothing I could have done, but it is still a very real daily struggle to convince myself that I am not worth any less because my baby did not survive.

I am scared that I will not be able to carry a baby to term, although 80% of women who experience an early (in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy) miscarriage go on to have completely healthy babies. I am afraid that this will keep happening, and that even if I have a healthy pregnancy, I will be so terrified that the baby will not live that I won’t be able to enjoy the miracle and beauty of pregnancy. I am worried that though, as my mom said, I was “born to be a mom” I will never get to have that experience. It’s discouraging and frustrating and sad. What if this is just the beginning of a very hard journey that still ends with me not having the kids I’ve always wanted and prayed for? The what-ifs are enough to make even the most sane person crazy.

I am also just so sad. A few days after we found out I was having a particularly rough day and started sobbing while cutting potatoes. I was alone in the kitchen, cutting potatoes, sobbing. I felt (and sort of still feel) like a crazy person. How in the world could I possibly miss someone that I didn’t even know existed until she* was gone? It doesn’t make sense. But I do. I miss our sweet baby every single day. I am heartbroken that I will forever be a mother to a baby that I will never get to hold in my arms (on this side of Heaven). I had a baby growing inside of me- our sweet baby– and now my arms and my body are empty. It feels absolutely cruel.

And God, God and I are not in the best of places. Because I have been through difficult times before, in this situation I haven’t even really asked “why?” I am not, by any means, okay with what has happened, but I will not know the answers in this life (and even if I did, there is no answer that could be good enough for this mama who just wants to hold her baby). In all honesty, even if God Himself told me the reason that our sweet baby couldn’t keep living, it likely wouldn’t feel like a good enough reason for me. I am human and my mind cannot comprehend all that He knows and sees. I want what seems good from my perspective, and from down here, a growing, healthy baby seems pretty damn good. All that said, I know and believe that God is good. Even in my worst moments, there is something in me (the Holy Spirit, I believe) that absolutely refuses to stop knowing and believing that truth. When I am the most sad and lonely and angry, I still can’t help but believe that, somehow, God is still good. He is still in control, and He still loves me dearly. He knew and created my sweet baby, He knit her together in my womb, and about the only shred of comfort I’ve been able to find is the knowledge that I know the One who is holding our sweet baby, although we desperately wish it were us holding her. Some days I cling tightly to Him, to the Word, to the promise of life with Him and our baby. Some days I feel too hurt and angry, and I keep Him at a distance. I don’t want Him to go away, but I also don’t really want Him to come near. Thankfully, He is a gracious and loving God, who knows my heart and understands my pain, so He patiently waits until I’m ready to let Him get close again.

This is a process- a very painful one- and we are certainly still in the midst of it. I don’t have amazing insight or answers that will fix everything (or anything). But I couldn’t let this chance pass to tell you, if you stand where I do now, you are not alone. Certainly I believe that God is with you, but also the number of women who have been where you are is staggering. It doesn’t take away the sting, and it shouldn’t. “It happens to a lot of other women” is not meant as a platitude like “well, you’re not even close to the only one.” It is meant as a comfort that you are not alone. You don’t have to walk through this alone.

If your husband (or significant other) is anything like my sweet husband, he will try really, really hard to comfort you and to understand and to do whatever he can to make things better. He will tell you over and over that it’s not your fault, that it is okay you’re crying a river into your potatoes, that he’s not going anywhere. But his experience and grief will still be vastly different than yours, and that’s normal and okay. But please don’t believe that no one knows how you feel. Your experience is unique to you, your significant other and your sweet little loved one, but I promise you that you are not alone in the grief you’re experiencing. It is a tragic loss whether it is your first pregnancy that ends in a miscarriage, or you have had several, or you have several healthy children before you lose your baby. It is unbelievably painful and horrific whether your sweet baby is 4 weeks and the news of the pregnancy hadn’t sunk in yet, 10 weeks and only you and your significant other knew, or 16 weeks and you’d told everyone under the sun because things were going so well. I’m so sorry for your loss, and there is nothing I (or anyone else can say) that will make it right. It isn’t right, it’s tragic. But please don’t believe the lie that you don’t have the right to grieve or that your feelings aren’t valid just because your baby was not yet born. I wish it hurt less because of that, I really do. But it doesn’t because that sweet baby was part of you, and now that part is gone.

