I wish when my husband and I got married 3 years ago, someone had told me that starting and growing a family can be an incredibly difficult and painful journey. Instead, I felt incredibly ill-prepared for the journey we embarked on last year. In July of 2013, we discovered, unexpectedly, that I was pregnant; although we weren’t planning on starting a family quite so soon, we were thrilled at the idea of welcoming a little one into the mix. But soon after, when I was just shy of 7 weeks, we miscarried our precious baby.
Five months later, we were pregnant again and cautiously optimistic, especially after a healthy baby appeared on our 7-week ultrasound. However, when we went to hear our baby’s heartbeat again at our 12-week appointment, we were met with the worst kind of silence. An ultrasound confirmed that our baby had stopped growing at 8 weeks.
Our second miscarriage changed both my husband and myself in both good and bad ways. We allowed the experience to strengthen our marriage and our faith, but we also felt lost, confused and scared about what the future held for our family. A single miscarriage felt like a fluke; a second consecutive miscarriage felt like the deepest blow and left me weary and wounded, both physically and emotionally.
Friends and family who surrounded us in the weeks and months following our miscarriage were the greatest blessing I could have asked for. We were showered with flowers, cards, texts and calls, but the greatest gift anyone gave me was validating my motherhood. I remember friends speaking truth into my life when they told me our babies mattered, and even though it was only for a short time, I was, indeed, a mother.
At first I felt uncomfortable with hearing that. Me? A mother? I dismissed their words because I thought they were simply trying to make me feel better. But the longer I meditated on what they said, the more it rang true. The babies we loved and lost are part of our family and those little ones made me a mother.
So to you momma’s out there who have lost a little one all too soon, I want you to hear what I have to say: You are a mother, every bit as much as those moms who have babies here on this earth, whether your baby’s heart was beating for a day or a week or many weeks longer. You loved that little one with all your heart and made sacrifices for them to the best of your ability through what you ate, drank and everything in between. When you’re tempted to diminish your motherhood, remember these things, and when others validate your motherhood, allow them to do so and hear those words as absolute truth.
I’m so thankful that our story and journey to starting a family here on this earth continues to be written. Two months after our second miscarriage we found out we were pregnant again. As I write this, I’m 18 weeks pregnant and just starting to feel the first movements of our little one. Although I don’t know what the future holds for our family and for this baby, I’ve learned to cherish each day that I’ve been blessed to be a mother.