Thursday, May 11, 2017

CIAW 2017 - Repeat Pregnancy Loss

***May 7-13, 2017 is Canadian Infertility Awareness Week and the theme this year is "Out in the Open: Tell Us Your Story". I am taking part by sharing stories from people who have experienced infertility first hand. Did you know that 1 in 6 couples experience some form of infertility? Help break the silence and raise awareness by sharing these posts on social media or with friends and family. For more information about CIAW, please click here. This post is the fifth in my 2017 CIAW "Out in the Open: Tell Us Your Story" series. To see more stories, scroll to the bottom of this page for links.***  
Joy out of Loss
As a young bride I had a plan for my life, I was going to have a houseful of children. I was going to be a mother. It was simple, and straight forward. I knew what I wanted. Someone asked Ed if we planned on having children and he answered; “Yes, Anne wants six and I want four so we are going to compromise and have ten!”

Our first miscarriage came within three months of our wedding. That was just over 32 years ago and I remember the shock like it was today. What had happened? Where was my baby?
The second and third losses came within the year and I remained in a state of shock and pain. Why were my babies dying? My plan is to be a Mom, what is going on? There were babies all around me except in my arms. My arms were empty.

Over the next 26 years I suffered a number of losses. Most between seven and ten weeks but a few longer. One at 25 weeks. Each time I would try to guard my heart and not hope. Each time I would hope and each time I would be heartbroken when the loss came.

I would not want you to think I lived a sad life for that would not be true. I have lived a full life, with lots of joy, laughter, love, and fun. I have also lived a life with a big hole, that colored everything. I needed to mother as much as I needed to breathe! While living out my life I have carried the ache for my babies, and the ache for a child. The ache of wanting to be nine months pregnant with Ed’s child. The ache to have a little one to nurse at my breast. The ache to have someone call me Mom!

Along the way there were several things that really helped me cope and thrive.
1) I believe in God and His Son, Jesus. I know with certainty that I am loved by God. I know that I don’t need to have all the answers but can trust that God wants His best for my life.
2) Along the way someone suggested I should track things that I am thankful for. The idea was to remember all the good in my life. Even though I didn’t have a child I was, and am, very blessed.
3) I was fortunate to have a number of family and friends who shared their children with me. Families who allowed me to ‘mother’ their children. Who allowed me to be part of their children’s lives.
4) Sometimes seeing others with their babies was hard but I made a conscious decision to rejoice with them. I chose to celebrate the babies that came into our circle. This was VERY difficult in the early years and my eyes leaked a lot. I chose to keep trying and over the years it has become much easier. I think this effort was important to my not just surviving, but thriving.
5) I had a couple of people who let me talk about my babies. They let me talk about how I was feeling. They let me cry without judging. This was so important in my journey.

My story doesn’t end with empty arms. In 2011 we were able to adopt three girls (Gracie 2.5, Emma 1, and Sarah, a newborn). After 27.5 years and multiple losses, I became a Mom! Two of the girls have serious health issues and in 2014, Sarah died in my arms at 3.5 years old. My life is richer for having walked the journey of loss.

I don’t know you on a deep personal level so I don’t know about where you stand with God. I do know this – without God and the hope I have through Him, I would be going mad! I can have confidence in God not because of who I am but because of who He is. But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord, I say, “You are my God.” Psalm 31:14 And God gives comfort through His word. The Lord appeared to him from afar, saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness. Jeremiah 31:3

If you want to read more of Anne's story, you can click here to check out her Facebook page, Year of the Babies.

2017 CIAW "Out in the Open: Tell Us Your Story" Series
Childless Not By Choice
Secondary Infertility
Repeat Pregnancy Loss

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