How I Clung to Joy Amid a Miscarriage

By Pastor Bethany Becker

With 1 in 4 pregnancies ending in miscarriage, many of us have spent time in October (Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month) thinking over our lost little ones. If you’ve ever experienced a miscarriage, you know that the ordeal contains a multitude of emotions: grief, joy, confusion, questioning, hope, and despair.

But here’s something to consider: 

Is the miracle of created life negated by a miscarriage? 

Can a miracle remain a miracle if it ends in heartache?

The grief of my miscarriage was compounded by the fact that I was not supposed to be able to get pregnant. Pregnant for the first time at age 37, our ecstatic joy lasted only a short time before we realized we would not be meeting this tiny child. But in processing my overwhelming grief, I discovered that I did not have to give up the joy from my pregnancy, even in the face of a miscarriage.

Here is how that realization came to be.

In our third year of marriage, my husband Adam and I were told we would not be able to get pregnant. Well, we were told the chances were close to impossible. If you’ve walked through infertility, you know that the distinction between “no chance” and “slim chance” is stark: no chance means you deal with a solid fact; slim chance means every month is a game of “maybe…maybe?!…no, I’m not pregnant. Again.” 

At the time of that doctor’s pronouncement, Adam and I had been trying to get pregnant for nearly three years. Trying to get pregnant was exhausting! It was a drain on intimacy, turning sex into a math equation, and it drained our emotions month after month to face a slew of negative pregnancy tests. Once we were told there was almost no chance of us getting pregnant naturally, we decided to forego treatments and syringes and, after much prayer, we chose the foster care path. That is a story of its own, a story of trials and lessons and perseverance that ends in the adoption of our precious sons, miracles in their own right.

But this is not that story. Fast forward to July 2020, and I am staring at six pregnancy tests.

They are all positive.

Can you imagine this? I was 37, and had never had so much as one iota of a pregnancy scare. Not a single one! I had dealt with infertility grief. I had (nearly) stopped the monthly hope of “maybe this month?” We had moved on, content with our family of four.

But a miracle…I was pregnant. I called my husband into the bathroom and showed him the tests with no preamble. He looked at them. He looked at me. He looked back at the tests. He looked back at me. “Is this real?” he asked. “Yes,” I said through tears, “I’m pregnant!”

We told our close circle immediately. I mean, IMMEDIATELY. Because again, when you’ve been waiting ten years for a baby, you don’t pause for caution. You grab a megaphone and celebrate the miracle.

And my friends, we were pregnant for eight weeks.

Eight surreal, sublime weeks.

But she didn’t stay. She? Yes she…we had been dreaming about a daughter for years, and we knew in our guts it was a girl. For the next few weeks we went through ultrasounds and blood draws, and it was finally confirmed that I was miscarrying.

The grief was enormous, and immediate. I was 37, I had been infertile for more than ten years, and had never had so much as a single sign of possible pregnancy. And here I was, mourning the loss of my very first one. 

10 years, 8 weeks, and she was gone.

But here’s what I’ve learned: 

I miscarried my baby, but not the miracle. 

Miracles cannot be miscarried.

My husband and I conceived…an impossibility. But God! God granted me the joy of a (ahem, six) positive pregnancy test…the joy of seeing my husband’s glowing incredulous face when I told him. The joy and hilarity of shocking our family and close friends, my dad releasing ten minutes of not-safe-for-work words. And yes, the joy of constant nausea, knowing my body was miraculously creating life. God gave me that, and the miracle remains.

Eighteen months later, I still feel heartache, sorrow, and longing for our daughter. But it is overshadowed by this: I witnessed a miracle.

Our baby is gone.

But she left us with joy, and peace, and greater faith.

Our baby is gone.

But she happened. To us. 

She is a miracle that remains forever.

If you’re sitting here reading this article, still feeling the unfathomable weight of failing to conceive, losing a pregnancy, losing an infant or any loved one, I hope you read this and continue to ask, “Will I have the strength to try again? Will I have the strength to hope again?”

And I hope as you ask you remember that you are allowed to ask these questions. You are allowed to feel grief, and anger, and despair. But you are also, in your time, allowed to feel joy and peace. It is not a betrayal or denial of your grief, just as your grief is not a betrayal of the joy you take in those things outside your loss.

In so much of life, grief and hope and healing and pain are intertwined. Learning to live with that truth has brought peace that keeps me standing firm. And it gives me permission to remember the miracle of pregnancy, while also mourning a miscarriage.

So we can embrace grief when it comes, and joy when it comes, and we can celebrate what they leave behind as they pass.

And as you move through these seasons, remember: the miracle remains with you.

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