carried + loved collective

Christian miscarriage

One Year

Miscarriage, FaithJessica ScheksComment

A year ago today I woke up still pregnant. But by the end of the day I was empty.  Physically and emotionally empty.

It is extremely hard to fathom that it's been a year since our first loss. In some ways it feels like it only happened yesterday, and in others ways it's hard to remember what my life was like before my heart was broken.


MiscarriageJessica ScheksComment

B r o k e n. I can think of no better word to describe how I feel.

On August 1, 2016 I found out I was expecting our second child. I was surprised how hopeful I quickly became. I always imagined I'd be more reserved in future pregnancies, but I found so much joy and hope through this child. Of course I was also fearful of losing this child, but I tried so hard to just trust the Lord, knowing that He alone opens and closes the womb.

One Hundred Days

MiscarriageJessica Scheks4 Comments

O  N  E    H  U  N D  R  E  D    D  A  Y  S
Three  months  a week  and  a  day
Fourteen  weeks  and  two  days
Two  thousand  four-hundred  hours
One  hundred  and  forty-four  thousand  minutes
Eight  million  six-hundred  and  forty  thousand  seconds

For They Shall Be Comforted

MiscarriageJessica ScheksComment

"Through others, God reminds us, 'You are my beloved daughter.'"

I saw this quote on Facebook the other day and haven't stopped thinking about it since. Before we lost our baby I think I would've just kept scrolling and it wouldn't have meant much to me if anything at all. But now, almost three months after my miscarriage, I feel like this quote explains my life.

Grieving The Child I Never Knew

MiscarriageJessica ScheksComment

Usually I'm off on Fridays, but of course I had scheduled to work this Friday so I could take an extra day off next week. I was so annoyed with myself Thursday night and this morning as I got ready for work. I felt like I really needed a day off. But what can you do?

So while at work I worked on the blog post I posted earlier today and right before I left I posted it. Not too long after I received a text from a dear friend saying some of the sweetest things. While she doesn't text me all the time, she's the kind of friend that when she does, it's gold. I could not hold back the tears while reading it. It was so precious. The part that really got me:

Why I Don't Regret Announcing Our Pregnancy Early

MiscarriageJessica Scheks1 Comment

Early in the morning on October 17, 2015 I took a pregnancy test. I had taken one the day before and got a negative. So on that Saturday morning when I awoke with terrible heartburn (for what felt like the hundredth day in a row) I wanted to take some medicine but thought I should take one more test to rule out pregnancy before I took any medication.

I was expecting a negative since I had gotten one the day before, so I took the test and watched it for a few seconds. I didn't see a second line so I walked out to our hall closet and picked out some heartburn meds. A minute or two later I walked back in and looked at the test again.


Miscarriage, FaithJessica ScheksComment

Picking out verses and words of the year has always seemed kind of lame to me.  A slew of bloggers that I follow always have a word of the year, and up until a couple days ago I just rolled my eyes. I'm not sure what exactly it was that annoyed me. Maybe that people are obsessed with their words for the first month or two and use it as a hashtag for everything and then it slowly fades away like most resolutions do. Or maybe it's just that, in general, I'm not into that kind of stuff. So I was already getting kind of annoyed as people were bombarding Instagram with their words of the year before the new year even began.


MiscarriageJessica ScheksComment

Goodbye to the best year of my life and the worst year of my life. The best because for awhile I was blissfully happy; I became a mother to a precious baby and the best daddy (and my heavenly Father) in the world were by my side through it all.

Resting + Waiting

MiscarriageJessica Scheks3 Comments

I've never really gone through a trial before that caused me to lean on the Lord so intensely. There haven't been too many seasons of life until now where I truly had to take things day by day, sometimes even moment by moment. I've never had to unknowingly wait. Sure, I had to wait quite a while to marry Michael since we started dating so young. But I still knew that eventually we would get married. It is so hard not knowing if we will ever be blessed with children here on earth. It is scary to have such an intense desire while not knowing if it will ever be fulfilled.


