You're probably going to think I'm crazy, but I really wish I had morning sickness! Most of our friends and family have heard the exciting news that the Whitworth family is expecting baby #2, and we're super excited to find out what we're having today. What most people don't know is that baby #2 is actually baby #4 for Michael and me. October is SIDS, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, and I'd like to share a little about miscarriages because I don't think our culture knows how to react or handle pregnancy losses.
Most people are jealous when they hear I don't have morning sickness and didn't have it with Daniel either, but I long for some type of daily confirmation that I'm actually pregnant. Until I start to feel the baby kick (22ish weeks because of anterior placenta), I really don't have everyday symptoms except for fatigue and a growing belly. Each doctor's appointment is like Christmas morning because, so far, my doctor has confirmed that everything is looking great with this pregnancy (Praise God!).
But I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I'm fearful each visit that there won't be a heartbeat. We've had two miscarriages: one in September 2009 (10 weeks) and one in February 2014 (5 weeks), and I haven't really known how to talk about the loss of our babies. And as I've talked to others, I don't think I'm alone, so I'd like to share a few of my thoughts that (I think) are important to remember if you or your friend or family member has to face the horrible reality of a miscarriage.
1. It's okay to talk about your babies.
In our culture, we know how to show sympathy pretty well for the loss of friends and family, but we don't know what to say or how to act after a miscarriage. After my first miscarriage, we decided to wait until 12 weeks to announce future pregnancies, but now I wish we hadn't waited. I wish we would have announced as soon as we found out we were pregnant. Why? Because the first trimester could have been a celebration of life instead of three months of waiting for a possible miscarriage. Our friends could have been praying for a healthy pregnancy instead of me just keeping it to myself. I don't think God intends for us to deal with these trials and difficulties in isolation.
2. Grieving is natural and should be encouraged.
To this day, I still don't think I've fully grieved the miscarriage of our two babies. I just don't know how, to be honest. I'm the type of person that says to myself, "You're a big girl, it'll be OK, now move on." I told myself that I didn't need to tell people about my miscarriages because that was "private" and almost taboo. This mindset is wrong. We need to recognize that each baby (no matter the gestational age) is a precious soul created by God in His image. All of life should be celebrated. As Dr. Seuss once wrote, "A person's a person, no matter how small," and you have every right to mourn the loss of that baby.
3. God is in control of your fertility.
It can be easy to want to give up on trying for children once you have a miscarriage(s). After my second miscarriage, I began to worry that Daniel would be an only child, and that I would never experience the joys of another healthy pregnancy. Thankfully, my doctor discovered that I have a blood clotting disorder which can be treated with a daily pill during the first trimester and the rest is history! We read of multiple stories in the Bible where the Lord "opened the womb" of infertile women, and I strongly believe that God still uses his power to increase and decrease fertility. In all things, let us remember that God works for our good and His glory. As Christians, let us always remember that He is sovereign and wants the best for His children!
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