after miscarriage · grief and loss · journal entry · pregnancy loss

On the ugliness inside

I feel like I’ve moved into an ugly place.

Not only am I finding myself thinking and feeling some rather unattractive things, I’m also confused about why I’m still feeling so miserable. I wonder if there’s a sadistic part of me that wants to stay unhappy. I’ll have a good day that is followed by more than one bad day; almost as if I’m rebelling against the attempt at being happy by intentionally focusing on what is making me sad.

So that in itself is ugly. I mean, how shallow and pathetic is it to make myself think about how crummy everything is? I know I have so much to be thankful for, I know that my spiritual framework should be starting a rebuilding process and that I should be focusing on God’s blessings and goodness and leaning into him as I grow through this.

But I seem to be counting my misfortunes instead of my blessings. 

And on top of that, my attitude towards other people who have what I don’t is becoming callous and bitter. I found myself annoyed last night by my sister-in-law’s response to some painful Braxton Hicks contractions instead of compassionate and sympathetic. All I could think about was how selfish she was being by making a big deal out of something that I’d give an awful lot to have. And as she cried through the fear and the pain I was trying to keep from having a meltdown over the unfairness of it all and angered by her eagerness to have this part ‘over’ when it wasn’t all that long ago that she was desperate to have it too.

I don’t want to pray, I don’t want to read my Bible, I don’t want to try to journal and process this out (other than my blog posts) because I think maybe I’m not ready to let go of the hurt and anger.

Losing a pregnancy after infertility has revealed some really ugly layers of my heart and I’m not really enjoying that very much.

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But I have decided in light of all this that it’s time to make an effort to get “better.” There may be a sadistic part of me that likes being miserable but I know I can’t stay here. So I’m working on finding a therapist and going back to counseling, and have started the process of meeting with someone from my church’s care ministry.  I’ve also reached out to my doctor to ask if it’s wise to resume my antidepressants.

And maybe once we hit Thursday (the 5 week mark; the point at which the time of grief is equal to the time of joy) something will just shift and I’ll subconsciously just start to move on. Who knows. The mind and heart are strange beasts.

after miscarriage · grief and loss · Infertility · journal entry · missed miscarriage · pregnancy loss

4 weeks later

It’s been four weeks. In one week, we will have known that our baby had died for the same amount of time that we thought we were going to be welcoming that same baby in October.

Strange. It’s been a blur and it feels like it was just yesterday; how has the time spent grieving already almost passed the time rejoicing?

In terms of processing/functioning, the roller coaster has leveled out a good deal.

  • The ‘ugly crying’ episodes are fewer and farther between; even crying has lessened. Monday was rough though; it was emotionally exhausting returning to my doctor’s office for a follow up appointment and I’m so tired of having ultrasounds of an empty uterus.
  • The anger rears its head occasionally but even that has turned into more of a “Really, God? Why?,” “I just wish you had allowed things to be different,” and a more resigned “I still don’t understand why you would give us a baby that you knew we so deeply wanted and then just take it away.”
  • The depression is less intense; I’m able to function a little bit better and have found that sometimes I actually almost want to do things (like art or reading or going for a walk). I still don’t really do much, but at least I can imagine having enough energy and desire to pursue my interests.
  • I did notice over the weekend that it actually made me upset to be starting to feel better. I guess it was a fear (unfounded) that not being so sad anymore meant I somehow didn’t really love my baby all that much. Chalk it up to the myriad of weird emotions and stigmas attached to early pregnancy loss.

But all that aside; the aching emptiness is still there. And I hate it. I hate that in one fell swoop one of my deepest purposes was sucked away and that I’m left in the aftermath bearing an empty womb and an empty space in my heart that will always belong to a little waterbear that we will never meet this side of heaven.

Honestly, I’m still too raw to even hope for the next time. In a sense, there is hope and there is an eagerness to be able to try again (the waiting for a new cycle feels like such a waste of time)…but the greater part of me is still numb to the possibility of trying and afraid of what might be ahead-months of infertility or more devastating loss.

After all, God never promised a rainbow baby after a miscarriage or infertility. Some people don’t ever get their rainbows. At least not in this sense. So I’m trying to stay realistic but also trying not to lose hope that he will show us grace and demonstrate his faithfulness to us in this specific way.

It’s a weird place to be.

I’d much rather just be 12 weeks pregnant. But I suppose that’s a duh.

 

 

 

after miscarriage · grief and loss · how to · missed miscarriage · pregnancy loss

Various wisdom

I’ve had a couple of very wise things spoken to me in the past weeks. I have been trying to check in with people I consider much more mature/spiritually wise than I am (one of our pastors, a family friend who has counseled a lot of women in various things)…and these conversations have been very helpful overall in just verbalizing what I’m feeling and working through thoughts etc. But they also result in a thought/idea or two jumping out especially and giving me something to mull over or be encouraged by.

So in the interest of trying to use this space to continue to process and hopefully be an encouragement to someone else…here’s a couple things I’ve had shared with me that have made a difference as I process this grief and this loss.

When I talked to my pastor, I was days out from realizing how angry and upset I really was over what had happened. I know in some capacity that it is okay to verbalize our feelings (even negative ones) to God, and that it’s even okay to feel negative ones towards him as long as we do not sin in those places. I mean, the Psalms are full of expressions of hurt and confusion and anger. And God already knows what we are thinking and feeling anyway, it’s not a surprise to him if we express it.

