A Hard Month
October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. I’m sure many of you have seen lots of statistics floating around lately, like the fact that 1 in 4 women will experience a miscarriage in her lifetime. I am that 1 in 4. As a member of that terrible club, I know firsthand what losing a baby during pregnancy is like. I lost my first baby around 10 weeks into pregnancy, and it was earth-shattering. Every year on the anniversary of that loss I’m taken back to that awful time. Every year around the due date of my first baby I am reminded of the tiny person that formed inside me that I will not meet in this lifetime. However, some of the most difficult times have had nothing to do with any difficult anniversaries. They have been due to carrying my other children.
I have a confession to make. Even though I have two beautiful, delightful daughters and had two (relatively) easy pregnancies with them, I do not enjoy pregnancy. You read that right. I do NOT like being pregnant. I actually prefer labor to pregnancy (true story!).
During pregnancy, my anxiety is almost always through the roof. I dread every single check-up. If my baby doesn’t move enough for my liking, I try drinking something cold or eating spicy food just to get some kicks for my peace of mind. If I go to an appointment and my midwife can’t find a heartbeat immediately, I feel a panic attack coming on. I can so easily hear those horrible words, “I’m not seeing what I want to be seeing” in my head every time I have an ultrasound. When it comes time to buy things for the baby, I hesitate because I’m scared to make it feel too real. When I have baby fever, I am hesitant to act on it because I know that the following nine months will be tremendously difficult for me emotionally. I have no doubt in my mind that God has a plan for me and all of my children. However, my heart does not fully grasp that truth sometimes, and doubt creeps in more often when I’m expecting.
I’ve heard it said that miscarriage not only robs you of your baby, but it also robs you of the joy of future pregnancies. I wholeheartedly agree with that statement. I have to fight hard for joy when I am pregnant. After living through what I once thought was unimaginable, my entire outlook on childbearing has changed, and not for the better. I still believe that it is miraculous that we can grow life inside of us. I still believe that pregnancy is a beautiful thing. However, I now know that for many women, pregnancy is more than a reminder of the miracle of life. It’s also a reminder of intense pain and a little life that was gone too soon. While that pain helps me cling to Christ more tightly, it also makes me acutely aware of all I’ve lost.
This October, I will remember my first baby on his or her due date and I will mourn deeply. However, I will also praise the One who knit all of my babies together in my womb and lean on Him in my grief. He is good all the time.