Delayed Joy



It’s been four years since I miscarried our fourth baby.


Holy cow, that sounds like a long time!


Honestly, even though they tell you that women will never, ever forget how old their child would be and all that, I actually sometimes do. It’s not that I don’t still mourn the loss of that precious life. I do! But I don’t necessarily DWELL and I believe I’ve subconsciously released some details from my memory just for my own sanity. Does that even make sense? I don’t know…


Anyway, I know it’s been four years because I was admitted into the hospital for a D & C on Leap Day and, well, that only comes around every four years.


At this point in February of that year, I was still blissfully unaware that anything was going wrong. But, because I lived through it, I’m realizing what a temporary period of elation that turned out to be.


So, it’s been four years.


And here’s what I’ll tell you.


I still have a hard time getting excited about pregnancy announcements– at first.


I no longer feel sucker-punched or devastated, but there’s a weird little ache that keeps my fingers from typing, “Congratulations!!!!! SOOOO excited for you!!!!!” at first sight of a cutesy little pregnancy announcement.


And that makes me feel like a real jacka$$, to be honest.


Nonetheless, it’s the truth.


However, and this is important, I do, indeed, feel very real joy for people. I look forward to the births of babies and I really don’t take it personally in any way, shape, or form. I expect others to be expecting and I consider that very happy news!


It just takes me a little bit.


Sometimes a couple days, sometimes just a couple hours, but I need to give my brain and heart that space in order to both acknowledge my own lingering pain, while opening myself to this couple’s beautiful news.


It is delayed joy, true.


But it is no less sincere.


And, so, if ever you’ve been on the receiving end of my belated congrats, please know that I’m doing my best. I’m truly, truly happy for you. I will wait with baited breath for news of gender and names and bump pics.


I just sometimes take a day or two to get there.

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8 comments to Delayed Joy

  • Susan

    You have 3 beautiful children. Do you know how many people in the US are incredibly jealous of you (including me.) I ciuldn’t carry a baby to even 26 weeks. I was told to be happy with one & be grateful that my son was relatively healthy. I had to forget about a second child and focus on the child who needed me. I know there are other women out there who can’t even have one child. I feel grateful that the wonderful NICU doctors and nurses saved my baby who couldn’t breath & allowed him to live. Focus on what you have in your beautiful life and not what didn’t happen.

    • I am truly in tears at your comment, Susan. I feel absolutely horrible to have ever given you the impression that I lack gratitude for my own children. I’ve read and reread this post, trying to figure out what words gave that impression, but I confess to being unable to figure it out. My sadness over the death of my fourth child is not a reflection of disappointment in the three that I have. Nonetheless, though it is with a very hurt heart, I will absolutely apologize for ever upsetting you, either through my words or the attitude you perceive in me. Such was never my intention.

  • Never having lost a baby, I feel like maybe I should not comment. But I do think we have permission to feel what we feel and not be chastised for it. The closest I come is when I hear that other people have sold their home – especially when it took a week. We went through foreclosure over 4 years ago now, but it still hurts my heart. After the initial jealousy, I am truly thrilled for people. But that doesn’t make it not hurt. So in the slightest way, I feel you.

    • Thanks, Jessie, for sharing your story and heart. I think it’s a very real human condition to be able to feel multiple things all at once. Being hurt or feeling sadness/disappointment/jealousy does not undermine joy/excitement/pride. They can coexist. It’s both a beautiful and awkward dichotomy I believe all of us have inside us. :)

  • Tanja

    Thank you for this post! I feel the same way when I hear early announcements of pregnancies. Our lost baby would have been 6 in March. We do have 3 healthy children, ages 10, 7, and 5 but the pregnancy after the miscarriage was extremely stressful. And I do cherish my kiddos, but there is a piece of my heart that is missing. That’s the part that is hard to explain. You don’t just get over it and move on. That child is with you always. It seems to always catch me off guard.

    • “You don’t just get over it and move on.” <– Yes, this, exactly. That’s how I feel too, Tanja. It’s not that my life isn’t full and beautiful nor do I take my children for granted, but the loss is always there, even when others don’t remember or see it. My miscarriage was after the births of my three living children, so I have experienced pregnancy post-loss, but I can only imagine how stressful and unnerving that was.

  • Rachel

    Thank you for sharing this. I had an early miscarriage with our first baby two weeks ago. We wanted a baby and were so happy to have gotten what we so desperately prayed for. But then, our baby was gone. Before the first ultrasound, before the first time we got to hear his/her heartbeat. It has really done a number on me emotionally and I wonder all day, everyday if this is ever going to get any easier. My husband and I have deleted social media for a little while since every time I see someone with a pregnancy announcement, I break down and get mad and then feel like a terrible person for feeling that way. Thank you for sharing.

    • Oh, Rachel, I am so very, very sorry to hear about your loss. There are no words that will make it any better, but please know that I recognize the pain you’re describing and you are, in NO way, a terrible person. You are a hurting person, devastated by a loss, and no one can tell you how that will or should make you feel. Please know that you are certainly not alone. Wishing you hugs and healing and lots and lots of grace for yourself as you cope in whatever way feels the most helpful. xoxo-JL

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