How sharing our loss helped us grieveWritten by Maria and Kevin Trace
What's inside this article
Three days before Mother’s Day, Kevin and I were heartbroken to learn that our baby’s heart had stopped beating. And three days after Mother’s Day, our joyous first pregnancy was over. This is now part of our life story. We never thought "miscarriage" would be part of our story, but it is – although that word does no justice to the horror of having your baby die inside of your body, or the pain of never getting to kiss your long-awaited child’s sweet face.
Sharing on social media
And so we want to honour the little life that we carried. Usually social media just presents the happy things in life – but this is our reality; this is real life. And our baby’s life mattered. It’s worthy of talking about.
Tiny Trace – our little nickname that began on the best day ever in March, marked by two pink lines and tears of joy and exhilaration – was loved every single day of their life. They were prayed for, prayed over, hoped for, waited for, dreamed of, celebrated, and now grieved for and missed deeply. At a time of year when new life is bursting forth in every garden and park in sight, this is a brutal reality of life ending too early. This week we planted a little memory bush in honour of Tiny Trace – a delicate, pink Bleeding Heart. How fitting.
Acknowledging the grief
We talk about other deaths and painful experiences, but for some reason the loss of a baby is supposed to be grieved silently, as if it didn’t really exist. Some believe that grief only depends on how many weeks old your baby was, or if you got to hold them in your arms. But research shows, and Kevin and I now know first-hand, that it depends far more on how long you waited for this child, how much you’d hoped for it, how much you anticipated starting or adding to your family, and more. Pastor David Platt says, "There is a unique pain that comes from preparing a place in your heart for a child that never comes."
The loss of a baby isn’t about the number of weeks its heart was beating, but the process it took to get there and the hopes and dreams that have been ripped away from you in an instant. We thought we’d be meeting our first-born later this year. We thought our wait to start a family was over. Kevin and I were so excited to introduce Tiny Trace to our parents, our families, our friends. You don’t just lose a pregnancy or a baby, you lose the tender cuddles and stroller walks in your neighbourhood and Christmas mornings. You lose it all.
Sadly, my sister and I were due to have our babies just six months apart this year – a dream I’ve had for years, but didn’t think could ever come true. But instead of having 2016 babies together, we’ve instead suffered miscarriages together. Life is so fragile, so precious.
A compassionate community
We are thankful for the compassionate people in our lives who have chosen to hold us up during a tough time – both during a difficult pregnancy and bedrest and during a pretty traumatic surgery and ongoing recovery – our families, friends, coworkers and church. From sending flowers and gifts, to supporting us through prayer and emails and hugs and texts, to taking over the laundry and dishes and meals, thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus when life just plain sucks. I know it won’t always feel like this, and I hope one day God can somehow redeem our loss.
And guess what? It’s okay to talk about miscarriage – or whatever people are going through. It can’t be fixed or answered, but it can be journeyed together. Neonatal pediatrician Dr. John Wyatt explains, "Suffering is not a question which demands an answer; it is not a problem which requires a solution. It is a mystery which demands a presence." You may not get why this hurts so much, and we hope you never will. One in five pregnancies end this way, and we’re not the first or last parents to suffer this loss, so choose your presence over potential awkwardness. Choose kindness over fear.
We love you, Tiny Trace. Your life mattered.
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