When It Happens to Us
It's one of those things we think will never happen to us - It happens to them. We pray for them, console them. They may even be our friends or family members; we just never imagine or grasp that "they" can be us - or me. I had been married a little over two months when we had what we thought was our first pregnancy scare. I took 2 tests, they were both negative. "Whew that was a dodged bullet," I thought. It saddens me now that this was my response but, in full transparency, it was. I went on about my life, working, living, breathing like normal. Two weeks later I began to feel strange, serious cravings for ponche (an egg-nog-like holiday drink from the Dominican Republic). I also experienced extreme fatigue. Considering I happened to be on vacation and got lots of rest, I found this unusual. I took a third test and got negative results but I remained in uncertainty. My doubt lead me to take a fourth test. Those two straight lines had never been so clear. There was no doubt that there was a baby growing inside of me.
"Great job Roberta." "Way to get knocked up in the first 30 days of marriage." "What will people say?" "You should've waited a little longer, it's hard enough being married...now this?!"
My head was spinning. What would motherhood, something I always longed for, look like in a season when I wasn't "prepared". The hours of that day seemed so long while I thought of what this meant and how I would break the news to my newly-wedded husband. Still, I downloaded the necessary apps that could tell me approximately how far I was, and what my baby looked like. It turns out she (we'll say she) was the size of a chocolate chip.
That night, I headed home, preparing to share the big news and I began feeling strange again. I hurried to discover a pool of blood. Even I sensed that this was not normal. Google confirmed I was having a miscarriage, often referred to as a chemical pregnancy. A miscarriage? I wasn't understanding. Then it became clear, I was now one of them, one of the sad people who've lost babies, the ones you pray for and console. I was the friend.
The following morning, after having sat in the weightiness of what happened, slowly piecing together the details, I began to understand. For about 6 weeks there was a living, growing being inside me and I didn't even know it. I didn't get to enjoy it or share it because my first thoughts were clouded by sin - just a few hours later, the baby was gone. Where was God? I thought He was the Giver of Life? Why was I sitting here with an empty womb? Why was life taken from me? Did I earn it because of those terrible thoughts in my head?
I now know that there was nothing I could've done. We can retrace our steps and try to blame it on a million different things but the truth is, we live in a world where our bodies just don't do their job 100% of the time. A world where there are about a million things that can go wrong at any given second- including the loss of life.
My pregnancy wasn't chemical. It was real and very tangible. There was a heartbeat, and limbs that were beginning to form. She was real. What a painful sting these realizations are! What an awful grief, one I didn't even know I could feel. Because I had never been that friend. The weight of my sin fell on my soul like a ton of bricks. I had cared more about what people would've said than what God had already said.
It's been a few months since then. I felt pressed to write this even if no one ever read it because I want her to know that she mattered. Your baby may have lived 6 weeks like mine or 8 weeks or 4 months. The world may dismiss their presence and your friends may forget but we won't; God does not forget. They mattered.
There is a time for everything. These times may not be times that can be measured in consecutive minutes, days or even weeks. Sometimes it can only be measured in moments, moments that can be isolated or all mixed up. I wish I could say that I mourned for a month and then it was done. But the truth is some days I'm in the middle of dancing and laughing then mourning hits. But I have a great God that empathizes with me in every way. I have a God who meets me and comforts me. I have a God who - despite the brokenness of this world - is always good. He has shown me that death and loss don't have the last say. And what the enemy desires to use to instill bitterness and doubt, God will use to display His goodness. Someday soon I believe God will send another little life, and this time I will rejoice. My hope is that when this happens, I would be reminded that life is a gift and a privilege.
My prayer for you is that if you have a friend like me, you would sit with them in their grief and remind them that it did matter. If you are the friend, my prayer is that you would let God sit with you as He holds your grief and whispers quietly to your heart that it did matter, and it mattered to Him most of all.