Written on 30 August 2019:
Pangs of Loss
I woke up this morning and in minutes, had tears spilling down my cheeks as I continue to learn the tools for overcoming pregnancy loss. A couple days ago, I felt that I wanted to do something positive in memory of the babies we’d lost. I started the ball rolling, and got in touch with a woman I thought could help me. In her email reply, she shared with me a bit of writing by Henri Nouwen. It read:
“Every time we make the decision to love someone, we open ourselves to great suffering, because those we most love cause us not only great joy but also great pain.The greatest pain comes from leaving. When the child leaves home, when the husband or wife leaves for a long period of time or for good, when the beloved friend departs to another country to dies… the pain of the leaving an tear us apart.
Still, if we want to avoid the suffering of leaving, we will never experience the joy of loving. And love is stronger than fear, life stronger than death, hope stronger than despair. We have to trust that the risk of loving is always worth taking.“
In the last week, I had some days where I’d wake up feeling hollow inside. The emptiness of loss screams so loud, that it echoes against the chambers of my heart. I go through countless ‘what ifs‘, knowing that none will give an answer as to why we lost our children. There are also days when everything feels surreal, as though I had never fallen pregnant. It is as though our triplets were merely a figment of my imagination, a haze of a dream.
The Joy and Pain in Loving
It is true what Henri Nouwen wrote though. “…if we want to avoid the suffering of leaving we will never experience the joy of loving…”. I can be comforted in knowing that our babies were loved immensely the moment we knew of their existence. We, along with our family, loved them greatly without seeing them. Our friends added generous dollops of love on top. To say that our triplets were blessed is an understatement. I believe they were blessed above and beyond most. The joy in watching them grow, especially on our holiday, added to the memories we were accumulating right until the end.
The suffering as a result, the feeling of utter loss and despair, is therefore natural and unavoidable. We love, and as a result, we suffer. That doesn’t mean we stop loving. It means that we continue to love, despite knowing that there will be pain that comes with losing. Flo and I knew there were possible risks and complications involved with a triplets pregnancy. Still, we decided that we would let the babies have the chance to grow. We chose not interfere with what God had given us. We never imagined they would be taken away from us so prematurely. However, we were also aware that nothing had been guaranteed that our pregnancy would be smooth sailing.
Love and Loss
In a funny way, there is a comfort amidst all the pain and suffering. In feeling the sadness of it all, there is also knowledge that we feel this way only because we loved, and still love, fiercely. I realise now, that it’s ok to feel sad and cry. It is ok that my heart feels heavy some days, and it’s totally ok to sit with those feelings. They serve to remind that because I had experienced the joy of loving, I now feel the hurt of loss. It doesn’t mean we should stop loving. After all, what would life be without the happiness, laughter, and memories that come with it?
I don’t believe that we will ever get over our babies going to heaven way before us. That’s only because we will never forget them. We will always miss their presence even though their absence may far outlive their time on earth very quickly. I do believe though, that things will continue to get better. Overcoming pregnancy loss will take time, but every day, we will take steps to move forward. Even as we build the family we dream of in the future, there will always be a place for them in our hearts. And the memories with them, the warmth of having had them grow within me, the love we feel for them, will overcome all that we are feeling now.
Overcoming pregnancy loss is not a journey you have to do alone. It is worthwhile to speak to friends or family member who may have gone through the same experience, or seek professional help if needed. Know that there is no shame is reaching out for help. Trust, that things will get better.