I Didn’t Want a Baby. I Wanted This Baby.

Mourning miscarriage means acknowledging the particular life that’s been lost.

You’re young. You can try again,” the phlebotomist says as he sticks a needle in my arm. He’s drawing blood for tests that will confirm what ultrasounds are already saying: I am miscarrying. I recognize the young man’s attempt to offer comfort and receive it as such. What I do not say is, It’s not that I just want a baby.

Before this third pregnancy, I’d told my husband I was done. Any additional members added to our family of four would not be coming from my body. So it is with two young children at home and in the middle of waiting for our first foster care placement that we find out we are pregnant again.

My body tells me early on that I am mothering my third child, affirming in intimate ways the hidden presence of the little one being formed in my womb. The all-day queasiness of “morning” sickness. The fatigue. The slow tightening of pants around my waistline. In these ways, in the giving of myself, I am getting to know this baby just as I did his or her older sisters.

When I begin spotting and having cramps, I get to know—to love—this baby another way, through anguished pleading with God. I’d prayed similar prayers once before. That time, a doctor’s “I don’t see a heartbeat …” was followed by the relief of seeing the tiny, flickering heart of my now 10-year-old. This time, there is no flicker.

The heaviness settling deep in me is not because I want a baby. I want this baby, my baby. I want my child to live.

My baby dies in my womb early in my first trimester, and I am unprepared for the grief that rocks me. I am also unprepared for the ways I will struggle to feel that this grief is permissible, even as sobs seize my body unexpectedly …

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