Yesterday, I got a 5:45 am wake up call from Beckett. It was a long but productive day, ending with a much much needed night out with a friend where we gorged on bad for us food and shared good, encouraging conversation. These days, I have to all out exhaust my body in order to get more than 2 hours of consecutive sleep.
I woke up only once last night to use the bathroom, a far cry from the standard 5-8 times. And when Beckett awoke a little after 7, I opened my eyes and felt dread. A pit in my stomach. Nauseous. Something was wrong, I knew it. I couldn’t figure out how I’d slept so hard all night, not noticing the usual Declan kicks. I laid still in my bed, willing him to move but felt nothing. I felt very very NOT pregnant.
I actually had to reach down and make sure my belly was still there. This is ridiculous – if you’ve seen me in person, there’s no denying that belly. It’s growing at a rapid pace and even if something was wrong with Declan, the belly doesn’t disappear overnight.
But I woke up with fear in my heart and absolute panic. After laying there for about 20 minutes, I finally felt him move. Relief flooded my body and I felt like I could breathe again.
Those of us who have experienced pregnancy loss dance around our grief, almost feeling as though we don’t deserve to be sad. There are those who lost babies early in pregnancy – who apologize for feeling sad over a baby who was lost at 4 or 5 weeks. And then there’s my category – 2nd trimester losses…some of us forced to experience labor, some of us not – and we apologize because we can’t imagine going through it in the 3rd trimester. And then there are the women who give birth to stillborn babies at 35 weeks, at 39 or at 41. Tragic yes, but there are apologies for sadness because they can’t imagine what it must be like to lose an older child.
Why do we measure our grief? We would never say to someone newly engaged – “Congratulations on your engagement, but try not to be quite so happy ok? Because Lucy up the street got a much bigger diamond ring than you did. SHE’S the one who really deserves to celebrate. Your little ring is ok, and worth some celebration – but move on quickly and let Lucy live it up.”
We don’t do that, because it would be ridiculous. Don’t get me wrong, I fully believe that there are losses that hurt far worse than others. I have no doubt that if I’d given birth to my baby girl and lost her at 40 weeks, it would have been a much more devastating experience. However, it doesn’t change the grief I felt and still feel over her not being here now. When we were at the beach last month, almost a year to the day we found out we were pregnant with her, I thought of how we should be driving in the car with another child in the backseat.
Todd shared this video on his Facebook page a few days ago. It’s the story of friends of his, who lost their baby boy at 18 weeks. Watch it. Even if it makes you uncomfortable. It needs to be watched, their story needs to be told and their baby deserves to be remembered. Pregnancy loss, miscarriage – it’s a subject rarely talked about. I was shocked at the number of messages I received after our loss from women who have been through it. Overwhelmed at the number of families who have been affected by this, because I just never knew. Statistics say 1 in 4 women experience a loss. I have to wonder if it’s even higher than that.
It’s easy to think you know what a grieving family or mother might feel or need after the loss of a child. And each person/situation is different. But the more we talk about it, the more we allow ourselves to truly grieve ALONGSIDE someone else, the more Christ focused, real and intimate our relationships become. So again, I encourage you to watch. Even if you cry, which you probably will. So much of this story is my story, and the story of so many other women. I’m grateful to Sarah and her family for being brave enough to share it.
Matthew: The Story Of Sarah Henderson from Renovatus Video on Vimeo.