To close this very long post, I wanted to share with you just a few of the things that have made me feel understood, given me a moment of comfort, or even a moment of hope. Every person’s process is different, but I share some of mine in hopes that it may help someone, someday, with theirs. Thanks so much for bearing with me through this post, and thank you for letting me share such an important and personal part of my story.

ImageI found this on Pinterest (and cried) but love the Truth and grace of this quote. My sweet baby, who I love and miss, opened her eyes and saw the face of Jesus. The first, and only experience, she will have is perfect fellowship with her Creator. I long for her, I wish I could hold her, but I am thankful that she will never have to experience the painful parts of life or the sting of the effects of living in a fallen world. Jesus, hold her close for me please.

This song has been meaningful to me in my grief. I especially like this line: “I want to know a song can rise from the ashes of a broken life and all that’s dead inside can be reborn.”

This song is older, but helps me put words to some of my feelings, and also reminds me that, though this pain is unimaginable, I am still being held by my Creator as well. Sometimes I think “peace that passes all understanding” looks like God supplying you with just enough (peace, energy, encouragement, faith, hope) to get through a day you never wanted to have to live through.

I also found the following quote “How terrible it is to love something that death can touch,” which I have drawn up with our sweet baby’s details and framed in our room. This was therapeutic for me (I think it was the first thing I did that made me feel like I was actually doing something) and was the thing that really helped make the loss real for Drew.

*I find myself referring to our sweet baby as “her.” Clearly at such a young age, we have no confirmation of the gender of our baby, but we believe that our sweet baby would have been a girl and it’s simpler to just refer to her as such, instead of a constant “her (or him)” every time she is mentioned.

12 thoughts on “{worn}

  1. Sabrina and Drew,
    You are NOT alone. You do not cry alone. You do not grieve alone.
    Those who love you cry with you, grieve with you, pray with you and for you.
    God sees every tear. Hears every prayer.
    Most importantly, God loves you both ALWAYS!
    He understands your confusion, anger, grief and pain.
    He knows it all, so talk to Him about it.
    There is so much in this world we cannot understand.
    So much pain and hurt.
    However, the Bible tells us God has plans for us to prosper and for good for us.
    He loves us to a depth we cannot possibly understand.
    As you weep for your child, God weeps for you – His children also.
    I am so proud of you for this post.
    You have been brave and trusting to speak of your feelings in order to let others know they are not alone.
    Even in your deepest pain you are thinking of others.
    So proud. So unbelievably proud.
    You were “born to be a Mom” and I have NO DOUBT that you will be.
    The path may not be smooth. The path may not be a straight one. But you will be a mother (and Drew a father).
    Actually, you already are. God is just holding your child’s hand until you can.
    Love you more than words could ever say.

  2. Sabrina & Drew,

    I will pray that you find strength and understanding during this difficult time. I hope that one day you will find peace. You may never understand why God chose this path for you to travel, but there is a reason. Be strong and never give up!

  3. I am so sorry for your loss.
    I know how painful it is, and I know the levels of anger, sadness, and eventually even little bits of peace that come on gradually. What you’ve been through is a heartbreaking ordeal and you have every right to grieve.
    I thank you for sharing your story with the world.
    It is certainly a wonderful testament to your sweet baby.
    Hugs and Healing.

  4. I’m SO very sorry for your loss. It took us 1.5 years to get pregnant with Ezra, so I greatly know the fear of not being able to have children and be the mommy I always dreamed of being. And my second pregnancy ended in miscarriage at 5 weeks, so I definitely understand loss. It’s not easy, and you absolutely are not alone. I think as you enter this season, that you’ll find ladies talk about it quite often as a great number of us have been through it. My sis-in-law just found out yesterday that she’s miscarrying. She has 4 healthy kids, but has had 4 miscarriages now too. It doesn’t make it easy, but it’s nice to know that you’re the only one. And like you, I’m positive the baby we lost was a girl! More sure than I was with any of my other kids! I think it was a little blessing the Lord gave me in knowing that. I’ll definitely be praying for you as you work through a great number of emotions and learn to rest and trust that the Lord has great plans for your family! Love you!

