I wasn't going to write about having a miscarriage. I really wasn't. It’s such a sad topic and it’s hard to shed real light on what it’s like without being graphic, super depressing, sobbing while you write all the words and avoiding the phrase “dead baby” when those are the words that keep echoing in your mind. No one wants to hear that. I wasn't going to write about having a miscarriage.
But then I had two. Back-to-back. One baby lost at 7 weeks. No period in between. Pregnant again. Another baby lost at 12 weeks. And every time I sit down at my computer to write about teens, marriage, finances, prayer life… there is nothing. Nothing but what I've been through in the last five months. Finally, I acknowledged that maybe God is echoing the words in my mind so I can write them down. Because maybe one person needs to hear them. Because if you don’t want to read about miscarriage, you can just stop reading. Because maybe it’ll give me some peace and I could always use more of that.
The thing I’ve learned through this process, the inescapable truth that I have to confront every time I tell someone what happened is that I am not strong. Sterling is not strong. People keep telling me I am. I even have moments when I think they’re right. But the truth is that I’m human. I’m broken and I’m very weak. The only strength that you see me have is strength that I’ve borrowed from Jesus.
If you could see inside my mind and if you could see how I really feel, I’d be lying on the kitchen floor in a puddle of tears and screaming, “Why did this happen? Why can’t I please just have my baby back?” But the only reason I don’t look like that is because I believe in Christ. I believe in what He did for me. I believe in the words of the bible. I trust Him and His timing.
You’ll hear me say that a lot. Trust Him and His timing. It’s easy to say that when you’re talking to 15 year-old girls who are worried about boys and college. It’s easy to say that to recent graduates looking for a new job. It’s a lot harder to stare into the face of a woman who has just lost her baby and tell her that it’s okay. But it’s still the same truth. This truth is timeless. It transcends situation. And it’s genuinely what I believe. I believe that God has a plan for me. I believe that He knows what’s best for me and He wants that best plan for me. I believe that I will learn something from this and become closer to the person He wants me to become.
If I only believed in the comfort of these words when things were going well for me, then it wouldn’t really be the same thing as truly believing. So I do look strong. I’m making plans for the future. I’m holding my girls tight and reading them more books. I’m going on dates with my husband and trying to learn how to play the piano. I’m enjoying a few glasses of wine and eating sushi because I can. I even feel strong for most of the day.
Then I’ll see a picture of me from two months ago. Or I’ll pass by a restaurant that made me so sick a few weeks ago. I’ll start cramping, again, because that lasts a long time. I put “Christmas” into Pinterest to get started on handmade gifts as a distraction but then I remembered I might have had a baby for Christmas. I’ll put on my maternity pants because I look like I’m 4 months pregnant. I catch people smiling at my baby tummy. Those are the times I lose it.
That’s when I start to let go of Jesus and grab onto myself. I sink into my human nature, my brokenness, my doubt and my short-sighted idea that what I want is probably what’s best. That’s when I start to want my baby instead of His plan. I forget about His love and His timing and slip into darkness. During one of these moments I was telling my husband, “I just can’t stand the not knowing. Not knowing if I’ll be pregnant 2 more times or 10 more times. Not knowing if we’ll always have little kids around. Not being able to plan for something so important like how many kids we’ll have. I mean it’s a significant life event, I just want to be prepared!”
Then he gently reminded me that we don’t get to prepare for most significant life events. Death. Being laid off. Natural disasters. Falling in love. We can’t plan for these things and yet, they significantly change our lives and often affect us for the rest of our lives. And that’s how my husband helps lead me back to Jesus. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think it’s bad to have these moments. I don’t think it’s wrong to be human and weak. I think it’s good to touch the darkness so we remember why we need Jesus. But that’s what we have to do in those moments.
We need to turn to the light. We have to stop holding ourselves and reach out for Him. This is where we’ll find the strength we need, the strength we’re looking for, the strength that pulls us away from dwelling on the “what ifs.” I honestly don’t spend a lot of time wondering about “what if” I was able to have this baby. Clearly it was not in the plans for me. I don’t need God to tell me why. I trust Him. I feel peace more than I feel sadness.
At first I wondered if I was in some sort of denial about what had happened. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that when I walk with Him (by going to Mass, reading my bible, sending up my prayers,) I feel His peace. It’s like a blanket that’s wrapped around me and it protects me, mostly from myself. I will always love and remember the babies I’ve lost. It will always bring a tinge of sadness knowing that I didn’t get to see them grow up. But I believe I’ll see them in Heaven and that their lives were no less meaningful for not having passed years on this Earth. I believe that I can find peace and happiness whether I have five more kids or if I’m never able to have another baby.
When you look at me and you think I’m strong, you’re right, you do sense strength in me. I can take on really difficult situations and push through. I can be positive throughout terrible times. I do have a lot of strength but it’s not mine. It all comes from God. It comes from my deep faith. If I didn’t have Him, I wouldn’t have that strength or those smiles. I would be crying on the floor. We all need Jesus. He gets us through the hard times and His truth promises that everything we go through is for a reason, for a plan and for something better than we could ever hope to experience here on Earth.
If you're going through something difficult, are you holding onto yourself or are you holding onto Jesus? How can you let Him in so He can begin to give you healing?
Copyright 2015 Sterling Jaquith
Image Credit: Sad Girl by Michael Dorokhov (2011) via Flickr, CC
About the Author
Sterling Jay is a Catholic life coach. She is a wife and unschooling mom of 6 young children and lives in Boise, Idaho. She is a co-host of the Made For Greatness podcast. As an adult convert, she loves sharing her passion for the faith. She believes Catholic moms can change the world! Learn more at MadeForGreatness.co. See her books on Amazon!