Self Doubt: Recovery After a Miscarriage
|Let me walk upon the waters|
Wherever You would call me
It was a cold, hard winter. The trees were frozen with ice and the pavement almost always had a fresh layer of snow on it. The wind was bitter. The sky was gray and dark. The months of January and February seemed to be a never ending black hole, lacking any hope of spring. And so was my heart.
I did have my good days, but I also had my very bad days. The new year did not bring the joyfulness and enthusiasm for resolutions that it had in the past. The new year brought sorrow and pain. And something else I least expected, it brought self doubt. Since childhood, I have been an insecure person, but this year the self doubt was different. This year I was missing a part of myself. As the days ticked on, and Ezraela's due date grew closer, I became more aware of that empty hole in my heart. As the bellies of my friends, who were expecting, grew and mine continued to be barren, my insides cried that it was not fair. It was a roller coaster of emotions. One week, I would be at a high peak and the next, a low valley. After two and a half months passed, I thought I should be "over" losing my child.
But I wasn't.
“...I want to feel better but I'm never going to 'get over' my miscarriages. I know that someday, I'll feel better and it won't hurt so much but I'm never going to forget those babies I lost and I don't want to.”
I also discovered my body was not over the miscarriage at that point either. Every new cycle was a reminder that I was not with child anymore. And the postpartum hormones and emotions left me in a place of hopelessness.
There was also stress eating. I have many vices, but overeating wasn't one of them. I started to stress eat when I was pregnant. I didn't feel well and was over anxious. My then 2 year old daughter knew that. When I got stressed with her, I would eat anything I could find in the house that was sweet or full of carbs. I didn't gain a whole lot of weight while I was pregnant, but after I miscarried at 18 weeks (I had to deliver the baby in the hospital), I kept on eating, never losing any of my baby weight. I know most people would ask what did I have to worry about? I was already thin and probably could use to gain a few extra pounds anyway. Those people do not understand what those extra pounds meant for me. This wasn't extra weight that I had because I had been pregnant and didn't lose because I was nursing a healthy baby. This was weight I had gained and hadn't lost because I had delivered a dead baby.
This was weight I had gained and hadn't lost because I had delivered a dead baby.
As a result I felt shame. And doubted myself.
Every time I looked in the mirror I hated what I saw. I felt like I had aged at least 10 years from the tears that had spilled down my cheeks. A friend of mine recently told me about a recorder that we all play in our heads of all of the bad things that we think about ourselves or other people have said about us. That recorder was on a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week loop. I believe that hate did not actually come because of how I looked (even though in my eyes that is what I thought it was), it came because of what I lacked. That I was somehow less than because I couldn't manage to carry my child to a healthy 40 weeks. Even though I knew it wasn't my fault, subconsciously I believed it was.
The self doubt wasn't limited to how I looked. The self doubt seeped into every little part of my life.
The summer before I was pregnant my then 2 year old decided she was going to start potty training herself. Because of my chronic medical condition I was exhausted, so I didn't follow through with her desire. When I got pregnant, I was even more exhausted, so it didn't happen then either. While my parents were in for Christmas and then returned for New Years, when Ezraela died, my mom almost had Alexandria potty trained. Then my parents left and neither my husband nor I had the energy or drive to continue the training. However, our daughter would not take no for an answer. Like most kids who are being potty trained, there were a lot of accidents. One week in particular there were so many accidents (including peeing on a gym floor in at a consignment sale), that I found myself frantic and weeping each time it happened. As a result, I started to self doubt my parenting abilities. I thought there was something wrong with me because my child, who at this point is almost three, wasn't potty trained. There were a few friends who counseled me during this time. One day, at a play date, I found myself crying to my friend in her laundry room. And the next, crying to another friend at that gym. Both friends (who were both parents of two at the time) told me that potty training has it's ups and downs and not to beat myself up about it. I needed to be easier on myself because I have had a pretty difficult year and Alexandria would be potty trained when she was ready (and not before). It had nothing to do with my parenting skills. And they were right. We went on vacation two weeks ago and sure enough, on the ride there my little girl had her dada stopping every hour so that she could go to the bathroom, even though she had a diaper on. She is far from being fully potty trained, but now I see the wisdom in my friends' words and a light at the end of that tunnel.
|Jekkyl Island, Georgia|
Last Saturday I had a conversation with my dad via text after biking the previous day. I was explaining to him my fear of being ready for the event, because at that point I only had 6 weeks to prepare. After hemming and hawing, I eventually told him:
"I've just had a lot of self doubt since I lost Ezraela."
My dad's wise reply?
"I can only imagine. If you know what the monster is, it makes it easier to fight...That and the Lord said he would never leave you or forsake you."
The same day a friend told me, "No matter what, you are a mother of two." With all of the new pregnancies and babies born, this is exactly what I needed to hear. I shouldn't doubt myself because Ezraela was gone. Regardless of how soon she left, I was still a mother of two.
The next day was Sunday and at church one of my other friends gave her testimony on her miscarriage (It was not a surprise to me because I asked her to give it). She explained her grief process in about one minute and everything she said was exactly what I was going through. The awkward comments people would make, knowing that regardless of how many other kids you had after your miscarriage, you still wanted the baby you lost and learning about how God was with her through her suffering.
And in the same service our worship team played the song "Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)."
You've never failed and You won't start now
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
"There is one in us who is greater than the one who is in the world. In short, we belong to God and that makes all of the difference."
"When we experience hardships or crisis we are not alone. The Holy God dwells in us and shines through us."
I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness
The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.
|St. Simons Island, Georgia|
|St. Simons Island, Georgia|
|Fort Fredericka, St. Simons Island, Georgia|