MiscarriageJessica ScheksComment

Warning: This post is real and one part sad, one part hopeful.

On November 15th, 2015 I left the hospital empty-handed. Physically not having a baby in my arms is devastating. And I imagine it will only continue to grow more and more devastating, especially as I get closer and closer to my due date. But right now, what is so devastating to me, is how empty I feel on the inside.


MiscarriageJessica Scheks1 Comment

Today I am super thankful that my baby had a heartbeat. I often think about how I wish I had more time with our child. It's not that I'm even asking for her to have been born full-term and healthy, just that she would've been born slightly older and more developed, that maybe she would've taken a few breaths, that she would've received a birth certificate. But that's not our story. I am just really thankful that we got to see her heartbeat because it made her just a little bit more real to us.

Healing After a Miscarriage

MiscarriageJessica ScheksComment

It's common to feel so alone after a miscarriage. I felt like most people didn't understand and I just didn't know what to do. So I've compiled a list of several things that have helped me in the days and weeks after my miscarriage to heal and I'm sure will continue to help me in the coming months and years.

Hard Times

MiscarriageJessica Scheks8 Comments

Jesus is the reason I was pregnant. Three weeks and three days ago there was a baby growing inside of me. With a beating heart. Only three weeks ago I was blissfully and joyfully dreaming of that child growing inside of me. And suddenly it was all ripped away from me in the matter of hours.

So why do so many people expect me to be fine? To be over it already like nothing even happened? It seems like people view miscarriages as a mess-up or mistake. Not many seem to count it as what it is: Life. Even though it was cut short, it was a life beautifully crafted by the Father.

And it's not like I'm just falling into a pit of dark despair and depression. I still have joy! I may not always have happiness but I have God-given joy and I grieve with a hope that those of the world do not have. Jesus is the reason I live and he makes even the hard times sweet. But even though he makes the hard times sweet, they are still hard.

Many people seem to think that I'm already doing so much better. After all it has been over three whole weeks since I miscarried our child. Three weeks is ample time to move beyond the traumatizing yet beautiful experience of delivering your child. My child who had only been growing inside of me for mere weeks and didn't have enough time to look anything like a human. Nonetheless she was still life. She was my baby. She was the very beginning stages of a miraculous human life that only God can sustain.

I have some good days and some bad days. I have some good moments and some bad moments. They don't follow any type of pattern and are so hard to predict. I can feel fine and all it takes is the tiniest little thing to release my emotions. A well-intentioned yet insensitive comment, a bump photo, putting on a skirt that was tight several weeks ago because I was so bloated and now fits again, being congratulated by someone who hasn't heard the sad news yet, seeing a baby, seeing a mother with her baby, seeing a pregnant woman, the list goes on and on and changes constantly. Something that didn't upset me yesterday may cause instant tears today.

The sad thing is that I feel like I can't show my emotions and grief to everyone. I get the vibe before we even hit the topic. Sometimes just the way a person says, "How are you?" tells me that they are expecting me to say I'm fine because a) I should be completely fine by now, it was just a miscarriage, and/or b) they don't want to hear about how I'm actually doing. So I say, "I'm good." I say that I'm good because I can sense if I say I'm not good they'll think I'm taking this too hard; that I'm not moving on the way I should, and may even give me a disapproving glance.

But to a lot of people I say I'm "all right." Still kind of a lie, but I don't hear my voice almost catching like when I tell people that I'm good. Because that is a bold-faced lie.

How can I be okay when the thought constantly hits me that I should be pregnant? But then I am painfully reminded just as quickly that I'm not. I was. But now I'm not. And I don't have a baby to show for it. I have nothing to show for it. No stretch marks. No extra weight. In fact I've lost weight and I'm smaller than I was pre-pregnancy. I imagine that's from the stress my body is going through. Not only do I lose my appetite a lot, but I think I'm burning more calories because my mind is constantly churning and I feel the stress and the grief regularly. Not just in my mind, but physically as well.

