A 3 Year Perspective

Posted in Marriage Monday, Parenting, Personal with 4 comments

It’s a little sickening to say, but it has been EIGHT MONTHS since my last post. How did that happen?? I went from every week, to every once in awhile, to almost a year! When I birthed my son, I’m pretty sure he took some of my brain cells with him because even in times where I want to write, nothing comes. It has been a season of reflecting, praying, and asking God what He wants with this blog. And while I still don’t have the exact answer, I know that He wants me to continue on. Maybe not in the same weekly fashion I once did, but if something is on my heart, I will write it. And that is what I am going to do today.

This may not be completely marriage related (though it did affect my marriage in a huge way) but I know my readers once walked through this with me and many have walked through it themselves, so I wanted to give an update. March 29th will mark the 3rd anniversary of losing my first child to miscarriage. It is by far one of the most devastating journeys I have ever walked through. In fact, 2012 was one of the worst years of my life. Satan took a hold of some of the most important things in my life and some of the deepest desires of my heart and tried to squash them one by one. It was a time of intense spiritual warfare and pure and simply, pain.

I am not sure if I have ever felt so much pain. If I have ever cried so much or if I have ever needed to lean on God, my husband, and those around me as much as I did then. It was like being stuck in a pit. Seeing light when I looked up, but not knowing how to get myself to that point. Not knowing how to pull myself out of the pit. So instead, I waited patiently on the Lord. And my friends, He turned and heard my cry. In fact, Psalm 40 is probably the best way to explain the journey since. He lifted me out of the pit and gave me a firm place to stand! When you are going through times of struggle, it can often be hard to have perspective on your situation. I knew the truths of God’s promises, and I held tightly to those. But hearing things like “God has a plan” was hard to fully comprehend. Why would God allow my baby to pass? Why did He not want me to have THAT baby? Why is so much going on at once? Will there be relief?? The questions can bring you down even more in the midst of crisis. But the beauty of the mess, is being able to one day look back.

Here I am 3 years later, and I still grieve my baby. I still think of him on a daily basis and especially on anniversaries like his passing and what may have been his birthday. That pain, though so much smaller than it once was, will always be there. And the “I wonder what’s…” will always be on my mind. When I visit my OBGYN and am asked how many pregnancies I have had, the answer will always include his. He is forever a part of my life. He will always be my first child. But here are a few things I have gained over the past 3 healing years. I want to first say that every person who deals with miscarriage will grieve differently and these points may be different for all. This is just my personal reflection. Some do not seem to grieve the way I did, and others grieve far worse. So if you wanting to help a friend with this, remember to be sensitive to the place they are at. There is no timeline for grief.

  1. He really is good. I would tell myself this again and again through the trials, but when you cannot see it in front of you, it is hard to remember. God had a plan through every trial I passed through. His hands were upon each and every one. I look now and see the blessings that have come from that pain. I look at my almost 2 year old child, and feel the child inside me now and see what true blessings, gifts, and miracles they really are.  I see how the trials strengthened my relationship with my God and with my husband. How they brought me closer to friends, and allowed me to be there for those who then walked the journey after me. It’s not something I look back on and think “Well that turned out awesome!” but it is a time I can look to and think “Wow, He was there.”
  2. Another child does not fix the pain of a lost child. After losing our first, I became pretty obsessed with getting pregnant again. I believed that another child would fill that gaping hole that I felt so deeply within me. But my pregnancy with my son, Isaac, was filled with such fear and turmoil. It was a joyous time, of course, but I was so scared of losing him. And the spiritual warfare was stronger than ever. At 6 months into my pregnancy I found myself in a depression that was so new to me. I didn’t want to get out of bed. I just wanted wanted to wallow. I was unable to really put words to my feelings, but I was just… empty. So I waddled myself to a counselor and saw her for several months to get some of that pain off of my chest and to just share my heart with someone who did not know me and who I could just be vulnerable with. You do not need to be in a completely despondent place to see a counselor. If you ever feel troubled, it is one of the best things you can do for yourself and for those that know you! She had no special response or trick for me. She just listened. And because of that, I walked away new. Not “fixed” but new. I was given a new hope. The baby inside of me would never replace the one I lost, but he was and is a gift that can forever remind me of God’s goodness and how he fulfills His promises.
  3.  Children are miracles and they are in His hands. There are so many things that can happen during a pregnancy. Many things wrong, many things right, and all in all we take it so for granted. Children are miracles. The fact that God grows them inside of us is absolutely mind blowing. I could have very easily lost Isaac and Hallie (the little one inside of me now) due to low progesterone levels that could have easily been overlooked (and probably were for my first), but God spared both of their lives very miraculously. The ironic part of this is that I remember thinking “As soon as I’m 12 weeks, I can breath” but then I would hear of friends who lost their baby at 20 weeks. So I would think “As soon as I hit the 27-28 week point when they can live outside the womb, I can rest” but then you hear of still borns. So then I thought “As soon as he is born it will all be ok!” Buuuuttt then God whispered to me “There will always be trouble, but I’ve got him.” If that doesn’t humble you, I’m not sure what will. My children are miracles created by the Lord, and I will forever have to trust them to Him. I can only protect them so much. But God has given them hope and a future. I will always fall to fear as a parent, but having the reassurance that He is in control is comforting, even when I know bad things happen all the time. He does have a plan. A plan for me, and a plan for my kids. He will go before us.
  4. God will use your story. One of the biggest encouragements God gave me was 2 friends that had also been through miscarriages and were there for me when I lost my own. One brought me to lunch and just talked with me as long as I needed her. Another bought me the book Empty Arms, which was such an encouragement to me, and she also just listened and was there. These women had a unique understanding of what I was going through because they had also been through it. They did not beat down my door asking how I was doing, but I always knew they were there and that they KNEW. Since my miscarriage, God has brought one woman after another into my life who has walked this path as well. He has used my blog to reach women I do not even know that have been through it as well. And He has used it to give some understanding to those that have not been through it. Know that no matter what trial you walk through, God WILL use your story. Especially if you are willing to share it. Be open about your losses and struggles. You never know who is walking the same path that you once did and who you can give encouragement to. You may often hear those that have been through pain say things like “If just one person was touched by my story, it was worth it” and I cannot agree more.
  5. Joy comes in the morning. One morning, maybe not the next one, but joy does come again. Rely on the Lord, trust in His goodness, and you will walk again with your head held high. I believe the Lord repays seven times of what has been taken from us. When pain comes, the blessings will be far greater. Some we may see, some we may not. But the joy that comes from those blessings is everlasting. Wait on the Lord, He is good!

For those of you walking through the pain of miscarriage right now, these may seem like hopeless words. Know that I was there. Perspective will come and it will not fix, but it will bring some healing. You do not have to “get over” your lost child. You can grieve as long as you need to. Miscarriage is not something to “just get over” and do not listen to those lies that Satan and others may whisper into your ear. You lost a child, you have permission to grieve. Look for others who understand and lean on God even when you don’t want to. He’s big enough to hold you when you cannot hold yourself. But do know that joy will come. And I pray it is as soon as possible.

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  1. Bonny

    Thank you for this. I know your words will comfort many. I’m so sorry for the pain, but looking forward with you to the joy.

  2. Caroline

    Yes! This is SO good Erin! I love all the points you made!!!! “There will always be trouble, but I have got him”. Whew! Isn’t that so true? I love what you said about having another child doesn’t replace what was lost. I think that is such an easy assumption to make, but you are right, that isn’t the case! Thanks for your encouragement and wisdom! xoxo

  3. Regina

    I can so relate! I lost our first child at 8 weeks, It was hard then and still breaks my heart now. I have my days where I wonder what it would have been like to have that child here. I also know what you mean about wanting to write and nothing comes, how it can be weeks to months between blog post all the while praying and asking God are you done using me via my blog and He whispers just wait on me, I’m going to use you through this site! God bless you! Love this post!

    • Erin Baxter

      Thanks, Regina! I appreciate your comment. I’m so sorry you had to go through this as well, but God does use it, doesn’t He? Keep up the good work!