When I took a pregnancy test and realized I was pregnant with our second child, I cried. They were not tears of joy and thanksgiving, but rather tears of fear and anxiety. You see, my firstborn was only 5 months old at the time, and I had just started to feel sane again after weaning her from breastfeeding and getting her to sleep through the night. I started questioning God, “Why??? I can’t do this. I don’t want to do this. I want to enjoy being a mother of one. I want to get a start on my career. I don’t want to buy a double stroller. I need a bigger house and a bigger car first. WHY, GOD???” I was not ready for round two.
But as the weeks went on, I started to think of baby names and found myself glancing at newborn clothes. Our baby was due in February 2016, just two months after my daughter’s 1st birthday, and I imagined my daughter playing with her little sibling, growing up together close in age and being best friends. And as my husband and I prayed each night for our little growing baby, praising God for the gift of life and learning to trust Him with our family, I felt more and more excited to welcome this baby. And then came my first prenatal checkup.
One of the greatest moments of your prenatal checkups are getting to see your little peanut on the ultrasound screen and hearing that rapid heart beat. And you look forward to hearing that heart, beating strong and purposefully, at every checkup until you deliver your child. But when I sat back, anxiously anticipating that sound, I heard nothing. I willed the machine to start emitting the sound, but there was nothing. And after some tests and another ultrasound, it was confirmed: we had lost the baby.
I can’t exactly remember how I felt getting the news. A part of me felt horrified, another part of me was slightly relieved. A bigger part of me felt like I was in a dream. I didn’t know if I should tell anybody because we hadn’t announced the pregnancy, but at the same time, I wanted our baby’s presence to be known. It was a very confusing time with plenty of mixed emotions. And then, I was consumed with anger.
I was angry at God, angry at my husband, and just angry at the world. I wondered why God would take away something so special, why He wouldn’t want a child to meet his or her mother, and why He was punishing me for initially feeling reluctant about the pregnancy. I was angry at my poor husband, who basically wasn’t allowed to touch me or even breathe without me snapping at him and then running back to sob on his shoulder. I was angry at the cruel world, especially because the undercover videos of Planned Parenthood were released around this time, and I couldn’t bear to hear any more sad news. Most of all, I was angry at myself. I wanted to go back in time and just jump for joy at the news of our unexpected pregnancy. I wished I had never wasted any time worrying or feeling anxious. I felt like a horrible mother, like it was all my fault. I felt so foolish, so selfish, so unwilling to trust God. Hearing about other people’s pregnancies was especially hard. I wanted to be happy for them instead of envious. I wanted to ask questions about their pregnancies and babies without feeling sick to my stomach. I didn’t even want to sit in a hot tub, tired of the realization that I wasn’t pregnant anymore. All I could think about was my empty body and my empty heart.
My husband and I began to pray. I didn’t want to pray because I was still angry, but I honestly didn’t know what else to do. We prayed a special novena asking God for some sign to tell us whether our child was a boy or a girl. And we prayed a very specific prayer, asking for a slingshot to confirm a boy, or ballet slippers to confirm a girl. And though I had doubts in my mind, I looked to my husband who prayed with utter faith, and hoped we would get a clear answer so we could give our child some sort of identity. Then one day, as we were leaving a department store, we came upon a display of children’s clothing that I was immediately attracted to. “Ooh-ing and Ahh-ing” over a cute onesie that I pictured our daughter in, I glanced over to the little boy’s shirt next to it, and there on the shirt was a big graphic of a slingshot. And there we took it as God’ sign that we had a son in Heaven. We named him Francis Nathan Kim.
I wrestled with the idea of sharing this story because I am normally a private person. And this has been a very vulnerable and difficult time in my life that I wasn’t sure I would want posted on a public forum. But I chose to share this story, not because I want attention or pity, but because pregnancy and infant loss is an unfortunate reality that is more common than we think. Miscarriage is the most common type of pregnancy loss, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Studies reveal that anywhere from 10-25% of all clinically recognized pregnancies will end in miscarriage. That’s up to 1 in 4 women. And there are plenty of women who also experience multiple miscarriages, stillbirths, or infant loss. Most of these women and their families suffer in silence. Perhaps it is because they don’t want others to feel uncomfortable or burdened talking about dead babies, or maybe it’s just the way they choose to grieve. But for those of you who want to share your stories and feel that you can’t, I hope you are encouraged to find healing and consolation from your friends and loved ones. I hope you are able to mourn and go through this emotional process by talking to somebody you trust. And I want you to know that your children deserve to be known, no matter how short their time on Earth. You don’t have to suffer in silence anymore.
I love my son and think about him every day. I am still heart broken. I have to fight the urge to feel sad when I see a pregnant woman, and I try to pray for her and praise God for the life in her womb. I don’t know how I’m going to feel as we approach what would have been our son’s due date in the new year. Coping and healing is still an ongoing process, one that I will be on for the rest of my life until I finally get to meet my baby in Heaven. Until I can scoop him up into my arms and hug him so hard to make up for all the hugs we couldn’t have. I have to remember that all my children are ultimately God’s children, and while I am responsible for raising them here in the world, I have to place them and trust them in God’s hands.
Lastly, I want to share a moment with you that constantly reminds me that joy can come from suffering, just as redemption came from Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and death. One evening, my husband and I took a walk around our favorite lake in our neighborhood. It had been a particularly rough week, experiencing intense cramping and bleeding, and scheduling the procedure that would separate my baby from me for good. I saw a little duck swimming across the lake alone, and I was immediately overwhelmed with sadness. My heart sank at the thought of my baby being all alone, crying out and searching for his mother. I wanted to hug and console him and tell him, “There, there. Mommy is here and I will never leave you.” But then I looked up and saw this strikingly breathtaking view of the sunset that just seemed to emanate the Lord’s majesty. And as the little duck joined his group of little duck friends, I knew that my son is not alone. He was never alone when he was with me in my womb, and he will never be alone now in the company of Saints and Angels. He used to be a part of me and my body. But now he is in Heaven, happier than he could ever be, and he is still a part of me through the Body of Christ. One of our missions as mothers is to help get our children to Heaven. And I’m proud to say that my little Saint is in the arms of Jesus, exactly where he’s supposed to be, exactly where he belongs.
“So it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.” Matthew 18:14