*Disclaimer… this story is not within the realm of my usual blog post genres. Full disclosure: I’ve been putting off writing and posting this for several months. But during those months I’ve felt God wrap this part of my story in a sense of urgency to share it. I’m not sure who is meant to read it, but I pray that through it, someone else may be encouraged, and feel not so alone.
So… with that being said, please note this short life-update to avoid any confusion. Hubby and I are parents to three wonderful children — Bundle, our now-four-year-old daughter, a tiny baby we never got to meet who is now in heaven, and Baby Bear, our four week old son. We lost our second child due to a miscarriage last summer.
At the time of this story, I was 5 months into my third pregnancy (with Baby Bear), and coincidentally (or perhaps not), just days from our second baby’s original due date.
I’m not really writing this post to divulge lots of details about our loss. I feel like there may be a time and a place for that, but probably not within this particular post.
I’m writing it because for months I’ve heard the Lord say, sit down. Write it. Share it.
My hope and prayer is that in sharing this story, others who have suffered a miscarriage or pregnancy loss will not feel so alone, as I once did.
Here’s the story of the Sunday my daughter announced our once very undisclosed miscarriage to our entire church congregation. Read on if you’re brave (or curious).
That Sunday morning felt off somehow.
It began with me NOT wanting to get out of bed. Don’t get me wrong, pregnancy is always tiring, but this particular Sunday felt jarringly different from normal. Nothing could shake me from this weird-feeling funk. Not the scent of freshly made coffee wafting from the kitchen or helping my toddler choose a church dress or thinking about fellowship with friends at church … I just felt oddly horrible as soon as my feet met the floor.
I found myself snapping at Hubby and Bundle, rushing around the house, and getting nothing in order while doing so.
Once we got to Sunday school, I felt no better, but the class finished and the service began with nothing out of the ordinary. I tried to drown out the eeriness from my soul by listening to the notes of the organ and visualizing happy thoughts as I watched my daughter and her friends rush to the front of the sanctuary for children’s message time.
Only a small handful of people in our family and friend-circle knew about our pregnancy loss last summer. One of them was a good friend who happened to be in charge of the children’s sermon that morning.
My daughter scrambled up the stage stairs, eager to listen, (and of course, eager to receive candy or fruit snacks at the end). As the lesson began, the grown-ups in the crowd perked up their ears and strained their necks to see their kids or grandkids. Preschoolers during the children’s message often provide the best Sunday service amusement, and occasionally, an unexpected dose of wisdom. If only I could have known…
Has anyone had something sad happen to them? my friend, the kid’s leader, asked the crowded group of young children.
“Umm…one time so-and-so hit me!” an outspoken preschooler replied.
The congregation chuckled and my friend responded with an appropriate head-nod and comment and called on the next person. A small handful of kids had answers about their sad experiences, ranging from fights with siblings to their favorite basketball team losing. My daughter was the last person she called on.
“What happened to you that was sad?” she asked again.
My daughter responded without missing a beat:
“One time, Mommy had a baby in her tummy. But then the baby died and went to heaven and he didn’t get to live here with us. That made me sad.”
Hubby and I sat there. Dumbfounded. We looked at each other in horror. My stomach rose to my throat and then sunk like an anchor to the floor.
The people from our hometown who knew we’d miscarried a child last summer were fewer than one could count on two hands.
And now our three-year-old had just announced this very personal information to the ears of our entire church family.
To Hubby and I’s relief, my friend gracefully replied to my daughter and the rest of the kids, “Yes, that is a very sad thing. But now your Mommy has another baby in her tummy, doesn’t she? Jesus has some good things to say in the Bible about what to do when we’re sad.”
And she moved on with the rest of the lesson without visibly or audibly giving another thought to our daughter’s astute, fairly taboo, and poignant answer. I was so thankful.
The rest of the service went on in a blur. I remember feeling the hurt and pain rising up all over again. Isn’t this kind of mourning supposed to be over? I thought. I worried myself into a frenzy.
Worrying that everyone would be confused and think I was currently miscarrying, despite my huge 25 + week belly.
Worrying that others would be angry with us for not informing the congregation last summer.
Worrying that others would judge us for telling our young daughter about our pregnancy too soon before realizing it was “viable.”
Thoughts of fear and pain and anger and distress flooded my soul, and for a few hours there, for the rest of church, I floundered.
At home when I finally had time to decompress and process what happened at home later, I realized several things…
First, mourning does not have an expiration date. Second, no one was judging me…not for our loss, and not for our mourning. Third, our three-year-old had enough emotional awareness to relate real, raw feelings to something truly terrible that happened to our family. And finally, I realized how fortunate I was to have my friend be the one who so gracefully attended to my child’s unexpected church announcement.
It’s been many months since that day. Baby Bear grew safely and healthfully in my belly all the way to full term, and was born without a hitch. Holding him and my daughter makes life seem so much more precious having experienced loss. I can hardly believe the blessings that have come from all of my children.
I think for the longest time this Sunday story hurt so badly because I didn’t realize that God isn’t finished yet with that child we lost.
He’s still using our precious babe we never got to meet to help my daughter (and other children) learn about sadness and hope. He’s still using that baby to help me learn about healing, and trusting in God’s perfect timing.
That baby may live in heaven … which yes, dear daughter, is a very sad thing. But I’m so thankful God used your wisdom to remind me even months after our loss, that God works in amazing ways and that hope is never lost.
I used to silently and solely carry the burden of our miscarriage, thinking that somehow remaining stoic and alone indicated strength.
I was wrong.
My daughter reminded me on that Sunday that I’m not alone in my sadness. That our family is not alone in our tragedy. That sadness happens all around us, and that we don’t have to be ashamed of our hardships or losses.
God taught me through her that day that it’s okay to carry your burdens on your own…but it’s also okay if you don’t. And sometimes, like for me, it’s better to not bear the burden alone.
It’s okay, she taught me, to share your heartbreaks because maybe…just maybe there’s someone else out there who unknowingly shares your heartbreak too.
Maybe if I can be candid and brave about life’s sadnesses, like my three-year-old, another hurting person will step forward and quietly whisper, “Me too.”
I hope if you are hurting, you find someone to share in your heartbreak, your healing and your hope.
If you have loved and lost, you are not alone.