By Nicole Kerr
We thought we had moved past this season. After four and a half years, three miscarriages, multiple prescriptions, several trips to a specialist, and countless tears, we finally had our beautiful baby boy. At last we were growing our family! And after celebrating our son’s first birthday, we were pregnant again!
But then the all-too-familiar signs came, and we lost another baby. This time we didn’t have time to mourn because the miscarriage happened the weekend of my brother’s wedding. Since each of us was a part of the wedding, we needed to push through. Then came Christmas. Then New Year’s. All the while we had a toddler keeping us busy and bringing us joy, so I thought maybe this time we really can just push past it. But physically my body wasn’t letting me forget.
I went to see a new doctor, and just as any new patient would, I began to give my medical history, reciting dates and gestational ages for each and every pregnancy loss. I was about as emotionless as if I were narrating a list of former employment dates at an interview. At one point the doctor just shook her head. She looked at me with so much compassion and said, “I am so sorry for your losses. I am sure you have just gotten so used to this that you push through, but this can’t be easy.”
The doctor was right; I was used to this by now. I knew how to shut down my heart and keep moving because that is what I felt I had to do. We carried on with our appointment. At the end before I left she gave me a hug and I moved on to the next thing. My body did finally heal, but my heart was stuck and I just felt heavy.
About a month later some dear friends wanted to host a private memorial for all our lost babies. I didn’t know what to expect, and frankly I was a little nervous. I knew this was something we needed, yet I didn’t want to sit around crying all night.
It was beautiful. Our friends presented us with little bears representing each little life we lost and said something unique about each one. We held each bear individually, thanked God for the baby’s life it represented, lit a candle for each of them, and placed the bears in a basket. It was sobering to see them – so many. But being able to hold those bears and cry over each of them was so healing. It was therapeutic for our loss to be recognized and to acknowledge that these four lives “mattered.” We are forever grateful for this evening of remembrance and for the love and thoughtfulness of these friends.
We have since had another miscarriage, and I can’t say that it gets any easier. But one thing that has remained true is that healing comes in the mourning. When we mourn, we allow ourselves to feel the loss and to receive the love and comfort of others. Specifically, we can receive the love and comfort of God. This can come from friends and family or even a professional that God can work through to help us get the healing our hearts need.
Jesus was not a stranger to grief and loss. The shortest verse in the Bible, which every Sunday school kid gladly memorizes, is only two words: “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). Jesus had just received word that His dear friend Lazarus had died. He absolutely knew that He could walk over and raise him from the dead (which He later did), but He still allowed himself to mourn.
We can mourn the loss of a loved one, a life-altering diagnosis, or even the death of a dream. But we are not to remain in a state of mourning. The Bible has many examples of people mourning, but only for a season. Mourning is simply a door we walk through in order to receive the love and comfort our heavenly Father wants to give us. Along with David, we will one day be able to proclaim, “You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy” (Psalm 30:11).
Life is full of situations that cause us to mourn and leave us with the “why” questions. It is safe to say that our ways are not God’s ways (Isaiah 55:8-9) and that He never promises us answers to all our questions this side of heaven. But in the midst of the “whys” we can trust. We can trust that after we walk through that door of mourning, He will be on the other side waiting to comfort us and help us heal. We can trust that God is faithful and He will work all things to his glory.