Monday, October 19, 2015

Thoughts on Loving Our Recently Miscarried Baby

Forgive me if my thoughts are muddled... they seemed clear enough in my heart and  head when I started writing... but what I end up writing doesn't always reflect my clarity of thought or conviction of heart...

I recently miscarried a child.  It was only seven days after I took a pregnancy test.  I had spent a few days in shock and a few days allowing my excitement to grow, and then, as quickly as it had begun, it was over.  

How does one process that?  What should I feel?

I struggled for a brief time, wondering what is the appropriate amount of sorrow to feel or exhibit over the loss of a pregnancy that was so short and that hardly anyone knew about. 

And I started to wonder what other people would think.  And soon, their imaginary thoughts became my own... 

You were hardly pregnant for a month, so it's not that traumatic, not like a loss at 12, or 14, or 20 weeks...

This is your second miscarriage so it shouldn't come as a surprise and it's nothing new and you know how to handle it.  You'll move on.

Well, what's one miscarriage when you have five other living children?  

Don't spend too much time grieving, or you'll look like you don't appreciate the blessing of the family that you already have.  

I was truly having a hard time knowing how to grieve for this baby whose existence I barely had time to wrap my head around.  And is it self-indulgent to mourn the loss of a child when I have so many others?  
  
One of many.  And only a brief physical reality.  Never known, cuddled, or caressed.   Do I harden my heart, repress my grief, and move on?

I thought about putting on my c'est la vie face and "moving on."  

But Love intervened, and He spoke to me through friends -- a friend who encouraged me to mourn instead of ignore, a friend who reminded me of my comforting thoughts to her after her own miscarriage, a friend who shared the prayer which made me appreciate our little one's place in our family, and a friend who wrote about her own experience with suffering and loss...

In a recent blog post, In Defense of Suffering, Annery wrote about baring her vulnerable heart for the sake of a child who deserved unreserved love.  
When we started down the road of fostering, we heard a lot of voices expressing concern for how we would guard our hearts against the possibility of loss...  [Yet] God gives us no promises on any of our children.  I'm not guarding my heart, she deserves it....  I poured love into her with reckless abandon.  I was her mother.  What were the options?  She deserved nothing less than all of me.  This precious child entrusted to our care.   
Love is risky.  Isn't it?  When we choose to bare our hearts and love without holding back, there are no guarantees we will not be hurt.

And yet, isn't that how parents love their children?  Recklessly, without calculation or caution, often at the risk of personal loss or suffering?  Love and sacrifice are intertwined and inseparable when it comes to parenting.  To be given a child and asked to be his or her guardian on the "fast track" to Heaven is not how we typically envision "parenthood" but it's no less significant.  It's parental sacrifice of a different kind.  The sacrifice isn't the daily grind of diapers and dinners, and discipline that we're used to, it's not knowing your child, never holding your child, never celebrating her birthdays with her, not tucking her in and kissing her goodnight, not peeking in on her after she's fallen asleep.  

There is sacrifice in every form of motherhood.  
  
The children that we conceived and have lost truly were precious ones entrusted to our care.  I am honored and humbled that they have only known two homes - my womb and the Heavenly Kingdom.  That's no small wonder!   It's a distinction that I hope every mother who has lost a baby embraces!  

I believe I learned a new love lesson with this miscarriage -- A guarded heart in the face a miscarriage is a selfish attempt to protect myself from the pain and sorrow of the loss.  A guarded heart is about me and ignores the child, the significance of the life within, the life that was, the unique personhood of a baby... my baby.  I know that our babies are now living out my deepest longing for all my family - a sainted life in the presence of  God the all-loving Father, Christ the King, Mary our tender mother, the ever-praising choirs of angels, and the saints of the Church Triumphant.  When I finally join them and run to my children in Heaven and hold them, I want to greet them knowing that I loved them unreservedly.  I do not want to know the regret of withholding love from them simply because they had never physically been born to me.   

Guarding our hearts against the loss of a miscarriage deprives our babies of dignity and love.  We should allow ourselves to love our miscarried babies recklessly and mourn their loss deeply because they deserve nothing less than the unguarded love we bestow on all our children.  I carried two babies only for a short time, and they were ours.  No less real, no less a Blackstone, no less loved.  



32 comments:

  1. Oh this is so beautiful, Theresa. Thank you for sharing these words, and for sharing your little one with us. Prayers for you and your family:

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  2. This is so lovely, and so true. You're such a good mother. To ALL your children, I'm still praying for your family.

