It’s been almost 4 weeks since I miscarried our baby girl at 17 weeks. I have watched myself slam through so many levels of emotions – shock and sadness; anger at God, which morphed into questioning His very existence; then floating back to my faith and grabbing hold of it tightly, hoping it will help me heal and lessen the frequency with which I fall into a dark rabbit hole flush with loss and what-ifs.
Most of the time, I am fine and can even be happy. I play with my kids, chat aimlessly with friends, joke with my husband. But all of that “okayness” is wrapped around an emptiness and sadness that almost daily bleeds through, and before I know it, I am overcome with tears. I picture her little face, imagine her full-term infant body clutched to mine and wish so badly that this could’ve been different.
This journey is hard. It sucks. I hate that I am on it and wish I could undo it all. But I am here, and all that I can do is accept it and live here in this shitty space until it somehow turns into something with beauty and peace. And all the while that I am cursing this experience, I am saying “thank you,” as it has so completely magnified all the good that’s in my life. I am only blessed.
All the test results are in, and everything with the baby and me came back normal and fine, just like it had with all our ultrasounds and early genetic testing. Like with most miscarriages, the reason behind this one will remain a mystery.
Of course, I am glad there’s nothing wrong with me. But right now I want an answer, something to point my finger at, an explanation for why this happened. What causes a seemingly healthy baby to suddenly die? Turns out, a wide variety of things – a multitude of health issues undetected with ultrasound, a twisted umbilical cord, a slight change in my body’s delicate internal balance. There are so many reasons why this could have happened. I have spent hours thinking through each of them, desperately studying and Googling every line of the test results. And doing so just underscored that everything was fine. So now, along with letting go of this little life that I thought would be ours, I also have to let go of why it was taken.
My dad, one of the most insightful people I know, sent me a card with this quote from Rainer Maria Rilke, and I read it about 10 times a day.
“I beg you…to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”
-Rainer Maria Rilke
On the inside of the card, my dad wrote, “Unanswered questions are mysteries that may or may not be solved. Allowing the questions to be unanswered and the mysteries to be mysteries may be the only way to answers. Discipline and faith are necessary; discipline to not push, not press for solutions or answers; while faith, replete with doubts, provides patience and resilience as you live into surprising solutions.” He’s a pretty smart guy when it comes to stuff like this.
A friend of mine told me about a book called Heaven is Real, where a little boy briefly dies and returns to the world describing all he saw. He told his parents he had met his little sister while in heaven, though he only had a brother. The parents last pregnancy ended in a miscarriage they had never discussed with their children. Part of me believes my baby’s little spirit has become part of everything around me. But maybe she’s waiting for me. Maybe one day I do get to hold her and understand why she was taken.
I will never completely let go of this little girl. I will wonder about and think of her as long as I live, and my heart will be a little different from now on.
- To My Fourth Child
- On the Edge