A Bible Study: Empty Arms, Heavy Burden

A friend from my past recently mailed me something she thought might help. It was a bible study specifically geared towards women who lost children or are barren. The package was a book, When Empty Arms Become A Heavy Burden : Encouragement for Couples Facing Infertility by Sandra Glahn & William Cutrer, MD and a Bible study journal Shiloh: a place of rest  by Julie Fowler. It was already filled out by my friend who has had several miscarriages on her journey to start a family. It was amazing for her to think of me after not really speaking for years, but honestly it also hurt. She is about a week or two from delivering her first child. It is good to see her faith has finally rewarded her, but I am still not a good place with those who have infants/are pregnant around me.

I also struggled with the idea of miscarriage. I get enraged when people compare what happened to us with miscarriage. I have never experienced a miscarriage and early after my loss I didn’t feel I could connect with the parents of a miscarriage to be honest. I held my children, saw their faces, breast fed (through pumping) one, and changed her diaper. Then I began to think about it, those who face early miscarriage (1st trimester) do not even get that, some never even get to see their precious face. So I had to sit back and reevaluate why I didn’t feel connected to them. After all, they too lost a child. Then it hit me, I was jealous. Even thought they too struggled with infertility, they could get pregnant without ART (artificial reproduction technology: Again referring to this specific instance, other too have to have ART and miscarry).

They made me feel like less of a woman. Something so natural and seemingly easy a teenage in the back seat of her boyfriend’s car having sex for the first time could do it…and I couldn’t. An egg would never be able to fertilize inside my body. It would never even leave my ovary. There was no path. That was my problem. I think even because of all of this, I may have lost my friend’s support and kindness. She doesn’t respond anymore, I know I hurt her with my words about miscarriage not being the same.

I just read a passage from the book that hit home for me:

[Most little girls start early, playing with dolls and hearing their mothers say, “When you have a daughter…” They grow up assuming they will bear children, When women attend social events as adults, they typically answer questions such as, “Do you have children?” while men answer “What do you do?” Women receive baby shower invitations; most men do not. AS a result, even the most career-forced women experiences social pressure related to bearing and raising children. Men receive a different cultural message: “If you have a family, fine. If you have a job, better.” These cultural and societal variables play a significant role in establishing foundational thought processes. “Boys grow into men without much thought of fatherhood,” Says Dan Clements, past chairmen of the board of RESOLVE, Inc., a national consumer group for infertility patients and providers.]

No wonder I feel like less of a woman, wife, and person in general. I heard it all the time at home, work, and out, “You’ll understand when you have kids of your own.” Hell, I couldn’t even carry my children to term inside of me after ART. What kind of mother/woman am I? This is my question, and though I am not very religious, I really think that maybe this series can help me to understand that. I don’t plan on it solving everything and answering all my questions, but maybe, just maybe it can give me some insight on to why I am feeling the way I do (outside of grief for losing my children). With that, I am going to leave you with my first passage from the Bible Study, Job 17:11

 “My days have passed, my dreams are shattered, and so are the desires of my heart.”

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3 thoughts on “A Bible Study: Empty Arms, Heavy Burden

  1. my dear, you know i feel for you. a miscarriage can happen at ANY time during a pregnancy and grieving is still painful. maybe she hurt u dont understand her thru her time. i can say if ud tell me that id be hurt and mad and id go get u the papers from my 30 week miscarriage. they tell u the risk of miscarriage is higher in the first trimester wherever u learned that thats false. but on the other hand krystal think of the situation, u did see and hold and change diapers and feed at least one, where a miscarriage we dont get that they wouldnt even let me see him like i didnt exist it is tough but be greatful because memories are worth everything and with that is where u will find ur healing there is all kinds of complications that can happen at any time of pregnancy thats why it is so hard on a womans body i honestly thought i couldnt from blood disorder diabetes and other issues all i can say if u feel someone stepping on toes just tell them to back off that they are not u and cant know ur feelings and comparing is pointless we are not here for that or “keeping up with the joneses” we are here to love and even in the hardest time to keep loving because there is a purpose even if it isnt clear right now or we fail to see it will all fall together

    • Heather,
      This is going to be a long reply. First off, I want to explain something I never told her anything like that, in fact, I never even commented on the fact. She read a previous post on here “It’s just not the same to me.” It is about me not feeling the connection with the mother’s of a miscarriage and being mad at other women for referring to a neonatal death as a miscarriage. I even spoke with my OB about this, and was referred to a neonatologist who said that the only accurate time to call the death of a child a miscarriage is usually before the first ultrasound which ranges between 10-12 weeks of gestation. There are some places that will go as far as up to 23 weeks. Anything after that is a stillbirth, or neonatal death. I argue anytime you give birth to a child it shouldn’t be classified as a miscarriage. Also, I hate that any child born under 24 weeks does not get a birth or death certificate. That really pisses me off, but that is another post for later. So, my idea of a miscarriage was anything before these earlier times.

      The reason I made the post were other mother’s in the support group were asking for me to comment on experience and I told my story, the mother’s who had miscarriage didn’t feel the connection with me either because of the time I was able to spend with my children. I had never had a miscarriage and couldn’t comment on that, I could comment on the loss of a child though, which all of us had experienced. So that is what my friend and I concentrated on, and she just replied to me an hour ago. She is not mad, just busy.

      On to a different part, whoever told you that you had a miscarriage at 30 weeks has some serious issues that could result in major legal issues. Miscarriages do not receive birth or death certificates, and LEGALLY in the US any child that dies after 24 weeks of gestation HAS to be buried or cremated and has a birth certificate (I do not know the laws of birth certificate on stillbirth, though I would be pretty pissed if they did not get the recognition of a birth certificate). A miscarriage can legally be the responsibility of the hospital to be (as they so gingerly put it to me) “disposed of”. That really pissed me off too, a child AT NO POINT should ever be referred to like that, but I didn’t want to make a huge deal of it at the time.

      Also, a hospital cannot deny the mother the opportunity to see their child once they have passed away unless it is from something horribly contagious, then you can still physically see your child, but the child just has to be under quarantine conditions. I would honestly say you need to get into contact with that hospital and make sure this doesn’t happen to another mother, and I will help you. I know plenty of organizations that would help back this case through my connections with support groups.

      So, the point of this was all about the connection issue, just as I can’t fully connect with someone who has lost their child after months in the NICU (as another mother I met. Her son lived for 5 months before he passed away). We didn’t connect fully even though she too had twins and pPROMed as well. She too lost one of them after only a few hours. The only way all of us connected was that we all lost our children.

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