No One Ever Really Tells You the Lasting Effects of Miscarriage
No one ever really tells you about the lasting effects of losing a baby. Regardless of the stage of pregnancy you were in, there are always lasting effects. Maybe for some of you it’s the struggle to hear a baby cry, even months or years after your loss. Maybe it’s the struggle to see the joy in your life. Or maybe it’s the new way you look at your body and you as a woman. You see it as failing, incompetent, even incomplete. Maybe the effects go much deeper than your environment or the body changes you have experienced. Perhaps you now find yourself struggling with depression, anxiety, fear, anger, or loneliness.
For me, it’s fear and anxiety. Before the loss of our three babies, I remember being excited to try new adventures. In college, I always loved exploring the city whether it was by myself or with friends, I never feared going out alone. In my teen years I always envisioned myself living in Africa as a missionary or traveling the world helping people and sharing Jesus with whoever would listen. Then in 2013 when we went through our first miscarriage, anxiety overtook me. Fear enslaved me.
I know this is something I have already talked about and if I am being honest, I will keep talking about it because I think it’s something most of us struggle with. Whether we want to admit it or not.
I knew the anxiety over pregnancy, sex, loss, babies, and what a new normal would look like came with that initial shock of grief and it was something to work through. It’s something I thought I got over. However, as I have been processing over the last 4 years the Lord is revealing to me that anxiety and fear are still very much apart of my everyday life. Right now in this season, it might expose itself in other areas such as wife, mom, homemaker, business owner, friend but the deep anxiety I feel when my life feels overwhelming (which at times seriously feels like always) I realize is not something I have completely overcome. And friend, I want so badly to fight. To fight against the lies that I need to have it altogether and be as “perfect” as this instagram post or the person in the next feed. And if I am being honest, this season of life doesn’t directly reflect the two years we struggled with secondary infertility and miscarriage. But it’s where it started. And I am not sure why but I know that it’s the enemy waging war with my mind. Here are some of the things that come to mind as I think through how this anxiety and fear continue to follow me:
I have an irrational fear of things dying. Guys… I am talking about my plants. I am a 100% plant lady but I have this crazy, irrational fear of killing them. I watch over them like a hawk and when/if they seem to be struggling in some way, it causes crazy anxiety! I become obsessed with figuring out the problem and fixing it. You know what… I know where this fear comes from. While we were walking through our second loss, we were gifted a little beta from a friend’s daughter. I took its care seriously and I remember about 1 week before our move to Iowa it all of a sudden wasn’t doing so great. I remember getting so so emotional over this fish and just so fearful that I would wake up the next morning and it would be dead. Well, the next morning, my husband graciously made sure to check on the fish before I woke up and it had in fact died. Guys, I lost it. It was one more thing I felt like I failed at. Another life I wasn’t able to keep alive. IT WAS A FISH!
As I mentioned above, this same week we made a cross country move in the middle of winter. I had a little umbrella plant that was thriving in our California home and we took it with us. Traveling in the middle of winter isn’t good for plants guys. Because it died. There was no hope and it was yet again a “life” I couldn’t keep alive.
Another area of life this anxiety sneaks into is all the household chores that always need to get done. The cycle becomes: letting the house build up to the point of not knowing where to start first. Its never enough to just start somewhere. If I start with the dishes there is always the thoughts of the toys in the living room, the disaster that is our basement. Oh and there is this thing I need to get done for Lilia Grace and this phone call I need to make. Then the boys start fighting and whining and it all becomes to much! I shrink and the thoughts get too overwhelming and I freeze up. I can't think straight and I can't process the next steps. This usually ends in grumpiness and agitation. Self pity and guilt about what I didn't get done and how ridiculous I am for not being able to simply wipe down the kitchen counters.
Friends, maybe this sounds insane to you, but for me this where my fear and anxiety live. It started in 2013 and it is a daily fight to overcome it!
These are the areas the enemy cares about. The areas that are weaknesses and areas He is confident he will win the battle in. He cares about the places in your life he can ensnare you and create strongholds.
There really is so much more I could share about the anxiety I developed in the midst of our losses and how it has continued to impact my life today but I really want to turn you to what Scripture says. Because isn’t that what this is all about? To see these areas of struggle, surrender them and walk forward in the freedom we are offered in Christ.
I was reading through Psalm 27 the other day as part of my quiet time and I really resonated with the first 4 verses:
"The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
When evildoers assail me
to eat up my flesh,
my adversaries and foes,
it is they who stumble and fall.
Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me,
yet I will be confident.
One thing have I asked the LORD,
that will I seek after:
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to inquire in his temple."
Here is what stood out to me and why I connect this with the writing above.
Do you see where the focus is? It’s not on the writer, it’s on the LORD. Even as the enemy surrounds and war rises against, David declares that the LORD is his light and his salvation. The LORD is the stronghold of his life. Let’s just stop for a second… The opposite of light is darkness which is where I put myself when I am living in fear. Salvation is freedom and I am enslaved to this anxiety I experience. That’s not freedom!!!
And who is the stronghold of David’s life? The LORD! He is my stronghold! He protects me against any attack from the enemy! This is such sweet, sweet news! But friend, it doesn’t end there. As David’s enemies pursue and surround him, though war wage against against him, he proclaims confidence in the ONE he knows will not falter. As I read this, my thoughts took me to though I am not battling a physical war (though sometimes, emotions will look like waging war against the enemy) what I am in right now, is a war. The enemy heavily pursues, encamps me and declares war with my mind and my heart.
These are truths I NEED to cling to! I too can be confident that I “may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.” There is nothing sweeter than gazing upon the LORD’S beauty and dwelling in His presence. But sister, these truths are hard to remember and sometimes so hard to believe and live out. So I am going to ask you to join me in writing out truths you need to recall. Write them out on a post it, in your journal, anywhere really and surrender them over! Dwell on Psalm 27 and make it your prayer as you fight for joy and freedom from the strongholds in your life!