This post is very raw, honest, and may even offend some people. So if you are not up for that, I would skip it. It is not written to garner sympathy or pity. Rather it is written in the hope that if there is someone who has experienced or may experience the loss of a child through miscarriage they can know that they are not alone in the crazy tumult of thoughts and emotions they may experience. No one’s grieving process is the same, but it does help to know that you are not alone.
Today, April 15th, was when our baby was due. Today should have spent cuddling a newborn.
I have cried every day for the last seven months for the loss of that child. Sometimes multiple times a day. Most of the tears have been shed when I am alone. I don’t like to upset my children and they always worry if they have done something wrong if I cry. It has been more difficult to move past than even my father and grandmothers passing away. It has brought a sadness to my heart that feels like will always be a part of me. Like a part of my spirit has broken and cannot ever fully be mended.
It has been so isolating. Three of my sisters-in-law and a lot of my friends were pregnant at the same time. They have all gone on to have their babies. It has been difficult to constantly be surrounded by visual reminders of what I lost.
It has been painful in so many ways. People have said hurtful things, often without truly meaning to. I had one person tell me that since we weren’t trying to get pregnant that I must not really feel that bad about miscarrying the baby. Oh how little she understands. Others trying to console, told me that I should be happy with the children I have. But I’m not. I wanted that baby too. And I don’t even care if that makes me sound selfish.
Baby showers. Oh my goodness. One that I went to, I cried through pretty much the whole thing. It was horrible. I felt so bad for distracting from such a special time for someone else that it made me cry even more. The other two that I dared go to, only because they were family, I hid behind a camera. It is much easier to make yourself not cry when you can concentrate on framing, focus, aperture, and shutter speed.
I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with Facebook. This made it even more so. I honestly couldn’t handle anyone who talked of their pregnancy or newborn with anything less than gratitude for being allowed to receive a miracle from God. Whining about pregnancy symptoms, flippant comments like “poor me I can’t fit into my cute clothes anymore”, complaining about lack of sleep with the new baby, and on and on. I’ll admit it. I hid those people in my newsfeed. Not my proudest moment, but necessary for my sanity at the time. Reading stuff like that just made me what to scream at the unfairness of life.
Ultrasound pictures were especially painful as my last experience with an ultrasound was seeing my sweet little baby unmoving with no heartbeat – it was traumatizing. So traumatizing that I actually considered changing doctors just so that I would never have to go in that office again.
Guilt. Oh so much guilt. Much of it completely irrational, but felt deeply nonetheless. Guilt that I was alive and that my baby was dead. Guilt that for the longest time I couldn’t be happy for other people’s happiness. Guilt that I was taking this so hard when so many others have much more difficult things to deal with. Guilt that I was mourning this child so deeply that at times I feared my sadness was taking me away from being the best mom I could be to my other children. Guilt that at one very low point I was jealous of a mother who lost her child shortly after birth because at least she got to hold them and see them and take pictures and have a grave to visit for I had no physical reminder that my child had ever existed. Guilt that I was angry with life when such a blessing was taken away from me when so many around me were given that miracle freely. Guilt that I have not “endured it well” as we have been counseled by so many prophets and apostles. Guilt that maybe if I had had greater faith, the prayers that I prayed from the moment I found out I was pregnant to have a healthy baby would have been answered. Guilt that maybe if I had never used birth control and tried to have more children when I was younger, maybe this never would have happened. Guilt that maybe if I had been healthier then I would still be pregnant. Guilt for every word I ever said that showed even the slightest bit of ingratitude for pregnancy or motherhood. I hate that I may have been the cause in the past of pain to others with my show of ingratitude for something that is so sacred.
