My husband and I grieved and mourned with family and friends the news of my husband’s sweet grandfather’s recent passing while rejoicing that he is partying with Jesus now. We longed for his grandpa to be able to meet our baby-on-the-way but know that we will have the sweetest reunion in Heaven one day. We cherish the legacy he has left in this family.
At the viewing, we made small talk conversation with a friend of a family member. Word had spread that we are pregnant. Strangers who quickly became friends rejoiced and congratulated us but the same question kept coming up… “So is this y’all’s first?” My eyes would shift to my husband, Colton.
I’d hesitate, force a smile, and respond, “Yeah.”
It felt insincere and forced. It felt awkward and dishonest. When people ask that question, they likely aren’t anticipating a complicated answer. Just a simple yes or no should do the trick. But our story is far from simple and our hearts are still healing from the loss of our previous miscarriage, even in the rejoicing of this new pregnancy.
When I feel put on the spot with questions about my invisible motherhood, I have this tension in my heart pulling me in two different directions. I can be honest, share a glimpse of our truth, and likely make someone uncomfortable. Or I can slap a smile on my face, inhale a shallow breath of air and look for an exit to run out of… JK! I can simply answer “yes.” Or maybe something like, “We’ve got one in Heaven, and one in my belly!”
Part of me wants to honor the baby by shouting from the rooftops that we haven’t forgotten the loss of life by recognizing their existence to others.
I either feel:
Guilty for neglecting to mention the child I carried and loved and lost
Guilty for the possibility of making someone uncomfortable for asking a “simple” question.
Is there a way to be open and honest and be real without making people wish they never asked?
I still feel a tension tugging on my heart when people share about how I should be feeling about my “first pregnancy”, while they’re clearly referring to the baby I am currently carrying. My mind only goes directly to dwelling on our actual first pregnancy two years ago. It can be a challenge to be present in these conversations when there’s warfare happening in my heart.
When women have shared their experiences with me after losing a child, they share how hard this can be to encounter conversations with well-meaning people. I usually give the advice that it can be helpful to “know your audience.” If there’s a random stranger that you’ll likely never see again, then it may not be worth it to bear your soul to this person. It’s YOUR story to choose to share or not share.
It is not dishonoring the child you’ve lost by refraining from sharing with mere strangers.
I’ve lived a good amount of my life with a hyper-awareness to how other people feel. I hate to be the reason someone is hurt or uncomfortable. I am still learning that this is not my burden to carry. I can be honest and not feel the weight of how someone may react to my reality. We can share as much or as little as we want. Although sometimes, in certain triggering situations I wish I could simply go off of a script… “LINE PLEASE?”
The next day was the funeral. There a was beautiful ceremony in a gorgeous church. Colton’s dad shared the most loving eulogy that moved us all to tears.
Death is a weird thing. It can make you grieve for what is lost and have such immense hunger for heaven all in the same breath. We went to the grave site where his grandfather would be buried next to his wife. We prayed and cried and hugged. This man was so special and so loved.
As we walked I saw a section of the cemetery labeled “Baby Land.”
My heart dropped.
Every headstone had flowers and baby shoes and balloons and baskets of infant toys and clothing. I’ve never seen something so utterly heart wrenching. I lost it.
Absolutely lost it. Tears. Would. Not. Stop.
When we lost our baby early through miscarriage, we never had a chance to have any type of ceremony or memorial. I simply cannot imagine the devastation of having to bury your child. Even typing this, my hands are shaking just thinking about it. My heart aches with the families who are grieving any type of loss. May you take comfort in the promise that “He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces.” (Isaiah 25:8)