I have learned this last weekend that attending a baby shower, post pregnancy loss, doesn’t have to hurt.
One might think that just because my last pregnancy loss was almost a year ago now… and I am currently seven months pregnant, that it seems like I am beating a dead horse… Why do I keep returning to this?
Fact- It doesn’t always hurt, but the memories of that pain are still so fresh. It has been years sense our first pregnancy loss and I remember the pain so vividly--- it makes my soul ache.
I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel during the baby shower. I didn’t know if I was going to feel jealous, hurt, scared… annoyed…. The night before the shower I was having massive anxiety. Feeling nauseous and sick… crying uncontrollably. I felt selfish! The circumstances regarding the baby and mother did make me feel jealous. I kept thinking “Why should this teenager get to have a beautiful baby when there are so many married adult women left without a baby in their arms?” … Evil thoughts… Then I remembered- “Jesus was born to a teenage –unwed mother.” God gave Mary, who was a young teenager… His son!
The circumstances regarding how each child comes to be… no matter what kind of parent or life a child is born to/into, the child is still a blessing. God has plans for each baby that are amazing! I am excited to see how God uses this small person!
The shower was held at a Church, and the Pastors wife gave a small devotional after the games. The focus of the devotional was Hannah from the Bible. Hannah was a woman of God who struggled with infertility. Odd devotional for a baby shower given to a teen mom.
I am well familiar with the story of Hannah… as well as Elizabeth, Rachel, Sarah and the other Barren Biblical women. What struck me most about this devotional were the verses
12 As she kept on praying to the LORD, Eli observed her mouth. 13 Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk 14 and said to her, "How long will you keep on getting drunk? Get rid of your wine."
15 "Not so, my lord," Hannah replied, "I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the LORD. 16 Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief." (1 Samuel 1:10-16)
My favorite part "I have been praying here out my great anguish and grief"... I LOVE LOVE LOVE how she went to God with her sorrow. "Great anguish and grief". This woman, who lived thousands of years ago knew the same pain I do. Just another reason why I believe without a shadow of a doubt that the Bible is the word of God. No way those words were made up by a man.
Hannah’s honesty with her feelings led to a connection with her Priest. Who, in turn led Samuel (Hannah’s son) to be the great man of God he was.
Validating a woman’s grief during infertility and/or after miscarriage won’t take away her pain, but it will make her feel less crazy and far more understood. Through connection comes awareness. Through awareness comes a stronger voice. Through a stronger voice come the masses saying: Infertility is far more common that people think. Fact is, 50% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. Miscarriage is a very real loss and needs to be treated as such. This is a person who didn’t even get a chance to dream… breath… live. Women who have experienced infertility at any time in our life or have miscarried need your help, support, understanding and validation of our pain.
A huge blessing with living in the era of the World Wide Web--- Infertility and miscarriage websites! Without such, I would feel very alone. I have met beautiful souls via the Web. Both Daniel and I have connected to other parents who have been were we are at. Sanity comes with connection. I have learned that it is perfectly acceptable to cry, kick and scream. That crying out my soul does make me feel better. I have learned that sometimes God does not answer our prayers with what what we want, but he DOES give us our hearts desire… we just sometimes don’t quiet understand what our hearts desires are or in getting our hearts desire we are to learn patience.
Connecting to these women has made me more aware of my own health conditions. It has brought me to learn ways to keep myself healthy and even about new treatments for my conditions. Belonging to a group of people who experience the same emotions, pills, treatments, desires, daily struggles, selfishness and doctor visits as you do leads to a closeness that is rather odd because you never really meet these people. But having that anonymity online makes you feel safe. Like you can spill your guts… reveal embarrassing details about your life without the consequences of feeling horrible. This anonymity brings a new honesty to yourself… and what is more surprising is that you learn that even your darkest thoughts are shared. There is a darkness that comes with infertility and miscarriage. Belonging to a group of women who struggle with these feelings keeps you from giving in to this darkness. You realize that these women were placed online by God… to learn from each other and support each other.
The down-side to belonging to an online support system is online stalking or harassment. Yes, even in a group of grieving women you will find people who take it upon themselves to bring you even more down. Also, every online site has trolls. People who will try to provoke you… or post false medical information. Just be smart about whom you respond to and the things you say. Also, every online site has spammers. Don't click on any link that looks "fishy", if someone post anything about making thousands of dollars by doing nothing, don't click... remember, if it sounds too good to be true... it is just that... not true! Something else to consider is that ANYONE can read your conversations. Even people who are in your everyday life… The thing is, because they have never encountered the thoughts, feelings and struggles you have, they might feel like the rest of your family/friends need to be aware of the things you say. It isn’t any different than someone recording you in an AA meeting and playing it for your family/friends to see. If this does happen, realize that sometimes the drama isn’t worth it continuing with online support. They might try to put a wedge between you and your family. The few people I have mentioned above are selfish and the only thing you can do is pray for them... even the spammers. It is sad that there are people out there like that. They are immature and need to grow up… or maybe they are lonely and need attention... I image the trolls are the most lonely. I think we need a "National befriend a troll day". Being online would be a better experience for everyone if there was just one less lonely troll in the world.
Just be cautious about who you connect with… but connect with someone. The road of infertility can be very long and exhausting in every way possible. Life after miscarriage can bring years of new struggles. The emotions that come after your baby goes to heaven make you feel crazy… there is no other way to put it. I still feel very jealous of pregnant friends. It is a demon I am aware of and fight daily… and it has been years. Every person has their own darkness to defeat. I trust God to help me make right choices and to heal my heart… having the support of women who know exactly how I feel makes me feel less crazy. I encourage anyone who is dealing with infertility or life post pregnancy loss to find an online support system.