For the next six months I will be thinking about far along I would be. This Saturday I would have entered into my second trimester. And I'm sure after the due date many will say there's nothing left to grieve. It's all over. You've gotten past everything; all of the "hard" days. But then I'm sure my thoughts will switch over to, "I should have a baby in my arms." But I don't. I held the remains of my child in the hospital. But that's it and I'll never hold that child again. I can only hope that I will be pregnant again soon so that I will have the hope of this new child mixed in with the grief for the loss of my first child.

People honestly think I'm doing fine just because I tell them I am. Please look just a little further. Notice how I quickly look away as soon as I say I'm fine. Or the half attempt of a smile on my face. Or the tears in my eyes a moment later. I may seem fine, but I put on a pretty good act. I like to grieve privately. I don't like telling people exactly how I'm feeling most of the time because sometimes I'm scared it will be met with disapproval, but even if it is met with approval and kindness then I'm afraid it will make me emotional and I won't be able to stop crying. I have a weird crying problem where once I start I can't stop. Especially if I'm in a setting where it's awkward to be crying in the first place. Because then I'm feeling awkward about crying and I'm telling myself to stop being so stupid which just makes me cry more.

I like time to process the way I feel before I just blurt it out to someone which is why I love writing the way I feel on here as opposed to saying it. Plus not many people read this blog, and the ones who do truly care about me or they are a stranger looking for comfort. I also love that this season of my life will be documented.


If This Is How I Have to Know Him...

MiscarriageJessica Scheks2 Comments

Note: I tried very hard to not make this post too graphic, but realize it is still a story about miscarriage. I spared details that weren't needed to convey my message. But at the same time, this is my way of remembering the day my child was born way too early. As sad as the details are, I don't want to forget them.

little peanut isaiah 44 24

On November 15, 2015 my husband and I were at church in Cincinnati, Ohio. I was somewhere between seven to nine weeks pregnant and really not feeling well. I had a strange feeling that it wasn't just morning sickness but I was trying to remain positive; putting my faith in the Lord that He could turn the situation around if it was His will. Not too long into the church service I felt like I should go to the bathroom to monitor the situation. I walked back into the service trying to remain calm and told Michael before I was even back in the pew that we needed to leave. I hugged my best friend, Julie, goodbye and gathered my things. Before I could walk all the way out of the church, the tears began to stream down my face. We were in Cincinnati for a church meeting and were about four hours away from home. Before we left, I hugged my mother-in-law and then my best friend, Melissa (who lost her daughter in February 2014), out in the church foyer.

Things got much worse not too far into the car ride. Since it was Sunday I decided to call the after hours line at my doctor's office and I spoke to a doctor. She confirmed my worst fears that it sounded like I was miscarrying. However she told me at this point she was more concerned about me and the amount of blood I was losing. She told me if my condition didn't remain the same or get better that I would need to find a hospital pretty quickly. Thankfully, the conditions she was concerned about didn't really worsen. At this point we were getting pretty close to Columbus which is still two hours away from home and I did not want to stop at a hospital that far away from home. The situation we were in was already terrible enough; I didn't want to be stuck at a hospital so far away from home. So I told Michael to keep going.

I can't remember exactly when because I had been cramping all day long. However at a certain point the cramps became pretty excruciating. I was still holding onto a small ounce of hope that maybe I wasn't miscarrying and something else was happening, so I was trying to act like they weren't as bad as they were. I felt like if I gave into the pain I was giving into what seemed to be happening to me. Michael could tell I was in pain, but I was trying to hide from him how terrible it actually was. I didn't want him to worry over something he could do nothing about.

Unfortunately we had just passed through Columbus when my cramping began to worsen, so there weren't too many hospitals around and I was really starting to regret not stopping somewhere in Columbus. I've always found the idea of a natural unmedicated childbirth very intriguing, however in the car at that moment I was thinking, "I'm only a couple weeks pregnant, if contractions are this bad now, I don't even want to know what they're like at forty weeks... just schedule me for a c-section. Oh man I wish I was at a hospital right now. I would demand an epidural." But we were still at least forty minutes away from the hospital in Mansfield. At this point Michael was driving pretty fast to get me to the ER because he could tell I was in pain.

When we were about twenty minutes away from the hospital in Mansfield the pain abruptly stopped. It had been coming in waves, and even though I'd find some relief for several minutes in between, I could still tell it wasn't over. But finally it was. I could tell the pain wasn't coming back; my body felt oddly peaceful. I should've known then, but I was still trying to remain hopeful, however I think it was right around the time the pain stopped that I had officially miscarried my unborn child. I told Michael that I felt way better and we could probably make it home. But he had just seen me writhing in pain only moments earlier and he was taking me to the closest hospital no matter what, which in the end turned out to be a huge blessing.

We got to the hospital and I was still feeling better, thankfully no more pain. I signed in and was taken back almost immediately. The triage nurse was so kind and made me feel better. It took me several minutes to figure out why she had such a calming effect on me and then it hit me: Her voice and the way she spoke and pronounced her words reminded me of Michael's Aunt Doreen (a woman I really admire) and it just made me feel safe. That was the second blessing, the first being that we barely had to wait.

I was taken back to a room after they had taken my vitals and my nurse came in who was very close in age to me. As I was telling her the very brief version of how we ended up in the hospital I mentioned that we were in church and had to leave early. I had a plain black cotton maxi skirt on from Target and a black and white striped cotton long sleeve shirt. Earlier I also had on a cute floral scarf and an olive green jacket, but I had taken the accessories off throughout the day. And much to my surprise, my sweet nurse asked me if I wanted to remain modest and not change into a hospital gown. BLESS HER. If a nurse tells me to change into a gown, I will. I'm not going to be super happy about it, but I will. But for some reason she asked me if I wanted to remain modest, which of course I said yes. And then she told me she'd request that only female staff work with me to make me feel more comfortable. In the midst of such a terrible and traumatic situation I could clearly see God was still with us. Not to mention it was freezing in that hospital and I would've been miserable if I had changed into a gown.

So my nurse was the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh blessing: 3rd - she listened to my story 4th - she paid attention and realized I may want to remain as modest as possible and didn't make me change into a gown 5th - by not making me change into a gown she kept me from freezing 6th - she requested that only female staff work with me to make me feel more comfortable 7th - she was just so nice

It really is the little things sometimes.

I had a decent amount of time (over two hours) to get all of my tears out before we got to the hospital, and by the time we got there I think I was experiencing a mixture of denial and shock. I was pretty sure I knew what had happened but I was holding onto hope; hoping for a miracle. By the time I had an ultrasound and was told they saw nothing, I was just numb. I wasn't a crazy emotional wreck, it was like there were way too many emotions for my brain to handle and so it just stopped analyzing them and shut off. It felt like a bad dream; I couldn't grasp what was actually happening to me and I didn't have enough strength emotionally or physically to think about it.

So the eighth blessing is the rest of the hospital staff. Literally every single person I had to talk to-- the lady who took my blood, the lady who did my paperwork, the ultrasound tech, the physician assistant. They were all SO nice. They were unexpectedly really kind in a cold ER in a town I'm not too familiar with. I never would have expected to have such amazing staff. But Melissa told me several days after that when we left church that Sunday afternoon she prayed for gentle, caring staff. That prayer was answered so beyond perfectly. I will never forget it.

And I saved the best blessing for last: My amazing husband, Michael. He stayed so calm the entire time. He prayed for me. He repeatedly made sure I was okay. He walked with me into gas stations and rest stops on the way from Cincinnati to Mansfield when I could barely walk due to pain. He held my hand the whole time. In the hospital he gave me endless hugs, like really really good hugs that I could just fall into and feel his strength supporting me. He kept telling me how much he loved me and reassured me this wasn't my fault and that it was something we were going through together. He reminded me the Lord knew exactly where we were and that we'd be okay. He made sure I never felt alone.

