This is my first Christmas after my miscarried baby was born. These are my (somewhat scattered) thoughts:
I reflect on the way I was treated. The way the doctor grabbed me by my shoulders, and told me that “we need to get that dead tissue out of there” and the way that I was told that if I miscarry naturally at home, to just expect a menstrual period. I recall the feeling of holding my tiny baby in the palm of my hand, knowing full well that I could haphazardly toss him in front of my dog, and let her lap him up in one big smack, and that nobody, no medical, no legal representative, nobody would even care. I remember how worthless my son was to the people who were supposed to give me prenatal care, and the anger wells in my throat, and the cinderblock wall of defense rises in my heart as untapped rage festers behind it.
I reflect on what I felt. The reality that I was the mother of a baby who the world would not see grow, a baby I would not sing to, a baby I would not nurse, a baby I would not hear giggle or see grab my fingers, this reality was…so thoroughly crushing, I found it hard to breathe, and I find that difficulty return as I remember. The absolute defeat, the magnitude of hopelessness, was so profound that there simply isn’t a word to describe its power over my heart. I was shattered, broken, empty of hope and joy and full of pity, despair, and rage. I attempted to channel these things inwardly, and the claustrophobic level of guilt was literally disabling. I was broken.
These intense feelings were capped not by my might. I am too weak to control it. It is purely the work and the grace of God that has disciplined these feelings and guided them to something much more productive.
I reflect on the way Mary was treated. Despite the shortsighted romanticism I see protrayed by some Christians, the birth of Jesus isn’t something we should really want to duplicate (by birthing “unassisted” simply because a person thinks that this story must mean that God wants us to, for example). Mary’s fiance almost left her, the fact that she walked for such a long distance so late in her pregnancy, the government wanted baby Jesus dead, these things all provoke empathy and compassion.
I do not resent the birth of Christ, because my baby died.
The birth of Christ also emits hope. His birth was orchestrated to fulfill a bigger plan. Every moment of His life was carefully weighed to reflect the biggest version of God.
His death coincided with events prophesied before His birth. He knew He was going to die, in order to fulfill the scriptures, and yet those who were strongest in conviction of Who He was felt their faith shaken and crumble as He carried His cross in Golgotha.
I believe both Jesus Christ and my son fulfilled God’s purposes through their lives and through their untimely deaths.
My miscarried baby was a gift, as all babies are.
Jesus was a gift to the world, one that even His own people didn’t understand. My baby’s life has forced me to see that God values each and every one of us, that we all have a divine calling, and that events that may seem shrouded in earthly happenstance often have much more significance.
Jesus’ birth was only the beginning. His whole life was leading up to His imminent and certain death. The death that would allow all of us, each of us, direct and personal access to God, without intermediators or boundaries. This man who knew His life was ending, did not waste a moment of His life but always radiated God’s magnificence. Not a moment was wasted, and we are all blessed by this humble and graceful demonstration. This man who knew He would die, but lived anyway, now holds my baby in His arms. My baby, who also lived. My baby, whose greatest purpose and divine calling could only be fulfilled through his untimely death. This purpose, this revelation, has me seeing Jesus more intimately, more completely, than I ever have before.
It is not a waste that my baby died. I would not undo his creation just to undo my hurt.
It is through my hurt that I can see the reality of peace that lay ahead in a way I simply was unable to before. I value his life and respect God’s decision regarding his death as being much more significant than I ever understood on any given day that I was still pregnant with him.
Jesus’ birth doesn’t mean anything less because He was fated to die.
His death and subsequent resurrection brought with it the promise of a joy, love, healing and peace that we have never known. His death and subsequent resurrection offered healing, hope, forgiveness and restoration. Our own deaths lost their permenance and therefore lost the power of fear over us.
Humanity needed His death, and yet His life wasn’t any less valuable for it.
And, I believe, on a much smaller scale, the same is true for my baby.
To anyone who knew the threat to Jesus’ life when He was a baby, baby Jesus arrived in the middle of the storm. In the middle of my own storm, Jesus comes. He comes to remind me that the worst is almost over- suffering, sadness, mourning, brokenness, are all coming to an end.
A world of magnificence beyond comprehension is still gestating. He promises, and He consoles me. Just wait. Be still.
His birth was just the beginning.