Today is October 15th. And tonight, many women around the world will be lighting candles to remember their babies. Today, I’ll be lighting two.
Before having Kennedy and Ellie, I had two miscarriages. I can remember both very vividly and the loss I felt. Our first miscarriage happened when we were visiting the farm for Easter weekend. I remember driving to the hospital in Lloydminster, to “confirm” that I had lost my baby, and Miranda Lambert’s ‘Over You’ was playing on the radio. I put “confirm” in quotations because I knew we had lost our baby. The nurses tried to reassure me that bleeding during pregnancy is common, but I knew.
To be honest, at first, I acted as though everything was fine. No one really knew that I was expecting, so I didn’t have to tell anyone. I went back to work after the weekend and continued on as if nothing had happened. But my mind and my body had other plans. I was presenting to a group of about fifty people, when I had my first panic attack. There really isn’t a good time to have a panic attack, but this was really bad timing! I had no idea what was happening to me. I was shaking and sweating. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. It was my body’s way of telling me to heal, and God’s way of telling me to mourn the loss of my baby. I can be a little bit stubborn, so my anxiety and panic attacks had to worsen before I would listen to my body, to my brain and to God, and take some time off of work to start the healing process.
You see, I am a perfectionist, and losing my baby, was in my mind, a failure. I felt like my body failed me. I wondered if I would ever be able to have children. I wondered what people would think of me when they found out. I blamed myself. Maybe it was something I ate, maybe I worked out too hard, maybe it was an ingredient in my face cream!?
Through a lot of prayer, therapy and with the help of my best friend, Warren, I began to heal. I started to tell a few people what had happened, and Warren did too. And what surprised us both the most was how common miscarriage is. It surprised us that when we shared about our loss, others would share about theirs. I found that sharing about my miscarriage, as well as about the anxiety that resulted, helped me to heal. It is okay if you don’t want to share, but you should definitely not feel as though you can’t, like it is taboo.
Six months after our first miscarriage, I had another miscarriage. When “they” say 1 in 4, they don’t mean 1 in 4 women suffer the loss of a child, they mean 1 in 4 pregnancies end in the loss of a child. This means that the number of women who have experienced infant loss is likely higher than 1 in 4. It is crazy that before I experienced it myself, I had no idea how many pregnancies ended in loss.
After I lost my second baby I knew that I needed to take time to heal. I also knew that it was nothing that I did that caused my miscarriages. I knew that I couldn’t blame myself. And I know, with all of my heart, that I’ll meet my babies in heaven one day.
So if you’re reading this, and have suffered a miscarriage, know you’re not alone, that it wasn’t because of something you did or didn’t do, and that God has big plans for you.
Tonight, I’m lighting two.