You should just be thankful for the children you have.
Your feeling sad is only dishonoring God.
Your baby is in heaven now. You should be happy.
It’s not your fault.
……but you don’t know what I did.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. (Psalm 34: 18-19)
A Surprise Blessing
In January, I learned that I was expecting our sixth baby.
Even after getting a plethora of positive tests, including a confirmation blood test, something didn’t feel right.
Because the bleeding I had turned to random spotting and since I didn’t have cramping, the midwife suggested it was normal early pregnancy spotting. While I’ve had faint positives followed by a period, I’ve never had a confirmed pregnancy that didn’t end with a full-term, healthy baby, so I tried to let it go.
Knowing my progesterone had been low for a while, I considered asking for a check, but I tried hard to fight my fears. While at the local health food store that afternoon, I picked up a fresh bottle of progesterone cream, second guessing things. But hoping everything was OK since I was able to conceive (after all I didn’t need supplementation during my other five pregnancies and don’t like to take unnecessary supplements), I put the bottle back on the shelf.
I put the bottle back on the shelf.
That’s what I did.
I’ve been known to do crazy things for my children. I’ve questioned doctors’ advice, gone against mainstream thought, traveled to different states to meet with special needs therapists, etc. Even if something didn’t work, at least I knew that as my child’s advocate, I did everything possible to make sure they were taken care of. I was angry with myself for feeling as though I didn’t extend the same courtesy to the child within my womb.
As soon as the cramping began, I gathered my confidence, listened to my inner voice, and requested a progesterone check. While the hCG was still positive, it confirmed that the progesterone levels were indeed too low to sustain a pregnancy.
It took awhile before I finally admitted to a friend that I was afraid I harmed my own baby. Having had a miscarriage herself, she assured me that it wasn’t my fault.
Then I heard from other women who shared the same guilt.
I noticed that no one had a trivial argument—these women were all intelligent ladies who had very plausible sounding theories. I heard everything from their having a glass of wine to sitting in hot jacuzzi tubs to taking a turn on fast and furious carnival rides, all after learning they were pregnant.
One main thought came to mind—not only do we live in a fallen world, we’re simply not that powerful.
The Creator and Giver of Life is far stronger than any of our best laid plans and efforts.
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139: 13-16)
While either real or perceived, I quickly learned that many women who have miscarried feel a sense of judgment from others. As though the guilt wasn’t enough, some women have had to endure the pain of judgment for mourning the loss of their babies. One was told she shouldn’t be sad because her baby was in Heaven, another was told that she was sinning for not remaining joyful through the loss (what especially broke my heart, was that this came from her pastor).
Regardless of the specific comment, these women still miss the baby they hoped for. While I only knew of the pregnancy for a few weeks, it was long enough to start the plans and anticipation. And not only was I affected, but so were my children, as they mourned the loss of their sibling.
Looking back, I finally understand that there was absolutely nothing that could’ve been done. Likely by the time I got the positive pregnancy test, it was already too late.
I have peace in knowing that I didn’t walk alone. I continue to trust His Sovereignty, knowing that it didn’t take Him by surprise. He sees the bigger picture, and while I may not know the purpose of my baby’s short time with us, I trust that He will use our testimony and the testimony of women who are joined together through this journey.
If you’re dealing with guilt or feelings of judgment, I encourage you to find a trusted friend you can speak with. I didn’t open up for awhile, and I believe it contributed to the depression I fell into shortly after. If need be, talk to your midwife or your physician about local support groups. Even if you had an early loss, don’t feel embarrassed or that your feelings aren’t warranted.
Of all of the women I’ve spoken with, each concurred that by not addressing their emotions, underlying fears, and feelings of guilt, they only halted the healing process.
If you don’t feel comfortable speaking with your provider, you can find resources for support groups online. I’ve read positive things about National Share and the online support group Miscarriage Support Groups.
Another resource for in-person support can be found through your local Birth Network chapter, which is one of my favorite organizations for finding information regarding pregnancy, birth, mothering, and even loss.
If you’ve experienced a loss, what encouragement do you have for other women who have or are experiencing a loss of their own? What’s the best advice you can give to help a woman let go of any guilt, ignore feelings of judgment, and experience healing?
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