Yesterday we were making a mad dash out the door for church (like every week, but especially after losing an hour of sleep because of the time change) and I opened up my jewelry box to throw on a necklace. As I scanned the drawer my eyes fell upon the necklace my good friend Heather had personalized for me after my natural miscarriage this past June when we lost baby Quinn. When she first sent it I wore it nearly daily for probably a month or two, but I’d slowly started to wear it less as the initial pain and sting from the miscarriage subsided. There’s not a time I think of Quinn that tears don’t begin to form in my eyes. And, it’s an odd feeling (that’s the best way to describe it) as I feel our newest baby kicking inside of me, knowing he wouldn’t be alive if Quinn hadn’t died. Although still painful to think about Quinn, I thought to myself that I never want to forget and I never want to diminish the short life that this baby had. I put the necklace on and headed out the door.
Later that morning, as we were in between Sunday school time and the regular church service, I found myself talking with an elderly woman at our church in the bathroom. (Since I’m 6 months pregnant, I try to make a stop there every Sunday morning before the service starts!) She noticed my baby bump and, of course, it always seems to be a topic of conversation with women. She asked me how I was feeling and I told her I was doing really well, except for the occasional heartburn and exhaustion. She nodded her head and smiled knowingly, saying, “I remember those days!” Then I asked her how many children she had:
“I have six children. Four here on earth and two in heaven.” My first thought was that two of her children had died at some point, either through an accident or a disease like cancer, but she followed that up with, “I had two miscarriages.” Of course, I expressed my condolences and understanding and then we went our separate ways as the church was about to begin.
As I sat through the church service, my encounter with this sweet woman brought me a new level of peace and healing to this journey through miscarriage.
I’ve struggled in the past to put a label on the number of children I have. I mean, I know how many kids I have, but what do I say when someone else asks me how many kids I have? Is it weird to count Quinn in my kid count total? Is it minimalizing Quinn’s short life by not including him/her in the count? On the other hand, are others going to think of me as some crazy person when I DO include a mention of Quinn. As if I’m a crazy emotional mess who just can’t get over my miscarriage? This has truly been something I’ve wrestled with the past few months.
But this encounter, it was the first one I’ve had in real life when I’ve had the talk about a number of children with a complete stranger and she mentioned her miscarriages without batting an eye. She had to have been at least 80 years old, so she lost her babies years and years ago, and yet they still hold a special place in her heart. AND IT WASN’T WEIRD AT ALL!
I realized that as a mother, you never forget your children. The ones still living on earth or the ones who are no longer here, either through miscarriage or death later in life. Our children are all precious to us and there’s nothing weird or wrong about acknowledging their lives.
I wanted to share my experience in hopes that it encourages you as well if you’ve lost a baby. I hope that over time miscarriage is something that women talk about more often. So many of us have gone through this tragedy and we don’t have to be silent in our suffering or silent in our acknowledging the lives of our children, no matter who long or short they may have been.