This is not the post I was expecting to write to announce the pregnancy of our 6th child.
But life is not a straight line of met expectations.
A day ago, I miscarried.
I was 9 weeks along.
Joseph has been in the states for work the past week & half, & it seems that everything has fallen to pieces since he left. I’ve had the flu, Tyndale had pink eye, I lost my military ID (pretty much your ticket to do anything when you are overseas). Made two trips to the ER (both on accounts of the miscarriage).
I think it’s funny when people see all my kids & say, “Oh, I would love a big family too!” or “I would love to have 5 kids like you!”
I know these people mean well, & I certainly don’t take offense. Having come from a large family, & having one of my own, I think big families are awesome. And I’m flattered if they intend it to be a form of a compliment. I just sometimes wonder if they even know what they are saying.
It’s a little similar to someone who says to a millionaire, “I’d love to be a millionaire too!”
Most people just have no idea how much work–emotional, financial, & time–is involved in becoming a millionaire or likewise, bringing many children into the world & raising said children (that is, unless you are a millionaire, or do have a lot of kids yourself).
Each child in a family has specific needs & wants, & requires love & attention. Raising three children is not the same as raising four, nor is raising five the same as raising ten.
Adding an additional child to a family is not like throwing another potato in the pot.
That child is a little human, with very individual needs that must be met. And those needs do take extra time, effort, money, & consistency.
(Of course, you know that I believe that in a lot of ways more kids=less work.)
Joseph & I have had many long conversations over the years about our children.
We’re deliberate & methodical but I’d like to think we don’t overthink things too much. And after we make a decision, we press forward & rarely look back.
We’ve talked about having more, about when & how we will manage to create a loving space that meets each child’s needs. We’ve talked about the opportunity costs of more children, of the sacrifices that must be made in order to grow an already large family. With each child that we’ve added to our family, we go in with both eyes open. It’s not an accident, & it’s not on a whim. We’re not having children as if we were collecting souvenirs–we’re creating & giving life, & we realize (if not entirely) the magnitude of that responsibility.
In short, we’re not pushing forward with the idea of having more children “just ’cause.”
Just because it sounds fun or we like the idea. We are far too entrenched in the burdens (& blessings) of raising children to hold such a cavalier idea.
Motherhood specifically comes at such a cost that I have to be all in–with my heart & soul. And I am. I love being a mom. I love each one of my kids & I love what I do with them each day. But the choice to add more to our family goes beyond just loving or liking motherhood.
For us, for our family, we feel spiritually called to have more children.
And that, is why we will choose to have more children, despite the mountains to climb.
So when I found out I was pregnant in early November, I was elated.
This is what we have wanted, hoped & prayed for. To add to our family.
My friend & I were talking recently about how moms love their child before they are even conceived. Every mother is different, to be sure, but for me, this has been my experience.
You dream about that child & wonder if it will be a he or a she.
Blonde or brown or black hair. Blue or green or brown eyes.
Will the baby be solemn & sober, or cuddly & playful, sober & cuddly or playful yet solemn?
Whatever the case, there will be soft cheeks to kiss, chubby fists to hold. & a little fuzzy head to stroke.
The moment you see the positive lines on a pregnancy stick, you have an omniscient moment. Pregnancy, birth, childhood, teenage years & adulthood of that baby are all before you. You feel the joys of the next 50 years while simultaneously worrying about all the potential sicknesses, schooling, careers, future relationships & overall happiness of that child.
This experience is especially acute & multi-layered with emotions when you already have a child or children. You have context. You know what it is to see a child grow before your eyes, & it’s a lot to take in. To realize that you will do it all over again is overwhelming. Yet the pull to take on the challenge is so strong you know you wouldn’t choose anything else.
Miscarriage at 9 weeks after seeing heartbeat
When I began spotting over the weekend I knew something was wrong.
The internet says, “1 in 4 women spot during pregnancy” & that these women can go on to deliver perfectly normal babies.
Somehow, I felt that was not going to be me.
I went into the ER that night. Never having gone through a miscarriage I didn’t know what to expect & I didn’t know if I was miscarrying. I had no cramping, just very light spotting. Not once in any of my prior pregnancies had I one drop of blood during pregnancy, ever. I knew it wasn’t typical for me.
The doctor found a normal heartbeat. Fetus was in the uterus. Cervix closed. All good signs.
But I was spotting.
Doctor said to go home & wait. I had a 50% chance of miscarrying, but he thought my odds were less since he found a normal heartbeat & overall good signs.
The hardest part of it all was not knowing.
I waited all weekend. My mind raced with “what ifs.” Everyone told me not to stress about it. (Akin to saying–don’t think about pink elephants!)
Of course I was going to stress about it.
Of course I was going to mentally stew & stir, raking over thoughts that ranged from morbid & horrifying to fantastical & outrageous. There was life inside of me, and not just any life. Though just a semblance of a baby at that point, I could imagine it’s hair, those fists, that nose.
The extremes both in emotions & thoughts wore on me. I was exhausted. I was also dealing with the flu, which no doubt added to the mix.
The day I actually miscarried I was so tired.
I chalked it up to the flu.
All I wanted to do was lie down. Later in the day I felt a rush of blood. I felt blood. Not good. Not good at all. I tried to hold it together but couldn’t help crying & feeling a deep sense of loneliness. I didn’t want to do this alone. I hated that Joseph couldn’t be with me.
My kids ran around my house, yelling, playing. The neighbor kids also ran in & out. Salem hurt herself & was screaming that her “leg hurt,” as I rushed to the bathroom to deal with the onslaught of blood & tissue being released.
The next four or five hours were a blur.
Cramps, lightheadness, lots of blood. My friends came in to help me & to take my kids. Because Joseph couldn’t be here (he was thousands of miles across an ocean away), he wanted me to go to the ER just make sure I would be okay.
The ER visit wasn’t monumental–yes I was having a miscarriage, no there was nothing much to be done. Mostly I got reassurance, questions answered, & with that came peace of mind. The kind of peace I hadn’t felt all weekend.
When I was getting ready to be released from the ER, I sat in the hospital bed. One of my good friends by my side.
I was was still bleeding of course, but the worst of it had passed.
I didn’t feel pregnant anymore & I honestly felt so much better.
Not because I wasn’t pregnant (I was devastated about that), but physically & even emotionally, I felt so much better. I felt a cloud had lifted. I at least had answers now. The pregnancy was over. It didn’t work out. I wouldn’t be put on bed rest, I wouldn’t endure weeks or months of spotting & uncertainty.
I will get pregnant again.
I am not afraid. I hated what I had to go through, but it is part of being a woman.
I am glad to talk about my experience because this is what feminism is–it’s embracing what is feminine. It’s not about power or being exactly like a man.
It’s not being ashamed of our experience as women.
It’s about recognizing what it means to be a woman–all the emotions both high & low, physical pains, the compassion that we both give & receive, as well as so much more. Having the self-awareness to know that you must have the bitter to have the sweet.
Though life, especially the female life, does not unfold in a straight line, I am glad for it.
Because all the curves, the ebbs & flows of living—it’s all part of what it means to be a woman. And it’s a beautiful thing.
I know going through a pregnancy loss is a sensitive & hard topic. If you feel so inclined, I would love to hear your thoughts or experiences.
More bring joy posts you might want to check out: