Tuesday, June 21, 2011

naming the loss: our first pregnancy, part 2

We jumped back into life pretty quickly after the loss of our baby.  We didn't know what else to do.  Most people didn't even know we were pregnant so it was difficult to share our loss.  The world kept spinning, we had work deadlines and we had to pinch ourselves to make sure the pregnancy hadn't just been a dream.  How could the sky be so blue and people be so happy if our baby was dead?  I was working with a mother and child healthcare training program which was about to begin in a few weeks.  There was so much to do.

So I kept going, putting a smile on my face and regularly reminding myself that things would be okay.  But I cried alot.  Alot.  My poor husband, new to me and to marriage, had a wife who sobbed most evenings.  He probed with questions and held me with quiet but I still cried myself to sleep most nights and woke up in the mornings with tears in my eyes.  I found it difficult to be around pregnant women, especially when they didn't know that I had recently lost a baby.  And I was helping to facilitate a course that was exploring issues of pregnancy and birth every single day.

Most "comforting" words people offered made me angry.  I didn't care that at least I knew I was fertile - I wanted to still be pregnant with my baby.  I didn't care that I was young and had plenty of time to have more.  And I didn't believe that "it just wasn't God's timing".  Basically what I needed to hear was that the loss was a massive loss, I was free to grieve, and the person speaking cared about me.  I did not need people to help me look on the brighter side. 

I felt angry.  I felt really empty. And maybe the worst part was that Chris and I, who should have been rejoicing in our new family of two, suddenly felt incomplete.  Someone was missing and we were not enough for me. 

Five months down the road, in the middle of an emotional meltdown in front of my community, God met me - in a very real way.  I vocalized (mostly through sobs) every bit of anger, disappointment, fear, hurt, jealousy, grief.  It was very ugly.  And God really came.  It's hard to explain, but a deposit of healing was planted in my body/heart/mind that day.  And it continues to grow.

I wrote in my journal:
"I've been wondering these days about the new heavens and the new earth, and our little unborn baby who is somewhere, other than in my womb.  I was thinking of the passage in Isaiah 26 where Israel is compared to a woman writing in pain, only to give birth to wind and not the child she longed for.  (v.19) And then God's declaration, 'Your dead shall live, their corpses shall rise, O dwellers in the dust, awake and sing for joy!  For your dew is a radiant dew and the earth will give birth to those long dead.'

Underneath all of the symbolism on a national level is a woman grieving the loss of her unborn baby.  And even lower, even quieter, is the promise that the earth will give birth to the dead.  I don't know where to go from there except to imagine:  the new earth - lush with green and unity and right, structures of justice flourish, disease is gone, nations reconciled, death swallowed up - and our children are born into this redeemed and wondrous place. Maybe I will carry our little one in my womb again and all of my hope will be safe from destruction.  Maybe I will writhe in strength and beauty and deliver my baby into Chris' hands, into the future that he didn't have before.  And we'll have all the joy of raising him in a world where sin has been conquered.  I like this thought."

To mark the one year anniversary of our baby lost, Chris and I recorded a song.  We shared it with good friends who lost a baby the same week that we were remembering ours.  It imagines that when everything is right in the new world, our little seed will be able to take root and grow.  I've never heard a theologian articulate my theory, but I hold this hope in my heart and look forward to nursing our first baby under the shade of the tree whose leaves are for the healing of the nations (Rev 22).  Amen.

Seed by becca d


  1. I have lots of comments I want to make but I feel they just don't say enough so i'm just going to say thank you for opening your heart and sharing.

  2. i too feel so much when i read this (and the previous 2 posts), that i can't even begin to convey in a comment. so i will send you an email!

  3. I'd wondered how God might heal the hurt of my barreness because I thought all chance for family as it exists now would pass with this dispensation. This post has given me hope for wholeness. Thank you for sharing it and I Thank God for your beautiful Godly family testimony.

    1. thank you so much for sharing ... i do think that is true. one day your arms will be full. until then may you experience much grace. x