Trusting God After Multiple Miscarriages
It was December 2017 when my family plans were first turned upside down by a sudden and unexpected miscarriage.
My son Ben was two and a half at the time, and settling into preschool well so it felt like the perfect time to extend our family. We got pregnant right away with him, so I just assumed that everything would be fine again. And for a while it was, until I discovered I was miscarrying somewhere between 7-8 weeks.
No one ever really expects a miscarriage to happen to them, and naturally it was a huge shock, but I also knew that miscarriage in early pregnancy was pretty common. So I reasoned that I would just take a few months to heal, and then we would try again.
This temporary pause ended up feeling more like a permanent stop, as several more miscarriages followed.
It was our third miscarriage that really changed everything for me. Not only was it the miscarriage that tipped us over into the category of ‘recurrent loss’, but it also came much later into my pregnancy, and it was a silent miscarriage too. This means we didn’t have any indication of anything being wrong until we were told that there was no heartbeat during a routine scan.
The experience was completely devastating, a heartbreak like nothing I’d ever experienced before. For a few different reasons we really felt that this pregnancy was going to be okay, and then suddenly it wasn’t, which left us feeling very let down by God and with lots of unanswered questions about our faith. Why was this happening to us? Where was God? Why wasn’t He answering our prayers? Did He care about us at all?
What’s more, it felt like the loss of hope for future pregnancies too. We were getting older, time was no longer on our side, and our miscarriages remained ‘unexplained’ which meant there was still no diagnosis or hope for treatment or cure.
But in the end, I did the only thing that I could. I cried out to God in my brokenness. And do you know what I discovered? That even right there in the midst of my darkest moments, God was there also, still extending his hope, his peace, and his comfort to me.
Jesus once said: ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted’ (Matthew 5:4). For a long time I struggled to understand how that could be. What could possibly be blessed about losing a child? Or several children in a row?
But what I’ve learned over time is that the blessing isn’t really in the grief itself, but in the invitation it presents to draw near to God, and to experience Him drawing close to you in a new way too.
Another really hard part of my miscarriage story was the silence and stigma that seemed to surround the subject. I quickly discovered that no one ever really wanted to consider or to talk about this kind of loss, unless it had happened to them too.
And for a long time, I used to dread new social situations with other parents, where the inevitable motherhood questions would always arise: ‘Have you just got one child?’ and ‘Are you planning to have any more?’.
I mean, how do you even begin to answer that question with colleagues in an office or other new moms outside the school gates? Usually I’d find myself forcing a fake smile and offering some kind of half-truth like, ‘Maybe soon’.
And if this total lack of awareness was hard to stomach in social situations, then I found it doubly hard to cope with in church where our disappointment and grief was often either just ignored, or met with awful christian cliches like, ‘Everything happens for a reason’, or ‘God’s timing is perfect’.
The total lack of empathy and awareness that I experienced began to really grate on me, so eventually I decided to start blogging about my experiences in the hope it might encourage others facing similar struggles. That blog soon grew into speaking and podcasting invitations too, and then eventually it led to me partnering with a few friends in launching a miscarriage and infertility network offering peer support to other women in our city, which is growing from strength to strength.
I never dreamed that heartbreak could grow into something that would offer strength to others.
But what I’ve discovered is that if we are willing to surrender the broken pieces of our hearts into God’s hands and trust him to turn them into something beautiful again, that’s exactly what He will do.
I’m not saying that my struggle to grow a family came from God or that it was all part of his plan for my life, because I simply don’t believe that’s true. Scripture is clear that difficulties in childbearing are part of the curse of sin, and a direct result of the fall (Genesis 3:16). But what I do believe is that God is a redemptive God by nature, and able to turn around even the most hopeless of situations in our lives if we will let Him.
There’s so many questions and doubts I still have in the aftermath of our losses, but here’s the one thing I now know for sure:
Even when my present situation feels hard and the future ahead of me turns out to look very different to the one I imagined, I can still trust that it will ultimately be good, because my Father God is good.
Anna Kettle is a published author, podcaster, speaker, and award-winning marketing professional. Her first book, ‘Sand Between Your Toes: Inspirations for a Slower, Simpler, More Soulful Life’ is out now under Tyndale House. She is also the co-founder of SPACE, a UK-based miscarriage and infertility support network. Anna is married to husband Andy, and mum to their son Ben (aged 6). They live in the beautiful waterfront city of Liverpool, England. To follow more of Anna’s story, you can visit her blog at www.annakettle.com as well as find her on Facebook and Instagram.