A Note to the One Walking through Loss: Reflections One Year Later

October 17, 2018.
One year ago today.
I recall it vividly.
I remember Dan and I heading into the ultrasound room, seeing that little heartbeat flicker, leaving with joy, and retiring the day with a sense of anticipation and eagerness for the new season we were entering.

I also vividly recall, moreso, actually, the following morning.
The quiet way my doctor reviewed the results of that ultrasound. The spinning nature the room assumed as soon as he began to speak. The crushing weight of those words:”low heart rate...50% chance of survival...even if they survive, there is a good potential they have a heart defect...” Much of these utterances needed to be reiterated to me later by Dan, because I somehow seemed to lose myself in that room. In that moment. A loss of some hope, a lot of joy, and a part of myself.

To those who have found themselves in similar moments, know that I think of you often. It has been a heartbreaking thing to encounter so many other couples who have walked through their own collection of moments similar to the ones I just recounted. 
What a thing it is, to find both comfort and heartbreak in the presence of others who trek through the same terrain. 

Of the most surprising things I have learned this last year is that, though I so intimately know what it is to walk through miscarriage, I remain void of the words to offer to others. I struggle to provide the consolation I so desire to, and yet, empty and quiet air cannot possibly be the answer, can it?

I recall those days and weeks following that loss, my searching the internet to find a voice to speak into the brokenness. A comforting and hopeful word did not seem enough. I needed a voice that had been sharpened and shaped by the path we were now walking on.
It’s part of the reason we have said yes to God’s call to share this process so candidly.

So, this one is to you.
The one searching for a presence in the midst the weightiness of miscarriage.
The one who desires to combat the surging numbness that so threateningly seems to surround you.
The one who is unsure how to grieve the loss of so much-a baby, a dream, a life that was one moment celebrated and buried the next. 

Yes, this one is for you, because I know silence is not sufficient.
Neither are those statements that are too readily offered to fill that silence-you know the ones. Those that are rooted in good intention, but leave you breathless and confused at their dismissive nature. “At least you were only _____ weeks.” “At least you are still young.” “You’ll have another.” (As if another life could replace the one that so tenderly already changed you. Being pregnant again, I can assure you-it won’t.)

I hope you know you are not alone. That God is near and offers to bear this burden with you. I hope you know it’s okay to have days where peace marks your mind-it doesn’t mean you’ve forgotten the preciousness of that baby. I hope you also know that it’s okay for those good days to be followed by hard ones, where the wrestling seems more impossible and the grief weightier. Healing, I have learned, is not a linear process.

I hope you don’t shame yourself when pregnancy announcements bring you to your knees. I hope, through the grace and power of Jesus, you learn the balance of grieving your loss while also rejoicing with those around you.

I hope you don’t hold out on healing, believing another pregnancy will accomplish it. I hope you aggressively seek it out now, in the waiting, in the in-between.

I hope you are surrounded by people that validate your pain, and that if you aren’t, that you’ll find people who do.
I hope you know its okay to stumble imperfectly through this journey, that a day marked predominantly by hurt and confusion is not wasted by God.

And that, I suppose, is my greatest hope for you. That you would know that what now feels irredeemable and impossible and irresistibly wrecking is going to be used greatly. It already is. That you would trust that God takes that which is intended for evil and turns it for good (Genesis 50:20). But I hope you know that doesnt mean that miscarriage is good or that the life of any subsequent children will somehow make this loss ‘worth it.’ God takes the most broken, vile, and destructive bits of our lives and uses them to make beauty from the ashes. Know it’s okay not to see that quite yet. Know that God is patient and enduring and gracious in His dealings with you in this path; because of this, you are free to lean into the messy days that feel like setbacks.

I hope you know that most of what will fall from the lips of those around you truly does come from a desire to partner with you in your healing. As I am sure you are already coming to see, there are little words that can do such a big thing. Offer grace. 
Receive it, too.

I hope you know that Jesus offers victory. I also hope you know that that victory doesn’t look like a sudden absence of pain and hurt, but rather, is found in a heart that greater yields itself to His care. One that grows in surrender and trust that death does not have the final say.

I hope you know its okay to seek counsel, whether that be by your family, friends, pastor, or a professional (all of which I sought).

I hope you don’t feel pushed into silence by the callous voice our culture assumes. The one that devalues the lives of our babies. The one that suggests there is little to heal from. 
I hope you share your story if you want to, knowing your baby was real and so is this loss.

I hope you give yourself permission to continue to process the grief long after these days pass, in those moments where the sadness is unexpectedly triggered and the hurt suddenly resurfaces. Holidays, comments, what would have been milestones, etc. All of it. I hope you allow yourself to feel and that you resist the strong temptation towards that numbing hardness that seems easier.

I hope you know not everyday will be as hard as this one is.

I hope you know you are still a mama.
I hope you’d hold to that even when voices around you suggest otherwise.

Ultimately, I hope you know there is hope. 
Only at the Cross can our greatest devastations yield to the greatest victories. Jesus makes a way. He made one for me, and He can make one for you.
I hope you’d lay down this burden before Him and see what He does with it.

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

Love, Liv.