To the mom who never got to hold her baby,
To the hurting mama heart longing for her child,
To the baby I didn’t get to know, this is for you.
Life is just so incredibly beautiful isn’t it
Easily the top two favorite and beautiful moments of my life:
The days I found out I was pregnant.
Most people don’t know, but Clint and I had our share of worry and stress over conceiving Jade. It took us almost a year to have her—which may seem like forever for you fertile ones or like no time at all for you mothers-in-waiting, still hanging on for an answer or a baby to call your own.
You better believe pinterest was my best and worst friend during that time, filling my head with products to buy and things to do; from throwing those legs skyhigh to eating and drinking certain things, to sneezing and doing a dance, no wives tale seems too ridiculous not to try when your mind is obsessed with pregnancy.
As usual, this was a silent battle. People pester with questions and while you don’t want them to do that incessantly, you also don’t want to be looked at weirdly or sometimes even to be checkup up on in the front lines of the negative pregnancy tests. I prayed a prayer frequently that I just wanted one baby, just one and I’ll never ask for another or anything else again. There was a raw and needed moment at church where I surrendered (as much as you can) that pregnancy & motherhood desire. I told God I would be okay either way and was done playing tug of war.
And then it finally happened—those lines on the test making my dreams come true.
Fast-forward four years:
I have a full life—my beautiful Jade, Clint, a booming business, and the most incredible friends a girl could ask for. Everyone I see, at seemingly every time I see them, asks me when my next one is coming. Or, my favorite question “what are you waiting for?”. It isn’t but a month after you’ve had your first one that people start their pestering questions once more, demanding a sibling!
I always shrugged these comments off as not ready, so busy, or any other excuse I could find. In reality, we just don’t get pregnant very easily.
And then finally, finally! that positive pregnancy test.
The thrill of that new life, whether it be in your womb or the promise of adoption, is such a sweet, sweet time. I immediately started planning!
I decided on this waterfall mini-session,that was originally planned to be a family session, to tell Clint. I found myself at Atlar’d State right before closing gathering supplies for this casual session. Jade’s sign says ‘I’m going to be a big sister’ – she thought it said ‘I want to be a ballerina when I grow up.’ We were taking photographs and Jade turned with her sign to show her dad, thrilling him and filling me with such excitement and pride.
Another sweet baby, a brand new dream.
We were so happy. As a person with anxiety I efficiently totaled up my due date and before you know it I’d happily planned out the next two years! My early May due date was perfect, Clint would be out of school soon after, and we would have a summer together as a family of four, and so on & so on.
Soon after, in the middle of the night, I woke up with pain. My fluttering anxiety had me thinking the worst but I tried to press on. Spotting is normal and pain is normal and everything is normal! Then came large amounts of blood and I started to panic. In true Melissa fashion, I had to get up that morning and shoot a wedding so I pulled myself together, and went to work.
The morning after photographing the wedding, I moved from one thing to the next like a robot, and finally made an appointment. It was a mixture of shock and nerves that got me in to that appointment. I wasn’t crying or anything yet, I was holding tightly to my dream, imagining all the things it could be other than what I thought it could be.
Quickly, the ultrasound confirmed that I was miscarrying. As if miscarrying wasn’t enough to handle, I had to sit in the waiting room with lots of happy and adorable pregnant women. That was hard, so hard.
I hung on to all those irrational, self-reassuring thoughts that you have like, “maybe it was twins and they couldn’t see my healthy baby” or “maybe they are wrong” or “doctors are wrong all the time!” I went to brueggers and had bagels & hot tea with my grandma and just sat there, still in shock of what was happening.
I was emotionally & mentally drained and devastated but my body and physical pain was another constant reminder. Even if I could have talked my mind out of what was happening, my body was waving a flag in my face. A flag of deafeat. My self-will to try and block it out wasn’t helpful, no relief to ease the pain.
That pregnancy test declared the life of my new little one. My second baby. The baby that would make my sweet Jade a big sister. A new dream began and ended just as abruptly. A lost dream, a life over.
In the aftermath, I’ve had a lot of perspective shifts.
It used to seem right to wait to tell people until that ‘safe’ 13 week mark. Now that I’ve celebrated and am grieving in isolation, I wish more people had been able to celebrate with us and then be there for us during this part. I’ve learned you need your people in the great, positive, wonderful times and you really need them in the wrong, grieving, and confusing times.
I know the statistic of 1 in 3 pregnancies ending in miscarriage, so I’m sure more people than I can imagine need to hear it now. Whether it was 1 hour, 5 weeks, 3 months, 9 months—a life is a life. Your baby was here and now isn’t. If no one knew about your precious life, got to celebrate or grieve with you, then you can tell someone. You can reach out. Take strength from others and grieve and keep living without a piece of yourself. It doesn’t have to be a post or a blog or anything eloquent at all. It can just be the whisper to a friend over bagels and tea, a hug to help you try to feel whole again.
Looking at these pictures is painful and beautiful at the same time. One day I can show and explain it to Jade, that she too celebrated her siblings life.
That it was real. That it mattered. That we can celebrate and grieve.
If you need anything, please don’t wait. Lean on your friends, find new friends, join something worthy, go to church, go to the gym, go BACK to church, eat food, smash something—anything you need, I hope you gain the strength to get it. For you and your children and the children you’ll only know apart from this world.
lastly, I would like to say that the most comforting thing to me is that I was the only one to hold my sweet baby and now that baby is in the arms of Jesus <3