Reflections

When “Family Planning” doesn’t Meet our Expectations: Dealing with Miscarriage & Infertility

May 8, 2017
But now, faced with miscarriage and now several failed attempts of pregnancy, I’m realizing in a new way how much of a gift life is. I’ve learned that my husband and I are cooperators and not dictators in begetting life; that our children (present and future) truly are gifts from God, which we must treasure and tend to the best we know how.
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Conception after Miscarriage

Infertility. I never thought I would associate this word with myself. I had been married for all of two months when we discovered that we were pregnant with our firstborn. Eager to become parents, we were beyond elated with the discovery of this precious new life. I can remember the anticipation of waiting for that home pregnancy test as we sat on our bed and prayed for the Lord’s will for our family. And the overwhelming sense of joy as we realized that we were parents of a tiny human being.

Soon after our daughter’s birth, I felt a strong desire to have another child. I wanted my children to be close in age so that they could become “partners in crime.” And, almost like magic, when our daughter was nine months old we learned that we were pregnant again with our son. In both cases, I don’t know if you could say that we were “trying” to get pregnant. Rather, we had a desire for a child and asked God to provide one in His timing. Because of this, each of our pregnancies seemed almost magical, effortlessly happening when our hearts desired them. We began expecting the blessing of children when we desired them.

Our Miscarriage

This all changed, however, when we miscarried our sweet Lillian Marie at twelve weeks.  As I shared in my post Miscarriage: the Loss of a Child, we were both blindsided by this loss. Although I knew statistically that the chances of miscarriage were high, after having had two perfectly healthy pregnancies I had been lulled into a false sense of security.

For those of you who have lost babies through miscarriage, you know that it is a complex loss. Not only do you grieve for the child you’ll never know during this life, but also all of the anticipation, excitement, and plans that accompany new life are abruptly halted. And in the absence of that life, an aching hole remains in your heart with all of these unfulfilled dreams.For those of you who have lost babies through miscarriage, you know that it is a complex loss. Not only do you grieve for the child you’ll never know during this life, but also all of the anticipation, excitement, and plans that accompany new life are abruptly halted. And in the absence of that life, an aching hole remains in your heart with all of these unfulfilled dreams.

Having another child doesn’t magically negate this. In fact, one of the worst things you could probably tell a mother is “You’ll have another one,” or “At least you have your other children.” Phrases like these do nothing to comfort or acknowledge the preciousness of that lost life. We will always miss Lillian. Not a day goes by when I don’t think of my sweet angel baby, asking for her heavenly guidance for our family. But, after a healthy stage of mourning and healing, our hearts continue to long for another child; a sweet little one to nestle and love.

When God’s Plan Doesn’t Align with Ours

We live in a control-driven world. We humans like to think that we can decide and plan everything about our lives, most especially our fertility. Even I, a Catholic committed to Natural Family Planning and a pro-life lifestyle, have caught myself slipping into this mentality. I’ve always envisioned myself with a large family and never even considered the possibility that God might have other plans.

But now, faced with miscarriage and now several failed attempts of pregnancy, I’m realizing in a new way how much of a gift life is. I’ve learned that my husband and I are cooperators and not dictators in begetting life; that our children (present and future) truly are gifts from God, which we must treasure and tend to the best we know how.

Entrusting my Fertility to God

In these past months, I’ve had to open my heart up to trust in a completely new and radical way. To further entrust my fertility to the Lord, knowing that could mean I never have another child or that even if pregnancy is achieved there is no guarantee things won’t go wrong again. And though the thought of losing another child terrifies me, I have to trust that God gives and takes all life for a reason.

My heart has such compassion for those couples who have never been able to have a child. For those who have faced disappointment after disappointment in their efforts to conceive and bear a child. In my small way, I’ve gotten a taste of what that’s like and know this is a very difficult burden to bear.When suffering from a miscarriage or the disappointment of infertility, it can be difficult to see God's plan in your life. But God always has a purpose for the trials he allows, turning each one to good in our life somehow

Yet I also know that God does not waste our heartaches but always uses them to unite us further to Him and to accomplish some good in this world. For my own part, I’m learning more and more the importance of treasuring my two living children and thanking God for all the little (and sometimes difficult) moments with them.

I ask, dear reader, that you pray for my family as we continue to go through this journey. And if you are in need of prayer, or of sharing your story, I invite you to reach out either through the comments below or privately through the contact tab above.

Salt & Light Link-Up

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  1. Hi Audrey- I loved this post. I love how you encourage others and how you are vulnerable in sharing your own infertility. You’re beautiful! God is using you to bless others, know that!! ALso your blog is beautiful, I love it! I’m sharing this today! Thank you for linking up at Salt & Light!

    1. Shannon, your kind words mean so much. It has been a blessed (albeit painful) journey. It’s such a gift to be able to share though and use it all for His good.

  2. A friend shared this post with me and it touched me in several ways. While we have not miscarried we have been trying to expand our family (we have two daughters that like you had the desire to expand our family and God provided). Now almost two years into this “secondary infertility” journey I have felt and agree with everthing you wrote. Thank you for being vulnerable and writing this. I feel in the Catholic Church that this needs to be talked about more. Again, thank you. Please know that I’ll be praying for you and your sweet family.

    1. Kristin, thank you so much for your kind words. I too feel like this is a topic we women need to share more openly about and I feel blessed to see my words touching others who have or currently are undergoing similar circumstances. I will be praying for you as well!

  3. Audrey, I’m grateful for mothers like you who share their honest and enduring journey of infertility and grief and loss. Moms who suffer such devastating experiences are on my heart so much, especially during this upcoming Mother’s Day celebration. I am praying for you and all the amazingly strong women who endure this difficult road. I’ll be sharing your post on my page, with hopes it reaches broken hearts everywhere. <3

    1. Thank you, Christine, for you kind words and for sharing this post with a larger community. It truly has been a blessing to see how God has used our journey/struggles to benefit others. What a gift!

  4. I have never experienced miscarriage and the pain experienced but I have experienced 8 years of unexplained infertility. My nights were a combination of a wet pillow and a Bible under the pillow. God takes us through the valleys to experience great victories in Him. I am a mama today just because of my Lord.
    Praying for your dear family .

    Diana – http://dianasdiaries.com

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this. My husband and I lost our baby of 9 weeks this past Saturday. This was our first pregnancy. This miscarriage lasted 18 hours and my heart is still aching. My loved ones keep reminding me her purpose is to be an angel in heaven. I may not understand God’s will, but I know He is perfect. He will ultimately show us our path. I will be praying for you as you experience this loss. Please pray for us during this process as well.

    1. Oh my goodness! I will definitely be praying. I know that you are in so much pain. Be patient with yourself and allow yourself to grieve. My heart is with you and your family! If you need someone to talk to who has been there, don’t hesitate to reach out.

  6. You will definitely be in my prayers! We practice NFP and have two children, as well. My sister experienced secondary infertility after a successful pregnancy and then subsequent miscarriage, though, and being so close to her through her experience has kept at the front of my mind the fragility and uncertainty of life and fertility. Thank you for writing this open post about such a difficult experience!

    1. Thank you, Bethany. It has definitely been a process, but I’m thankful too for all that I’m learning and the good that is coming from it. Your prayers are very much appreciated.

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