Today we kick off a three week series about miscarriage in military life. Denise shares her personal pain and God’s faithfulness in a relatable way that will encourage anyone walking through the pain of losing their unborn child.
Miscarriage in Military Life: Part I
by Denise Jolly
Dear Sister….I know your pain.
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
Before I share my story of loss, redemption, and healing, I want to share a few real, raw truths. These are things I reflect on when I think about this walk God had my husband and I on.
- I wish I had been nicer to my husband.
- I wish I had been more honest with myself and my husband about the roller coaster of emotions I felt.
- And I wish I had been nicer to myself.
This is the story of how we walked through the loss of three babies. Our story of walking through the shame, walking through it with a village, and ultimately giving it all to the Father for His mighty grace and healing. Not a day goes by that I do not have some thought of our babies waiting on us in heaven. On a continual basis I mourn silently with friends who have walked through it. I pray for comfort for those who have no answers to the “why’s.”
Each one of our losses looked very different. As I reflect, I thank God for the way he has grown both my husband and I through every single one.
Swallowed by the Darkness
If our third and final loss was like walking into the light, our first definitely felt like I’d been swallowed by the darkness. It was summer of 2005, and my husband and I were newly married. Like many military couples, we said our vows and then he was off to basic training. Right before he left we found out I was pregnant. For most young, married people it would be a point of excitement, a reason to celebrate. For Kenton and I it was a bag of uncertainty. It was a shock to the system. We were just starting life, and my own selfish flesh had planned so much more planned for us…I laugh at myself while typing that, too.
To give you a little frame of reference here, I was almost 23 and he was 21. We met in college and, although I was saved at the tender age of 4, I was in no way walking with God. I was living the fast and hard life of an American college kid with no boundaries. We’d both come from very broken homes with no true knowledge of a biblical foundation in love or life. We lived our lives for us and us alone. And in that is the blinding truth of how we walked through the first loss.
This wasn’t our first pregnancy “scare”, but before we could even process a decision about how and if we were to live life as parents, our baby was gone. No announcements. I hadn’t even had a chance to tell my Mom or his parents. I slid into a darkness so deep-rooted that it would hurt me and those around me. All of a sudden something I didn’t know I had wanted was gone. Another reason for me to stray and be angry at God.
Isolated by Pain
I spent days laying on the couch. No connection to my husband with limited access to him during his training. Eating my sorrows to a 50 pound weight gain. Those around me knew something was wrong, but I couldn’t form the words to speak my story. I sat in my sadness, refusing to heal.
My sorrow came to a head in the form of lashing out at Kenton. It was a rare phone call at the end of his training, and he asked about the baby. At that point, I had not had the heart to put the truth of our loss in a letter.
“I miscarried, here by myself. I lost my baby.”
“How could you be sorry?! I’m the one here dealing with it. The loss of it all.”
And softly he whispered, “ I lost a baby too. I may not feel the physical pain, but I feel the loss, too.”
For the first time in the midst of that loss I allowed myself to truly weep for our baby. I laid in our bed for hours, soaking our sheets for the baby I craved and mourned.
The next day, I got up and put my mask back on. Shoving down any true process from healing and carrying a banner of shame I had placed on myself. Slipping back into a life of partying and denying my connection to God. Because, in my very unhealed heart, somehow this was all his doing.
Dear sister…if this is where you are right now, please know there is a better place for you. I don’t take lightly the void you feel without that baby in your arms. I mourn with you.
But there is more to this story.
There is a blanket of peace given to you only by Abba. One that makes it possible to embrace your pregnant friends, instead of shooting looks of envy laced with pain. A peace that enables you to get out of bed dancing in joy instead of feeling swallowed by the sorrow. A peace that involves a community of sisters and quiet moments with God.
If you or someone you know has been isolated by the pain of miscarriage in military life, you don’t have to suffer alone. Please reach our for prayer support through our Planting Roots Prayer Request Page.