This post is the second of a series of three regarding miscarriage. Our intention is not to overlook other types of loss, but to shed understanding for those experiencing miscarriage or ministering to those who have lost through miscarriage. We also understand that this is a trigger for many mamas. We love you and pray for healing in your hearts.
Last week, in part one of this series, I shared about our experience with miscarriage and some suggestions for processing this unique type of loss. Today I want to focus on a topic that we barely ever touch: pregnancy after miscarriage.
In April 2014, we experienced the loss of a child through miscarriage. A few weeks later we were surprised by another positive pregnancy test. Our third child was born just thirty-five days after the estimated due date for our deceased baby’s due date.
I won’t beat about the bush on this one… the emotional roller coaster is drastic. If you’ve experienced post-loss pregnancy, you know what I’m talking about. If you have lost babies and you’re still hopefully waiting for your rainbow baby (a baby born after miscarriage or stillbirth), my desire is to prepare you and encourage you on this journey.
What emotions do you feel when you find out you’re pregnant after miscarriage?
- Excitement Of course! Excitement that you have the privilege of carrying life in your womb again!
- Fear It’s terrifying, folks. Your mind is telling you that your body failed last time. And although that’s not true, you can’t help but fear…. what if it happens again?
- Uncertainty There’s a very real battle to allow yourself to get attached to this precious new baby. It hurts to love so deeply. It’s worth it.
- Anticipation Hear me loud and clear: a rainbow baby is not a replacement baby. It’s a new family member. That said, you cannot wait to finally hold that tiny, warm little person. It’s a special kind of healing balm.
What can I expect when I’m expecting again?
- A daily battle. Every day was a battle with fear and worry. My post-loss pregnancy was truly of the hardest experiences of my life. In addition to the emotional strain on my heart, my body was struggling, too. My hormones were very low and I bled almost the entire first trimester. Every weird little twinge or cramp. Every “spot”. Every trip to the bathroom. Every moment was a battle against fear.
- Daily surrender. Along with fighting the fear daily, came a daily resigned rest in God’s plan. As with the baby we’d lost, God had not made any mistakes with this baby either. Whether or not it played out the way I wished, God’s purpose was perfect.
- Thankfulness. Some women love being pregnant. I can’t say I’m one of them. After loss, however, I developed a whole new appreciation for pregnancy and all it brings with it.
- Difficult questions. There were two questions that I was asked by unsuspecting individuals who were simply showing interest and starting conversation. The first question was, “Is this your second baby?” and the other was, “Has this pregnancy been easier/different [since you’ve had a baby before]?” Both innocent question, absolutely, but both pricked a tender spot. My second baby? No… it’s my third, but most people will never count Baby #2 as my second child. An easier pregnancy? No…. it’s been rocky emotionally, mentally, and physically. With the “baggage” these questions bring with them comes abounding opportunity. Loss and grief are part of your story and God did not give you those trials to keep hidden. Use them and share them to help others through their pain and to bring glory to God.
- Meaning. So much more meaning. My third baby is a living testimony of fears abated, hope fulfilled, faith grown, and God’s faithfulness poured out. For us, this meant choosing his name carefully. When we lost Baby Hope, I felt very strongly that our next baby should be named Jubilee. Well…. it was a boy, so that didn’t work, but we did use that meaning as inspiration as we carefully chose a name for our little boy. We chose Asher Zane – which literally means, “we are blessed/happy because God is gracious”. What I have loved most about carefully selecting his name is the many opportunities we’ve already had to give a 30 second testimony of our loss, our rainbow baby, and the way God has sustained us through this. Soli Deo Gloria in all things, my friends!
- Renewed confidence. Early on in my third pregnancy, I was wrestling with my many emotions and reading my Bible. The Lord sweetly gave me a verse to cling to and I share it with every mama I meet who is pregnant again after losing a baby. From Psalm 112:7…
(S)he is not afraid of bad news; his (her) heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.
Miscarriage is a painful, little-discussed road. Please read Part One of this series for encouragement. Watching others walk through miscarriage presents so many challenges: how do you love the family and help them? Stay tuned for Part Three.
In tender, loving memory of our second baby, Elianna Hope (“God has answered our desire for hope”) . April 1, 2014