I have two beautiful children. I am grateful for them, and they bring joy and love into my life every day. I am grateful for the opportunity to have carried them, birthed them, and to love them.
However, I have also had nine miscarriages. This means nine times seeing a positive pregnancy test; nine times rejoicing to carry a child; nine times telling my husband that I was pregnant; nine times lying in bed 3 months because of nausea and morning sickness; nine times hoping, nesting, imagining little diapers, clothes, and smiles; nine times spotting; nine times cramping and laboring through the night; several times burying a small box in the back yard; nine times physically healing from a lost pregnancy; and a lot more than nine times crying on my husband Stan’s shoulder. He is a rock and strength to me, but it is the women in my life that have made the emotional healing possible.
It was in the darkest of times that I could feel the wisdom and strength of my female ancestors, there to buoy me up and lend me some of their courage. My grandmother, Erma May Wall, had three sets of children, each about 10 years apart, ending when she was almost 50. Doctors told her not to have more children after each birth, but she did. I am glad she did because my dad was second to last, and he is a good man. Her example and story gave me hope that childbearing was not out of reach because of age or physical limitations. Stan’s grandmother, Veda May Moulton, lived in our house before us. She was a support to other women in Jackson Hole, WY, and we sleep under a quilt she made for Stan’s future wedding, even though she did not live to see it. She hoped for me to be in his life one day.
My own mother was there to nurture me, listen and bring soup. She helped me nurture my family when I couldn’t.
About six miscarriages in, I met a friend, Bergen. She and I attended the same church congregation, and have children the same ages. We have a powerful friendship and connection and spend hours talking, having playgroups, hiking, and teaching our children.
She and I both became pregnant at the same time. Mine ended in miscarriage and hers ended in a son named Henry. In this situation, my natural response would be to hate her and be jealous of her baby. However, Henry turned out to be a gift from God and an example of His compassion. Henry was a gift to me, through my friend. Bergen let me hold him and love him and watch him. Henry let me hold him too, without typical stranger wariness. Somehow, holding my friend’s son was healing to me. Somehow, the gift of life changed my heart and healed my spirit. Her birthing experience was what it took to heal me from my birthing loss. Perhaps it was partly the long hours of conversation, or Bergen’s nourishing salads, but I know both her friendship and her baby were gifts from God.
Bergen and I were both involved with a lovely group of women, where we would spend an hour or so teaching our children as a group, and then watch the children play while we talk. These talks lasted for hours as we shared a meal and ideas. These women have been strong, foundational examples to me on how to parent, be a wife, nurture others, love in spite of flaws, and be a true friend.
Carolina brought meals, Lily & Leanys helped me pack boxes in a move, Bergen watched my kids so I could go on dates with my husband, Mara gave a never-ending supply of positive encouragement, Amanda listened with empathy, Martha shared about birth and labor, (and much more). They all shared pieces of their stories with me. Having trusted friends to share struggles with is healing.
Being part of Big Ocean also helped me through a difficult season of loss. As Angela Silva said, “I find that when I serve others, I feel happy.” I found great relief and solace as I poured my energy and 1,000+ hours into Big Ocean media. I needed something good, something larger than myself. The Big Ocean media goal is to “Be real, be beautiful, and bring light,” and looking for light forced me to see the light in my own life.
The struggles and discouragement that come with miscarriage are real and can be devastating. Sometimes I wonder why I chose to become pregnant eleven times. I think it’s because I love children and wanted more of something I love. I reverence birth, even when it ends in miscarriage. The mothers in my life have taught me that bearing children is worth the risk. Giving life is partnering with God and is holy and takes courage. While I may never bear another child, I hope that I can continue to surround myself with powerful, uplifting women, and that I may be that sort of woman in return.
Written by Alicia Moulton