September 11th can never be experienced in the same way. It’s a day we remember, and it’s a day we mourn. But for me and my family, this day marks another painful anniversary as well…
It was the day our baby was supposed to be born.
We were anxious to try for another little one. God had given us a gorgeous baby boy three years earlier, but our family didn’t feel complete. So, we tried. For months and months, we tried. The day we found out we were pregnant we cried joy-filled tears. Tears of answered prayers and dreams come true. Our minds began to whirl with possibilities and hopeful wishes. We told our extended family on a Thursday night at Chick-fil-A. It was our son’s birthday celebration, and we had him open one last gift from Mommy and Daddy — a shirt with BIG BROTHER sprawled across it. As shock and excitement filled the room, it seemed like everything was going according to plan.
Three days later, I started to bleed. My husband tried to be strong and told me not to worry, but deep down I knew something was wrong. Things didn’t feel right. On that cold winter night, I was ushered into a reality I never wanted to face. We lost our baby.
It happened four years ago, but the raw emotions make it feel like it was today. Since then we’ve had two more boys, but losing a child leaves an ever-present ache. An ache carried around by countless women. I’m the oldest of four sisters. Each of us have babies we know on earth, but each of us have also experienced a miscarriage. As I’ve shared our loss with friends, I have been taken aback by the number of women who echo “me too.” One in four women will experience a miscarriage in their lifetime, but the collective silence of our grief speaks volumes. Somewhere in the midst of our pain, we’ve decided it’s better to wrap up our anguish and hide it away so we can move on. We choose to go it alone, fearing what others may think or say. We allow shame to eat away at our identities, while the questions become a burden for an already breaking heart.
Was this my fault?
What will I tell people?
Will I be able to have another baby?
What is wrong with me?
If these words fall heavy on your heart, please know this: You are not to blame. And you are not alone. You are surrounded by a tender sisterhood of women who understand your heartache and want to show you the kindness of Jesus. As hard as it may seem, walking out our mourning in isolation actually prevents us from experiencing an extension of God’s healing. Our heavenly Father never wants us to go through pain, but when we do, He wants us to be surrounded by others.
One of the shortest verses in the Bible came from one of the most powerful stories. Jesus returned to Bethany to see His friend, Lazarus, who had died. He was greeted by a crowd of villagers whose faces were stained from harsh dust and tears. They gathered around the grieving family and turned their eyes toward Jesus. Right there, God met His sons and daughters in the muck and the mire. And even though He knew the dead would rise again, His spirit was deeply moved. Amid the cries of God’s people, the Savior of the world knelt down and shed passionate tears of His own.
John 11:35 (NIV)
The scene shows the humanity of Jesus, but it also shows a miraculous side of God. As they wept together in sadness, they witnessed the compassion of their Creator make itself manifest. Upon this hallowed ground, God’s comfort was experienced in ways only possible if encountered with others. And it was powerful.
Dear friend, even if it’s uncomfortable, we have to let others meet us in our pain. Community and grief have been bound together by the kindness of God. And in this binding, there is beauty.
True fellowship makes heaven’s heartbeat known. When we realize our need for connection, we step into the reality of who we are meant to be. One body, all supported. Every person, every need. When we are giving, we become the tangible expression of God’s love in the form of open arms and listening ears. When we are hurting, we receive healing for the most wounded parts of our souls. Every time we gather around a grieving sister, we bear a holy image, and the image she will see is Jesus.
One day we will be reunited with the little ones who have changed our lives, but until then we need each other. We need to be brave and hold each other’s hands like our Savior holds our hearts. We need to sit and pray and give each other the freedom to grieve. We may not have the answers for the heartache we face, but when we face it together the heaviness within becomes a bit lighter.
These are our stories.
These are our scars.
They are part of who we are, and they need to be shared.
God has given us each other, Sister.
Here we find our Jesus,
In your mending and mine.
We may not have the answers for the heartache we face, but when we face it together the heaviness within becomes a bit lighter. - @writerbeckyb: Click To Tweet Leave a Comment
Beth Williams says
I’ve never been a mother. One thing I know is that we were created for community. God wants us to be with others & carry their burdens. We can’t do that if we don’t know about them. Emily P. Freeman said it best in her book “Grace for the Good Girl”: we need to take off our masks & be real. No more pretending to be perfect. We aren’t perfect by any means. Go ahead tell me about your pain. Allow me to be there for you, give you hugs & pray with & for you. It is my pleasure. You won’t get a platitude or quick answers here. Just a huge dose of God’s love. I have a friend who lost a baby. To this day it hurts. The whole family grieves some. Every time they see a butterfly they think of the little girl that wasn’t. They did have a son & he is the light of their lives. This doesn’t diminish their pain. I love on them & try to be a good Christian friend to them!
Becky Beresford says
Thank you Beth for your kind words and wisdom. I think we all need to show each other our pain… it’s a step towards healing and feeling God’s love.
Blessings to you! 🙂
Michele Morin says
When I read stories like yours, I wonder how many women my age are still remembering their own personal September 11th as their growing up kids leave home and they look at graduation and wedding pictures of the kids they got to raise and argue with and pack sandwiches for. Thank you for sharing your tender story–I think a lot of women carry this silently and need to know they are in company with many others who would understand their tears.
Becky Beresford says
Michelle, I totally agree. So many women bury it deep inside, when Jesus wants us to bring it into the light so we can heal fully. Thank you for your kind words 🙂
Carol L. Gonzalez says
I am 62 and was never pregnant so I can’t really share the pain of what women who lost a child have been though. I know someone who had at least one miscarriage and a stillborn child before finally giving birth to her only child. I know of someone who adopted two Korean girls because she couldn’t have her own children. Another friend had difficulty becoming pregnant but did have one child. I was very surprised to hear that Michelle Obama didn’t realize how common miscarriage can be and so she felt probably even worse than she should have when it happened to her. All that said I do have a heart for children so I want to say that for any woman who has gone through a miscarriage or still birth that I hope God brings comfort to your hurting heart.
Becky Beresford says
Thank you Carol! God comforts us tenderly, especially when we share the burden together. Thank you for your sweet words.
Blessings to you!
Keri Boer says
Dear Becky, Thank you for bringing this into the Light. It’s important for us to share our stories, especially since there is no public ceremony in which to share our grief. The gut-wrenching pain and loss I felt with my miscarriage of our first baby has not, thankfully, been equaled in my life. We have an incredible daughter who loves the Lord fiercely, and she would not be here if I had carried our first baby to term. She is a palpable example of how God brings beauty from ashes. But I still love that first little one whom I knew for such a short time. The Lord gave me a vision at the time to help my healing, showing the spirit of my little one being carried by an angel to His arms as He sits upon the Throne. His Love through this loss has been a gift to carry me through other hard times, a gift that is given through an unwanted experience but made sweeter because of His compassion and grace because He restores, making us stronger in Him after the pain.
Becky Beresford says
*All the tears*. Thank you for this encouragement and for sharing your beautiful vision. He is so kind to give us glimpses of heaven when we are experiencing heartache. Praying for your heart as well, Sister.
All of God’s best to you,
Leanne Porterfield says
My miscarriage happened 40 years ago, and yet every year on Mother’s Day… the day my unborn baby’s life came to an end… I still pause and grieve… it brings me comfort that this little one was given to me, even if only briefly by my heavenly Father, and by the knowledge that he lives already with Jesus… thank you for sharing your story…
Becky Beresford says
I’m sorry for your tender loss. It really is a pain that never goes away. But you are completely right, knowing our babies are in the safest, most loving arms EVER gives us a sense of comfort and peace. Blessings and love to you, Sister!