The power of language - Emily's experience of infertility and pregnancy loss in East Asia
I first became aware of the prevalence of difficult pregnancies and pregnancy loss in our early years of marriage. We were at a predominantly young church, many of them married and starting to have babies. We then began to walk with different friends through miscarriages, infertility, and scary birth situations. I remember feeling so unaware of how prevalent those things were. I quickly realized how fragile life really was.
When it came time for Matt and I to start our family, I had no idea how helpful that time would be for us in our own struggle to conceive and then our grief at our first miscarriage. We moved overseas from all of those friends right at the beginning stages of our struggle with infertility. We finally did get pregnant but shortly after went through a miscarriage. That was an especially difficult time as we were in a foreign country away from our family. However, God was so kind to care for us so well through our local international church body. And the faithfulness I saw in our brothers and sisters at our old church helped sustain me as well. We then got pregnant again with our son Samuel who God graciously brought into this world and into our arms through an intense birth experience followed by a very scary night of postpartum hemorrhaging a week later where I had to rush to the hospital and undergo a procedure to stop the bleeding. Once again local church members were there to care for us through those traumatic events and my mind was reminded of friends from our old church who also experienced a similar situation and who God faithfully sustained through that difficult time.
We experienced another miscarriage only 5 months post-partum with our first and then just the next month were pregnant with our second son, Calvin. It has been a whirlwind to say the least. And as I look back, I do shudder a bit at all the difficulty surrounding those various events but I also trace the kind hand of a good God who carried us through. I often read on blogs or memes or articles about how a woman’s body is “made for this” and we should just “trust our bodies to do what they were made to do”. I struggle with those mantras because my body didn’t actually do what it was “made to do”. In fact, my body did the opposite!
Watching our friends go through all of those challenges normalized them for me and helped me be aware of the reality of loss and grief. It still was so painful to go through myself but I saw a hope in our friends that was much greater than hope in my body and its natural functions. I saw hope in Christ who suffered with us and for us and promises to renew our bodies! We don’t have to live in fear of terrible things happening to us, but we can live with hope in a God that holds everything together, even our broken bodies, and who I believe works everything, even the hard things, out for our good.