Your baby is resting in Jesus.
If only those words didn’t mean that you now have to life your life without your baby.
That you have to somehow pick up the broken pieces of your heart and keep breathing while your baby will never know the pain you are experiencing right now.
As if it weren’t awful enough for the baby to be gone too soon, your body trudges on with seeming carelessness. It might stay pregnant for weeks, hormones refusing to acknowledge that there is no longer a heartbeat within your womb. Perhaps you miscarried suddenly, with no warning at all. There’s the blood in the toilet, callously slapping you in the face with its untimely arrival as if this were just another time of the month, unworthy of being heralded with any fanfare. Maybe labor started too early in its heart-stopping intensity as you fruitlessly pleaded with your uterus to stop squeezing. The air is sucked out of your lungs with the raw realization that your body is expelling a life you desperately wanted.
In the biological process of the death now being removed from your body, you are hardly comforted that it is your body’s miraculous way of preserving your life. Whether this takes place in the dark privacy of your own bedroom or in the too-bright hospital room with nurses all around, whether you take ancient remedies to support your body’s natural path of letting go or have your womb scraped clean with surgical steel, the death is complete.
It is ugly.
You’re left empty with nothing but grief. Wouldn’t it just be easier to go with your little one? To never have to face those days and years, those long, empty minutes that stretch out before you endlessly without your child? In fact, it’s hard not to hate this dark world and all of its sins and fallenness. Never was the plight of the human condition so horrendously real to you as right now. And who wants to swallow that pill?
Something so primal in us does not want to accept that this is just…it. It can’t just be finished like this, can it? Every fiber of the being cries out to God at this senseless ending of something so precious. How is it possible for it to be over before it began? It’s so wrong. So impossible to receive. The antagonist to our eternal hope.
Those of us who embraced child for all it means however many weeks we were to be blessed with housing the incredible gift are left wondering why the loss never seems as poignant to those around us. To those who didn’t feel any flutters or overcome the nausea and sore breasts for weeks on end like we did. To those who didn’t imagine and KNOW these children. To those who didn’t bear secret smiles and daydreams of all that is represented by the womanly fertility filling our bodies with roundness and glow. After all, there is no longer any physical evidence of our motherhood.
Let me tell you the truth. You will probably feel this emptiness for a long time. Perhaps until you are reunited with your baby, though the years carry us in God’s faithfulness and the wound will be soothed even if it tears open again from time to time. Whenever you see a baby who is just the age your little one would have been, you will recognize the punch in the gut feeling as being very familiar. I don’t know when that feeling dissipates. For quite awhile you won’t be able to walk down the Target baby aisle without tearing up and feeling the ache in every bone of your body. It is important to know that your heart needs time to heal. It’s perfectly okay that it doesn’t happen overnight. If you find yourself weeping suddenly for no apparent reason other than cell memory of a soul now gone several months from today (when you thought you were supposed to “be over it” by then), take a deep breath and let it flow through you and over you as it passes. Because it will pass.
Your miscarriage represents the loss of an innocence that you can never get back in this age, especially if you have more than one child awaiting you in the age to come. You will never be the same woman again. Battle scars remain even when life is patched back together and briskly moves on. Feeling normal again will happen with time, but it will be a new normal. There will be things that you previously took for granted that will suddenly become so precious and vital that you won’t be able to abide seeing them as less than incredible blessings.
Perhaps you have other children. If so, they can be a great comfort even though they can never fill the arms that ache for the child who was lost. Perhaps you will desire to get pregnant again right away. Maybe you find yourself petrified at the very idea of carrying another child because…what if? Maybe you will go on to deliver a rainbow baby and find tremendous healing in the knowing soul of a new life. Whatever the months after this look like, I hope you are surrounded by family and friends who honor the sacredness of your baby’s life along with you. If not, I pray someone who does understand is sent your way to hold up your arms.
There is no rushing the grief. You cannot snuff it out, stamp it out, push it away, forget about it, or ignore it. It must be survived. You might desperately want to escape those days and weeks that come after your physical body has healed, when feeling bruised and sore would actually be a relief compared to the gnawing anguish deep within you that cannot be comforted by an aspirin and a hot bath. You cannot bypass this valley, sweet mama. You must walk through it because you can’t sit down and give up and die even though you might want to.
Those shadows looming up on every side, the anxiety that threatens to suffocate your sleep, the tears that fall incessantly and seem never to be quieted, the feeling of not having been able to take a deep breath since you knew your baby was gone – all this bitterness is too much for you to carry alone. These are the moments when you will find that you might not even have the strength to choose to lean on the Lord. You are past the conscious decision to rest in Him. You might see you have reached the end of your ability to cope.
Let yourself fall limp and stricken into His grip.
He anticipated this. He is well-acquainted with His children stumbling headlong into His arms despite not having aimed for them. He Himself is the Anchor, the only way you will get from one awful minute to the next until your path leads out of this valley and into the sun again. He is not surprised by this dark season of your life. He is not going to waste your sorrows in a pit of despair but will carry you through them and wash them away so they do not cling to you forever. You are not alone. This is the truth even when you can’t see it. Know that the death of your precious one is weighty to the Lord. (Psalm 116:15) He does not look lightly on the afflictions and sufferings we endure until His kingdom is reigning supreme. He does not look scornfully or impatiently at you in your pain.
Release into your heartache and pour it all out. You do not have to be strong right now because Christ is strong in you and for you and you can REST in Him just like your baby does this very moment – with perfect peace. You can have peace even in the weeping. Clarity will return to you, I promise. It might be only with glimpses and moments at a time until one day you will wake up renewed in the knowledge that you overcame and lived to tell about it. Resolve to step out into the sunshine up ahead will be a cloak around you. You will smile again. One day you will laugh out loud at something and really mean it. Don’t despair if that isn’t tomorrow.
For today, miss that baby with your whole heart and allow your spirit to groan along with all of creation for the Lord’s return. You will look back on this time and see that joy bubbled up in spite of the most painful circumstances because it knows beyond the shadow of doubt that our hope is secure in Jesus.
And hope does not disappoint. We will see our children again.