Note: If you've experienced miscarriage and your emotions are different than those I express here, that's okay. I'm simply sharing my thoughts here for those who might be encouraged by them.
"I hope this isn't an offensive question," the woman asked. "And stop me if it is. What gifts have you experienced through this miscarriage?"
I immediately responded with excitement. God has been proving His love to me through this loss, and I wanted to share my story of gratitude.
The Story of Our Miscarriage
Paul and I discovered we were pregnant in early June 2019 and it was probably one of the best moments of our lives. So many nerves, but so much joy! In the following weeks, we prayed over our child, sang to him, read the Bible aloud to him, talked to him, and simply rejoiced over his presence in our lives.
In July, we learned that he was gone. For three awful days, I wondered numbly when my body would complete the process and prayed fervently that I wouldn't need a D&C. My prayers were answered; I miscarried naturally.
I bought a July birthstone for our son, whom we named Jeremiah Abel. I had held him in my body for ten incredible weeks; I wanted something on my body to keep his memory close.
In the weeks that have followed, I have recognized so many kindnesses of God in our miscarriage.
1. I was capable of getting pregnant.
This was a real fear of mine. I've been diagnosed with a Functional Neurological Disorder that involves non-epileptic seizures, temporary paralysis, mobility issues that come and go, and chronic pain. Sometimes I am totally normal and sometimes I literally cannot stand up. There are no medications that can help. In fact, one attempt to control my seizures with medication actually made them so much worse that two weeks of that summer are completely wiped from my memory.
I truly feared that I would not be able to get pregnant. I wrestled with guilt, because we married before these health issues developed. I felt like I had trapped my husband and best friend into a lifetime of caring for my debilitating health issues. And perhaps I had trapped him into the inability to ever father a child. Paul and I talked about what it would look like if we could never conceive. Those are not the sort of conversations you want to have with your spouse.
So to be able to get pregnant at all was a joy to me. I know of people who would give anything just to have one positive pregnancy test, who've invested tens of thousands of dollars into their fertility. For me to get pregnant was not a right; it was a privilege.
2. I bonded with my husband.
Losing a child together is something very personal. Some men are not certain how to process that loss; the baby seemed very distant and abstract because he never felt changes in his body, never got to see it. It's hard to recognize it as a true loss. I don't blame them for feeling this way--it's understandable--but I feared that my husband would be one of these men. I knew that if I miscarried, I would need a lot of emotional support.
I got more than emotional support from Paul. His emotions are far more private than mine, but his grief in our miscarriage was just as deep as mine. His expression of grief to me in private moments was more healing to my soul than I could have imagined. He made himself available, physically and emotionally.
I would have never known the depth of his father's heart and the breadth of his love for me without this experience. Jeremiah's short life, and his early departure to his Savior, knit his parents together in a special way.
3. I connected with others.
Women don't usually share about their miscarriages, but when you share, they emerge from their silence and begin to share. It's like a silent sisterhood of loss, and it's oddly comforting. Women my grandmother's age still remember their lost children; they never forget.
Other women, those who have never experienced miscarriage, have had their eyes opened. "I never realized how common it was," one woman told me. "I feel so blessed that I never experienced that." It's true. It's a blessing and a kindness from God when a woman's pregnancies always carry.
It was a privilege to share even with my single friends. I used to be the single friend walking with my married friends through the pain of their miscarriages, praying for their comfort. Now it was my turn to be supported by these powerful, caring women of God.
I even got a hug from a father. "I'm sorry. We've been there. It hurts. We're praying for you both."
I know some feel very alone in their grief, so the Lord's comfort and kindness through His covenant community is a gift I do not take for granted.
4. I had a chance to love my child.
So many women get pregnant today who do not wish to be pregnant. The child is an inconvenience, unwanted, a source of fear or frustration. Those aborted children never have a chance to be prayed over, sung over, and loved as my son was.
I pray I never have another miscarriage. I pray Jeremiah is the only one of my children who makes it Home before Paul and I do. I honestly do not want to lose another child. It's painful. It's devastating. It's grieving. It's so hard to see other women with their babies and to miss mine.
But even if I miscarry over and over like some of the brave women I know, even if I never can carry a healthy child to term, even if I live only as a mother to children in Heaven--even then...
It would be worth it. I will count it an incredible privilege to love and carry one of these precious little ones, even for a little while. To pray for him. To surround him with reminders that his life is a treasure, a gift, a blessing.
The fear of loss will cause me to love no less. I will still praise God for the gift of life within me. I will still bless the Lord who gives and takes away--as many times as He chooses to do so.
Because I trust my Father.
Because I am grateful for the gift of children.
Because love endures all things.
None of my life has gone the way it was "supposed to go," but I don't love my life any less because of the hardships and new directions. I see so much unexpected good in it, and I want others to see the good in theirs.