One year ago this week, miscarriage changed our lives.
It's crazy to think that it happened a year ago now. To me, it feels like it's been a lifetime. So much has changed over the last year, but even as life moves on after miscarriage, it's important to remember the short life we loved and lost.
Recently I was sharing about my miscarriage to a woman who had gone through her own loss over 30 years ago. She went on about how she didn't understand the whole "rainbow baby thing." Why would anyone want to be reminded of something so awful? And why would you want your "rainbow baby" to know that they weren't the original plan? None of it made sense to her.
People deal with loss in different ways, I guess. But as for me, I choose to remember our miscarriage. I choose to think on the fleeting joy of our baby's short life and the searing pain of loss. I choose to reserve a piece of my heart for the baby that will always be mine, even if only for a few weeks. And I choose to give the baby I'm carrying now the gift of knowing how she fits into God's perfect plan.
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Why Aren't You Over It?
The woman I mentioned previously was of a different generation than me. And I see this stark difference in the way that our mothers and grandmothers rarely, if ever, brought up their own experiences with miscarriage. Previous generations thought of miscarriage as a very private issue, carrying the burden of grief on their own. And even though this woman was willing to speak with me about her loss, it was clearly something she didn't want to remember or dwell on for long.
She just wanted to be over it.
I don't judge her or anyone else for dealing with miscarriage privately. For some, it's too painful to talk about, and maybe grieving alone over such an intimate loss is the only way that makes sense.
For me, however, it was important to shed light on my grief and to honor the short life of my baby. I needed to process it through writing in order to begin healing, and women my age are increasingly willing to open up about their experiences with miscarriage.
Now, one year later, I find it equally as important to continue talking about it. The little life I carried hasn't faded into oblivion just because time has passed. I carried that life, if only for a few weeks. Our baby was valuable and loved beyond measure. And our hearts are still sad that we will never meet that sweet child on this side of heaven.
Honoring the Baby We Never Met
When we went through the miscarriage last year, I made a point to remember our sweet baby in a special way. I bought an opal ring as a way to remember our baby daily. (Opal is the birthstone for October - the month he or she would have been born.)
I still wear the opal ring. I look down at it and feel... complex. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I smile. But every time I see it, I remember that sweet life. He or she deserves that space in my heart. That short life changed mine forever - and I'll forever be grateful for it. My children will know that they have a sibling in heaven that we will all meet one day - and what a sweet day that will be!
It's okay to think back on the losses in our lives - actually, I think it's a good thing. Our hearts were made to feel deeply, and suppressing those feelings would be denying our humanity. In allowing our hearts to grieve, even after years have passed, we can also open our hearts to the comfort that lies on the other side of grief.
"Rainbow Babies" & Moving On
First, let me just say that I know how blessed I am to be pregnant again. I know there are many women who wish they were in my shoes. That's why I often refer to this pregnancy as our "rainbow baby" - she is truly a very special gift, and I don't take that lightly.
To me, our "rainbow baby" is a sign of God's faithfulness to me. He saw the storm we went through in dealing with our miscarriage and heard the desire of my heart to be a mother. And by some undeserved grace, He gave me this sweet baby girl (who's currently wiggling around and treating my bladder like a trampoline).
Yes, she is a reminder that my plan was not God's plan.
She is, in a way, a reminder of a time of great pain in my life. But so much more than that, she is a reminder of how God is good, how He loves us as a Father and blesses us abundantly.
Had we not gone through a long journey with trying to conceive and pregnancy loss before this pregnancy, we may have never fully appreciated the miracle of life. Our hearts are so immensely grateful, and I'm overjoyed to be an open book about that!
As life moves on and time passes, I know I will spend more time focusing on the family that surrounds me and perhaps less time thinking about the child we lost. But each year when March passes, I'll re-open that piece of my heart for the baby we never met. I'll choose to remember what it felt like to endure that pain. It was a very real experience - one that has shaped me into who I am now.
Even when the years go by, I will continue to pray for healing and grace as my mother's heart reflects on what might have been. Though I grieve from year to year, I will continually hope in the promise of God's sure faithfulness.
With all the love of a mother's heart,
If you or someone you know has experienced a pregnancy loss, feel free to check out this list of resources. If you liked this post or know someone who would, make sure you share it!