And since that terrible day Michael has continued to do those things for me and more. He has cried with me. He has held me while I cried. He holds my hand any chance we get. He listens to me and the thousands of thoughts that are constantly churning through my mind. He continues to give me amazing hugs on demand. He lets me vent a little but then tries to bring me back to reality. He surprised me with two new Pandora beads to remember the little one we lost. I really just can't imagine going through this without Michael. He has been exactly what I needed in a husband. This trial has given me so much confidence in our marriage, not that I didn't have confidence in it before. But seeing him lead me through such a dark time, and growing closer each day because of it, is such a blessing. I love him SO much.

The Lord has been so close to us through this sad time. There have been many times I've caught myself saying, "This is just dumb," before I even realize what's coming out of my mouth. And at times it does make me mad. The unfairness of it all sometimes hits me anew and I hate it. But I can't deny that the Lord hasn't been holding me in the palm of His hand each step of the way. I recently heard the last few lines of a poem that go like this,

"I learned he never gives a thorn without this added grace, he takes the thorn to pin aside the veil that hides his face."

And I have found that to be so true. The Lord has revealed Himself to us in ways I've never experienced before. He is very near to the brokenhearted and I am so thankful for that. Without Him I would feel like I was just falling into a black hole with absolutely no hope. He has made Himself so real to me; it's the most bittersweet thing.

And if this is how I have to know Him, it's so worth it.


To read more about how the Lord has so gracefully carried me through this trial, read my post Comforted By The Comforter.

Comforted By The Comforter

MiscarriageJessica Scheks1 Comment

image The last two weeks I have found myself searching everywhere online looking for answers. I don't want an answer for why this happened, it's like I'm searching and hoping to find some type of advice or something that will help me feel better. With each promising article title I find I feel that little bit of hope before I click on it to read it further, hoping that this will be THE article; the one that changed everything and made me feel so much better.

But it recently hit me that while I may find comforting words from others online, I must go to THE Comforter to find the kind of love, grace, support, comfort, and healing that I so desperately crave. I'm not going to find that online and I can't expect it from my friends or family. These past two weeks have been so precious as I've felt the Lord draw me closer to Him in so many ways. He has shown His love for me in ways I couldn't fathom, and without Him there is absolutely no way I'd be getting through this. I recently saw a quote that says, "Time doesn't heal, God does." And I have found that to be so true. Time does nothing, sometimes it even makes it worse, but God comforts me no matter the time of day or how much time has passed.

I realized that the blog posts I have published since we lost our baby have all been about the grief and sadness that I feel. Those posts flowed right out of my fingertips as I typed and I feel like they needed to be written. I don't regret them because I feel like they contain words that women can relate to and they were about things I wanted to read at that stage in my grief. It's nice to read things that validate your feelings. But in the urgency I felt while writing them, I sometimes forgot to highlight the good. And there has been so much good.


First and foremost, I have just felt my heart bursting with love for the Lord. Not that it wasn't before this trial, but my love for Him is increasing daily as I see how intricately He cares for me. He knows exactly how I'm feeling and exactly what I need through each moment of the day to keep going. There have been moments where it suddenly hits me again that I had a miscarriage and our baby died. It's like being punched in the gut and I begin to feel overwhelmed with despair that almost paralyzes me. But then the Lord's presence floods in and relieves my burden. He overwhelms me with His presence so that I can feel nothing else. I can literally feel this happening as His grace washes over me and it is so amazing. It is miraculous! It reminds me how much I truly need Him. He fills the void that I feel. I didn't know it was possible to feel such an emptiness until I miscarried. But the only way I've found to fill that awful void is to fill myself with Him.

I've never gone through a trial before where I literally NEEDED the Lord and His goodness and grace just to get through a day. But oh do I need Him -- His Word, His Spirit, His people, and the music inspired by Him. All of these things are what gets me through each day.


The grief I have felt is physical, I often have headaches from holding back tears and my appetite has changed, I often feel slightly nauseous. But when I turn on a godly song, the tension of my headache lessens. When I soak in His Word and meditate on it I feel better. I truly feel like I must bask in His goodness to find comfort and peace. He is calling me so much closer to Him and it has been so worth all of the pain that I feel.

