Today I am hurting for a friend who suffered a miscarriage this week.  This is supposed to be a fun, joyful, and busy time of year, and yet there are so many people with reasons to mourn at Christmas time.  Hearing about my friends loss brought back the pain of my own miscarriage in full force.

We had been so excited coming up to Christmas.  Two weeks into December, we discovered that I was pregnant, and immediately informed both of our families.  Come Christmas Day, we received gifts for our unborn little one, and I was already imagining the coming year of a growing belly and our growing family.  The baby was due on my birthday.

Two days after Christmas, I started bleeding.  I was barely 7 weeks along, and my dreams were coming crashing down around me.  I called in sick to work, and laid on the couch holding my belly and sobbing.  The physical pain was considerable, but the emotional pain was much worse.  There weren’t many who even knew of the pregnancy yet, and so in order to get the support I desperately needed from my friends, I had to inform them of my pregnancy by telling them of the loss.  The only person I knew of who had gone through a miscarriage was my cousin, so I reached out to her, and we bonded in a way that I don’t think would have happened otherwise.  I’m not sure I ever thanked her properly for that.  Thank you!

At the time, none of the well-meant comments about the frequency of miscarriages, the good chances of a healthy pregnancy afterwards, or the blessing that it happened so early in the pregnancy comforted me.   I endured a wedding shower (with family that hadn’t even known I was pregnant) and a baby shower within a month of my miscarriage, and it was so hard.  I was a mess at work for the first few weeks of January, and my colleagues were so sweet, even though I’m sure most of them had no idea what to do with me.  In the months that followed, friend after friend sent out happy announcements of their healthy pregnancies, and I cried.  I sobbed each time my period arrived, even though we had decided to wait a few months before trying again.

Of course, my Sweetie was also affected strongly by the loss, even though I’d had to convince him that having a family was a good idea in the first place.  In the few short weeks that we’d known of our little one’s existence, he had also formed some hopes and dreams for his child.  If people aren’t sure how to comfort the mother, they are even more at a loss about what the father might be going through.  I think the hardest part for him, though, was not knowing how to help me work through my own strong grief.

To distract ourselves from baby-related things, we took a trip to Thailand and had an incredible, life-changing journey that would not have happened if I’d been pregnant.  My best friend got married that summer, and it was fun to be able to fully enjoy the celebrations without the encumbrance of a pregnant belly. We started “trying” again, and I was tracking all sorts of unmentionables in an attempt to increase our chances of conception. I cried every time it became evident that there wasn’t a baby on the way.  It felt like an eternity of waiting.

Then, one day in July while I was alone with my thoughts, I suddenly felt a real sense of peace.  I knew God was telling me that he had things under control, and that I would be pregnant before my birthday – the due date of the baby who hadn’t made it.  Sure enough, that month I got pregnant – only four months after we started trying again.  Part of me was nervous that I would miscarry again. But for the most part, I just trusted the feeling I’d gotten in that quiet moment, and believed that everything would be fine.  And it was.  I had a relatively easy first trimester, a wonderful second trimester, and we were able to celebrate my healthy pregnancy at Christmas that year.

One thing that really comforted me was a statue of an angel that my parents had given me for Christmas two days before the miscarriage.  The angel’s hands are held to her heart as if she’s protecting something precious.  For me, it has always been a symbol of God holding me and my first baby close to his heart.  I still tear up when I look at it on the shelf, but it’s primarily a comforting feeling, not a painful one.

I still feel the pain of my loss every time someone tells me they’ve had a miscarriage.  However, I know that if that baby had survived, we would never have known our darling Bean.  I can’t imagine that!  My experience with miscarriage has allowed me to comfort my own sister and friends who have endured the same loss.  In the same way that I feel a special closeness to my cousin, I have bonded with those friends over our shared pain, and it’s good. Some people seem to be more matter-of-fact about having a miscarriage, and some are affected very deeply by it.  Each person needs to deal with it their own way.

So to my friend who is in so much pain right now, I know what you’re going through.  I am so sorry for your loss.  It WILL get easier over time, but for now, you have every right to feel lost, and alone, and disappointed, and supremely sad.  Cling to the hands and hearts of those who love you.  Allow yourself to grieve and then allow yourself to be happy again.  And then when the time is right, you’ll give it another try.  There are no guarantees in life, but the fun and interesting part is the journey.