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    1. Thanks, Liz! Your prayers mean a lot to us!

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  3. Thank you for sharing - it's hard when it happens so early, you've barely had time to process the joy so it sometimes doesn't feel like you've earned the grief. But you have, basically because you earn that right when they're conceived and God gives them to you. Prayers for your family.

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    1. Thank you for your prayers, Molly <3

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  4. I am so, so, so very sorry. I am praying for you and your family.

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  5. I'm so sorry. I've lost so very many babies this way, and even though I have a house FULL of children now, in my quietest momentsI still miss and mourn the ones I've yet to meet. I'm so glad you have good friends who helped you grieve. Loving unreservedly is crazy hard, but it really is the only way, isn't it?

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    1. I'm so sorry for you losses. You're right that they is always a place in our hearts for those babies we haven't met yet, even though there are other children filling our days! A mother's heart expands beyond explanation :)

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  6. Beautiful. The best gift I was given after my ectopic was a mom who stopped by and asked me how I was. When I responded I was physically healing well, she responded, "no, I mean, how are you?" It was like permission to grieve that baby and it was so big to have someone recognize the loss.

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    1. Thanks, Annie. And thanks also for sharing so much of your heart on your blog; it really meant a lot to me <3

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  7. Ah, this is so beautiful, Theresa. And so very true. Miscarriages are devastating, no matter when they happen. I have always hated filling out health forms which ask how many pregnancies I've had, then how many ended in live births. Writing down different numbers for those two questions was just so hard. There was a woman at church who was pregnant at the same time as me, but I miscarried. I have watched her little girl grow up, and it's always on my mind and in my heart that I lost a child that would be her age. The best gift I ever received was after my second miscarriage (many years and many children and many doctors after the first miscarriage). Like you, I had only known for a week that I was expecting. My doctor sent me a huge bouquet of flowers with the sweetest card. He acknowledged that I had every reason to mourn.
    I continue to pray for you and your family as you continue to mourn your precious baby.

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    1. What a beautiful story! I love that your doctor affirmed the life of your child in that way!
      Thank you for your prayers, Christine <3

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  8. its got to be so hard to have the surprise of a new life, the joy and the grief of lost all wrapped into such a short amount of time. it must be an emotional whirlwind. but how right you are that our grief truly serves to give that tiny little person worth and dignity. they were here, they mattered, they are forever part of your family and now you have a little intercessor in heaven. i'am sure this is so good for many grieving mothers of miscarriage that feel like they don't have the 'right' to be sad, which is so, so untrue. what great thoughts and reflections.

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    1. Thanks so much for your kind words, Nicole. I really appreciate the support of friends <3

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  9. So sorry for your loss, Theresa. Thank you for sharing your heart here. God love you!!

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  10. Beautiful and true thoughts. I'm so sorry for your loss, Theresa, but you're so right that every form of motherhood is a heroic call to sacrifice and possible grief. God bless you and your family!

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  11. I'm so sad that we will not get to meet your precious little one this side of heaven. What a beautiful testimony this is to his or her dignity. No matter how many years, weeks, or even moments a person is alive, they are just as equal. Grieving the ones lost so quickly may not be understood by the world but it is understood when we have His eyes to see each person as they truly are. And you do. Love you <3

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    1. Thanks you so much, Mary <3
      You're right; It *does* feel like loving a baby who will never be born is misunderstood. I've always felt that but never thought it through or put it into words.

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  12. Healing and true words, beautifully put. I am so sorry for your losses. I have had three early losses myself and still mourn those children. Every life is precious and deserves love.

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    1. Thank you, Keely. I'm so sorry about the loss of your own babies. God bless our precious little ones <3

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  13. I am sorry for the loss of your precious child. I had two miscarriages this summer (3 total) and it is really really tough to let those babies go. Thank you for writing, this helped me as well.

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    1. Elizabeth, I'm so sorry to hear about the babies you lost recently. It feels like mourning is such an important part of healing, but that doesn't make it easy. Praying for you <3

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  14. Theresa, my heart is heavy for you, your husband and children. But yes you must grieve for this little one. Much love my dear friend {{}}xxx

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Erin <3

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  15. I am so sorry for the loss of your sweet baby. We lost a baby on February and it was very difficult to know how to grieve. Thank you for these beautiful words.

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    1. Thank you, Anna. I so sorry to hear about your own loss. I'm so grateful that we can all acknowledge our children that have gone before us to other moms who understand. Prayers for you <3

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  16. Theresa, I am so sorry for the loss of your baby. Praying for you and your family:)

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