I've heard people testify in the past of the Lord in a way that I hadn't always been able to completely understand until now. They would be talking about a moment of despair, and they cried out, Abba Father! In tears they explained how it's like saying, "Daddy!" I'll admit I even thought it sounded a little weird, perhaps even disrespectful. But just the other day I was praying and those words just came out of me, it's like they were stored away in my mind subconsciously. I hadn't been thinking about it, but as I was praying it seemed so natural to say it, like there was no better term to use to call my Father Who takes care of me so gently in my time of grief. My heart is constantly exclaiming, "Oh Daddy, I LOVE You! Thank You for holding me in the palm of Your hand!"


The Lord has also used people in my life to comfort me. Text messages and Facebook messages have been sent to me at the perfect time with the perfect words. Several people have sent me beautiful songs with the exact words that I needed to hear. Music has been such a comfort to me -- I've listened to the same songs on repeat for hours. The first two times my husband went back to work  one of my best friends, Melissa, invited me over so that I wouldn't have to be by myself. Two of my best friends, Abby and Melissa, put together a little care package the day after we lost our baby containing fuzzy socks, tea, a notebook, candles, tissues, lavender bath salts and body wash, Panera soup, and supplies to make stove-top s'mores all in a really cute tote bag. The Lord also laid it on the heart of my super sweet friend, Elizabeth, to really be there for me. She consistently reached out to me even when I wasn't responding. Even though she doesn't understand the loss I'm enduring, she wants to understand and it's such a gift and now as most people are moving on and forgetting what happened, she is still there asking me how I'm doing and listening.

Inspiration from the Lord has been such a blessing. Not only has He inspired others as they reached out to me but He has also inspired me. The week after we lost our little one several people sent me songs. I noticed pretty quickly that each song mentioned the Lord's hand and began to do a study on it. When I began my study I wrote down the only four qualities of His hand that I could think of. But then I began reading scriptures about the Lord's hand and by the time I had finished I had found 32 qualities:


  1. Provides
  2. Protects
  3. Directs
  4. Guides
  5. Saves
  6. Creates
  7. Makes
  8. Executes plans
  9. Delivers
  10. Defends
  11. Forms
  12. Lays foundations
  13. Spans the heavens
  14. Judges
  15. Sculpts
  16. Molds
  17. Sustains
  18. Carries/holds our breath
  19. Satisfies desires
  20. Blesses
  21. Accomplishes
  22. Reshapes
  23. Restores
  24. Cannot be moved
  25. Recovers
  26. Redeems
  27. Rescues
  28. Upholds
  29. Helps
  30. Strengthens
  31. Holds me
  32. Is everpresent

I am SO thankful for the way the Lord is providing for me, He is SO good! My heart constantly feels overwhelmed by His love for me and my love for Him! Even though I still feel sad, I have a hope that I know comes directly from Him. When I do have a bad day or someone says something insensitive He is so quick to redeem it with His everpresent hand! And there are so, so, so many more things He has done for me, this post is just the tip of the iceberg. It'd actually be impossible to tell about all He's done for me, but I want to try for He has been so good to me.

I am so thankful for this trial; it is a thorn but it has made the roses so much more meaningful and beautiful in my life. It seems to me like some women are barely affected by a miscarriage. If it weren't for the physical aspect it'd practically mean nothing to them. They move on quickly, not feeling much of a loss. I think I used to be that kind of woman, but the experiences I've had in the last two years have changed me and I'm so thankful for it. As hard as it is to feel this pain, I'm learning so much and it's so worth it. Whatever it takes, Lord, to draw closer to You, that's what I'm willing to do.



My Miscarriage & The Holidays

MiscarriageJessica ScheksComment

In the past year or so grief has become something I'm very in tune to and intrigued by. I know the Lord put that in my heart because I ache for His children when they are grieving. Sometimes I feel like I can almost feel it; the Lord has really laid the burdens of other's heavily on my heart at times so that I can experience an ounce of the grief they are feeling daily. But for some reason it was hard for me to grasp how you couldn't feel joy during the Christmas season. It's just so joyful how could you not? I have found that the Lord loves to teach me new things after I've doubted someone. I can't tell you how many times I've doubted someone when they said they had come down with a type of sickness only to find myself in bed later that same year with the same illness. I definitely believed the person after that. I've had several of those experiences and now I really try not to doubt people when they say they're sick.

