Making Angels: A Story of Blessings on Our Journey to Have Children after the Heartache of Infertility, Miscarriage, and Late-term Pregnancy Loss
PREFACE: YOU ARE NOT ALONE
This journey of ours—to create a family—is clearly special to us, because it is ours. But I am sharing it for two reasons: First, so that our children may one day read this and know exactly what we went through in an effort to bring them into this world. Second, and equally as important, to make this story available to those of you who have experienced similar difficulties and wrestle to understand them or relate to others as a result. The things people say, including close family and friends, may be well-intentioned. But as a woman who has been wounded by infertility and pregnancy loss, I feel that the comments have a sting to them that only others who have fought a comparable battle can empathize with.
The sufferings my husband and I endured give us the experience to help others with a similar fate. It is only because I have struggled through the same thing that I am qualified to offer you comfort in a way that is relatable. And for all of us who face these struggles, I believe we learn to persevere through them—to understand them, and eventually to embrace them. For out of the pain I have gained additional immeasurable gifts. Out of our tragedy arose a stronger relationship with God, the birth of our sons, and the drive to comfort others in the wake of their losses.
Our infertility and baby loss story has a happy ending . . . but not without plenty of casualties and grief along the way. Many of you can sympathize with this—if you are trying to conceive but can’t, or have had a miscarriage, or lost a baby shortly after birth, or have a daughter, sister, aunt, or friend who you know has lived through some version of this struggle to have children. My prayer is that by my sharing our story, you and your loved ones will know you too can survive despite this pain. Our journey has also been one of learning that there is a higher power in control of our lives. We might not always understand the function, influence, and omniscience behind that power, and that’s okay. It doesn’t mean I’m suggesting that you sit back and do nothing. I was the extreme opposite of that—the more things went wrong in our attempts to have children, the more I tried to control.
As a result I have indeed come full circle, to appreciate our journey rather than look back upon it with regret. It took me a long time to get there, even after we finally had children to call our own. When the loss of our five pregnancies was fresh, it seemed no one could relate to what I was feeling. I became inducted into a secret society of losers, an official member of the Those of Us Who Can’t Bear Children Club. Women have been somewhat trained in our culture to quietly walk through life losing our babies (or trying to conceive them) and keep the disappointment to ourselves. That’s a lot of pressure to put on a family. Other losses we bear are recognized publicly, so why not this one? The acknowledgment of a loss, whether it be death or even the loss of hope, is part of what defines its significance.
Please know that for any of you out there suffering through infertility and pregnancy loss, or who have a family member or friend on a similar journey, we are crying with you or cheering for you. Whatever the outcome, you are not alone. Hindsight has allowed us to realize that we endured the adversity that came to us for the purpose of being able to console others. While I cannot change your circumstances, our story has equipped me with tools that may help lift your spirit and reassure you that there is a bigger meaning behind our similar sufferings.
With regard to calling my loved ones and lost babies “angels,” I am fully aware from a biblical standpoint that I am not literally making angels. I am using the humanized sentimental version of that term. Each of us who has to endure the agony of losing a child grieves in our own way. We must find some sense of peace amid the pain. For my husband and me, referring to our children as angels came naturally. I do think they have a life unending, like that of an angel. But beyond that, they are infinitely pure and precious to us as we remember those babies who have passed and the ones who remain here on earth with us today.
So this is our story. I hope it inspires and encourages you to know you have found someone who has traveled a treacherous road to make a family and not only survived, but thrived. I hope the telling of our events provides insight and fosters understanding into the very real and sometimes raw feelings that accompany such a journey. Whether you too or someone you know has been on a similar path, I hope our story helps you fully appreciate the angels in your life.