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Buried in the Grief of Pregnancy Loss: Where God Grows Bravery

By Jenny Albers

God's Brave Women - Jenny's Story


The second line on the pregnancy test appeared and as much as I wanted to feel joy, it was something more like terror that washed over me.


To be clear, this was a planned pregnancy. My husband and I had intentionally tried to conceive. This is exactly what I had wanted.


Well, maybe not exactly.


Let me explain.


What I had really wanted was to not know the grief of pregnancy loss, and now, the terror of pregnancy after loss. While terror might seem like a strong word, the thing is that I had wanted my two previous pregnancies, too. I had wanted the two babies I’d carried in my womb. These were pregnancies that were also planned, hoped for. But neither of them lasted long enough for the babies I carried to survive. By this point, I was acutely aware that my pregnancy might not end with a squishy-faced baby. Cue the terror.


My first loss was the result of an ectopic pregnancy. The fertilized egg, alive with the very beginning stages of life, had implanted in my fallopian tube instead of in my uterus, and was therefore not viable. I was crushed.


Months later, I became pregnant again. Though I was skeptical that this pregnancy would progress without complications, my first four prenatal appointments went well. I was hopeful. I heard my baby’s heartbeat. I saw my baby bouncing around inside of my uterus. There were no known concerns.


But at 20 weeks, 3 days pregnant, my body went into labor and I gave birth to a stillborn baby. Micah. I was devastated. Gutted. Empty. I had never experienced such all-consuming pain. I was paralyzed by grief. For months.


So, no, my subsequent pregnancy after two losses wasn’t exactly what I had wanted. I had wanted the two babies I’d carried before. I had wanted to be grief-free. I had wanted my pregnancies to result in joy, not sorrow.


 

"My subsequent pregnancy after two losses wasn’t exactly what I had wanted. I had wanted the two babies I’d carried before. I had wanted to be grief-free. I had wanted my pregnancies to result in joy, not sorrow."

 

But wrapped up inside the pain, something was changing.

In the months after losing Micah, the phrase “you’re going to do something with this,” wafted through my grief-filled mind like a faint scent of something that couldn’t be grasped.


“What could this possibly mean?” I wondered. “What could I do?”


Over and over, I felt the almost undiscernible nudge to write. To tell my story. To vulnerably share my experiences with pregnancy loss. I suppose because I felt so alone, isolated in my grief. Misunderstood by those around me. No one seemed to be talking about pregnancy loss or the grief it causes. No one seemed to understand why I was so sad for so long.


And when I became pregnant after two losses, no one seemed to understand why I didn’t seem excited. Or why I used the word if instead of when in reference to my baby coming home. It seemed I was the only one who remembered that becoming pregnant didn’t guarantee that I’d be holding my baby in my arms. Did no one else remember how my previous two pregnancies ended?


 

"When I became pregnant after two losses, no one seemed to understand why I didn’t seem excited. Or why I used the word if instead of when in reference to my baby coming home. It seemed I was the only one who remembered that becoming pregnant didn’t guarantee that I’d be holding my baby in my arms."

 

For two-and-a-half years, the nudges poked at me. But I ignored them. Batted them away with a silent laugh and internal eye roll.


Yeah right. Me? Write? For other people to read?


I was a keep-to-myself kind of person. Always had been. I didn’t know how to talk about the hard things. I didn’t really want to talk about them. I didn’t know what it meant to use my voice. Did I even have a voice?


What I know now is that when I was buried in the grief of pregnancy loss and the anxiety of pregnancy after loss, God was growing bravery.


 

"What I know now is that when I was buried in the grief of pregnancy loss and the anxiety of pregnancy after loss, God was growing bravery."

 

He had planted a seed of vulnerability, and finally, another nudge caused me to water that tiny seed.


Less than two years after that positive pregnancy test—and one year after that pregnancy ended with a crying baby boy in my arms—I was ready to water the seed.


I wrote publicly about the realities of pregnancy after loss—the darkness that accompanies it—for the first time. And I was stunned to hear from women who read that article. Women who related to it. Women who understood. I was no longer alone. And neither were they.


By choosing to water the seed of vulnerability, God was growing me into a woman who could use my voice to walk alongside other grieving mothers. To love them in the darkness of pregnancy loss and the uncertainty of pregnancy after loss. I poked my head through the dirt and started telling my story.


 

"By choosing to water the seed of vulnerability, God was growing me into a woman who could use my voice to walk alongside other grieving mothers."

 

God was showing me that when we use our voices to acknowledge someone else’s grief, hurt, and difficult circumstances, we are loving them. And one thing I know for sure is that those who have lost a baby and those who are cautiously hoping for another, need to know love.


 

"When we use our voices to acknowledge someone else’s grief, hurt, and difficult circumstances, we are loving them. And one thing I know for sure is that those who have lost a baby and those who are cautiously hoping for another, need to know love."

 

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." (2 Timothy 1:7 NLT)


I didn’t ask for pregnancy loss to be part of my story. I certainly never wanted to know the devastation of losing a baby. I never thought I’d write publicly about, well, anything. But God used my losses to change my life. To peel off the layers of self-protection. To overcome my fear of vulnerability that I might help another woman feel supported and loved in her journey of picking up the pieces of a shattered heart.


 

Brave Woman Manifesto


Make sure to check back next week as another courageous Sister shares her story.

And by the way...


You are Brave!


No matter what you are facing, God has made you in His image, which means He equips you with His courage, strength, and power. I would love to connect more and give you a FREE gift - the BRAVE WOMAN MANIFESTO: Five Things to Tell Yourself When Life Gets Hard. Click HERE to sign up for my monthly newsletter and you’ll receive the FREE Manifesto, as well as recent blog posts, updated resources and personal details delivered only to my empowered email tribe.


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About Jenny


Jenny Albers is the author of Courageously Expecting: 30 Days of Encouragement for Pregnancy After Loss. She lives with her husband, Luke, and two living children in South Dakota. Jenny is the founder of Still Loved, an online community focused on amplifying the voices of loss parents.


You can find Jenny on Instagram and Facebook, as well as on her website.

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