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Advent and Miscarriage


DISCLAIMER: This post is lengthy.


Advent is a time of excitement and joy. The waiting and wondering, the prayer and anticipation of the baby Christ to come. I've always loved Christmas, even being crowned Miss Merry Christmas during my senior year of high school (Impressive, I know).  Putting up the tree in our home is a momentous occasion marked by baking, listening to (or if you're Isaac, making up the words to) carols, lighting balsam candles and drinking hot chocolate. There's a magical feeling in the air. It's an entire day's event. In our home, we love Christmas.


Why this was a point of pride I'll never be sure. Maybe it was the tiara?

This Advent, however, our excitement is a little harder to come by. Sure, we decorated our tree and it was a special day full of memories. We drank the hot chocolate and played the music. We laughed as we struggled to get the artificial tree out of it's original box that we taped together with scotch tape last year. We hung stockings and ate cookies. Our hearts were just sadder than we had hoped. 


You see, this Christmas I was supposed to be 18 weeks pregnant. I was supposed to be picking out an outfit for our church's Christmas Eve service that would dress my newly popped baby belly. We were supposed to be giddy with excitement as we decorated our tree, knowing next year we would be adding a "Baby's First Christmas" ornament and that in a few short weeks we would know whether our little one was a Miss or a Mr. 

This Christmas, I was also supposed to be nearly 12 weeks pregnant. I was supposed to be looking into creative "New Year's" themed ways to announce our pregnancy.  We were supposed to be counting down the days until that beautiful second trimester. We were supposed to be gifting our parents and siblings with gifts labeling them "Aunt" and "Uncle, "Grandma" and "Grandpa."

Instead, we are grieving. 



Isaac moments after I arrived at his office to tell him I was pregnant for the 1st time!

In October, I suffered from a miscarriage in my first pregnancy at 6 weeks. We felt shocked and devastated, never having expected we would be the 1 in 4. However, when we found ourselves surprisingly pregnant again just a few weeks after our loss, the simultaneous joy and anxiety we felt was equally as shocking. We prayed and prayed. We took steps of faith to announce our pregnancy to our family and closest friends, wanting to be sure to celebrate this little life in spite of our fear. But in early December, we learned that we had lost our second baby at 10 weeks, though it had stopped developing a few weeks prior without our knowledge. Our greatest fear had come true: I had two consecutive miscarriages. 

Experiencing these emotionally devastating losses led us to ask questions and wrestle with hard truths this Advent season. How, when we are supposed to be eagerly anticipating the arrival of baby Jesus, are we to be grieving the loss of our own babies instead of anticipating their own sweet arrival? Why did God allow this to happen?  After all, we prayed so hard and believed so big! Are we the only ones? Did I do something to cause this? How am I supposed to feel? 

Since October, we've wrestled. We've cried. We are still wrestling and we are still crying. If there's one thing I'm certain about, it's that we may always wrestle with these questions and we will always cry at times. But through our tears and through our wrestling, this Advent season has been more "magical" than any we've experienced before. What we thought wasn't going to make sense has turned out to make much more sense than we ever imagined it would. 


Christmas at my childhood home! So cozy!

While our questions haven't all been answered, the understanding we've found lies in who this Advent-baby is. Through our grief, our grasp on God and suffering and the meaning behind His birth have all been challenged. Suddenly, the Advent devotionals and Christmas hymns have begun to come to life. We have learned that even though our pain is deep and it will never truly dissipate on this side of heaven, it is this baby Jesus that provides the hope in the pain. We are beginning to understand that struggling and joy are not steps that follow one another, but two pieces of our humanness intricately linked together through Christ. As Ann Voskamp puts it, "[they are] concurrent movements, one fluid with the other." Joy is possible in our suffering.

We've come to realize that Jesus, this baby we anticipate during Advent, is a suffering God. He knows suffering intimately and experientially, not just conceptually. He took on our human, suffering flesh. Because of this, it is our struggling that moves us toward God. Because of His knowing, we are comforted. Because of His grace, we have hope. Our hope is not that our suffering will end in this life. In fact, we are promised that it will not. We will always ache for our babies and we are given no certainty that a future pregnancy will not produce a similar outcome.



However, what are certain of in our hope is the presence and comfort of our unchanging God who knows. There are innumerable people who understand our pain because they have walked similar roads before us. But there are others who can never understand and have, at times, said hurtful & damaging words in spite of the best of intentions. But this baby Jesus, he knows. He knows us, He knows suffering, He knows our babies, He knows our needs and He knows our future. He is unchanging even when our circumstances are ever changing and uncertain. Even more? His birth, life, death and resurrection (the Greatest Story Ever Told) provide us with the hope of an eternal future surrounded by His presence. Our emotional healing on earth will never be fully complete. Time doesn't truly heal all wounds. But eternity with Christ will.

This Advent, we are mourning the loss of two babies whose arrivals will never happen on earth. Instead of dressing a baby bump, I will be sporting two small gold rings, one with a ruby and one with an emerald, to honor and remember our sweet little ones and the months we would have met them. But in that pain, we are eagerly anticipating the celebration of the arrival of Jesus, our hope and our comforter, our friend, and our Savior.

What we thought was going to be a dark Christmas season has certainly been hard. However, it has also turned out to be a season filled with light.  It will be a Merry Christmas, indeed.



3 comments

  1. I admire your strength and courage... I will always be praying for you. Here when ever you need me. Way to let the Lord speak and raise you up in your darkest of times.

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. Sharing hard things is rarely easy! Words like yours make it easier.

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  2. Thanks for stopping by yesterday to comment on my ectopic pregnancy. I'm glad we connected (even if bad circumstances led us to). I am so sorry to hear of your two losses. It's so discouraging, isn't it? I comfort myself as best I can by just reminding myself it's common. But that doesn't make it stop hurting. I'm praying for you to have a healthy baby and thinking of you.

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