October is perhaps the most beautiful month of the year. Everything is a bit more colorful during this month–even poison ivy transforms itself into a lovely deep red vine coiled around the pine trees in our back yard. October even smells a bit more delightful than other months. My husband & I were walking our sweet little Chihuahua around the yard yesterday and the air seemed lighter, crisper & scented with a light aroma of falling leaves. So much of me wants to become completely & totally enchanted by everything about October; however, another part of me won’t allow that to happen.
Tuesday, October 15, 2013 was the due date for our first child; the child I miscarried months ago. That part of myself that will not allow me to move on & truly enjoy the here & now is stuck in time; that part of myself is stuck in a dark, lonely, tearfully painful place. When I wake up in the mornings, for a fleeting moment I forget the pain and emptiness that has plagued me for the last few months, and briefly I feel like my old, innocent, hopefully optimistic self. However, that basal thermometer staring at me from my nightstand hurls me back to reality & reminds me of how much I have lost. Each morning that basal thermometer reminds me of how not pregnant I truly am–I don’t need pregnancy tests anymore to break that damning news each month, my handy-dandy basal thermometer does that for me. I honestly thought I would surely be pregnant long before my due date arrived, and being pregnant once again would lessen the sting of October 15th.
It’s been months since the miscarriage, shouldn’t I be over this by now??? That’s the question that keeps me up nights. What is the appropriate way to deal with pregnancy loss? Is there an appropriate way to deal with pregnancy loss? I’ve experienced the loss of close loved ones before, so the miscarriage wasn’t my first experience with loss. My maternal grandfather passed away when I was 19 years old. He was perhaps my favorite person in the world (at that time–this was before I met my husband) & I wondered how I was supposed to go on without him. I remember resenting the people who came to his funeral–I was mad because they could leave the funeral home that night & return to their normal lives, but my life would never be the same. I was young & that was my first real experience with loss & grief. Immediately after his death, I moved from my parents’ house to live with my maternal grandmother; I knew my grandfather wouldn’t want her to be alone & somehow living in my grandparents’ home helped heal my broken heart. Even though I missed him, I came to realize that I was blessed to have 19 wonderful years with my grandfather & I should be thankful for the time we spent together. Christ was always first and foremost in my grandfather’s life; knowing this also helped me as I healed from this loss–knowing one day we would be reunited in Heaven. Even though I have lost several close family members since that time, pregnancy loss is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. So, I’m back to wondering…what’s appropriate miscarriage behavior & shouldn’t I be over this by now???
In the months since my miscarriage, I’ve read about a lot of other women’s experiences & it seems that there is no one appropriate way to deal with this kind of loss. Just as every pregnancy is different for each woman, every pregnancy loss is different for each woman. I’m not an outwardly emotional person; I’m actually pretty introverted & keep most things to myself. However, I deal with my miscarriage quite differently than I deal with most other things. I find myself tearing up almost all the time, no matter where I’m at or who I’m with. I have moments of unbearable emptiness when grief overcomes every ounce of my being. Even breathing is difficult during those moments. However, the grief ebbs and flows, it’s not linear. I still wonder if this pain will ease with time, or will this pain remain raw? Will it ever hurt less to pass by the baby department in Target or see pictures of friends’ newborn babies on Facebook? Will a time come when I can truly be happy to learn yet another friend is expecting without feeling the pang of emptiness in my own womb?
I am a woman of faith. Though this pregnancy loss leaves me with so many unanswered questions, I have never questioned my faith. Throughout this time, I keep reminding myself that God brings beauty from ashes. Isaiah 61:3 says, “And provide for those who grieve in Zion–to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.” I am clinging to this promise. Even though this loss has left me with ashes, mourning, and despair; I cling to that promise that He will exchange those things with beauty, gladness, and praise. Even when my heart is overwhelmed by grief, I believe He will work all things for good. I don’t know what this will look like, or how everything will play out, but I know He is faithful.
Maybe someday I will be able to look back upon this October as a more healed person. Maybe future Octobers will include a child. I don’t know what future Octobers hold, but I know who holds them. When grief flows, I will curl up in His lap & allow His love & comfort to wash over me. When grief ebbs, I will try to make the conscience effort to allow myself to enjoy the beauty & splendor of His creation, & live in the moments graciously given to me.