The Rainbow After the Storm
I had only been married for 4 months before I started feeling a little odd and decided to take a pregnancy test. I actually did it as a joke, because I thought there was no way I could have been pregnant. And then I saw those faint pink lines, and everything turned upside down.
I was 23 and had dreamed of being pregnant and having my own babies ever since I was 16, but emotionally it was an odd place for me. The shock of it. We were newly weds, living on one income because I was in school. We struggled to pay bills, and there were times I didn’t know what we would be eating that week. My husband did not want to have any children until we had been married for 5 years, and was feeling the weight of needing to provide for us. When he heard we were expecting, he went into a breakdown. The fear, his response, the unknown, and the sheer surprise of it all choked out the joy I thought I was supposed to be feeling. I was angry and scared, and then ashamed by those feelings. I asked the Lord for peace, and started to allow my heart to embrace this new life inside me and trust that the Father would work out the details that worried me. 24 hours after my positive test, I started cramping and spotting. I am a student midwife, and so I knew that sometimes that happened in early pregnancy and it wasn’t necessarily alarming. I pushed it from my mind, and went about my day, assuring myself all was well.
My husband is a musician and was playing a gig that night at our friends’ coffee shop. We arrived at the shop, and I shared our news with a few friends that were there. I was getting excited and giddy. I excused myself to the bathroom, and that was when I saw it. The bowl full of every shade of red. I immediately knew that my baby was gone, and the wind was completely knocked out of me. I couldn’t even cry yet. I couldn’t breathe. I walked out of that bathroom in a daze. People came up to me to congratulate me on our pregnancy, and I broke down into tears. I has just started to get used to the idea and excited about it, and the rug was pulled out from under me.
There were so many things I felt and grieved during this time. The enemy’s lies were strong. I was horrified that my mind had been angry and disappointed at being pregnant when I first found out. I felt like the baby’s death was my own fault. I wished it away. I killed it by not being happy and excited at the beginning. Intense guilt overwhelmed me. And then came the words of others. Someone very close to me insinuated that if I took better care of myself or had different nutritional habits, then the miscarriage would not have happened. Another friend thought she was helping by telling me that she believed that babies that died of miscarriages must have had something wrong with them, as if it was a blessing that the Lord took them so they didn’t have to live with a disdiguration or other complication. That was horrifying. Others tried to just say things to cheer me up and not let me be sad about it anymore.
I felt like I wasn’t allowed to grieve. And worse, I felt like I didn’t deserve to grieve. Not only had I wished my own baby away, but I had only known I was pregnant for 1 day before finding out I lost it. It was so early. So little time. It was like it didn’t count. It wasn’t real. I felt like I didn’t get to be in the group of women grieving losses. That women who had carried their babies much longer, who had been ecstatic from the moment they tested positive, that had been trying and trying so long to get pregnant, I thought these women would despise me or just think less of my story. I felt isolated. Alone. And hopeless. I cried my eyes out every night for weeks ir months. I walked out of the room any time a TV show or movie showed someone pregnant or having a baby. I cried in church out of nowhere. And I just felt dead inside for a long time.
My husband did not understand. He watched me grieve and he didn’t understand why or how to help. He had been in a way “relieved” a bit when he realized we would not be having the baby, and I could tell. It made me angry, and extra alone. The only thing I could cling to was the love of my Savior. My heart was in pieces, and I was struggling to find breath and fend off the attacks kf the enemy. But the Lord was sweet and near to my broken and weary heart. He allowed me to cry out to Him for help and strength, and He comforted me. He showed me the truth in His Word that my mind knew to be true, but my heart was struggling to believe. I knew that He was still good in this. In my pain and sorrow, He is good. Though He slay me, yet I will praise and trust Him. I was angry that he would even allow me to find out that I was pregnant if He was quickly going to take that joy away again. But the Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Even though I struggled to believe the words, I spoke them and prayed them over myself, asking Him to help my unbelief. And He did. Slowly, but surely he mended my wounded heart.
I was only 5 weeks along when my sweet baby died, and it would have been impossible to tell gender at that time, but I felt the need to name it anyways for my own healing and to give that little soul an identity. It was real. It was a person. I wanted to acknowledge and honor that. I felt somehow that it would have been a girl, and so I named her Lily. Lilies are a symbol of rebirth and new life, and it was a name that was on our baby names list anyways. I wanted her legacy in my heart and in those who heard mt story to be that life is meaningful no matter the circumstances. Even though she was so small, and so young that she would not have had a beating heart yet, she was alive. Individual. Worthy. Loved. And her name was the cry of my heart in hope that I would get a second chance. Another chance to be a mom.
9 months after my loss, I found out I was pregnant again. I was filled with joy and terror, because I was so scared that I would lose this next baby as well. The Lord was so patient with me and my lack of faith. It took me a while to let my heart settle and trust Him with my daughter’s little life, but He met me there and ever so gently broke my hands of the need to clutch her too tightly. The entire pregnancy was a journey of healing for my heart. I told my story as many times as i could to bring awareness to loss and also encourage other sweet mamas who were missing their own angel babies. Lily’s story continues to encourage my heart and deepen my love of the Lord as I share it with others and see how it helps them.
My rainbow baby is 11 months old now, and she has been a huge light in my life. She does not replace Lily. Not in the least. She is not a substitute, but a beautiful and gracious gift that adds so deeply to our family. My loss was hell, and I would never wish that feeling or experience on anyone. Ever. But I am ever so thankful that my God meets my needs so thoroughly and lovingly, and the experience brought me closer to Him and taught me how to put my trust in Him in new ways. He turns my weeping into laughing, my mourning into dancing, my sadness into joy. He brings restoration to my soul, and I praise His name for How beautifully He works things out for His good purposes. To Him be the glory.