I stood staring at the two pink lines in stunned silence.
Alone in the city, far from home, no husband.
This wasn’t supposed to happen.
I wasn’t supposed to have you.
But there you were, a tiny heartbeat inside my body. I was thrilled…then terrified. I wasn’t married. My parents were going to be devastated. I was going to be the black sheep of our Christian family, the one who brought shame, who confirmed the things others had always thought about her, even though they weren’t true.
How were they to know how hard I had tried to be good? How could they know that the myriad of boyfriends were because I was good – that when I was no “fun,” they grew tired of me, or I of them – that I had stayed pure throughout my teen years, and well into my twenties, because I was sure my life would be good if I was?
Until… it wasn’t. Until I grew tired of being alone for the sake of being good. Until the draw of the world, and the promise of the love and companionship I so desperately craved, became too much for this lonely heart to resist. They couldn’t know. And it was useless to try to explain.
But it was okay. I was living in the big city, where this was a normal, everyday occurrence. Women did it all the time—became single, working moms and just made it work. Besides, I was sure your daddy would want to take care of us. I was sure he would be as happy as I was and excited to be a dad. Ready for the next stage of life. Maybe he would even want to marry me and make things permanent. Give you a name. After all, we had been together for so long, it seemed like the natural next step.
And so, I told him. And he wasn’t happy. And he said that most first pregnancies ended in miscarriage, and maybe mine would too, and we wouldn’t have to worry about this.
Worry about “this” – the brand new life growing inside me, a part of me, a part of him, and yet, a heart beating all on its own. He wanted nothing to do with “this” – with you -and it was obvious. He tried to pretend to be supportive, but he wasn’t. And I had no time for pretending, because this was real.
So I decided you and I would go it alone. It would be just the two of us. I would carry you and give you life, and I would love you, and you would love me, and we would be happy. Just us two.
We spent every day together. I would talk to you. I would tell you Jesus loved you. In the big city, I was allowed to be proud of my baby bump beginning—proof that you were there, growing and doing well. My coworkers were kind. My girlfriends were excited. We were going to be fine, you and me.
And then it got hard. And I knew I needed support. And there was no support there in the city. So I came home—home to confused, hurting parents who, in spite of their hurt, still loved me—and you. Home to a group of extended family who disapproved of my actions, tried hard not to show it, and rallied around to help.
Some were supportive and loving and kind. Some were excited. Some talked about me behind my back. But they were family. And family takes care of each other. And if you weren’t going to have a daddy, you needed grandparents, and aunts, and uncles, and cousins. And they would all love you, no matter how you came into the world.
My bewildered momma tried to reconcile her excitement over her first grandchild and her fear of the difficult days she knew lay ahead for her daughter as a single mom.
And my heartbroken daddy threw himself into preparing a cozy, comfortable home for you and me, even as he wrestled with his own feelings of failure, as if somehow, this were all his fault—as if, in some way, he hadn’t been a good enough father.
I bore the sideways looks, and I dealt with the anger and frustration and disbelief toward this Christian girl who knew better, yet had dared to bring a new life into the world without the covering of a husband. I knew my lifestyle had been wrong. I knew God’s best plan included a father and mother to provide a stable home.
I figured I deserved the shame that came with my disobedience. But that didn’t change the fact that you were there. And I loved you. And no matter how hard I tried to be sorry for my sins, I couldn’t be sad that you were there. I couldn’t hide the glow. Your origin didn’t matter to me at that point. You were mine.
And then the bleeding started – slow, small, “no need to worry,” she said. “This happens to a lot of expectant moms.” But then it grew heavier, and there was no denying it—something was wrong. And I was in the ER, the radiologist silent as she looked for a heartbeat.
And I knew. Deep down, I knew. And then it was a blur. The doctor’s voice: “No heartbeat. Recommend a d&c to stop the bleeding.” My mom sat next to me holding my hand, then blackness. Then bright lights, and cold, and silence.
And you were gone.
And it was “for the best,” because I wasn’t supposed to have you.
And life went back to normal – at least it seemed to, for everyone else. And nobody mentioned you anymore. And your daddy called. And he said he was sorry. And I said it was his fault because he had wished for it. And he said it was for the best and wanted me to “come home.” And I hung up the phone.
Everyone else seemed fine. And I didn’t cry. I’m not sure I even remember feeling. I wasn’t supposed to. It had all been a big nightmare for everyone, and the nightmare was over. No unplanned pregnancy to explain to old church friends; no ex-boyfriend to be attached to because of a child.
I should be thankful God had delivered me from the life of a single mom. I should be glad I wasn’t forever attached to a man who didn’t care for me, just because we had a child together. I had been freed, given a second chance to live life. It was all “for the best.” And I knew they were right.
And so I tucked you away in my heart. And I didn’t speak of you or think of you anymore. And I didn’t grieve. And I didn’t allow myself to think about what could have been.
And my relatives far away told everyone I had had an abortion. And I laughed a hollow laugh at how ludicrous that was. And I didn’t care.
I married, and I had children. My children heard of a friend who had a miscarriage, and they asked if I had ever had one. I said yes. And they got both excited and sad because they could have had an older brother or sister.
I wondered then if you had been a boy or a girl, and what you would have looked like. But I didn’t cry. I wasn’t supposed to. That was a former life, one I’m not supposed to talk about, or remember.
Because that was that guy, and I am married to this guy; and that’s uncomfortable, because I wasn’t supposed to have you.
And now it has been sixteen years. And today, I read about the heart-break of someone else’s miscarriage. And without warning, I cry. And tonight, I read about another miscarriage. And I cry. And suddenly, the floodgates open, and I weep. Gut-wrenching sobs rack my empty womb. And sixteen years of unwept tears come pouring out of my soul. My heart breaks into a million pieces, and I weep them all away. And I mourn your loss. And I grieve for you.
I allow myself to feel the pain I wasn’t supposed to feel, as a young, unwed expectant mother, who was supposed to be happy she wasn’t pregnant anymore – thankful that her baby had died in her womb, that she hadn’t had to face the inconvenience and difficulty of raising a child by herself.
And the guilt and the confusion come flooding back in; and just as quickly, they are washed away by tears that begin to heal, and a Voice that whispers,” It’s ok to hurt.”
I wasn’t supposed to have you. Maybe that’s true. But in the midst of what wasn’t supposed to be was someone who was. Two someone’s who were. One flew to the arms of Jesus, and the other was left to deal with the loss of what wasn’t supposed to be.
See, in the midst of the “all things” that work together for good are the “some things” that really, really hurt.
And although time is supposed to heal all wounds, forgetting never does. It only delays it awhile.
And even when grief is caused by sin, the sinner still needs to be met in their grief – to be acknowledged. To be told that it’s ok to feel loss, to hurt, to mourn, even when what they have lost wasn’t supposed to be.
And so today, sixteen years after your loss, I grieve. I acknowledge that you were a tiny human being – my human being – who deserved to be loved, and then mourned when lost. I admit that you left a hole in my heart – a tiny, angel-shaped hole that can only be healed and filled by the grace and mercy of Jesus.
I allow my heart to be broken, and I weep the cleansing tears of grief over the loss of a life I never got to see. Tiny fingers I never got to hold. Chubby cheeks I never got to kiss. Little feet that never ran across my floor, but are running on streets of gold. Little ears that never heard me sing, “Jesus loves you,” but instead, get to hear, “I love you” from the lips of Jesus Himself…
I wasn’t supposed to have you. Perhaps.
But I did. You were. And you are.
Lift those little lips to the ears of Jesus, sweet one, and whisper, “Mommy says thank you.”
Because I wasn’t supposed to have you.