You have a baby in heaven now. For whatever reason or cause, by whatever means they died, and no matter how few days their little heart beat inside yours, your baby died before term.
We are alike. I have two babies in heaven. My first, “Tadpole”, died in my womb measuring 11 weeks and 5 days. I carried my little Tad for two more weeks, not finding out about my loss until my breasts were still larger, I had gone off several more foods, a few new maternity tops had arrived for the start of the second trimester, and I was dated at 14 weeks and 2 days pregnant. August 22nd, 2009. The horror. The shocking, awful, mind numbing pain. I still remember it with some physical impact, even six years later.
Then the second loss. I found out early about that pregnancy, anxiously waiting and hoping, and I knew at a little over four weeks pregnant that another child had been conceived. By 5 weeks and 5 days, it was gone. Never named beyond a vague “Number Two”, I felt the loss of my second child as an additional shock compounded to the first loss.
I loved my babies. I still love them. Like you, I know this unique feeling of life ripped from my body, expectations forcibly altered, and the physical upheaval of hormones, emotions, and body changes both at the start and the end of pregnancy. Like you, I am forever a mother, and was from the moment I became pregnant. There is no erasing or undoing the change that happens to a woman when she becomes pregnant and is made a mother, even if there is no lifestyle change, no sticky-pawed, rosy-cheeked cherub, no family car, no stretch marks, nothing outward to show for it.
But we’re also different. There is no one way to feel about the start of a pregnancy. There is no one way to feel about the end of a pregnancy, either. Nobody can tell you how to feel about your loss, not even another mother who has a babe in heaven.
As I come up toward the end of August again, I remember. I remember the good things and the joy I felt before my world imploded. I remember the giddy feeling when I finally confirmed my unexpected but happy pregnancy. I remember curling up on the sofa in the days after, trying to be unaware of the hours dragging by, wishing I could wake up from a nightmare. I remember the many months that followed of feeling like a mother and unable to show anything for it for so long.
I still grieve. It hurts. Sometimes, I hear of another pregnancy announced and I feel such joy. Other times, with people I know and even with total strangers on YouTube, I cave inwards in a crumbled mess of tears again.
For a while, I thought that having a baby in my arms would change everything. I thought everything bad would just go away if I had a child to show for my badge of motherhood. I finally had my son. Asher is almost four years old now. Amazing! In a way, he is a salve to the heart scars that still ache with loss from time to time. My little companion bundles himself into my lap with a sweet tenderness that makes up for so many things. But he will never be Tadpole. He will never be my first baby, nor my second. He is the one who lived. He is my joy of a longing fulfilled. But he will never erase the first losses.
That is my story. Yours is different, dear mama. I don’t know where you are or what you have been through.
Maybe you wanted the baby. Maybe you were surprised, happily or unhappily. Maybe you felt guilty about not wanting this baby right now. Maybe you never wanted children. Maybe you had been trying for a long, long time and this was the answer to prayer, you thought. Maybe you have children already and this loss took you by surprise. Maybe you knew instinctively something wasn’t right and the miscarriage made sense somehow. Maybe you are suffering health problems or infertility. Maybe you were facing single parenthood. Maybe the loss is a relief. Maybe you were hoping a baby would fix your marriage. Maybe there was a car accident and your loss was a result. Maybe your gestational carrier miscarried. Maybe there was more than one baby. Maybe so many things. Maybe.
I don’t need to know your story to know these things.
I love you. Welcome, dear heart, to the club of walking wounded. Welcome to the unnamed society of half-baked mothers who never got to meet their children as they should. I wish you weren’t here. I really do. But welcome, nonetheless, to a part of life that only the mothers of unborn babies truly understand. You will find more of us scattered around the place, some bearing old, old marks of loss from many years ago who you would never have known were part of this odd club until you shared your own story. There are more of us than you may ever have suspected. And my own heart now holds a tender place especially for these women, these half-baked mothers.
You can survive. It is possible. Your pain may eventually dissipate completely or it may always mark you a little. It doesn’t matter how you come through this or what your grief looks like, survival is possible. That said, please, please don’t hurt yourself, but I think even then I’d probably still understand.
People will try to tell you how to grieve. I was told all sorts of well-intentioned things that didn’t help at all and just made me mad. I’m sorry if you’re dealing with that. People are people, including us, and people are often stupid, including us. Stupid words are a part of life. But try to remember that your grief is yours, not theirs. Nobody but you were pregnant with that babe. Nobody else can fully comprehend let alone justify, negate, condone nor condemn your feelings on the matter of your pregnancy, your baby, and your loss. So choose healthy paths if you can. Seek medical attention and sound counselling for post-partum depression, hormone imbalance, or anything else you may now be dealing with. Allow yourself to have better days and worse days. Acknowledge your feelings, whatever they may be. Not all good things in life end here. Even if this feels like the end of your world, it isn’t the end of everything. But don’t let me or anyone else tell you that you should or should not grieve a certain way.
And finally, a few bible verses. Perhaps something here might help you.
1 Samuel 1:27-28
I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.”
He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”
I am worn out from my groaning.
All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears.
My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes.
Away from me, all you who do evil, for the Lord has heard my weeping.
The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer.
May the Lord answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
May he send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion.
May he remember all your sacrifices and accept your burnt offerings.
May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.
May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the Lord grant all your requests.
Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me.
The Lord is close to those who are of a broken heart and saves such as are crushed with sorrow for sin and are humbly and thoroughly penitent.
Your righteousness, God, reaches to the heavens, you who have done great things. Who is like you, God? Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once more.
As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.
He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth.
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!
I have seen their ways, but I will heal them; I will guide them and restore comfort to Israel’s mourners, creating praise on their lips. Peace, peace, to those far and near,” says the Lord. “And I will heal them.”
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
I will deliver this people from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. Where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O grave, is your destruction?
1 Corinthians 15:54-55
“Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”
2 Corinthians 1:3-5
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”