Moving On After Miscarriage
15% - 25% of pregnancies end in miscarriage.
1 in 4 women will experience a miscarriage.
Women (under 30) have a 1 in 10 chance of miscarriage.
What do these statistics tell us? That miscarriages are common, normal even. But that does not make it any easier to face.
On July 15, 2018, we suffered a miscarriage. The news was devastating. As I stared at that negative pregnancy test I prayed, "Please God. Don't let this be happening. Let my baby be okay." But it was too late. Our baby was already up there, playing with the angels.
Tears streamed down my face. Every emotion came crashing over me. I stepped out of the bathroom, test in hand, and stared at my husband, shock and devastation pasted on my face. "We lost the baby," I whispered, choking on the words. I sat on the bed next to him, turned my head into his shoulder, and weeped.
Is this really happening? Why is this happening? Why us? Why this baby? How do we tell our family? How do we tell our friends? Do I have the guts to tell anyone about this?
The bleeding started the next morning. For days I wandered aimlessly, feeling hopeless and numb. I knew I had to tell someone. I knew I needed to use my role on social media to reach out to others going through the same thing. But how? How could I move on? How could I deal with the pain?
Here I am, one month later. And somehow I'm doing okay. The miscarriage feels like it happened a long time ago. My mind has unconsciously built a wall between then and now, blocking the sadness from seeping through into my every day. I think about it from time to time and feel a small sting of grief, but then I look forward, and I move on.
I get asked so often how to move on from such a heartbreaking tragedy. For the longest time I couldn't answer that question, because I didn't know. I've been doing a lot of thinking since that dreadful day and I have realized I few things that I want to share, things that have helped me to pick myself up and move on. If you have faced the pain of miscarriage I urge you to continue reading. I pray that even a few of these words will touch your heart and help you heal.
Take time to grieve. This is textbook. It's even stated in the third book of Ecclesiastics, "(There is) a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance," (NIV). I can not stress the importance of taking this time for yourself. Whether it's 2 days or 2 months, grieving is the first step towards healing. It's okay to be sad. It's okay to be completely torn up, angry and upset. It's okay to cry. You are not stupid for feeling this way. In fact, it would be concerning if you didn't feel anything at all. Grieve, it's okay.
Tell someone. Tell your mom, your friend, your whole family. This is a big deal. It's never a good idea to bottle it all in because, in time, that bottle will burst. I have heard from women who have kept their miscarriages a secret and have suffered anxiety, depression, or even complete breakdowns over a year later as a result. The chances of these things happening can be greatly reduced by just telling someone you trust. Pour out your heart to them, cry hysterically, share your every thought. They may not be able to relate or give you advice, but they can listen and they can offer comfort. I didn't understand why women stayed silent about their miscarriages until I went through it myself. I can't explain why, but I almost felt embarrassed to admit to my own family that we had lost a baby. Maybe it's this society we live in that causes us to feel ashamed, or maybe it's natural instinct. But telling someone, as hard as it is, is the best thing you can do for yourself.
Pray. You may not believe in God or be a religious person, but I firmly believe that by praying and asking people to pray for my family and I made all the difference in the world. There is power in prayer. God is not a genie in a bottle, however. He will not do everything we ask of Him. But we can rest assured that He hears our every prayer. As a Christian, I believe that God has a plan for my life. I may never know why He chose to take our babe away from us, but I do know this- our child has only ever felt love. He or she felt the love of my husband and I, and then, suddenly, the love of our Heavenly Father. Our child is resting in the Father's arms, isn't that a beautiful thought? And I know that, because I believe that He is Lord and He died on the cross for my sins, I will see that child one day. One day I, too, will hold my lost baby in my arms. This life will have trials. This life is not perfect. But I have found so much peace resting in the fact that God is in control and He will never change.
Count your blessings. It sounds cliche, but I'm telling you, it helps. After the miscarriage I realized how much of a miracle our daughter really is. I would kiss her head, smell her (now fading) baby smell, and hold her a little tighter. My pregnancy with her was so smooth, no complications at all. Her birth was perfect, everything I'd dreamt it to be. And she's here, in my arms, healthy, and so full of life. She is my little miracle, my biggest blessing. But that's not all I have to be thankful for. I have a husband who loves me unconditionally and works so hard to provide for our family. We live comfortably in the house that we bought. We have plenty of food to put on the table for each meal. We are blessed, despite the circumstances.
Do something in remembrance. This looks different for every person. Some choose to give their angel baby a name. Some choose to have a funeral service. Others choose to get a tattoo in remembrance. By choosing to do one or all of these things, you are acknowledging that baby as a person, not just a faulty embryo. He or she was your child, and they deserve to be remembered as such. Personally I've chosen not to name our baby quite yet; it hurts just a little too much right now. But one day my husband and I will give that child a name that we feel would've suited him or her. I have, however, gotten a tattoo. It reads "In His arms" in my own handwriting. It is written across my ribs, close to my heart, and right next to any future babies I may carry in my womb. It is a beautiful way to remember our sweet child.
Look forward. Lastly, after you have had a chance to fully grieve, turn your head up, and look towards the future. When I took this last step God seemed to throw new opportunities my way. He opened new doors and blessed me in ways I never knew possible. My husband and I were both offered exciting side jobs, lightening our financial load. We are seeing chances to follow our career dreams! Despite the heartache I still feel, I have been busying myself with these jobs, pouring everything I have into something I'm passionate about. That is the key.
It is far from easy, but hold your head up, dear Momma. You are strong. And you can do this.
In loving memory of our angel baby.