I’ve always subscribed to the notion “you don’t know what you don’t know.”
Unless you’ve experienced the loss of an unborn child, you can’t quite understand what it is like. Most women seem to walk around with an innate “conception radar!” I’ve heard many friends say “I just knew I was pregnant.”
While we can all watch in amazement as the women on the show “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant” recall their experience of going months, if not their entire pregnancy, never knowing they were with child, most woman can tell pretty early on that they are pregnant because hormones are raging and physical changes occur which seem to be felt immediately.
Most women take a home pregnancy test because they sensed or felt something. Whether it was bloating sensation, nausea, sore, swollen chest, or fatigue, an expectant mom usually knows they are pregnant long before there is an expanding waist line. Most of the times I was pregnant, I instantly developed a sense of smell that rivaled most blood hounds.
When a miscarriage occurs, it is typically spontaneous. After I suffered my first loss, I could think back and recall a point where I didn’t feel pregnant anymore. I didn’t have that full feeling. I didn’t feel tired and the morning sickness vanished. I remember telling my husband how lucky I was that my first trimester seemed to be going so easy and smooth! How wrong I was. I was anything but lucky when staring at that monitor and seeing my baby no longer had a heart beat.
Suffering a miscarriage is a deep tragedy. There were several of my losses where I just woke up one day to a terrible feeling of emptiness. I had a sick feeling in my stomach, and it wasn’t long before the spotting would start. My doctor would always attempt to reassure me bleeding could mean nothing, but I knew what the spotting meant.
The emptiness is not only unbearable, but is a feeling that is not fleeting. Whether a mother miscarries naturally or by surgery, her body seems to instantly begin a recovery process. HCG levels quickly retreat, progesterone levels fall and your body starts to normalize. And while it takes some time for the body to fully heal from the physical toll and emotional shock of miscarriage, what seemed to take the most time for me, was coming to terms with the emptiness.
For me… the emptiness centered around a loss of hope and dreams. Most of my miscarriages happened around eight weeks so I had nothing to show for my loss. No one except my husband and parents even knew I was pregnant so I was in my own private hell.
I couldn’t move past the enormous hole in my heart and the longing I had to hold my babies. The emptiness slapped me in the face when I saw families. The emptiness would often manifest for me as loneliness as I thought no one understood what I was going through.
I remember when my daughter was born, I felt happy she was in the world with me, but I also felt such a sense of loss. I remember mourning her not being in my belly. I walked around for weeks with my hands still on my stomach. I was again empty, sad and lonely. I realized I felt this because I had lost so many babies. I missed being pregnant with Averey because the emptiness I felt when I miscarried the others came rushing back to me within hours of delivering her.
It takes a lot of time to work through the emptiness. I myself found it very hard to talk to my husband, friends and family because no one seemed to understand. So eventually, I started pouring my heart out to God in my journal, in my prayers and in quiet moments. I began to realize I wasn’t alone with God. The more I poured out to Him, the more He poured into me. Soon, I wasn’t empty anymore. In fact, my heart was full. I was overflowing with hope, courage and the bravery to face my fears.
I’ve miscarried two more times since my daughter was born. But with God’s help, I can move through my stages of grief without having to suffer through the severe emptiness. In thinking about this today… I was reminded of a verse that I’d like to end with. I hope it brings to you all that it promises!
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13