Pregnancy After Loss: Choosing to be Fearless

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I sat in the examination room waiting for the midwife for my bi-weekly appointment. Being in my third trimester, I knew the routine well by this point: the weighing, the blood pressure, the Doppler, the questions. Everything was as usual, when the nurse asked, “This is your second pregnancy, but first baby?” I replied with an awkward and hesitant “yes”, knowing it was the answer she was seeking, but in no way the one inside my heart.

Pregnancy with our little “Cannoli” has been an absolute dream. Each milestone magical, softening my heart and bonding Stephen and I more than ever. But this sweet pregnancy has not been free of grief. Grieving for the time with our first sweet child. Grieving that I never got to see her grow or feel her kicks. Grieving to hear the rhythm of her little beating heart. That seemingly simple question struck a chord in my heart that had not be played in quite some time. And once I was alone, I wept.

This pregnancy has also not been free of fear, particularly in the early months when physical signs of our Dear One were scarce.  I did not feel the first “kicks” until nearly 20 weeks – and while assured that was perfectly normal, it felt like a lifetime of hopeful (or anxious, if I were to be honest) expectancy. I wrote of my first trimester: “After our miscarriage last year, I have found myself fearful of the endless what-if’s looming over my head and heart…as I realize my lack of control over this sweet life within. My first pregnancy was filled with unadulterated joy (despite my lack of control then as well), and I so long to experience that again. I have been asking God to lead me through fearless motherhood as pregnancy is just a small part of an even bigger – lifelong –  journey.” 

Over the summer, my church walked through a series on the book of Ruth. While this little gem of the Old Testament is often romanticized for its themes in faithfulness and love, it is founded on a journey through heartbreak and loss. Naomi tragically lost her husband and two sons, leaving her a childless widow in a cultural context in which such an identity meant that she had absolutely nothing. All of this while trying to convince her two widowed daughters-in-law to return to their roots while they still had a chance to start over. 

Through this study, I was blessed with the opportunity to share my own story as part of the church’s video series, Ruth – Stories of Grief, Commitment, and Unending Faithfulness:

October is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month, and October 15th Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day – it has been one year since I first shared about our journey through miscarriage. We are on that journey still, as the memories and pain do not simply disappear when a “new” child enters the story.  But Jesus has wiped away any potential guilt or shame I have experienced amidst my struggle for full surrender and limitless joy. I was already a mother; I am already one, and praise God that through Him I can be one that is fearless.

 

 

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