A Quiet Grief


In early November, we found out I was pregnant again. It was a surprise, a little shocking but welcomed. Our tentative plans for 2014 shifted. We began to talk about a summer baby, tease each other about the names that we know the other hated, take special notice of new babies with Naomi. The timeline was not as originally intended by us, but around week seven I turned to Matthew and declared, actually, it felt just right.
When I was eight weeks pregnant, I bought a ‘big sister’ shirt, planning to use it to tell the family. My nausea was resolving, earlier than the last time around. I was thankful, not suspicious.

It has been eight weeks since the day after our fourth anniversary, five days before Christmas, when the cramping and bleeding started. Since the night when Dr. D, after five quiet minutes of staring at the ultrasound monitor, finally looked at me and said sadly, “I see something here, a sac. But it doesn’t look like it’s progressed past five weeks.”

Mourning a miscarriage is a strange thing. As Margot helpfully pointed out, no one else knew this baby, so no one else knows to mourn.

So you are sad, mostly alone, and some days you don’t realize you are sad. Sometimes you are snappish with your husband for stupid reasons, or you are anxious in the morning. And then the anger or anxiety crests into something else, and you realize– you’re still grieving.

I’m grieving the body that’s not widening, making way for another life. I’m mourning the baby that won’t come this summer. I’m mourning the small, sweet-smelling newborn that I will not hold. I’m mourning the big sister who won’t be one yet. I’m mourning for all the hopes I held for the space of five weeks, hopes that now have to be put away somewhere. I’m mourning the fact that, if we do get pregnant again, it will be marked by a different set of worries than the first time.

Strangely though, I am also finding gratitude in the midst. I’m grateful for a husband who has given me space, time and presence through this, and during his own grief. I’m grateful for the sisters and moms who knew a hug was the right response, that any reassuring words were not right that moment. I’m grateful for the friends who have helped create a space for that grief, knowing that the size of the baby is not equal to the size of the loss. I am grateful for the rambunctious toddler that quietly nestles next to me in the early hours of the morning. I am grateful for God’s mercy, for this happening earlier rather than later. Grieving this baby is showing me where my hope needs to be. Not in my body’s ability to have a healthy pregnancy, not in baby number two, not in our small family. But in the God who knows us, who meets us in and sees us through our grief. The God who knew and loved this child better and before I knew them. Who, knowing that children should not be lost or forgotten, has given this small being a new body and a better home than we ever could.