I’ll admit to going a little deep tonight.
But before I do… there’s THIS important detail;)
Munchkin’s getting a peanut…aka we’re adding to the herd with another two-legged baby. Due in January and I’m FINALLY feeling like a human again.
I’m excited, now…finally.
I am an only child…the product of a 40+ year marriage, where they’d been married for 11 before I was born. You do the math on why. Sometimes things just don’t happen as quickly as you pray for.
When Hubs and I first got married, I wasn’t certain I even wanted a kid. And even if I did, I figured it would be a struggle. So imagine our surprise two years later when I unexpectedly turn up pregnant. We weren’t trying and I was 6w along before it ever dawned on me. And it might not have if someone hadn’t flipping asked me if I was pregnant…while I was drinking moonshine. True story.
When I took the test I cried. Almost passed out. I was TERRIFIED. (I poured out that drink when I suspected it, just FYI!)
But pretty quickly we were both stoked. It couldn’t have been timed better if we had planned it, and neither of us would change a thing if we could.
There was one hitch.
A couple we love very much had been trying, and now we’re pregnant and they’re not. Why did God bless us before them? How is that fair? I knew they’d be excited for us, but I couldn’t help but be sad for them.
Over the course of my pregnancy and the following year, that same couple had multiple miscarriages. I always tried to bring comfort and would say really stupid, yet well-meaning, crap like, “There was probably something wrong…don’t worry…you’ll be pregnant again before you know it!” And I couldn’t understand why loved ones that had miscarriages would be mad at God. Aren’t they appreciative of all the other blessings in their lives?!… as I sit there holding my perfectly adorable son that we didn’t even try for and I carried to term with absolutely no issue. #insensitivea-hole
See, if you’re not in the miscarriage club…you have NO IDEA how to handle it. But you want to say the right thing, you just don’t know what it is. I mean, you’re not a total a-hole! You mean well, you’re just clueless.
Several months after Munchkin was born, we were in church one Sunday when our minister preached a sermon I’ll never forget.
It was basically titled, “Crap Happens!”, it went something like this, and it was meant for me…
Crap happens to wonderful people. It doesn’t mean God doesn’t see you. People who want a baby so bad they’d do anything, can’t have one. Meanwhile, people who have no business having a baby pop them right out. Parents bury children too often. Terrible things happen to wonderful people.
If you’re a loved one: don’t rationalize it, don’t say God has a plan. God doesn’t plan for babies to be killed in awful accidents, or for couples to go through years of infertility. Sometimes you don’t need to say anything, just BE THERE. Don’t rationalize it, try to justify it, or make light of it. Just be there.
If you’re the one going through a tragic time… God isn’t out to get you, sometimes there’s just no good reason for awful things that happen. Use it as a time to strengthen your relationship with Him and allow Him to help shoulder your burden.
That’s over simplifying it, but…
As I sat there that day, I realized I hadn’t been the person my loved ones deserved. I was so guilty of “God’s got a plan, chin up!” that I wanted to puke. How could I mean well, and be so thoughtless?
If you’ve never had a miscarriage or pregnancry/infant loss, and you’re confronted with a loved one going through it – you’re probably clueless. How do you understand their needs, when you have no idea what it’s like?
You don’t need to know what it’s like. In fact, I pray you never do!
Listen. Be a shoulder to cry on. Make them laugh when they want to cheer up. Tell them about your own experiences, so they know they’re not alone. Above all, quit telling them “God has a plan.” God doesn’t plan on babies dying. What sort of loving God could possibly want that? And no matter what you believe, it’s not helpful to give the “God has a plan” speech.
So, we bit the bullet and decided to add to our family. Not gonna lie, I figure one more kid to take care of my butt when I’m old and decrepit is a good plan:) Ya know, offset the burden for Munchkin. And I wasn’t crazy about being an only child as a kid.
We started trying the end of January and got pregnant in February, but I immediately knew something wasn’t right. No matter that I did everything by the book, I joined the miscarriage club in March.
I took it like a champ. I told myself all the things you’re supposed to tell someone, and although I was admittedly disappointed…I was good. Or so I thought.
Not many knew about our miscarriage at first, but because I wasn’t ashamed and I was handling it “so well” I started to talk about it with friends. I didn’t mind opening up, but the sympathy made me uncomfortable. It’s not something I’m use to. It was well meaning, but I’m tough… I didn’t need it, right?
And then in April I got pregnant again. Having no idea I’d get pregnant that quickly, I was shocked when that pee stick lit up like a flipping Christmas tree. But I was anything but excited. How could I be? It’s too early to be excited, I’ll just be disappointed when I lose it again.
And that’s when it hit. Oh, I handled the miscarriage “fine”. But I didn’t handle what followed well at all. And nobody knew it.
I’ve always been pretty private about my deepest feelings. In my family you don’t whine, you suck it up and deal. Which serves me pretty well…usually.
First appointment comes at around 6w and despite offers to go with me, I go alone. Why? Because if s*** goes south I want to be alone to pull myself together. The ultrasound tech is super sweet and congratulatory… I’m less than excited or convinced this one’s going to stick.
Second appointment comes at 9w and Hubs goes with me. Doc is saying how cute it is, don’t I think it’s cute? I’m a rock. I try to smile and laugh. I’m not convinced it’s going to last.
Third appointment, I’m at 12w. I’ve been in the hospital twice with a rogue ear infection. I’m on my seventh antibiotic. What is all this doing to the baby? Have I hurt it? Is it ok?! I bled the week before, and not like I did with Munchkin…this was way worse. So basically I’m a mess, an absolute MESS. But only on the inside.
But….Peanut’s good. Strong heart beat. Genetic tests have come back clear. And suddenly I feel the first twinge of excitement. Finally. I can breath a little. I made it out of the first trimester…which doesn’t completely take you out of the woods, but it does make you feel better.
You see, I handled the miscarriage like a champ. But I’ve suffered the affects with this pregnancy… more than I ever imagined. Not being excited, but feeling like I needed to be, acting like I am, when I’m secretly scared s***less. This chic, who is normally cool as a cucumber, has been a wreck – but a secret wreck.
I’m at almost 14w now. Im feeling good. Im trying not to worry. But being in the miscarriage club has forever changed me.
So, for you loved ones of people that have had miscarriages and infant loss, understand when we’re busting with excitement about subsequent pregnancies. And understand when we’re holding it in because we want to rein in the disappointment if things don’t go well. Respect it. We all grieve differently, handle it differently, and what we need from you is just YOU. Leave the cliche speeches unsaid. No drama. Just love. We just need to know you’ve got our backs. And that you’re praying.
PS: it’s another boy;)