Over the holidays, we had our second miscarriage.
This was an unexpected pregnancy, but it was welcomed with such joy. Our fertility journey has been rocky, since our very first pregnancy ended with a miscarriage at 7 weeks, then it took a year to get pregnant again with our rainbow baby, Caroline. I had finally garnered enough emotional margin to start the journey of getting pregnant again, when we suddenly got our surprise BFP (big fat positive pregnancy test). And we rejoiced…because it felt like we had gotten a shortcut. We wouldn’t have to navigate that long hard fertility road.
There were uncanny similarities between this pregnancy and my first pregnancy. We found out about both pregnancies in late December and the due dates were the same. And I eagerly hoped that this would be a redemptive experience.
But, unfortunately, my symptoms were also the same…early spotting. And things quickly went south when my blood work came back and my progesterone was low and then, my HCG levels weren’t rising. Our doctor gave us the bad news over the phone, and I responded tearfully, “but it was supposed to be redemptive.”
I think the technical term is “chemical pregnancy,” but I have found that the grief, the emotional whiplash, and the need to process is still the same. And since this is my second walk through this valley, I recognized that I kept cycling back to the same four central truths. When my tender mama heart is deep in pain and hope deferred, these are the truths that I had to fight to believe. I thought I would share, because perhaps it will resonate with you.
1. Shame Doesn’t Have a Voice Here
When we found out about both of our miscarriages, I immediately internalized it and wondered if it had been because of something I had done. I blamed myself…and I felt so much shame. Was it because of my past, or was it because of my poor diet, or was it because I wasn’t tracking my cycle effectively? There are a million ways to blame yourself and bear the weight of shame. But none of them are true…and shame doesn’t get to have a voice here. We will probably never know definitively why we had our miscarriages…but I can tell you with certainty that it wasn’t because of my past, or my diet, or any other lie that shame wanted me to believe.
2. Fear Doesn’t Get to Win
There is something about miscarriage that opens your eyes to how fragile life is. So when we had our second pregnancy with our rainbow baby, Caroline, I lived in fear that it would all end in grief. And so we didn’t tell family or anyone until we were well into our pregnancy because of my anxiety. I have since come to realize that fear doesn’t get to win. Fear doesn’t get to rob me of celebrating life when we have two lines on a pregnancy test. And let me tell you…that is a fight. To choose life is a hard battle indeed because fear wants to rob you of the joy of the moment. Our latest pregnancy did end in miscarriage, but I fought to be present and celebrate life while there was a life to celebrate. Fear doesn’t get to win.
3. Grief and Celebration Get to Co-Exist
It is a hard thing indeed to celebrate a friends pregnancy when you are experiencing your loss. I have found it remarkably stinging and smarting to go to a baby shower or see a pregnancy annoucement when you are grieving. But…I have also discovered, that I can still celebrate a friend’s baby and be fully present in my sadness. Doing one does not negate the other. Grief and celebration do get to co-exist, as difficult as it seems, and I have found that it is actually strengthening to step outside of your grief and into someone else’s joy.
4. God is Still Good
Miscarriage will have you asking all the existential questions…and to be honest, there are probably no answers for many of those. But the one thing I hold on to is that God is still good. In the middle of pain and sadness and grief, I still choose to praise Him and declare his goodness, because “faithful He has been and faithful He will be.” (Ever Be by Bethel Music). This praise is my sacrifice.
My positive pregnancy tests are the only thing that I have. The only evidence of that life are the two little lines on two little plastic sticks. They are safely tucked away in the darkness of my dresser drawer, because somehow, seeing them reminds me that it really did happen and that my sadness is real. But it also gives me a reason to hope that we will see two lines again this year because it is our prayer to expand our family…and because God is still good.