I never set out to write, speak, or lead in the area of miscarriage or infant loss. In fact, it was something I knew very little about until it happened to me. I’ve now been at this “grief thing” for eight-and-a-half years. It was May 11, 2006 when my first daughter, Chloe, was born and shortly after went to be with Jesus. Little did I know just how much she would change my world. More rightly stated, little did I know how much He would change my world through her brief life and death.
I can relate to well to the story of the man born blind found in the gospel of John. As the disciples approached this man, they asked Jesus, “…who sinned, was it this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” (John 9: 2) Jesus responds by saying, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” (John 9:3) The Lord has displayed His marvelous works through our story, and I am beyond grateful.
I was already the mother to a precious little boy who was 4 at the time of our pregnancy with Chloe. He was just as excited as we were about welcoming a new baby into the family. At a routine, 20-week ultrasound we learned that things weren’t exactly as they should be and were referred to a specialist the very next day. Through a more detailed ultrasound, we found out two things: 1) We were having a girl! 2) She had a condition that was “incompatible with life.”
I felt like I died inside when I heard the doctor say, “You’re baby is going to die.” Everything else stated seemed to be nothing more than a jumbled mess. Confusion permeated every part of me, but those six words stood out clearly and they are words I’ll never forget. My husband and I hugged and cried as we tried as best as possible to hear our options, which included two impossible choices; continue the pregnancy knowing that she’d die, or end the pregnancy at that time.
Numb with shock, we left that clinic with the decision to continue as long as we could with the pregnancy, believing God for a miracle. We were blessed with another 12 weeks until my body went into premature labor. Chloe was born the Thursday before Mother’s Day. Coincidentally – because grievers tend to lose all sense of time – it ended up that her visitation was held on Mother’s Day. I look back now and thank the Lord for the gift of being with her precious body, though I knew she was already safe in His arms.
Throughout this experience, God was doing a marvelous work in me. I have to admit, I was very far from Him, living life on my terms. Though I had a testimony of salvation as a teenager, I never grew in my faith or my knowledge of Him. I tried…which I think was my problem. Trying, striving, laboring in vain…when in all actuality, God desired my surrendered heart above my obligatory deeds. When we received Chloe’s diagnosis, He drew me back in. Psalm 139 has become precious to me for many reasons, but I especially think of these two verses:
“You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.”
He was hemming me in, back to His fold, and revealing promises to me about the future hope He had in store. I grew closer to Him than ever before and was able to experience the remainder of my pregnancy with a true joy that could only come from Jesus.
I wish I could say that it’s been smooth sailing ever since, but anyone who’s experienced grief knows that’s not the case. There’ve been ups and downs and even more loss. Being a Christian doesn’t make us immune to life’s trials, but we can take heart in Jesus as He walks us through the trial.
After some time and healing, we prayed through the possibility of having more children and were blessed with a second daughter who is now 6 years old. A year after her birth, we experienced two miscarriages; one at 6 weeks along and another at 14 weeks along, babies whom we named Jesse and Riyah Mae. We grieve much for them because we love much.
Through our experiences, however, the Lord has made His Word so real and alive to me as I live out the mission He has called me to. 2 Corinthians 1:3, 4 says:
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
Amidst the pain of loss, God provided an opportunity for me to minister to other women who’ve been through something similar. Six years ago, I co-founded a ministry called Mommies with Hope, with a mission to reach grieving women for Christ, providing comfort and encouragement rooted in Scripture. We offer biblically-based support groups for women who’ve experienced miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss and also reach many women worldwide through our online presence and through Facebook.
God has also given me the opportunity to write and I have published two books for women who’ve been impacted by loss or are experiencing pregnancy after loss.