This is the story of how I turned my miscarriage into a time to look toward hope instead of giving up.
Even when my husband and I were young, poor, and living in tiny apartments, we’d get a real tree, decorate it with a mix of hand-me-downs and cheap ornaments, and I’d make batches and batches of cookies for friends and neighbors.
I knew that when I had children, celebrating Christmas with them would be especially joyous. So in the fall of 2006, during my first pregnancy, I looked forward to the Christmas season with double anticipation. I couldn’t wait to travel home to see my family and celebrate both Christmas and the upcoming child with them. I imagined future Christmases with my child, and how he or she would be with us for all the celebrations.
Going Through a Miscarriage
But on October 21st, twelve weeks into my pregnancy, I went to bed with mild cramps. In the night, the cramps turned into blinding pain, and by morning, when we rushed to the ER, my worst fears were realized: I had lost the baby. I spent about a month in a fog of mourning. Thanksgiving came and went, and I hardly noticed it. I dreaded Christmas that year. I thought that the celebrations, the images of the Christ child in church, and mostly the constant pressure to enjoy “Christmas cheer” would just remind me of what I’d lost. But we bought our tree, decorated our house, and made our travel plans just like every other year.
In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan, Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone.
I took out my Christmas CD’s but didn’t listen to all of them. I didn’t want to hear the cheerful, cloying tones of Bing Crosby or Nat King Cole. I wanted to hear the music of my childhood: classical music, hymns. I played Handel’s Messiah at home and a CD of hymns in the car. I buried myself in music that somehow expressed longing, sadness, and darkness as well as hope and joy.
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, In the bleak midwinter, long ago.
I remember the Christmas season that year as starker, quieter, and more contemplative than ever before. The lights, the decorations, the tree, and of course the cookies all had their place. But I spent less time planning, shopping and socializing and more time thinking and praying. I don’t remember what presents I got or gave that year. The busiest time of the year was my time to stop, reflect, and heal. The music that tied me to my childhood and my faith allowed me to acknowledge my pain and move toward hope. I looked at the baby in the manger with longing but without bitterness.
Shortly before Valentine’s Day the next year, I found out I was pregnant with my oldest son. His original due date: October 21, the anniversary of my miscarriage. How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given; so God imparts to human hearts the blessings of his heaven.