I am now blessed as the mother of two beautiful, healthy children. Last year, God provided a way for me to stay home with them, and I spend almost all of my time with them, taking care of them and enjoying them. But four years ago I had no children. My heart was broken and my spirit crushed after my first pregnancy ended in miscarriage. One minute I was a mom, making plans for a new baby, preparing for the biggest change of my life, and happy and excited about it. Then there was the night when I came home from an evening church service, saw blood, and everything imploded.
A miscarriage is a horrifying thing. For two months my womb was a source of life, then for four weeks it was a tomb, and then I found out my baby was dead. Before, when I heard people talk about miscarriages, I couldn’t relate the way I do now. I didn’t know that while you experienced the worst heartache of your life you could also experience the worst physical pain of your life. I didn’t know how all my senses could be assailed at once and there would be no way to cope with it but to get through each moment. I didn’t know the mental pain was inescapable because the physical pain reminded me of it hour after hour for days.
Several things played into my miscarriage to make it particularly horrible. The physical pain and heartache were worse than anything I ever experienced. Tensions within my family that made it difficult for me to feel comforted by them. And while I was losing my baby, one of my good friends was two hospital floors above me delivering a healthy boy. I tried very hard not to think about that.
I took a week off from work to heal. I let my church family take care of me. People made meals for us. Women invited me into their homes and poured their love and attention on me. My needy heart soaked it up. Someone volunteered to take on our job of cleaning the church that week. Families had me and my husband over and shared different ways that they had suffered. It reminded me that I was not alone in my pain and gave me a degree of comfort. I felt God’s goodness in the midst of the pain, and I was encouraged in my sadness. I wasn’t happy, but I clung to the promise that “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
When I returned to work no one said a thing to me. Nothing. They didn’t know what to say, they didn’t know how to approach me. Most of them were young and single, but several were older with families; I was surprised that even they had nothing to say. Trying to hold it together at work, with all the pressures of that position, was a constant challenge. Sometimes I just cried.
I wanted to be pregnant again—to have a little life growing inside me again, even while I mourned my loss. In the weeks and months that followed, I wrestled with depression, and felt crushed by its weight. I was hurt, angry, and enormously sad. I felt so engulfed in hopelessness that I wondered if I would ever be my old self again. I knew the whole experience was God’s will, I knew that if He wanted, I would be pregnant again, but I also knew that He could just as well not want me to ever have a baby.
Then I thought of how Corrie Ten Boom followed the exhortation in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” She begrudgingly gave thanks for the fleas in her concentration camp, but she and the women in her bunk were blessed because of them. The guards would not go into their barracks and they were free to study their forbidden Bible with the other women. I knew I needed to give thanks for terrible things as well as enjoyable things, but I couldn’t do it in earnest. Not yet.
My final agony came in September, around the time the baby was due when a friend commented to me, “Aren’t these babies so cute? Don’t you just wish you had one?” After not breaking down, and not strangling her, and spending several days being terribly offended, I was able to let go of the pain and anxiety that had overwhelmed me for six months. I let it all go and relaxed. I thanked God without anger or bitterness and just allowed Him to run my life the way He wanted to. I didn’t know why He let it happen, I still wasn’t thrilled about it, but I knew it was part of His plan and I accepted that.
That December I found out I was pregnant again. Terrified and elated, I struggled with my fears and emotions. Could I trust God…to make me happy? I couldn’t control God or the pregnancy, stress was unhealthy for it, and although worry threatened me throughout, I made the conscious decision to trust God over and over. My healthy son was born the following August.
Since that difficult trial, I’m better able to relate to others who suffer in a way I previously could not. I don’t feel that I always need to offer advice or try to fix a friend’s problems. Sometimes all I can do is acknowledge that what a friend is going through is rough, express sorrow for their pain, and pray. I’m thankful that I learned from my experience. I’m thankful for the friendships that grew from it. I’m thankful that I grew as a Christian and learned to trust God more. And I’m thankful, of course, for the two children who would not be here without that miscarriage.