“Where have you been lately?”
“I’ve been…uh…spending some time in the shadows.”
“I don’t get it.”
“Allow me to explain…”
My husband and I endured three miscarriages in 2016. Maybe that’s old news to you, maybe you’re new here. But the fact remains, I’ve walked through some pretty heavy stuff, recently, and decided in January of 2017 that I was turning the page on that chapter of our lives. Me and pregnancy? We just weren’t getting along.
But God always seems to have different plans than we do, doesn’t he? And two months after we finally let go of the 5 year old baby stuff we’d been holding onto, we found out we were unexpectedly and definitely unplanned-edly pregnant.
Here we go again.
It was around that time when I stopped showing up on social media. I kind of stopped showing up everywhere. It wasn’t just the nausea and fatigue holding me back, although the constant of both of those things surely contributed; it was the fear.
I began going through the motions of pregnancy. I would rub my belly that hadn’t quite popped yet and sift through baby names, mulling over the sound of them on my lips. I suffered through almost intolerable indigestion and felt somewhat lucky to be experiencing the consistent acid reflux reminders, even when that reminder came in the form of losing my entire meal. Again.
But all of it was just going through the motions. Passing the time.
Passing the time until what, you ask? If you’ve ever experienced pregnancy after miscarriage, you’ll understand what I was waiting for. The miscarriage monsters. Waiting until…
Until I’m not pregnant anymore. Until the cramping starts. Until the blood appears. Until the doctor tells me that there is no longer a heartbeat. Until we have to tell our five year old that we lost another baby to the unknown evils that seem to penetrate my womb and steal our joy. Until I snap back to reality, my reality, the reality that I just don’t carry babies. Until we find ourselves in the miscarrying chapter of this pregnancy, slide into the grieving stage, and are forced to claw our way back to the reclaim-my-health-and-our-normalacy portion of this uniquely familiar tale.
I was going through the motions, mirroring my husband’s excitement when I could, fostering my daughter’s innocent hope when I had it in me, marinating in my family’s love and support when I had nothing left to give. But the truth lingered like a lump in my throat where celebratory words ought to have been. The pain of loss settled deep in my abdomen, the shadow of doubt replacing the light of new life.
I wanted to believe. I tried to believe. But what I really believed was that I’d gone through the motions before. I’d allowed myself to dream, to plan, to smile in happy anticipation, before. I’d stood on a rock of my own promises, convinced I could somehow hold onto the baby I wasn’t ready to let go of, and proclaimed my confident expectation for all to hear, before.
And I’d lost.
I’d gone through the motions of yet another miscarriage. I’d dealt with another notch on my belt of inferiority. I’d handled another mark of inadequacy on this flawed body. I’d watched my vision of victory become blurry by defeat.
Every mother who’s experienced loss longs for a healthy pregnancy. But healthy pregnancies are not always happy ones. For the first 46 days of this baby’s life, I’ve waited for it to stop living. I have automatically checked every wipe for the first signs of disaster. Every time I need to use the bathroom, I am involuntarily reminded that I’m not safe. That I’m always one wipe, one spot away from devastation. Doctors appointments are no longer exciting, they’re a source of serious anxiety as I considered how I am one ultrasound away from heart shattering news.
The idea, even in a healthy pregnancy, is enough to paralyze me. Because pregnancy after miscarriage is like a forced tightrope walk across the grand canyon you haven’t been trained for. Every day tediously, desperately hopeful yet full of reminders that none of it is within your control.
But it’s the thing that scares you most that also provides the greatest hope: none of it is within your control.
The giver of life, the sustainer of breath, the master creator knitting this baby together with overwhelming attention to detail and incomprehensible plans for it’s life.
I am the carrier. I am the vessel. I am His and this baby is His and our lives, however long or short, are His. I don’t have to worry because God has already decided what is to be. I don’t have to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders because God already has it in the palm of his hand. I don’t have to stress over what might come to pass because God has assured me He will never leave me nor forsake me.
As much as I long to hold this child here on earth, I know that my time here is as fleeting to the Omniscient God as my previous babies’ lives were to me.
I know my sorrow has led others to strength. I know my hurt has helped others heal. And I know that this pregnancy, here today and for unknown tomorrows, will bring good into the world no matter how it goes.
Because that’s what God does.
God handles the stuff that I simply cannot.
“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”
2 Corinthians 4:18,
“So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”
I’ve been going through the motions, afraid to enjoy this pregnancy too much lest I forget to worry myself into safety. But after three months of stressing over something that hasn’t happened, I’m releasing myself from the burden of attempted control.
This baby will change my life. And because I know that to be true, no matter what may come, fearing the unknown will no longer be permissible.
“But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”
It’s time to believe something new. It’s time to ask God for wisdom in raising this child instead of asking for God to keep this child in my womb. It’s time to not doubt His plans for my life- His good and trustworthy plans- and believe in who He is more than I believe in anything I’ve seen in my past.
Pregnancy after miscarriage. It’s not for the faint of heart…or weak of faith!
What has your experience been with pregnancy after miscarriage?