Repeat Pregnancy Loss: A Burden not Many Understand
For those of us who suffer from repeat miscarriages, the cross we bear can be excruciating. As if it weren’t enough that we find ourselves unable to have (more) children, but our grief is compounded by the fact that so few people can relate.
Not our fertile friends who when discovering their pregnant immediately start planning for life with their new addition.
Not our friends who have chosen to not have (more) kids.
Not our friends who have sadly suffered one miscarriage, but readily go on to have more children.
Not even our fellow infertility sufferers, who wait each month in hopeful anticipation that this month will be successful (and God bless them in their unique and I am sure equally difficult trial).
What it’s Like to Suffer from Repeat Pregnancy Loss
Ours is a unique experience, those of us whose bodies for some reason cannot carry a baby to term. Wanting desperately to have a child, but terrified of the thought of getting pregnant. Knowing that pregnancy means waiting for the child you’ve longed for to die, because most likely, that is what will happen.
For the small handfull of us that suffer from repeat second trimester miscarriages, that grief is compounded by the fact that we’ve spent months watching our bellies grow, loving our developing babies and willing God to let them live before our hopes and dreams are dashed by the silence of an ultrasound screen. We’ve entered the labor ward and left empty handed and broken hearted more than once, while doctors shrug their shoulders and remind is that, “They wish they knew why this was happening too,” and “sometimes, we just don’t know why this happens.”
For years, doctors have researched first trimester losses, providing much needed answers and hope for women suffering from early miscarriages. Unfortunately, beyond the few “more common” causes, this is not so for second trimester losses.
So we research for hours trying to find some sort of answer, but come up empty handed or with new or controversial ideas that our doctors won’t recognize.
Repeat Miscarriage: Well Meaning Friends Say Hurtful Things
The family we always dreamt about ripped away, we find ourselves grieving the losses of tiny angels who only we really knew and loved, knowing that our rainbow may never come, and we may never know why. Desperately hoping to try again but terrified to face such loss and despair once more.
“Why don’t you just adopt?” we’re asked, as if adoption is so easy.
We are advised, “You shouldn’t try again,” although we didn’t ask.
“At least you have your other children.” we’re told, as we plan the burial of the child we held, but never got to hear cry.
Life goes on but our pain doesn’t go away. We suffer in silence, because talking about it doesn’t make it any better, and it just feels awkward.
For almost a year, I lived in there, in that dark place. Mad at God, mad at everyone else and their easy pregnancies and their answered prayers. Like so many women, I found myself becoming bitter, focusing on what they had and what I’d lost. I knew I was a mess. I didn’t recognize the person I had become.
Repeat Miscarriage: Holding on to Hope after Repeat Pregnancy Loss
But with time, prayer, and hard work, I slowly began to heal and so will you. Over the next 6 months, I focused on my faith and my relationship with God. I surrounded myself with supportive friends, and found a wise woman who helped me to talk out my feelings. I began to have hope again, and that hope began to push out the darkness.
A firm believer in looking for God’s will in my life, we began to look at other options for adding to our family: fostering, adopting, fostering to adopt. God had other plans for us. We did go on to have more children naturally. A beautiful little blondie, my miracle-child, my rainbow-girl. Two years later, we had our second miracle, our sweet baby, Julie.
Miscarriage and Infertility in the Bible
The bible is full of stories of women like Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and Hannah, who struggled with infertility and possibly miscarriage, and even infant loss. In their grief, they couldn’t have fathomed the blessings that God was preparing to bestow on them, didn’t know God’s plan for their life. We are in good company.
If you are in the middle of grief, keep going. Hold on to the hope that in time, your world will get light again. God does have a plan. He hasn’t left you. In fact, He has orchestrated every grace, every good thing that has gotten you through so far. He knows your pain and so does His mother, don’t forget.
On that note, a final thought. According to Catholic tradition, Mary had no other children after Jesus. She watched her only son die a horrifying death and then was no longer an earthly mother to anyone. God’s plan for her life included losing her only son, her only child. But that was not the end.
His plan for her was greater than she could have imagined that morning she said, “yes” to being the mother of God for He made her the spiritual mother of us all.