  5. Sabrina,

    I know this pain. I wrote the following 2 years ago and it’s still difficult.

    To those for whom Mother’s Day is bittersweet or a sorrowful day of remembrance and loss, whether a child you were blessed to know was taken from your loving arms, were blessed with many but still mourn the loss of other giggles never heard and tears never kissed away, or have only empty arms, broken hearts and daily longing. This day of rejoicing, celebration and expressions of esteem and love is an annual reminder. A day of hidden tears, seas of oblivious smiling faces. It seems to rip the scab off just at the critical point of healing and opens the wound. You are not alone. There is no shame in loss. For loss to occur love must be present.

    I love you Bean, and Baby(who we loved but were scared to really name) , and breath(who wasn’t with us long enough to have a name). I miss you terribly. I hope you are safe and happy.

  6. Wow…I am so sorry to hear about the news you guys. That is really rough…and obviously I have zero experience with all that. Just know that you got a friend in me homes. I am glad to read the end of your post with some hope!!

  7. I am so sorry, I know how painful it is to lose a baby at so young-mine was at 6 weeks. I pray for you and the healing process. Sometimes what helps is a little necklace or something like that as a remembrance, something to hold on to.

  8. I’m so sorry for your loss.

    I had a miscarriage last summer, and every day, I still think about the little seven-month-old that I could/would/should be holding in my arms right now.

    I’m not sure if you are on thebump, but I found the miscarriage and TTCAL boards to be extremely helpful in terms of resources and support.

    I hope you and Drew are able to find some peace.

  9. Thank you so much for your words of comfort, understanding, hope and encouragement. Though I truly wrote this post because I felt like God was telling me that someone needed to read it, I have been overwhelmed and grateful today for the outpouring of love and support for Drew and I. I am grateful for each of you, and especially for the hard and intimate parts of your stories that you have shared. I do find some comfort knowing that our sweet babies are in the presence of and held by Jesus, and that someday we will be with them and our arms will no longer be empty. Love and thanks to all of you.

  10. Sabrina~
    So, LIFE…, interconnections, freedom, exhilaration…..while we feel these when we fall in love! And your blog expresses the oppostion to something we so cherisht: fear, distancing, shut off, and sadness….these are what get left behind in expression.. Perhaps it is our cultures own inadequacies for expressing, or perhaps our own selfishness to think we are somehow personally responsible (darn EGO-“edging God out”). Strange that ALL of us have opposition in our lives and yet, thru the cruelty of comparison we resist EVER sharing the depth of grief, anger, sadness, and isolation that happen with loss. I honor your blog. I honor your journey. I honor your sharing.

    I hope that you can TRUST what is next. None of us know. And especially after loss we are so raw and so confused. Shame, of course, rears its’ ugly head…..and it hangs low. And the tears cannot be comforted. Yet, the heart beats, the body breathes, and the sign of life diminishes….the joy separates itself from our yolk. And we wallow and wonder and walk around in a daze. Confused with the mixed messages. Confused with the misunderstandings, confused with more that we can even imagine.

    And yet, somehow, thru that CROSS, thru that challenge, thru that connection, we begin to heal and to remove our self doubt and self analysis. We BECOME more. We BECOME greater. We become EQUAL. There truly is no separation.

    Let you hope be nourished in your sorrow, discomfort, lack of zeal. Let it rain; let it pour. As my twin (CLAUDIA NAUMAN) shared with me in my teens….BEHIND EVERY BLACK CLOUD is a BLUE SKY.

    Know you are whole, loved, complete and guided to the highest good. TRUST in Him and be KIND to yourself. Breathe and bath. Bury the sorrow. Rest in the night. Seek glimmers of light.
    Walk thru the day. And in each moment, KNOW He is with you and yours all the way.

    Blessings & Peace, Martia Corin

  11. Pingback: october, finally | fostering a grateful spirit

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