Sarah Rieke » Living. Loving. Pressing on.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting … to not bring your baby home


Boy meets girl.  Boy falls in love with girl.  Boy asks girl to marry him.  Boy and girl enter into wedded bliss.  Boy and girl find out they are pregnant.  Boy and girl have a beautiful baby and bring baby home to live with and love forever.

That’s the way it usually goes.  It’s what we’ve come to expect as normal.  But not all stories end like this.  Sometimes a boy and a girl go to the hospital to have a baby and, instead of packing that precious bundle into the backseat in a carseat installed so carefully by a loving daddy, that boy and girl have to leave their baby’s lifeless body in a hospital nursery cart and watch a detached nurse wheel her away.  It’s just as awful as it sounds.

Knowing this, our impending future, is so tough.  It’s a daily battle to live with the knowledge that your baby is going to die.  Here are some things you can expect when you’re expecting … to not bring your baby home.

Tears.  Buckets of them.  At times I’ve abandoned tissues and turned exclusively to dish towels or washcloths.  Truth.

No tears.  Because sometimes the reality is shockingly paralyzing.  And sometimes you’re just sick of crying.

Inability to focus.  Or be motivated to focus.  Or be motivated to do … anything.

Spacing out at times from life and conversations as your mind wanders to reality and wondering what it will look like.

Inability to think too far beyond that day.  

Feeling easily overwhelmed.

Feeling like your life is anything but normal.  And then feeling oddly disinterested in and disconnected from other people’s seemingly normal lives.  

Netflix.  Just … lots of netflix.  

Thinking and feeling every cynical thought regarding faith and suffering while simultaneously legitimately clinging to and believing in God’s promises and being immensely thankful for them.  So strange.  

Wanting so much to talk about what you’re going through.  And yet … not.  Wanting people to ask and yet … not.  It’s so confusing.  Although I still do think speaking/asking is better than not.

Feeling uncomfortable around baby things – baby showers, baby stores, baby pictures on facebook.  After all, you won’t be able to have a baby shower, pick out many baby items, or post pictures of your little one as they grow.  

If you have other children, feeling incredibly overprotective and concerned with their well-being.  

If it’s happened to you before, a sense of dread for what you know is upcoming.  

Needing very much to connect with those kindred spirits who have been there or have overcome some type of significant life suffering.

A general underlying feeling of anxiety and irritability.  Because even if you’re not actively thinking about your baby’s death, somehow even your subconscious knows something’s not right.

It’s not easy, living with the reality that your unborn, moving, squirming baby will die before she has a chance to come home.  It hurts so deeply.  If you’ve never experienced this level of grief, please be patient and understanding to those who have or are currently grieving.  And if you have … you know these things all too well.  

May God bless us all as we struggle through this life, living the sorrows or trying desperately to support those who are.  

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