I am very grateful for the people that reached out to me, especially those who thought to check in with me even long after it happened. Sincerity makes such a difference. One person checked with me several times in the months following and I always felt the sincerity of her question when she asked how I was doing for I knew that this wasn’t an idle question but one stemming from a sincere desire to show love and empathy. I knew I didn’t have to hide the tears when I answered her for her eyes were filled with tears along with me. Another friend who had experienced almost the same thing the year before, had me go out and eat lunch with her almost every week for months, just because she knew I needed to get out of the house and be with someone. She’ll probably never fully understand how much those lunches meant to me. I am grateful for another friend that reached out after the most recent baby shower that I attended to offer sympathy that she knew that being there must have been very hard for me. Sometimes having someone else validate your feelings is a very healing thing. I am grateful for others who sent me personal messages of their experience with miscarriage to tell their story and share that they still mourn the loss even years later. It helps to know that others have been where you are and have been able to move forward and find happiness in life.
This experience has tested my testimony more than I can even explain. It has broken my heart that there is no – not even a little – church doctrine related to miscarriage. Stillborn children – yes. They can be named and listed as yours on your family group record to be a part of your family for eternity. But not miscarriages. There have been general authorities that have given their personal opinion unofficially that the spirits of miscarried children will have another opportunity to come to earth in a different body, but there is no actual doctrine to support that. Besides that isn’t completely comforting is it? What if you have a miscarriage and then are never able to get pregnant again or carry a child for longer than just a few weeks? What happens to that spirit? Does it go to someone else's family? That doesn't seem fair. It is the first time that I have not found comfort in the teachings of the gospel.
For months I couldn’t even say a prayer without crying. Family prayer. Blessing the food. At a baby shower. In church. It was embarrassing.
Even my callings were tinged with bitterness and resentment. Teaching children to sing happy songs when you just feel like crying isn’t an easy thing. Nor is teaching them to sing of God’s love, when you weren’t feeling very loved at the moment. I love Girl’s Camp. But for quite a while I resented that calling. I shouldn’t even have been going to Girl’s Camp this year because I should have been home taking care of a 4 month old baby.
Looking back, I can see how much those callings were a blessing. For the longest time I cried through every sacrament meeting. I still do sometimes. Every mention of family, motherhood, children, blessings, prayer, just about anything, set the tears streaming. I can’t imagine how much more difficult church would have been if I had to sit through Sunday school and Relief Society and cried though those meetings too. Instead, after sacrament meeting, I put on a smile and sing songs with children. Definitely a better thing for me to do. And when not at church, having girls camp to plan and focus on creating a positive spiritual experience for the young women is unquestionably a blessed distraction.
I have found some comfort in the scriptures. In my darkest moments I have found myself repeating over and over like a little chant “Trust in Lord with all thine heart, lean not unto thine own understanding, in all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy path.” It pulls me out of my most guilty and painful thoughts.
Elders Wirthlin’s promise of the principle of compensation has helped too. He said, “The Lord compensates the faithful for every loss. That which is taken away from those who love the Lord will be added unto them in His own way. While it may not come at the time we desire, the faithful will know that every tear today will eventually be returned a hundredfold with tears of rejoicing and gratitude.”
So now I worry everyday about whether I am being faithful enough to receive that promise. I hope so. Oh how I hope so.
I don’t know that my sorrow will every completely go away, but I do know that my Father in Heaven and my brother Jesus Christ love me and that somehow all these things will work together for the good of our family. One thing that I have learned for sure is that even when my testimony is tested and I question my faith, Heavenly Father is ever there waiting for me to call out to Him to listen to the deepest heartache of a broken spirit, no matter how crazy and irrational I may be.
The creation of a child is so precious and miraculous. It is sacred. My heart weeps with those who have experienced the loss of a child at whatever stage it may have been. My heart weeps with those who want so much to be a mother and have not been able to. My heart weeps with those who have a child or children and want with all your heart to have more.
I cannot pretend to understand why things happen the way they do. I do not understand it. For I know without question that my Heavenly Father has the power to save any child and any pregnancy. For reasons I cannot comprehend He sometimes chooses not to intervene. But while I do not understand, I can still trust in Him. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, lean not unto thine own understanding, in all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct they paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)