In a perfect world
Growing up I always just assumed I would get married and fall pregnant easily and that I would carry full term, perfect babies. I never once feared infertility, loss or complications, because that was something that happened to others but not to me. And this was all true for my first pregnancy. Pregnancy was even better than what I had dreamed of, feeling the kicks, seeing the fetal scans and witnessing my baby grow. It is so much more than words can explain and I loved my child in utero with the same love that I have for her today.
A Dark Reality
We planned our second pregnancy and fell pregnant almost immediately. The first scan was perfect, showing an 8 week old little baby with a strong heartbeat but 3 weeks later my beautiful baby left my body. A 6 month faith journey finally led to another pregnancy and I felt overwhelmed with joy. Once again the first scan was perfect but with our second scan we found out that our baby boy suffered from severe Cystic Hygroma and although we fought so hard for a miracle, at 20 weeks into my pregnancy our precious boy Elijah left us.
Nothing can prepare you for the physical, mental and emotional trauma you go through when miscarrying your child. It is something that stains your soul and changes a part of who you are. The grief is immense and the pain isolating. The days rolled into weeks but still the loss echoed through my being. The weight of different emotions was all-consuming, guilt, extreme anger, confusion, heartbreak, loneliness. I was also not prepared for the amount of friendships and community we lost. My faith crumbled and a gap slowly crept into our marriage. I was stuck in this dark reality and didn’t think I would ever recover. To be honest although a good amount of time has passed and I have grown immensely, I came to realise a part of me will always hurt and long for my unborn children.
Water in the wilderness
I can’t tell you how to heal the hurt and fix what has been broken but I can share with you what I have learned through my two losses and what helped, because I would like to believe for everything I’ve lost I gained a lot as well
- It is okay not being okay
I think too many women and men out there feel that losing a child in utero should be less painful but let me tell you it is not. Because not only are you grieving the loss of your child but you grieve all the lost future memories that you will never have. You need to hear that you are allowed to feel and mourn deeply. Embrace all the feelings, let them roll over you and allow yourself to be in that moment.
- Grieve your own way
Every person grieves differently and you cannot compare that to the person next to you. I found that out the hard way when I felt stuck and my husband seemed to have made peace with it. However long the process takes just allow it. Some days might be better that others and that is okay as well
- Keep Speaking
The hardest but best thing to do is to communicate about it with people, a friend, your partner, counsellor, as long as you keep talking. Talk about what happened, how you felt, how you are currently feeling. A loss like this can become very isolating and it can be a dark slippery slope if you don’t watch out.
- Say Good Bye
This takes time and should not be rushed but when you get to that place and you will know. It might look different for you but for us we named our babies, imagined what they would have looked like and what personalities they would have had, I pretended to hold them and then we decided to let the bad memories go. I wish I could tell you it was easy but it was heart breaking but beyond freeing at the same time
- Hope for tomorrow
This takes courage but you can do it. When you are ready allow yourself to hope again, to smile again, to feel joy and laugh out loud. It doesn’t mean that you have forgotten your child it means that in the midst of unspeakable pain you can let something beautiful emerge.
I cannot take any credit for the growth or healing that has taken place, it truly is al God. I mentioned losing my faith after our first loss but I am so thankful that even in a season that I gave up on God He didn’t give up on me, not for one second. He is so gracious, loving and patient. One of the best pieces of advice someone gave me was “you can be angry at God, his shoulders are broad enough to handle it” and that’s when I realized that God understands better than we ever will, He understands that at times all we can see is our hurt and we can’t see him in the midst of it reaching out towards us. Even if he is not the author of our pain, he is the atonement we need, the strength we need, the courage we need and the only hope that can keep us to going.
1Africa would like to extend their support and help to any individual in need. If you or someone close to you has experienced the loss of a loved one or child please take the courageous step of reaching out to one of their team members.