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Pregnant Sorrows
Words can't express her grief at the loss of her unborn child. May God use her pain for His glory.

Blue handwriting is scrawled across today’s calendar date: “13 weeks.” My mind drifts back to when I’d written those words, more than a month ago. I’d been delirious with joy. After a year and a half of trying, my husband and I had finally conceived.

My baby would have been 13 weeks old today—officially past the ‘danger zone.’ Would have been…

I convince myself to sit down, put my head in my hands and count to ten. “Not again,” I whisper. I’m so tired of crying. So tired of reliving the sadness. Yet it’s only a Fisher Price commercial away—I’m reminded every time I glimpse a baby carriage, a tiny shoe, or a mother to be: My baby is gone.

My husband tries to console me, telling me we’re not alone—a fact which had eluded me until I miscarried at six weeks. It was then that friends either went silent, for not knowing what to say, or unloaded similar experiences. I was shocked to learn one had endured six miscarriages in five years. As well meaning as they were, I took little comfort in the fact that mine was perhaps only the first of many. Yet some knew how to console—reassuring me that our little Papoose, as we called our baby, would be waiting for us in heaven, alive and well.

Nevertheless, in the end, they’re just words—powerless words—unable to fight the endless grief which threatens to overtake me.

Grief, if left unexpressed, can strain a marriage. My husband and I grieve very differently, much like we consume a steak dinner. He devours it, consuming with rabid speed until he’s finished. I, on the other hand, chew my dinner slowly, until I’m too full to take another bite.

Yet, in spite of our differences, we’ve both learned the value of a well-timed embrace. So many mornings, I crumble into his arms and he just holds me, grips me, taking all of my sadness and letting it fall on his shoulders. And every evening we pray together, that God would use this pain for his glory, and that he would bless us with another child.

My husband helps me see it’s not my fault—that for all of my precautions and prayers, nothing could have saved our baby. It just wasn’t meant to be. Such sadness in a divinely orchestrated world is hard for me to comprehend—until I consider that perhaps, this too shall pass, and ultimately, my response to this will build in me perseverance, and perseverance, hope.

But for the moment, I’m too sad to care. So I trust that Jesus will mend me, in his timing, and help me be gracious towards all of my friends who are currently expecting or already mothers.

There’s no describing how attached we’d become to Papoose. While only a cluster of cells, from the moment of conception, we became parents, chatting away to our baby as we lay in bed, envisioning his or her smile, then placing hands over my womb and praying God would keep our little one safe.

After learning of our miscarriage, we relayed the news to my parents. It was hard to see the disappointment in their faces, the confusion, having never experienced a miscarriage themselves. It was hard to hear my Dad ask, “Was there something you could have done?”, knowing he meant well, but still feeling the sting of guilt. Even though we couldn’t have prevented it, our parental instincts told us we should have.

When Mum, who’s battling brain cancer, asked with big blue eyes, “Was it because I hugged you too hard the other day?” it offered a brief chance to relapse in laughter.

Then, with aching souls, we left to spend the day at the beach. We built a stone memorial for Papoose, then watched as the waves licked at the shore, begging the tide to take our sorrows. Lying there on the blanket, we thought of all the dreams we’d had for that beautiful little baby, and surrendered them to God. Then we let the wind dry our eyes and the vacant sky still our hearts.

The beach remained inside me, long after I began bleeding. There was many a moment when I’d close my eyes and feel the sting of the wind against my cheek. And then, on the day when the placenta actually left my body, I saw the waves crash before me as I opened my Bible to Psalm 113:9, and read, “He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children.”

It’s a verse which I choose to believe, in spite of the blood and the pain. It’s a verse I’ll cling to as I watch Fisher Price commercials and visit my friends and their newborn children. And it’s a verse I’ll rejoice in when I finally meet Papoose, face to face, in the long-awaited kingdom of heaven.

Emily and her husband are pleased to announce they are expecting a new little one due November 11, 2009!

Emily Wierenga is an author based in Blyth, Ontario. Her book, Save My Children, is available through Castle Quay Books.

Originally published in Focus on the Family, March 2009.




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