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Sometimes the most wonderful time of the year brings back painful memories. Having a miscarriage forever changed the way I look at the holiday season.
2014 was my year. It was the year that I would get to celebrate the Christmas season as a new mom. That December, I should have been snuggled up in my living room, cradling a newborn, but that’s not my story. Having a miscarriage would change Decembers for me.
After six years of trying for a baby, I became pregnant. I felt ALL. THE. FEELS. Soon, sadness would take over as I learned that things weren’t going according to plan. I cried, and I prayed, and I put on a hopeful, happy face. But still, the inevitable happened, and it seemed that just as quickly as I discovered I was pregnant was as fast as I wasn’t. Even though I was super early into my pregnancy, I had shared the news with a few friends and my in-laws. Not long after telling them, everything started unraveling. First, the spotting and then the test results that would show I had lost the baby.
Some mamas seem to brush off a miscarriage and move on. Although I imagine it still left a lasting effect on them. Other mamas grieve tremendously and can experience deep depression. Of course, there are some mamas that fall in between the two extremes. There is no right or wrong way to process this kind of loss. I will tell you I fell somewhere in the middle. My head knew the science that there was likely something chromosomally wrong with the baby. My heart, on the other hand, wept. Even today, I tear up when I think about this time in my life.
Some dear friends who had experienced loss of their own shared their story with me and gifted my husband and me with a small angel ornament. So that December, in 2014, instead of snuggling a baby by the tree, we hung their precious gift on it. This simple ornament would serve as a reminder of the baby that we had hoped and prayed for but lost that year.
“A million words would not bring you back, I know because I tried, neither would a million tears, I know because I cried. ” -Unknown
The sadness would eventually subside, and by the grace of God, I became pregnant again very quickly. The very next year, we were snuggling our sweet girl, but we still hung the ornament. And, we have hung it every year since it was given to us. This year was different for me. This year I saw that tiny ornament a little differently. As I gently adjusted the angel on the tree, I looked over at my sweet, strong-willed, funny, feisty preschooler sitting nearby, and that ornament suddenly wasn’t a reminder of what I lost that year. It was a symbol of what I had gained.
As difficult as it is to reconcile, the truth remains that without having a miscarriage and losing our first baby, we wouldn’t have our daughter. Even more challenging to understand is the reality that even though I have my child here on earth, I still grieve the loss of the one in Heaven. One doesn’t negate the other, and it is now that I fully realize that joy and sadness can exist in the same memory.
As we were looking at our tree this year, our little angel ornament caught my daughter’s eye. “Ooooh, that ornament is very special, isn’t it Mama?” she whispered. You have no idea, sweet girl.
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