Last week would have been the due date of the baby I miscarried in December.
I'd heard from other women who'd had miscarriages that passing the lost baby's due date was hard, but I didn't realize quite how hard.
I thought that because I already had a new little life growing, thriving, and kicking inside of me that I wouldn't even care. But I did... deeply.
In the quiet moments of the past week I've found myself wondering what it would feel like to be holding my week old baby in my arms. Thinking about it makes my heart ache and I feel the painful gap, that I thought I had gotten over, throb open.
Don't get me wrong. I actually feel a lot of peace about the whole situation. I trust that God understands and sees things that I can not. He is in perfect control of the universe and it is He and He alone who is in charge of when children enter this world.
I trust that with my whole heart.
Yet, the hardest part of the last week has been not knowing for sure what happened to my baby. Since we don't have any clear revelation about when life enters the body or when the spirit and the body become inseparably connected I don't know if the baby I miscarried is still waiting up in heaven for his turn to come to earth or if the body I already created for him "counted" as his mortal experience. It seems so strange to me that God wouldn't have made such an important fact, as when human life really begins, more clear.
As I've read women's stories for our book, The Gift of Giving Life, I've seen that lots of women have different perspectives on miscarriages and what happens to the baby. Some women feel certain that the baby they miscarried, even if it was as early as 5 or 6 weeks, is still their baby and that those few weeks were all the mortal experience it needed. Other women wrote that they felt like the baby they had miscarried had chosen not to accept the body that was forming (perhaps because of birth defects) but would come back to them later as one of their other children or even a grandchild. And hands down, all the women who had had stillborn babies or babies born after 20 weeks wrote that they knew for certain that their baby was waiting for them in the next life.
As I've been reading these women stories my own heart started to ache a little bit. Where does my 12 week miscarried baby fit in? As I prayed after my miscarriage I felt a lot of peace and had the spirit whisper to me that for some reason this baby just wasn't ready to come to earth, but that I would see him again. I just assumed that meant that God would send him back to me, in the form of another child. Yet the last few weeks I've been wondering if perhaps I understood wrong; that perhaps the tiny little body I created for that baby was all he really needed and that someday when I die I will have a perfect, Celestial little son waiting to meet me.
The truth is I don't know, one way or the other, and it is hard.
My baby never took a breath, but then again neither do stillborn babies and yet we still consider them to have been "alive" and comfort mothers by telling them that they will have their baby in heaven.
I never felt my baby move, but he was moving and his heart was beating for several weeks. How is that possible if there wasn't a spirit attached to that body?
I didn't know the gender of my baby but in a priesthood blessing my husband gave me I was told it was a boy. Does that some how make him more "real" or does it just mean that maybe this little baby I am carrying now is the boy who should have come to me before?
I know these are hard, and even impossible, questions to answer but my heart can't help but ask them. I am struggling to understand these things and I would love to hear thoughts or ideas from other women who have had miscarriages or lost babies.
What do you think? When do the spirit and the body become united and when does a baby's body "count" as its mortal experience?