Friday, June 26, 2015

Feature Friday: The Empty Womb

Today's guest post is written by a dear childhood friend of mine, Jamie McWhorter. I reached out to her earlier this week and asked her to compose her thoughts on the subject of infant miscarriage and loss. I am at a loss for words to describe the beauty with which she responded to such an intimate request. Be forewarned, the subject matter is not light and although it is painful, it is important to give a voice to such loss.


When you look up the word miscarriage, one of the definitions is "an unsuccessful outcome of something planned."

I planned you, and although my plans for you were unsuccessful, God's were not. He gave you to me and let me carry you, for however brief....but why?
I've asked myself this one worded question over and over. I have asked the doctor, my husband, and God. 

You needed me in those few short weeks and months, to create a small body. A heartbeat, so that you could return to heaven for a greater work than you were meant to do down here. That does not mean you didn't have a purpose or matter though.

You changed me.

"The Empty Womb" is a photography project I put together of 6 images for a class project on depth. I remember talking to my sister Amanda about it and my ideas, but having doubt in myself that I could ever put how I felt into words. I've always loved making images that told a story--that moved my clients and myself. Although this has been one image that moved me more than anything, and I hope it has you as well. 

This last year was not the first time I have lost a child. When we first got married in 2009, we had thought that I was pregnant, only to go in and learn that there was no longer a fetus.

I hate that word, fetus.

It IS a least, it was. I picked myself up and pretended that it did not happen. We had two beautiful girls later on, who we love so dearly. Two years after our last, we hit a long patch of let downs. 

I was 8 weeks.......

........6 weeks........

.......11 weeks pregnant

and then I'd lose them.

The last set we got to 11 weeks and no longer had a heartbeat. Given no other explanation at the time but that the babies had passed.

Your body is fighting against you. I hated my body. I felt it had betrayed me. I hated myself and I hated God. I felt women were meant to have babies and to give birth to them. I could no longer do the one thing my body was meant to do naturally. No one talked about them, it was like they did not exist.

They were just another unsuccessful outcome of something planned.

With the love and support of an amazing friend and doctor, I talked more about them. I opened up more. I was able to turn back to my Heavenly Father for help--instead of turning my back on Him. 

More women lose a child before 20 weeks than we care to know. But it's every 1 in 4. Those are real numbers, real women. That means your mothers, your sisters, and your friends. They are suffering alone. 
Talking about your babies brings a light on the painful subject. It lets other women and men know they are not alone, and it's ok to grieve.

I remember a funeral of a dear friend's mother when I was young. The speaker said, "We do not ever grieve for the lost. We grieve for ourselves. They have no worries and are no longer in pain or suffering. How can they see cause to grieve being engulfed in our Heavenly Father's peace and love? We grieve on Earth for ourselves, so that we may come to terms with our loss. When you do not allow yourself to grieve and put your burdens on the Lord, it only adds to you own sorrows." 

These words have stayed with me, but I do not ever thing I truly felt their meaning until the day I embraced our family's loss.


Thank you Jamie for sharing your heart with us. I truly believe that the fires we pass through in this life sear a lasting reminder so that we can guide others through that same path. 

I have never experienced this kind of loss, but my heart knows pain. It's an empathy that I've often feared to dive too deeply into for fear of losing myself. 

Recently I have learned that being afraid of the things that make us beautiful keep us from experiencing the most painfully wonderful things in this life. With that in mind, I have decided to add another layer to my doula work.

I have taken the leap of faith and signed up to begin certifying as a birth and bereavement doula with Still Birth Day. My stomach is in knots and my heart is pounding, but the tears in my eyes have the names of the women I have not yet met etched into them. 

 Here we go.

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