Carrying and Miscarrying

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By Rachel Asres | @raykkel

I carried her for nine weeks.

I suppose I don’t really know it was a her; it’s just a feeling I have. We would have named her Imogen—made in the image of God, the One who knit her together. She was at once an answer to prayers and a total surprise, and we were filled with joy.

And then, just as surprisingly, I wasn’t carrying her anymore.

When the doctor pulled up the ultrasound, he squinted and adjusted the screen ever-so-slightly away from me instead of showing a promising heartbeat. I knew then.

“It’s just smaller than it should be… there’s no heartbeat.”

As it turned out, I’d been carrying our already dead baby for three weeks without my body even noticing. What kind of mother doesn’t notice that the baby she’s carrying so carefully has died?

What kind of God knits us together in our mother’s wombs, but sometimes drops a stitch?

What they don’t tell you about miscarriage, what no one ever talks about, is what it’s like to deliver your too-small baby over a toilet at home. You have contractions, you bleed and bleed and bleed, and then, a little sac, smaller than an egg, will pass and you’ll hold her and gently kiss her goodbye.

They don’t tell you what to do with her, how to stop carrying her.

Carrying changes the bearer. It’s why blind dates say they’ll be carrying a yellow rose or how you can identify a law student by the size of the backpack they carry. It’s why we learn so much from archaeological digs. Humanity is uniquely defined by what we carry.

Nine weeks into carrying my new identity as a mother—nine weeks of carrying my daughter—I had mis-carried.

I lost my baby, but I also lost myself in the aftermath.

I watched every episode of Parks and Rec in the next three weeks, desperate for distraction and unable to sleep. I was afraid to have even a moment of silence with my thoughts because I knew what my first uncensored thought would be: How could You do this?

How could the One who claims to carry the whole world on his shoulders, to know every breath we breathe and every beat of our hearts let my baby leave this world before she ever got to enter it?

It’s been six long and dark months since that doctor’s appointment. We haven’t gotten pregnant again, and our hearts are still healing from the loss. But we are still here, still getting out of bed in the morning and working and waiting and picking up the pieces.

And I’ve finally found the strength to face the silence because I haven’t had to face any of this alone.

The women in my life who are acquainted with grief and loss have carried me to Jesus, even when I wasn’t sure there was anything for me there.

They have asked with me what it might look like to forgive God.

They have believed for me and hoped for me and they have never told me that it’s okay because they know that it’s not.

I’m still not sure how a loving and powerful God let my baby die, but neither can I explain how gently and carefully I have been loved by His people these last six months.

If He is good in this, as He says He is, as I see He is, He must also be good in all things.

We must have different definitions of good.

Maybe He will call me good, too.

Maybe that’s where I start.

__________________________

About Rachel:

When she’s not writing, Rachel teaches middle school ESL in Nashville. She really hates ketchup, injustice in any form, and dirty dishes, but she loves blogging about languages, culture and Jesus at The Inspired Story.

 

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