The fear of losing a baby
I’ve read that one in four women have experienced a miscarriage. I’ve also read that 75% of women have had what’s called a “chemical pregnancy” – one that’s over almost before it starts. (Most women simply assume they had a late period.)
Recently this really hit home.
|my teeny tiny nine week bump. let’s be honest… it’s definitely more bloating than baby.|
Within the last couple of months I’ve had two good friends experience a miscarriage and a stillbirth. One was seven weeks along, the other was twenty-one weeks along… far enough to feel the baby kicking and have the gender identified.
Both of these losses hit me hard.
I’ve not experienced a miscarriage for myself, and I pray to God I never will, but since having a child of my own I feel like I can begin to imagine (in a greater, more accurate way) the trauma and loss that losing a baby leaves you with.
With my first pregnancy (Levi) I remember being so fearful every time I went to the bathroom for the first few days… always hoping and praying that there would be no blood, no sign of life cut short. For me, the one thing that helped me to overcome that fear was my faith and belief in God.
One day—convinced that being fearful wasn’t doing my unborn baby or me any good—I prayed to God and told him that I would entrust my little baby’s life to his care. Even though my husband and I prayed a similar prayer when we first got those two positive stripes, I needed to go back to God alone and dig further within my own heart to find an even deeper sincerity. I asked for help so that I could cease being fearful, and I “handed over” my pregnancy and that precious little vulnerable life to God.
That day a burden lifted and I didn’t struggle with fear surrounding the pregnancy again.
My second pregnancy has been harder. Though not typically a fearful person, I’ve again struggled with a fear of losing this new baby. I think there are a few reasons for it – the first being that I’ve just stood by two dear friends as they’ve endured the heartache of losing unborn babies, both situations being incredibly painful.
I think another reason is that the loss of my second friend’s baby was so unexpected. She had well and truly entered what most would consider the “safe zone”. She was feeling him kick every day. She had her growing, beautiful second trimester belly. And—after her 21-week-old baby was delivered stillborn—she and her husband were able to hold that tiny, perfectly formed body while they named him and then let him go.
And finally—perhaps the most confronting reason—is now that I have a child of my own, I have such an increased awareness of what I have to lose. The cost of loss seems so much more real, and so far beyond anything I ever want endure paying.
The stakes are incredibly high.
I have no doubt that losing a baby would be traumatic and heartbreaking and absolutely awful for any mother, and I would never want to belittle anyone’s experience. But for a mother who’s already had the experience of knowing how much life changes, how much your heart expands, how much love is at stake… well that’s an awareness that must bring things to a whole new level.
I realize that every woman deals with this kind of loss differently, and by no means am I an expert or would I put myself forward with any depth of personal revelation other than that which any mother shares – the weight of knowing how much love for a child one’s heart can hold and the reality of life moving to another dimension after children have invaded your world.
In saying all that, this pregnancy has been much harder for me mentally and emotionally so far.
Instead of holding my breath for the first several days like with my first pregnancy, I was holding my breath for the first several weeks… praying, hoping, hanging on, treading lightly with more fear than the first and more dread each time I visited the ladies room. There was a very real battle raging in my head between what I knew to be true and yet the possibility of what “could be”.
I still have my faith in God. I still trust Him with this little life. And that has helped me immensely… In fact, it’s been my lifeline. But this time around it’s been a bigger effort for me to trust, relax, and believe that it’s all going to be okay.
Thankfully, I’m now at the place where I’m resting with my heart and mind at peace, knowing that my little one is in good hands. S/he’s healthy, growing, developing just as s/he should.
And with the awareness that life will always be bigger than us and that there will always be circumstances beyond our control, I’m trying to be even more deliberate to be thankful for every single day that this precious baby is ours.
Dear friends, this is such a sensitive topic, and I hesitated for weeks writing about it since I’ve not experienced losing a baby for myself. But since it is something every pregnant woman is faced with to one degree or another, I decided to write about some of my process. Did you struggle with fear during pregnancy? And if you feel up to “going there” may I ask about how the reality of losing a baby has effected you, your pregnancies, or your outlook on life?
grateful to be overcoming fear one day at a time,