This is a question that I asked myself for an entire year while suffering over the loss of our son, Jude. I wondered—when will this end?
While I was grieving, a lovely friend in her 50s whose children are grown said to me, "Every time I hear about someone experiencing a miscarriage, I think about the baby I lost 30 years ago."
I'm not quite as removed from my experience. This Friday marks two years since that dreadful night when I awoke to the familiar pains of labor. Joseph and I panicked, as we knew this was it—I was having the baby. It was too soon, far too soon.
It was cause for celebration just a few weeks earlier when I made it to the second trimester. The specialist told us that only a tiny percentage of pregnancies are lost once you make it past those first 12 weeks. We knew it was unlikely for a full-term delivery, but we held onto hope for 24 weeks, knowing even then there would be significant challenges.
We had not experienced the typical Hollywood portrayal of going into labor, rushing to the hospital, and experiencing a natural delivery. I did it with Aniston many years earlier, but experiencing natural childbirth was something that was denied to Joseph when I had a c-section with each of our three children together.
Still, the body and mind are able to go back and recall the most peculiar things. I had felt guilty for years that I let myself get talked into a c-section by a doctor eager to wrap things up with his last patient and get home. There are many blessings from Jude's life, including the opportunity for the return to a somewhat natural delivery. I got to experience labor pains again, contractions, and ultimately have my son enter the world without major surgery. It was redeeming, even though the result was not what we had hoped. Now, it is a small glimpse into the great care of a loving God. In that moment, he used one of the worst experiences of my life to heal another part of my heart.
My sister called this morning to check on me, opening the floodgates. As my family has returned to the back-to-school routine, Jude has been in the back of my mind. We have scheduled our annual trip to the Monastery on his birthday to visit his grave and spend the day there. But it's all been process until my children's godmother, that knower of my heart, let me be vulnerable. The pain may not be as sharp as it was at first, but it's always under the surface.
Miscarriage creates an unusual bond among women. Different faith walks, different professions, and different socioeconomic conditions—the pain is the same. When I meet someone or read about a blogger (like Dwija, Sarah, or Lisa) who has experienced miscarriage, I immediately feel a kinship to her. It is a club to which I wish I didn't belong.
I guess the answer to my original question is, no. The pain doesn't go away but changes over time, not quite so strong and present. My grandmother experienced pregnancy before ultrasounds. She experienced each day of her pregnancy without the benefits we enjoy in the digital age that tell us exactly which day the baby will develop eyelids and eyebrows (I'm looking at you, Rebecca!) :) Still, a woman in her 70s at the time, my grandmother told me that she mourned the loss of her miscarried baby as much as the death of her 16-year-old daughter.
Gramma Crocket may have shared those feelings while I was just a little girl, but my own life experience has proven her wisdom and the truth of the very real pain caused by the loss of a baby.