Friday, May 1, 2015

But God does not take away life: reflections on early pregnacy loss


(this is an entry written a few Thursdays ago ... sharing in the hopes that it may encourage someone else. if you've been through this or are going through this: my heart is with you. you are not alone.  don't let anyone convince you that it should be easy.  to those who don't get it, but are on the sidelines of someone who's going through it: be gentle, be patient, and listen.  don't try to fix it, because it can't be fixed.  just be present.  with love, molly)

"But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him." 2 Samuel 14:14

This is one of my favorite verses from the Bible.  That's kind of a big thing to say, because there are so many verses that I love.  Right now, though, this one is one of my favorites.  I saw it yesterday and was touched by it, and am even more touched by it right now as I sit in a moment where I could easily feel dismayed, like God took something away from me.  That's not the way it is, though.  God does not take away life.  God's kindness is the same, yesterday, today, tomorrow, forever.

God's kindness is no different this morning.  My son woke up making some happy noises.  That was a special blessing, because nine out of 10 mornings he cries for me when he wakes up.  This morning, though, I was able to sneak down there and give him some big smiles while he played peekaboo looking up at me from under his blanket.  I'm going to give him some extra cuddles today.  It's funny the choices that a morning like this entails.  I usually just put him in the first clean clothes I can grab.  This morning, though, when I looked at the bright red pants that I held in my hands, I thought, "No, not today."  Grey and denim are probably better choices.

My first miscarriage happened on New Year's Day, 2013.  Maybe the most painful thing that I heard when mourning the loss was, "So you got your period, then.  I guess you weren't pregnant."  I know this was not meant to be painful.  It was just processing the information.  But it still hurt.

See, after that positive pregnancy test, it's hard to see your menstrual flow as ... a period.  A period sheds the uterine lining that was preparing to house a little baby, so that it can get ready to do it again.  It's like the uterus puts on a baby blanket, and then takes it off, only to put it back on for the next little one.  A miscarriage, even an early one, is shedding the baby along with the blanket that it was meant for.  Getting your period after a positive pregnancy test doesn't mean you weren't pregnant.

When I asked my husband how he felt about telling family, he said, "Let's wait until we're sure."  My insides had twisted a little at his statement, even though it was meant with kindness.  "I'm unhappy with those words," I told him, and I compulsively added as I remembered what others had said, "A positive pregnancy test is pretty sure.  If I'm not pregnant in a few weeks it doesn't mean that I'm not pregnant now."

I understand why people wait to announce that they're pregnant.

But on the other hand, I also wonder about why they wait.  Mourning in a vacuum is different between mourning with people that know and love you.  Why keep a pregnancy a secret?  If you experience an early miscarriage, what then?  Hide your sadness and your sorrow from others?  Hide it from God?  I chose to share the results of my test with a few people that would understand and encourage me in the case of pregnancy loss, and this morning I feel surrounded by love knowing that these loved ones are praying for me and thinking about me.

"But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him."

I had it on my to-do list to write a summary of the amazing lesson that a friend gave yesterday morning at Bible study, where the context of the above quote was fleshed out in compelling detail.  And yet, as I'm writing this I feel that for the moment, I need to shift my focus to a specific lesson that she spoke on.  She spoke about lament.

"Biblical lament," Michelle said, "is the process of bringing our sorrow to God, and admitting our sense that something is wrong with the world and with our hearts."  She called it a stepping forward in faith, an effective spiritual practice, a healer of wounds.  A place where you don't need to seek answers, seek solutions, seek a path forward.

A place to sit, and rest in the knowledge that despite the brokenness in the world, and despite the brokenness in our own selves, God continues loving us.

And that's it, really.   I'm sad right now.  I'm sad about what I'm in the process of losing, but I wanted to explain more what I mean when I say that even now, God's kindness is still the same.  I see God's kindness in my son's cheerfulness, in the love my friends have shown me, in my husband sitting with me and mourning with me.  But even in seeing that kindness, I'm not ready to move on right now.  I'll play with my son, make a nice lunch and dinner, go for a walk ... but all of these things will have a different character today.  I'm lingering in my heart today.

Tomorrow will come when it comes, and with it God's kindness will continue to also.  But for now, I will bring my sadness to Him.


  1. My heart aches for you. I love you do much....

  2. Should be "so much".