Ever since my friend Melissa lost her daughter, Audrey, I've watched her journey through very deep grief. I wasn't even a mother at the time and yet it hit me so hard. I know it was the Lord that was letting me feel her pain so that I could be a better friend to her in those times. But through that time I started to doubt things again and got a little snobby. When women would make a big deal about miscarriages I'd think to myself that they had no clue what it felt like to actually lose a child. They had barely been pregnant; they hadn't formed a bond with their child yet, who were they to think they'd lost something as precious as Melissa did? I got really protective over it all.

When I got pregnant I literally had the thought, "I've learned through Melissa I don't need to experience loss myself." (I know, that sounds terrible.) But apparently I was wrong. I didn't learn everything I needed to. And now I know how painful a miscarriage can be, not just physically, but emotionally. The emotional aspect is way more painful than the physical. Hundreds of times I am reminded daily that I am no longer pregnant even though I should be. Sometimes I'm reminded by seeing a pregnant woman or mother of a newborn at a store, sometimes it's a picture on social media, and sometimes the thought just pops into my head out of nowhere. But each time that I am reminded my stomach drops and I instantly feel sick. It is the most empty feeling in the world to lose a life that you once held safely inside of you and now you'll never get to meet. At times it feels so overwhelming I'm unsure of how I'll get through it. But then, almost simultaneously, I am also flooded with gratitude that I was blessed and privileged to hold that sweet child for as long as I did. That child made me a mother.

I lost my child eleven days before Thanksgiving. I had given Thanksgiving a little bit of thought about whether or not it'd be hard, but I was already focused on Christmas. I couldn't imagine feeling jolly and merry while not being pregnant. I have no desire to decorate for Christmas this year. Shopping is no longer fun. In fact the thought of how greedy everyone is around this time of year and the materialism of the holiday just disgusts me. I feel overwhelmed and alone in stores packed with people sipping Starbucks and obsessing over presents. I tried watching Elf the other night and stopped it five minutes in because I suddenly wanted to write out my miscarriage story.

As it turns out, Thanksgiving actually ended up being a lot harder than I imagined. I was around people almost all day and I had to keep putting on that smile and acting happy. I was so emotionally exhausted that it's now Saturday and I feel like I'm still recovering. I realized how absolutely vital it is that I spend time alone with the Lord, with my thoughts, writing, hand lettering, drinking tea, etc. to help clear my head. I need to be alone with my grief to process things. And I realized that I need to talk about it. Having conversations about other things is fine for awhile, but eventually I need a moment to vent to someone (usually Michael) and possibly shed some tears. Even if I'm sitting there with a happy face, on the inside I don't feel happy. I might even be using all of my energy to prevent myself from bursting into tears. It's hard to have a lump in your throat for hours on end.

So since Thanksgiving was so hard, I'm now even more nervous for Christmas, but also thankful that I have about a month to process and prepare. Something I've found really, really hard is events where I imagined I'd be pregnant. When I found out I was pregnant it was so fun to think about the upcoming holidays and sharing our joy and excitement with family and friends. People are very quick to share excitement and joy but they really shy away from sharing sorrow. I've already gotten the vibe from many that they think I should be moving on because what I experienced isn't a big deal. So since I don't feel as supported by everyone in the loss of my pregnancy like I did in my pregnancy I feel pressured into having to cover up the way I feel. And that is just hard. It gives me a headache to hide my sorrow. The only cure for grief is to grieve and I wish I didn't feel like I had to apologize for that.

So please excuse me this Christmas season if I don't show up to a gathering or act excited when someone talks about presents. I'm just really trying to focus on the real reason for the season this year because He is the only way I can get through this and I know He'll guide me so gracefully if I focus and rely on Him. And I pray that next year I'll have a baby in my arms to make this season feel much more merry and bright.