Miscarriage

Grief and pain are isolating, but they are part of the human experience. Miscarriage and infertility are common, but we don't talk about it, and so we feel more grief, more pain, more isolation. So I'm talking about it. And I invite you to tell your stories too. 

  Backsliding into Bad Theology: On a Journey of Infertility 

...Because the next day, the day after the crying and the raging, I get up, take a breath, and remember a God who does not open and close wombs based on some kind of a reward system, who does not work on my schedule or anyone else's for that matter but who does not require my pain to teach me a lesson either (ahem to all of you who say "well, it's just God's plan you don't have a baby yet"). Instead, I reach out to a God who was crying and raging with me just the day before on that couch. I lean on a God who is lending me the strength now to try to find the abundance even in the emptiness. I turn to a God who is showing me how to create family in a different way....
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The Color of the Wheat Fields

I read Le Petit Prince to our baby as I miscarried. I read it in French, my tongue awkward with a language that I once studied so closely but now seems to be part of another life. Pétales, I say it in English, pronouncing the s and everything, before I stop and reread it with the accent aigu. I smile. Maybe my French is not so bad after all, I just have to fall into it. Besides, the baby doesn't mind. I'm just trying to let the baby know how much we love it, even though it was only with us eight weeks....
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A Great Thanksgiving

...This sign is my lifeline all week. Sometimes when the words I should not be here get so loud I can feel the rhythm stronger than my own heartbeat, I walk down the stairs on purpose, just to come face to face with a simple question on a piece of printer paper taped to a wall. Yes, my grief is unbounded. Yes, my anger and jealousy burn within me. But there is goodness all around. And sometimes, the words I am thankful begin to beat within me more powerfully than I should not be here...

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After the flood you set in your clouds a rainbow  

...Thankfulness is a spiritual practice I have been clinging to in my grief, but today I was not intending to thank anyone for anything. I was going to hold Aaron's hand, walk a ridiculous amount, see Niagara Falls, and do anything and everything to distract myself. Because today, we should not be taking a spur-of-the-moment day trip to Niagara Falls--- we should be welcoming a baby into our home. Today is the due date for our first baby.

But our baby died...

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Spontaneous Abortion, Shame, and Politics  

I went to my reproductive endocrinologist the day after my miscarriage. She was wonderful and comforting, especially after a traumatic experience in the ER. But as we went to leave, she handed me a summary of the visit, in which I discovered that under my medical history, these words were now listed:
spontaneous abortion

That's the medical term for miscarriage. Spontaneous abortion. And I was shocked by the way my gut seemed to bunch up as I read those words, how tight my throat got, and how I kept sneaking a look at that part of the paper again and again wishing those words would disappear. I was shocked because I have been pro-choice my whole life. I have always supported a woman's right to choose what to do with her own body, have even been a one-issue voter for choice, interned for pro-choice organizations. My mother is pro-choice. My father is pro-choice. And yet when I saw that word abortion, I felt shame...
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The people who walk in darkness  

In the last year, I have had two miscarriages. The last one was only a few weeks ago. We have been trying to have children for over two years. And I should tell you I am a pastor, so this is a busy time of year for me. It is Advent, the season of preparing our hearts and minds for the coming of Christ by remembering and even reenacting the birth of a baby. It's also a season of waiting.

Does this sound like a super fun time of year for a person dealing with the death of babies and wondering when, if ever, she will ever get pregnant again?

Hint: it's not...
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Another due date  

Another due date. Still no baby.

I am not hopeful like I was on our last due date. In fact, we conceived our son a week after my last due date, but, like the first baby, he died too. All my babies are dead, and I have since discovered that without genetic testing of an embryo before implantation, we have a slim chance of ever having a living baby, especially because I can't get pregnant easily in the first place.

And yet, as I preached from Paul's Letter to the Romans 5:1-5 and Rebecca Solnit's book Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities just two Sundays ago, hope is not the same as positivity and optimism...
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Sermons

A Little Help from Our Friends
A sermon on Mark 8:34-35, preached days after our miscarriage

...The cross that I have seen people take up this week with our struggle is the cross that those four friends took up for their paralytic friend. I have seen people enter into our suffering, as uncomfortable as it is, to be ears to listen to me recount what happened, or to bring cake for Aaron's birthday, or to sing Adele songs really loud and off-key to make us laugh, or to lift us up in prayer daily and wrap us in hugs. Many of you have called to check on me, or offered to pick up something I was supposed to pick up, or meet with someone I was supposed to meet just to ensure I could stay at home and rest. You have lifted us up, pointed us to God's love in a situation where we are more likely to feel only absence. Though we have felt strangely hopeful and at peace, you and our family and friends have been digging through the roof with us to help get us to Jesus' healing presence...
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Mountaintops, The Force, and Faith
A sermon on Matthew 28:16-20, reflections on my ordination and my faith journey after miscarriage

...And I have been in a valley since my miscarriage. Maybe even before, frankly, because of our battle with infertility before we even got pregnant. And I certainly am not far away from that valley yet. But the overwhelming love I received yesterday--- the cards and texts and messages and posts about the live stream on top of having almost my whole immediate family, people from my home church, people from Mt. Tabor, people from Presbury, friends from high school, friends from seminary, congratulations from colleagues--- that was a mountaintop when I heard again the call to go therefore and make disciples. People all around the world need to feel that kind of love, so if I'm feeling it I can't keep it bottled up! I need to go, therefore, and share that love...
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