I had a miscarriage, and it’s a secret.
My child, which was being knit together by God in a secret place died, and became a secret also. He was alive inside me long enough for me to begin dreaming about what his life would be like, but not long enough to seem real now as I look back to this shadowy time in my life. This child, who in my imagination was my son, was a gift given to me years after I had given up the possibility of carrying a child. My pregnancy test turned positive only hours before I heard my pastor preach on the story of Hannah praying for a child, and being blessed with Samuel. A sign from God, I thought, forgetting the second half of the story where Hannah in turn gives Samuel back to the Lord.
So, God in His wisdom took my child to be with Him. And I moved on. Only I didn’t. I read some Psalms and a couple books from the self-help section of the library. I read blog posts by brave women telling their stories of loss, and took a deep breath. I cried in the car on the way home from the store where no one could hear me. I prayed. I told a handful of trusted friends who live far away. And kept going.
I attended a family funeral not long after my loss and stood in the receiving line next to two round-bellied pregnant family members whose unborn children were included in the “survived by” section of the obituary, crying on the inside, but comforting others on the outside. Grieving two members of my family at once, but secretly.
And why do I do this? Well, I’m not a very emotions-on-your-sleeve kind of gal, so there’s that. I’m the strong one, whom others rely on. We are told to “bear one another’s burdens”, but I seem to be the one doing all the bearing most of the time. From experience, I know that comfort is not likely to be found in sharing my pain with my family. They have their own issues, and it just makes it more difficult for me in the long run. I mostly keep my secrets to protect others that I love. Is this a healthy response? Probably not. I’m working on it. As I work on dealing with my grief, with my sorrow, with my secret, I’m also living life; a full life with responsibilities and duties, everyday joys and trials. A life that makes it easy to keep the secret part hidden and tucked away most of the time.
Approximately 1 in 5 pregnancies end in miscarriage. So maybe this isn’t your secret, but maybe it is. Maybe you have another secret hurt. Something so painful, you feel it can’t be shared. If you don’t have one, I guarantee someone in your life does. It could be your friend, your sister, your neighbor, or that nice lady at the grocery store who rings up your eggs and milk on Thursdays. We’re women. We’re strong and weak at the same time. We keep secrets about our hurts to protect others, and to protect ourselves from the flow of emotions we just can’t face. We do our best to keep going. We need to keep going.
When you throw your fellow sisters in the faith under the bus for not schooling their children the way you think is best, or working, or not working, or not having more kids, or failing to volunteer for the bake sale, or skipping your baby shower, you do a great disservice to the Body of Christ. Because your sisters need kindness and grace. You never know what secret they might have. Hidden things below the surface that keep them from doing and being whatever it is you think they should be and do. And you need kindness and grace, too. You need the Gospel holding you together when everything else is tearing you down.
I’m not ready to tell my secret yet openly. As time passes, I may be. But in the meantime, it doesn’t really matter who I am. I am you. I am your sister in Christ. I am a wounded soul needing kindness.
I am a sinner, needing grace.
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.