Being 40+ weeks pregnant, I’ve been thinking a lot about the last 21 months or so since I became pregnant for the first time, and what a long journey I’ve been on to get to where I am now. It’s so easy for people to assume that if they just do everything “right”, everything will go just the way they want it to. (This isn’t just true when it comes to starting a family; people want to think this in every aspect of their lives. But today I’m just talking about starting a family.) Over the past almost-two years, though, I’ve learned many times over that this isn’t true, no matter how much we may want it to be — even when things go the way we want them to, it’s rarely because we are simply doing everything right, so I’ve learned not to take a lot of credit for the blessings I’ve received in my life.
The last nine months, aside from the grief I’ve experienced after losing my mom, have had some unexpected moments as I’ve come to terms with just being an ordinary, average, run of the mill pregnant woman. It’s made me have a particularly anxious pregnancy (my chart, I learned yesterday, now has two pages, unlike most moms’!) and in a lot of ways it’s honestly been strange to no longer be a special case. I’m so used to holding my breath, waiting for something to go wrong — yes, even after nine months of a healthy pregnancy and 14 months since my second miscarriage — and it’s really weird to have things actually happen, for the most part, the way it’s described in the books. I still assume I’m an exception.
I think everyone reacts to a miscarriage differently. Some women, from what I have seen, are able to put it behind them and accept the loss more easily than I was, and my first miscarriage was definitely much easier to handle than my second. It took me a really long time to feel like my losses had become part of my larger overall story, and not just the exclusive subject of the chapter in which I was currently living. It wasn’t until last summer that I was really able to feel like I was doing more than just reacting to the whirlwind of emotions I was feeling.
I know a lot — if not most — women either have experienced or will experience a miscarriage at some point in their lives. You might be one of them and you might be feeling what I was. If you are, what I want to say is this:
- It gets better. In January and February of last year, I don’t think I would have really believed that had someone said it to me; I probably would have trusted in the truth of it, but not felt it. My losses were everywhere — there were friends I couldn’t be around, blogs I couldn’t read, facebook friends I had to block — but slowly, bit by bit, little by little, things began to change and my life began to open up again. Yours will too.
- The sadness will never leave you. At least, it hasn’t left me, and I don’t think it ever will. It doesn’t stop being sad. The sorrow over losing what some think of as “just” a clump of cells will still be present — even if you have other children or become pregnant again. I am about to have a baby, but he’s not my first baby, he’s my third. He’s just the first one I will meet on this earth. Getting pregnant again didn’t take the sadness away. (And as another example, my grandparents lost their first baby, a girl, when she was born prematurely. This was in 1945. Before my grandfather passed away in 2007, he specified that she be included in his obituary.)
- Feeling better doesn’t make what happened okay. That fact can become confusing, so it’s good to clarify again that feeling better doesn’t make what happened okay. Feeling better, and feeling like your life is becoming about more than just your loss, doesn’t mean that you are leaving your baby behind. It’s normal — and necessary.
- You may or may not be a Christian, but if you are, take comfort in these verses:
Blessed are you who hunger now,
for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.
– Luke 6:21
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
– Revelation 21:4
So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while.
– 1 Peter 1:6, NLT
— and if you’re not a believer, know that there is joy ahead for you in your life, whether or not you can feel it right now.
If I could go back in time and write this back in June or July, I would — this doesn’t hinge on the fact that I got pregnant again and stayed that way. It really does get better. You don’t have to feel it right now, but trust that what I’m saying is true.