During the first week of October, my Facebook feed kept getting flooded with people posting about October being Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month. It's actual day of recognition is October 15, today!
What struck me this month is how much conversation there is on Facebook about it. Do you know how many of these I saw?
My emotions were totally split in two each time I saw one. I felt encouraged that people are aware that there is pregnancy and infant loss in our broken world. It seemed as though my family and friends (whether they knew it or not) were sharing these posts because they love me or people who have gone through this. But the problem with Facebook is that it's Facebook.
"Mom, I don't know if I should. I don't want her blabbing it off to everyone and the next thing I know, someone asks me during class why my husband and I aren't having successful pregnancies."
"So what. So what if other people find out. Are you ashamed? Why would you hide this story? What you and Alex have gone through is not something to be ashamed of and to hide like a secret."
Alex and I have been through three miscarriages within four years. Each very different and painful. Each brought us something to learn about ourselves. Each challenged us and grew us in having trust in the Lord.
And I totally understand feeling shame. I felt so ashamed that I could not give my husband a child. That I kept letting down my parents when they got excited about being grandparents. Ashamed that I was so excited that I couldn't help but share my news, only to have to later inform others of the bad news. But more than that, I was ashamed at the weakness of myself, my own body.
But what I learned is that I don't need to be ashamed of my body and how it was reacting to something that should be natural to a woman's body. Sin came into the world and God told Eve "I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children." (Gen 3:16a) For whatever reason, when I was growing up, I thought that meant before sin entered the world, childbearing would have been a "pleasant" experience. But now I know. It is not just the delivery experience that would be painful. Now I know there is pain in the process of trying to conceive, in the process of being pregnant, of losing a child, of being a woman with the expectation that you will bear children and being unable to.
That pain is the result of sin. Our miscarriages were the result of sin in the world.
Obviously, that didn't make me feel better when I was going through them, but it gave me a reason why it was happening. Whatever was happening with my body, either rejecting the pregnancy or causing genetic problems, was because of sin in this world. The book of Romans tells us that a result of sin is death, literally. Bad things happen because of sin in the world.
But there is good news, too! Jesus came to take away my sin and your sin through death on the cross. Because I believe Jesus loves me enough to do that, I get to see all my babies in heaven. My God is a God of love and redemption and hope.
Although Facebook may have a lot of posts about Infant and Pregnancy Loss and to be aware of those who are, have been, or will be going through this, we need to be aware and not shy away from broaching the subject. For some, it may take longer to get to a point where they are ready to be open about it. We all grieve differently and for different times.
And I know through all of this, my God is good and my God loves me.