“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1: 2-4
God has asked me to find joy in my trials. God has asked me to find joy in my pain and hard times. But when the doctor explained that my unborn child no longer had a heartbeat, joy was the absolute last feeling that came to me. No. Let me be accurate. Joy did not come. At all.
What did come was anguish. What came was heartbreak, confusion, pain- both physical and spiritual, sorrow, depression, and anxiety. What came was endless questioning of God’s love.
I knew He loved me. I knew He cared. I knew He was watching, wiping away the tears that fell every single day. I knew He was drawing close to me during that time. But what I didn’t know was His plan. Why would this happen to me? Why my child? Then one day I felt God speak the words, “why not you, why not your child?” And let me tell you I wanted to be offended. I wanted to be ANGRY. But I couldn’t be. I realized women all over this world struggle with infertility, miscarriages, still-births, and other pregnancy related complications. Why NOT me? Why only them?
The realization didn’t take away my pain, but it did redirect it. And one day I found myself in church praising God for what he had allowed me to go through. While I don’t blame God for bad things happening I do feel that he allows them. We grow from them. We learn from them. And for a long time I thought what do you want me to get out of this? I firmly believed and do believe that my life-altering, earth-shattering event was not in vain. Anyway, I found myself praising God thanking Him that I had gone through that experience if for no other reason than that I can now identify with other women who are going through the same things. I can encourage. I can empathize. I can listen. I can understand.
One in four women experience loss similar or far greater than mine. And many go through it alone. Mostly because as women we are taught to keep these things quiet. I’m sure you have heard that you shouldn’t share the news that you’re pregnant until after your first trimester because your chances of miscarrying decrease. When we do that we are telling women, “don’t talk about your miscarriage, don’t talk about your trauma, keep it to yourself.”
I walked around suffering day after day, but had to put on a brave face in front of others. Even those close to me who I just hadn’t told. Pretending to be happy is hard. Pretending to not feel is hard. Crying in private so others don’t see is hard.
Sharing such personal information is a choice every woman should make for herself. In no way am I saying, shout from the rooftops when the pee on your stick dries. But I am saying we need to stop telling women to wait to share. We need to stop shying away from the topic. There is someone you know right now who has experienced miscarriage, having trouble getting pregnant, experienced still-birth, or had to terminate a pregnancy for health reasons and you don’t even know it. We need women to know it’s OK to talk about it.
I will admit that this is my first time sharing my experience publicly. For most people who know me, reading this will be the first time they have heard my story. But God has shown me what to do with my trials. To somehow find joy in them. And my joy will come in helping and supporting others.
I challenge you to use your struggles to identify with others around you. God has created us to be a community of people. He allows us to experience things so that we can help others. Your story is not just for you. Your testimony is meant to be shared. God’s people need you.