Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Shattering the Silence

I knew the moment I saw red that I was losing our baby.  In our tiny upstairs bathroom holding the crumpled up tissue in disbelief, I thought, “It’s happening again.”  On the side of the tub, I sat there. Numb. Embarrassed and ashamed for all of the excitement and hopefulness I had begun to store up.  Feeling a sense of betrayal by my own body.  Amazed by my own naivety for believing that I had fulfilled my one miscarriage quota.  Apparently, that’s not a thing.  But for some reason I had thought it would only happen once.

I remember the first time it happened. In a text my momma wrote, “We don’t miscarry.  We just don't lose babies.”  Little did we both know that later that week I would be watching life drain down our tub in clots of deep burgundy.  

I have battled heart and mind over whether to share our family's recent loss on this blog.  I have hesitated to write because I don't want my sharing to come off as a cry for pity.  Please hear me -- that is not what this is. 

We have grieved.  I have cried my weight in tears. And we have had the most precious family and friends come around us and love us in amazing ways. We are healing. And we believe in the deepest places of our hearts that God is good and that He is for us. 

I share because the past month has given me a renewed and profound awareness of just how emotionally and physically tolling the road to motherhood can be for so many women.  It is a road that is often more bitter than sweet.  This is the road I have found myself walking as of late and it is one that so many of my friends are currently walking as well. 

I've heard it said that silence speaks louder than words.  And in many cases staying quiet can be a beautiful thing.  But by way of journeying through infertility, miscarriage, infant loss, antepartum and postpartum depression and even the road of adoption,  I think silence does speak louder than words and not in a good way. 

Silence screams shame.  Silence tells us as that our feelings of intense sorrow are unmerited.  Silence tells us to move quickly on from the loss of life and the broken dreams we've had to bury.  Silence convinces us that we are alone in our grief. 

And here's the thing -- we can choose to remain silent with our stories.  It is our right.  But I question if that is our calling. 

I could have chosen to remain silent about my nearly two year battle with postpartum depression.  And heaven help me, I have dug my feet in, not desiring to share about our miscarriage this time around.  But staying silent is exactly what the enemy wants.  If I cower in pain and refuse to emerge from the shadow of the darkness of my sorrow, then Satan gets victory over a part of my story. 

And I will not give him that satisfaction.  I just won't.

Jesus wins in my story.  Jesus brings the healing and the redemption and life after death. Jesus.

Take that Satan.

So I can not sit silent.  I will not.  I will continue to share my heart and my story -- even the most broken pieces.  Because if my story helps just one other hurting woman to know she is not alone in her walk of motherhood, then it is worth it.  One hundred times over.

The irony about my motherhood journey is that there was a point in time where I was convinced I only wanted one baby.  I said I was done.  That my heart was closed off to loving any more.  A journey down a really tough road of postpartum depression had all but crippled me to even the thought of bringing another child into this world. 

And here I am, 6 years after holding my very first baby.  I am the momma of not just one but of four babies.  Four beautiful, precious babies that God has blessed me with.  Two of whom I have the privilege holding now and two more that I will someday spend eternity with.  Now if that isn't redemption and the power of Jesus over a broken story of postpartum depression then I don't know what is. 

If there is any one thing that I have learned through my journey it is that there are hurting women everywhere.  And so many of them are just existing in silence. 

Crying invisible tears under the bedroom covers because the thought of just one more negative test is unbearable.  Because all of the poking and prodding and needles and money thrown towards a dream just went up in smoke.  There's the momma like me who is staring at red and holding that crumbled up tissue in disbelief on the bathroom floor.  And the one who is living in shame because motherhood wasn't all she thought it would be and she just doesn't know how to find joy in the midst of all the sadness.

October is Infant & Pregnancy Loss Awareness month.  It is a month where we honor our babies and we shatter the silence. 

I believe the best way we can do this is to honor life.  We can honor life by sharing our stories openly and by loving others well.

Look around you and find a momma who is hurting. 

Place a card in the mail for someone who is missing her baby today.  Tell her she isn't alone because you miss your baby too.

Send a note to the friend you know is desperate to hold a first baby and just hasn't experienced the fulfillment of that dream yet.  Tell her that you too have walked that hard road.

Show up with coffee for the momma who you know is just struggling to put one foot in front of the other.  And then watch her newborn so she can take a shower.  And don't take no for an answer.

Be aware of those who are hurting today.  Take the hand of another woman and break the code of silence.  Each of us is walking a unique and hard journey.  Let's make sure we aren't walking that road alone. 

This is how we heal. By shattering the silence and the stigma and the shame and by choosing to look for and into the eyes of those who are hurting.  By sharing our own hurt and our own broken stories.  And then by sharing the redemption.

My greatest prayer is that through my story, my babies will be honored.  By the words of life I choose to speak on their behalf. 

Mackenzie, Finley, Levi & Asher, I love you.  You are my greatest gifts and I am so honored that God chose me for you.

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  1. Just beautiful. Raw, honest and beautiful. What a special promise and certain hope that you will spend eternity with the babies your arms can't hold now. Praying for you today, friend.

  2. Your vulnerability is beautiful. Thank you for sharing your heart :)

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  4. I cannot even say how honored I am to be getting to know you. You are such an incredible woman of God!! Thank you so much for sharing your heart!! You have so inspired me and my next blog post. You see, I haven't lost a baby, but I have lost a brother and I think it's time for me to be transparent about my loss and stop living in shame. Thank you so much for being so open!

  5. Oh Brittany, I had no idea. Thank you for being vulnerable and using your words for healing. I know this will be good for so many aching hearts. Praying for you and my friends who hurt. Much love.

  6. Oh Brittany, I had no idea. Thank you for being vulnerable and using your words for healing. I know this will be good for so many aching hearts. Praying for you and my friends who hurt. Much love.