So naturally, my pastor encouraged me to wrestle out these questions and hurts with God. To allow the truths that I know to be the framework to which I return eventually, but to be willing to acknowledge what is *real* for me in this moment even if that is not consistent with what I know in my head to be true. And then he had this insight to share.

Often, in our sadness and grief, we withdraw. Most people who are sad just want to be alone to cry, or be held in silence. But when we are angry, it leads to expression. We move towards the person we are angry with; and we tell them so. In this sense…of being a means to move us back toward him, maybe God actually prefers (poor word choice) that we be in that place of anger because it means we aren’t just isolating ourselves anymore.  (though this is not a universal truth; if anger is what makes you withdraw then the opposite would perhaps be true…*shrug*). It made sense to me. I don’t get angry often; but in the times of being confused and hurting it is easier to go to God and simply be honest about those feelings and it usually feels better after getting them out.

Then, earlier this week, I talked to my family friend. Of her insights (and there were several), the one that made the most impact to where I was in that moment was the following observation.

For Christians, because we believe in a sovereign God, suffering in our lives can often be a harder thing to understand and deal with than it is for a nonbeliever. Because if God has control of everything in our lives, then when really hard things happen to us that don’t seem to have a reason it’s natural to think that “God could have stopped this from happening and I don’t know why he didn’t.” And even if there is the faith that there must be a reason we also know that we may never know it and it’s hard to be okay with that.

Granted, we obviously have a hope and a joy and a confidence in loss and pain that nonbelievers cannot have; so at the end of the day we don’t grieve as those without hope…but for the nonbeliever, there is usually just the “well, life happens and it’s all chance” mentality that at least takes away the internal struggle mentioned above.

Somehow hearing that made a huge difference. Christians are constantly told that suffering is good for our character, that we should expect it, that God works all things for good…and that is absolutely true. But it doesn’t mean that we should be expected to instantly be okay when we experience suffering; and that wrestling with the questions of “why” is actually part of the process of God producing a deeper faith and a deeper relationship with him.

So in a nutshell:

  1. When our anger prompts us to move towards God, it’s completely okay to express those feelings. It’s better than withdrawing and shutting him out.
  2. Suffering for the Christian is deeply hard, and it is completely okay to not immediately be okay.

 

 

 

after miscarriage · grief and loss · Infertility · journal entry · missed miscarriage · pregnancy loss

Two weeks later

It’s been two weeks since that appointment. Every key moment is still crystal clear in my head. I hate that I keep reliving it but I can’t seem to stop.

I’m riding the rollercoaster of emotions and it doesn’t seem to be letting up at all; in fact, new emotions have joined in the fun.

I was initially just utterly sad (mixed with some confusion and frustration)…I think the initial shock and sadness from the loss and the anticipation of the final loss kept all the other emotions from making their appearance.

Now that the physical aspect is over; anger and depression have been thrown in the mix.

Depression in that I literally cannot interest myself in anything. I make it through my work day pretty well, but the minute I get home (whether I had one visit or five) I just want to crawl into bed and either sleep or mindlessly play on my phone. I don’t even want to watch TV. I just stay in bed; and eventually the sadness wins out and I have a cry (or several). I don’t want to eat; I feel hungry sometimes but nothing sounds good and when food is actually in front of me I have a couple bites and I don’t want anymore. My husband will try to make me laugh and he does a good job for the moment but the sadness comes right back. I have no energy and can’t focus. It’s actually starting to worry me a little bit; I know it’s still early in the grieving process but I also know that I’ve dealt with chronic depression before so I’m concerned that my tendency to be somewhat depressed already is going to predispose me to a major depressive episode.

And then there’s the anger. I guess it’s anger at God (which I’ve never really had before and I’m still struggling to acknowledge because it seems wrong somehow; more on that another time perhaps?)…and anger at a myriad of factors related to the situation.

  • I’m angry at the unfairness. We already experienced one miscarriage and then had to deal with infertility on top of that; it’s absolutely unfair that we get to go through a second (and infinitely harder) miscarriage when we did everything right and when we so desperately wanted this baby.
  • I’m angry that other people get pregnant without trying, get pregnant when they don’t want to be, get pregnant and end their pregnancies.
  • I’m angry that we don’t even get to find out if something was wrong with the baby (apparently there wasn’t enough tissue to be able to run any DNA testing) so that now I have to be even more afraid that it will just keep happening.
  • I’m angry that he would ask us to walk through this again months before my sister and sister-in-law both have their babies.
  • I’m angry that we are 1 in 4 (miscarriage) and 1 in 8 (infertility) and 1 in 100 (recurrent miscarriage).
  • I’m angry that there may be no clear answers this side of eternity why this happened. 

I’m angry that God would give us this child (because after dealing with infertility it is even more clear that each pregnancy is divinely ordained by God and is a gift from him) and then take it away. I’m angry that he would give us both a deep desire to be parents, finally allow us to conceive after months, fall in love with this little life the minute we saw it’s tiny heart beating…and then let it die.

He didn’t have to let it die. I could still be pregnant. And I’m not.

I know all the things that are true. I know that God is always good, that he is faithful, that he uses trials to shape and strengthen us. These truths inform my framework; so I know that eventually once the intensity of the grief lessens and I manage to work through the anger that somehow I’ll be more like Jesus and closer to him. And I know that is what my ultimate goal is supposed to be.

But right now, I’m just hurting.