by Jennifer Sikes, RN, BSN, Birth Center Mama
It is unbelievably hard to share my story publicly, but I feel a need to. I’m the mama of a lost baby named Faith.
I’m so thankful that my husband and I have the ability to create life at all, that my body can be a home for a new soul is a miracle in itself. Some women’s bodies fight against new life, and their stories are beautiful and sad and hopeful in their own profound ways. But with this gift of creating life comes a great deal of vulnerability because when we open our hearts and bodies to love we open them to hurt as well. Love means trust, and trust makes you vulnerable—vulnerability is necessary for love.
There was life inside my belly. We were so filled with love for this child, so ready for our girl to have a baby brother or sister, so eager for our family to continue to grow. We dreamed about this baby—how we would set up the nursery for the two of them, what the name would be, how our lives would change yet again.
Levi would touch my womb, talking to the already growing little one, and my heart would fill with joy. My body
felt the life inside. At 6 weeks we saw the little fluttering of the heartbeat on the ultrasound. Our hearts swelled as this new little baby made even more of a home within us.
A couple weeks passed and I didn’t feel like life was inside of me anymore.
I tried not to think about it because some things just aren’t worth dwelling on, but this lingering sense gnawed at me.
A familiar sight came to me on a Monday, signs that could be normal and could mean nothing’s wrong. I tried to listen to those voices. But things didn’t get better. My midwives told me to get an urgent ultrasound.
There was no flutter of that beautiful tiny heart. There was no life inside of me. May 16th was the worst day. Don’t mistake a miscarriage for being some trivial sad thing in a woman’s life. I went into labor and delivered a 10 week old little baby. It was hard and the saddest mess I’ve ever seen.
Because we’ve known the depths of love that come with a child, we really understand the depths of that loss too.
Oh God, how true that is. I cannot begin to capture the level of devastation we felt—that we still feel. There are some stories I never thought would be mine.
Miscarriage is a thing that can be so lightly handled, but it is one of the heaviest sadnesses a mother can feel. It doesn’t matter if she was “only” 10 weeks or if she was nearly full term. Saying things like “at least you have another child” or “you can always have more babies” is so hurtful. No other child, as much of a gift as they would be, will be this baby that we lost.
Levi and I both were given a name for this baby—Faith. We know it’s a feminine name, but we don’t actually know what Faith’s gender was. But we do know it is taking a great deal of faith to get through this.
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1
Something I learned from my last pregnancy with my daughter is that we can’t always understand God’s ways, but we can know God.
I don’t understand why this happened to me, but I know it’s part of my story. I am not angry with God because I have full confidence in His sovereign plan in our lives. I know though this world is broken, He is still good. I’m even more grateful that He allowed me to be the mother of my daughter. She is joy embodied in my life right now. The more I look at her, the more I am thankful—but I’m also more aware of what life would be missing if she weren’t in it. And now I’m asking what it would have looked like with our little Faith in it, too.
To all the mamas of the lost babies out there, it was not your fault. You did not cause this. Some things we just can’t know, but this one thing you can know—it was not your fault. You are allowed to grieve however the heck you need to. You are not alone. Your baby will always be your baby.
To all the friends and family who want to help a mama of a lost baby—be sensitive. She might not want to talk to a living soul for a little while. She might remove herself from communication so she can process what’s happened. She might be angry or sad, or she might actually succeed in distracting herself for a bit of time and laugh. She might then feel guilty for being able to get distracted enough to be happy again.
Grief from a miscarriage is such a dizzying road that I’m still walking on each day. You don’t just get over something like this. You carry each child you lose with you for a lifetime.
One of my most treasured songs right now is “Kiss You” by Jess Ray. The whole song is worth listening to, and the whole album worth buying, but the lyrics that have most spoken for my soul are these:
I want to hold you in my arms / I want to hold you in my arms / If I can’t hold you in my arms / then I’ll hold you in my words / I’ll hold you in my trust / I’ll hold you in my heart
I will love you til I die / I will love you til I die / And when I’ve loved you til I’ve died / then I’ll love you with my kiss / I’ll love you with my touch / I’ll love you with my eyes
I’ve been living off words of comfort from Jesus and a couple dear friends, one of which told me this—the only life Faith ever knew was the complete and peaceful love of her mama and papa before going straight into the arms of Jesus. Her short life was enough to widen our hearts to a love we didn’t know before and press us deeper into the heart of God than we’ve ever been. I’m thankful I got to be Faith’s mama for 10 whole weeks. I wouldn’t ever wish that time away, even knowing what I know now. My little Faith knows more of God now than I will for a whole lifetime here on earth.
Sometimes the most painful things in life bring about the miraculous. I am so much more aware of life and its gift. I am more trusting in God because so much of life is beyond my control. So what’s left now is hope. Though my hurting heart resists, I will believe that life can be inside of me again. I will hold a new child, my baby, in my arms someday.
Against all doubts and fears that I face going forward into the future, I will choose to hope and hope and hope.
This blog was originally posted on mamateatree.com