Keeping the Faith

Miscarriage.

My heart has felt the weight of a great something lately; let’s call it a stone. A stone pressing down with immense weight and pressure on my lifesource so that every other piece of me has felt languid, heavy. I have lain awake at night, listening to its beat while thought and breath synchronised in a slow pas de deux.

You see, I lost my baby.

I was 12 weeks pregnant when my miscarriage happened, about six weeks ago. It’s still raw.
Why would I write about something so personal, you ask? Not for your sympathy. No. Rather, because I have learnt that miscarriage is a common sadness (about one in five pregnancies end in miscarriage), one that many women carry in silence, on their own.

Let’s not do that.

I didn’t meet my baby, didn’t know his or her personality, likes and dislikes, quirks and habits. I just knew there was life within me, life brimming with potential. Yet the grief has been deep and painful and suffocating. A mother’s love for her child is full-blown from conception – I can attest to that.

You may think I have grounds for changing the name of this column to ‘Losing the Faith’, but I assure you, never has my faith in God been stronger or of greater comfort.

God cares.

He has fed us (meals delivered by friends).
He has nurtured us (long talks with confidants).
He has looked after my health (wonderful medical care).
He has shown us beauty (the perfume of flowers has filled our home).

God has whispered light into my heart.

The heaviness I spoke of has lessened because of this picture that unraveled in my mind one night as I was waiting for sleep: “…an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone” (Matthew 28:2).

God has rolled back the stone of grief on my spirit. Jesus rose again. There is life after death, hope after hardship.

I have lamented the fact I don’t know if our baby was a boy or girl, that we have not been able to definitively name them. Even to this sorrow, God gave an answer.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit” (Psalm 147:3-5).

You might call it a creative interpretation, but from this verse I gain great assurance that if God knows the stars by name, he certainly knows our baby by name, and he has the company of our little person in heaven.

I will never know why our baby died.

But I do know this: just because our baby didn’t make it beyond the womb, doesn’t mean they were not life. Just because there was no funeral doesn’t mean we have no right to grieve. Just because I had no chance to rock them in my arms, doesn’t mean I did not love.

As printed in The Examiner Newspaper for Keeping the Faith column on Monday December 10, 2012.

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14 Comments

  1. Sandra stent says

    Claire faith is knowing all Gods promise’s are “Yes And Amen in Jesus.”
    “shall not the Lord of all the earth do what is right” therefore we have hope in the righteousness of our Father God.
    In your sorrow we pray with you that faith and trust will be stronger in you as He comforts you and your husband in love and hope that does not disappoint.

  2. Roger Martin says

    Claire, this is one of the finest articles I have ever read.
    It simply isn’t possible for me to fully comprehend your experience; and I ache for you and your husband.
    The Bible says that testing reveals what is in your heart and produces a robust faith (James 1) and you have shown us that you have come to trust Him more as a result of what you have been through. No doubt you are being equipped for an even higher level of service, because the Bible tells us (Jeremiah 29) that God has thoughts and plans to prosper you and give you peace and hope. The Bible also says (Deuteronomy) that the eternal God is our refuge and underneath are His everlasting arms.
    My prayer is that He will carry you both through this experience to a wonderful future.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed this article Roger – and thank you for your encouragement. What beautiful words! I still get so excited thinking what plans God has for my life – and all who call him Father. And these hard times would be SO much harder without the promises you speak of. Bless you!

  3. Anna-Maria Dykman says

    You bless us with your words. We pray for you and your family that you will continue to be upheld by the love of our Heavenly Father who wills the BEST for those who love Him xxxxx

  4. Rachel says

    thanks for sharing, so often women don’t talk about this and they suffer in silence. Your strength and faith is inspiring to me xxx

    • I agree Rachel – so many hold their pain in silence. I’m sure some prefer to deal with it that way, which is fine, but we also shouldn’t be afraid to talk about it. Bless you – thanks for reading!

  5. Neil C says

    Not every fetus will survive, I think that’s just nature’s way. Please don’t punish yourself Claire.
    But I do wonder if you think that Jesus God is punishing you for something that you may have inadvertently done, after all He is by His own admission a jealous God !! And jealousy is the seed for so much misery, hatred, selfishness and xenophobia.
    Perhaps you did not prey hard enough or correctly, or had impure thoughts during the conception process, and God got all jealous and stuff, so He took your unborn baby away ??
    Perhaps Jesus wants you to be celibate from now on ??
    There are so many rules in religion with so many awful punishments for their breaches, it is just so very scary !!
    You have already have a little boy whom you so obviously adore, perhaps you should “count your blessings”, amid the reality of a hyper over populated world and just concentrate your boundless love, affection and attention on him ??
    Remember that attention is the air children breathe, if they can’t get good attention they will settle for bad attention. Parenting is one tough job…..but I think that you will do OK !!

    • Hi Neil – it’s been a while 😉
      It sounds to me like we know a very different God. Perhaps it’s more about the difference between religion and a personal relationship with Jesus. God sent his son so that we would not have to hold to the religious rules and regulations that you will read about in the Old Testament. Jesus’ life and death and resurrection brought our freedom. Perhaps you could mull over the personal aspect of Christianity this Christmas Neil, instead of the ‘religious’ stuff.

      “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for a hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11)

      I see you had your tongue in your cheek when you wrote much of your comment. And don’t worry, I did initially check myself, ask if there was something I had done to incur my baby’s death. But then I was reminded of the God I know, who is “compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love” (Psalm 103:8). Bad stuff happens because this is a fallen world, a world with sin, not as God intended it. I look forward to meeting my baby in heaven.

      Merry Christmas Neil!

      • Neil C says

        Hi Claire, thanks for your reply, although I do not celebrate Christmas in any form (except eating turkey), I do very genuinely wish for you and your loved ones to enjoy a happy “silly season”, filled with the laughter and squeals of joy that Xmas prezzies bring to little children and their doting parents. I’ll leave our differing opinions till next year eh ?? Have fun and Cheerio !!

  6. Barry Jones says

    Dear Mrs. Van Ryn,
    My heart breaks for you in your hour of loss. I can only offer John 10:27-29, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.”

    Your baby is with the Father now, and you will see him(her?) again. Until then, please know that believers everywhere, especially those of us who have suffered a like loss, have you and your family in our prayers.

    May God continue to bless and keep you and yours in all things.

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