Healing After Miscarriage
I discovered I was pregnant during a snowstorm. This was the baby we had planned and dreamed of for a long time. I was over a week late by the time the sky opened, blocking the roads in our city ill-prepared for snow. We spent the weekend watching flakes fall and cover our sleeping garden, entertaining a host of nervous butterflies in our stomachs. When the roads were finally clear, we drove to the store for a home pregnancy test, and watched the little plus sign appear.
So when I started bleeding, I was terrified. I think deep down I knew something was wrong, but I held on to the hopeful stories of friends who told me sometimes bleeding is normal in the first trimester. Nevertheless, I got the earliest appointment I could – on Valentine’s Day.
It quickly went from bad to worse. Listening to my symptoms, the doctors began talking to me as if this was definitely a miscarriage. I cried through both ultrasounds, which revealed that the pregnancy was ectopic and would never be a child. My husband came to meet me at the hospital for the shot that would lower my HCG and allow my body to reabsorb the tissue. There wasn’t even a heartbeat, my doctor said, which I think was meant to console me.
I was sad, angry, confused, scared. How could this happen? What did I do wrong? What purpose did this pain serve, other than to tear me apart?
I went home from the hospital emptier than I had ever felt before, with a sea of questions that threatened to drown me. I cried, yelled, threw things in the kitchen and scared the cat. For three weeks, I bled as the drug did its work, baffled by my body’s ability to move on when I was struggling to let go of the expectations we had had for this little life.
Was it a life? The doctors said it wasn’t, but it felt real to me. I couldn’t make sense of my feelings. I prayed constantly, and because it’s my habit to write down my prayers, I have a record of that confusion and struggle, as well as its gradual transformation into acceptance and trust:
Lord, I know that in you nothing is impossible. I will not try to direct you but I will keep my eyes on you, on where you are already moving in my life. I trust you completely. I feel so powerless and helpless. There is nothing I can do, but my body doesn’t know it. How do I thank you right now? I can’t do it. Please help me. I don’t know how to pray any more. What do I do with all of this hurt?
I wanted answers, but something else began to happen to my questions. Every morning, I tried to place one question—one worry, one hurt— in the hands of the Creator. At first, it was hard to let go of the questions. I thought peace meant understanding, and I had difficulty letting go of the only way I had experienced peace before.
Instead of answers, I received new questions. Why and When became What and How. How does life happen? How miraculous and impossible it is to become pregnant and safely bring a child into this world? It’s utterly out of our control, and yet here we all are – 7 billion of us. What is motherhood? What a gift, this chance to create and love unconditionally!
The weeks pass, and slowly we are moving away from that weekend with its hush of blank, expectant snow. Slowly, the cherry trees break open up and down the street. Every day, I lift up my heavy questions and receive the lighter ones. These, too, are questions I can never unlock—but they bring me strength, hope, gratitude. I feel grief, and I also feel peace.