All my husband has to do is look at me and I’m pregnant but, many times, not for the full nine months. I’ve lost more pregnancies than I’ve had live births due to blood clotting issues; however we are thankful to have four awesome kids. Miscarriage is a word that is a part of my normal life. It’s a position I never imagined would be mine, especially so many times.
With our first miscarriage I was absolutely devastated. I cried so hard I burst a capillary on my face. It’s the one spot I work the hardest on covering when I do my makeup. The second miscarriage was worse. I was fifteen weeks along. I woke up from having a nightmare only to see blood everywhere. I still remember how strange it felt to wake up from a nightmare thinking it was over, but it was just beginning. At the end of it all, I held in my hands the tiniest person I’d ever seen. There were little legs, little arms, veins, and the beginning of fingernails. Our baby. We named her Abigail.
Many times I felt very alone in my pain. Most of my girlfriends were still single and none of them were on the path towards motherhood. I didn’t know any women that had gone through miscarriage so I focused on my husband being my only grief support. I wanted him to mourn the way I did. I wanted him to magically know how to care for me, but at the same time I wouldn’t allow myself to be completely vulnerable and tell him what I really needed from him in these moments. I didn’t realize it at the time but I wanted him to be like Jesus and I was offended that he wasn’t. I know, there are LAYERS of unhealthy thinking in this scenario! We married young and acquired the tools for a beautiful relationship along the way.
After going through this kind of loss so many times, I finally figured out my husband needed me to tell him very directly, but kindly, what I wanted from him. I’m going to go on a limb here and say most men don’t intuitively know how to comfort a grieving and hormonal wife. My husband was a true “deer-in-headlights”, bless his heart. I also needed to find other women to grieve with. He couldn’t be the only one to carry the weight of my heartache. I’ve found so much encouragement and strength in talking with other women about issues that are unique to our hearts and bodies.
We had another miscarriage recently. Another opportunity to learn how to mourn together. So here’s what I did: first, I went to Jesus, my true compassionate mind reader; the one I should not try to replace with my husband. Later I wrote down what I needed from my husband. I memorized what I wrote because I tend to ramble. I said I needed him to verbalize his pain, pray with and for me, hug me more than usual, and ice cream.
After reciting my simple list (and yes, the rambling still managed to follow) my wish was his command, and as he walked closer to me I collapsed in his arms, my head buried in chest…my snot all over his shirt…and possibly his arm hair, and I wept. Shortly after, he left to get ice cream. I’m talking ALL the ice cream. Quite possibly every pint of fancy ice cream the store had in the fridge section and in the delivery truck!
There are still moments when the pain of loss rises up. I’ll be watching our kids make each other laugh. My heart will be overflowing with joy over their friendship and then suddenly I think, “There should be another one of them.” Someone is missing. When that happens I’ll let myself have a moment, a private cry, and peacefully move on knowing my God is taking care of me, and our babies in heaven. Sometimes I ask my husband to pray for me again and he graciously does. And he always, always gives me a great big hug.