Twelve years ago, I was pregnant with my first child. From the beginning, the pregnancy was not a normal one. I thought I was having my menstrual cycle. But it seemed to go on too long. I mentioned it and the fact that I was extremely tired to my mom, and she suggested that I might be pregnant. I doubted it, but took one of those tests, and as usual Mom was right. I wanted to be excited, but I didn’t think the bleeding was normal, so I called a doctor. The doctor had me come in for an exam and an ultrasound. He suggested that I go on bed rest because of the bleeding but then gave me all the normal “first visit” papers that included pamphlets for the hospital, prenatal classes, etc. In my mind, after the ultrasound and the fact that the doctor gave me all the information about preparing for the delivery and the delivery, I assumed that everything would be fine. I allowed myself to get excited and start dreaming about life as a mom.
But it wasn’t fine. At my next appointment, the ultrasound showed that the baby had stopped developing and that I would miscarry. Not thinking about the fact that she was talking in front of the patient, the tech said, “I knew from the last ultrasound that something wasn’t right.” Well, gee thanks, no one mentioned that to us. We were angry. We were sad. Not only were we mourning the loss of an actual human life, no matter how short that life was, but we were questioning what this meant for our dreams. Were we going to be able to have children?
Then it was time to tell everyone who knew we were pregnant. Looking back, the love and support was definitely overflowing. But at the time, it felt insincere and hurtful:
You can always have another baby. (Thanks, but I really wanted this baby. God created a life through my husband and I. No matter how short that life was, we loved it, but it died. )
The timing just wasn’t right. (Thanks, but how was the timing right to go through this?)
Your body was doing what it’s supposed to. (Thanks, but then I’d rather have a different body.)
There would have probably been something wrong with the baby, this is better. (Thanks, but I don’t think this is better.)
You can always try again. (Thanks, and yes we will try. But that doesn’t make me feel better right now.)
I could go on and on. The sentiments were full of love and compassion. But they weren’t helpful. There was one, however, that was helpful. It was from my stepmom, calling from 2 1/2 hours away, “I wish I could be there to just sit with you and hug you and cry with you.” That was what I needed, someone to just support me in my grief without trying to offer words to make it better. Someone to realize that words were not going to make it better.
I always think of that when I read through the book of Job. Job was a successful, happy, righteous man. But then, all of his livestock and servants (his livelihood) died or were stolen, all of his children died, and his body was covered in horrible, painful sores. Then, Job’s friends come on the scene:
When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him. When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was. (Job 2:11-13)
I want to be that kind of friend. The one who knows that words aren’t going to help, but all that is needed is my presence. When friends come to me, I am very quick to offer my thoughts. I try to make sure my thoughts are biblical, but they might not be timely. I definitely need to say less and just be there more. (Unfortunately, after 7 days of saying nothing, Jobs friends decided it was time to talk. What they said sounds really biblical, but it did not apply to Job’s situation. So they should have stuck with being the silent, supportive friends!)
♥Becki, imperfect woman
12 years later, we have 3 healthy boys, and 2 heavenly babies who never took an earthly breath. I am thankful for the 3 boys and am at peace and content with life, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that in the stillness of my heart, I still mourn the loss of those 2 babies.