When Grace is Gone

Her name was Ava Grace, and she wasn’t meant to be…

The name was not definite— it could have been Mia or Sera or Julia or even Jack—but from the moment I felt her blooming within me, I imagined her every detail. Strawberry blond pigtails bounced as she giggled at tickly belly kisses; a smattering of inevitable freckles danced across her nose; dimpled hands grasped a pink blanket, her fingers working the silky fabric as she drifted of to sleep. She was radiant…and she was mine.

My vintage Barbies, Cabbage Patch Kids, and even an antique Betsy-Wetsy doll would decorate her nursery. Below her ruffled dresses, Band-aids would plaster her constantly scraped knees, for after she spent hours lost in magical storybook worlds, she’d tear through our garden searching for faireis hidden amidst the sunflower stalks and rose blooms.

She was real—the tangible, thriving child of my dreams—then she was gone.

Three times I let her slip away. My body failed her. My love wasn’t strong enough to bind her to me, to keep her alive. Somehow I just couldn’t make her be.  Though technically it was never my fault, my guilt is a scar that will never truly fade.

When you have one healthy, amazing child no one seems to understand that fortune may not fall on you again. An uncomfortable shrug and downcast eyes became my only response to the constant questioning about when we were going to provide our son with a sibling. Losses were brushed aside as savage words bit to the bitter core.

You already have one child—there’s no reason you can’t have more. It’s just not in God’s plan right now. There must have been something wrong with it. You don’t really want another mouth to feed, do you?  It’s for the best. God will give you another baby when you are ready.  It’s so early it’s not a big deal. It’s not like it was a “real” baby you had held or anything…

The wait consumed me each month. Days ticked by in a blur as I obsessed about recreating her, dreamed I was worthy of breathing life into her tiny cells. Fertility drugs sent me teetering to the edge. Prayers went unanswered. What little faith I once held was washed away in a tide of blood.

Constant failure beat me down until I could no longer withstand the jabs of frustration, the gut-punches of hearbreak and grief. I finally broke. A dull husk shivering on the bathroom floor was all that remained. I surrendered while my shattered spirit still had a chance to piece itself back together.

Life goes on, forever fluid as a river, at times flooding my heart with joy, yet occasionally still receding, leaving me brittle and barren. There will always be a lingering part of my soul adrift. A glimpse of a shy smile on a little girl in a crowd, graceful laughter carried in on the breeze—that could have been her.

In time, I chose to declare peace with the past so I could embrace my family’s future. I chose to find grace in the bounty of beautiful moments life granted me instead of lamenting what had been denied. Our threesome may not be all I had longed for, but it is complete, and it is enough.

Her name was Ava Grace, and her soul was not meant for this world.


88 thoughts on “When Grace is Gone

  1. Jenn@Fox in the City

    Wow, what a powerful post! Those who have never suffered a miscarriage will never understand the impact it has and how hurtful their words can be. I am so sorry for you losses and thank you for sharing with us.

  2. Abby

    There's not much I can say that won't sound trite, especially coming from someone with no experience in this area, but this post is beautiful in it's own painful way. Things happen that we can't explain and aren't expected to understand, but they happen and we learn, we love, we move on but don't forget.
    Beautiful post.
    My recent post She Kissed a Girl

  3. Jennifer

    Beautifully written. I feel your pain as I went through many years of loss between the birth of my daughter (now 19) and then finally the birth of my son(now 9). I could never find the words during that terrible time but if I had read this then……I know it would have made me see the light. Truly lovely post.
    My recent post Errol where the hell is my Pottermore letter?

  4. Gigi

    I'm crying for you and your little girl. I never experienced the trauma – and have always been at a loss for the right thing to say when others have dealt with it. Now I think the only thing to say is I'm sorry and that I'm thinking of you.

    And I am doing both for you right now; because I know that had to have been one difficult post to write….much less share.
    My recent post Apparently, I've become TOO much of a hermit….

  5. aka_vinobaby

    Okay, I never really knew any of my wandering ones were officially girls…I just always imagined myself with one from the first pregnancy to the last. I'm okay now, really, I am…this just felt so good to get out, trying to flush the ghosts haunting my memories…

    And it was actually pretty easy to write. It's been bottled up for far too long.

    Thanks for reading…and caring.

  6. Frelle

    Im so sorry for your losses. This is achingly beautiful, so much raw emotion in here to process.. so so sad, yet strong, and appreciative, and so so brave. *HUG* Thank you for laying your soul bare here.

  7. Tina

    That was beautiful and heartfelt. It hit a little close to home for me, and I cried. It's hard when you have so much to give another child and it is just not meant to happen.

  8. Lynn

    What an excellent piece of writing. Straight from the heart. I'm sorry for your losses. Great job with the prompt.

  9. Jackie @ MomJovi

    This is so beautifully written. I have no words of wisdom to offer other than your son and husband are very lucky to have you. It's clear you have an enormous heart filled with overflowing amounts of love to give. I know this is going to help so many other women who like you, have probably kept these feelings bottled up for so long. Congratulations on what must feel like a tremendous release and hopefully, a sense of peace.
    My recent post Back in the Saddle

  10. Kindred Adventures

    What a beautiful post. How brave of you to look deep inside and reflect on such a painful moment. I suffered several miscarriages (early on in the pregnancys) but never when I already had a child. I only ever had to take care of myself. I only had to be healthy enough for me. You are right it does make you stronger, it is never easy and still so very painful and a pain that often sneaks back to remind us it is there. I am so happy you were able to find your enough! I want to climb in the computer and give you a giant hug! -Laverne

  11. Kirsten

    Oh my goodness, I am just sitting in awe of these words, of the depth and strength it took to write this. I struggled with infertility, not miscarriages just total barreness and so I know this pain, this losss and my heart literally aches with yours. What a beautiful post!!!

  12. May

    It must have taken a lot of courage to put this out there. The raw pain of it is so clear. It just has such beauty. Thank you for sharing.

  13. gmunster

    I just found your site through the SITS forum and wasn't expecting the first post I read to be this one. This is just….I almost don't even have the words. This is an amazing piece of writing…I feel so connected to you immediately, even though I've never experienced something like that. I had my first little baby this past March and right now, after reading this, I'm reminded to be so thankful everyday. Thank you for just baring your soul like this. It's all truly moving.

  14. Jessica@Team Rasler

    Lovely. Even though miscarriages are so common, it never ceases to amaze me how people still don't know what to say. All of the things you wrote are on my "What not to say" list for when I finally write my book: How To Avoid Being a Well-Meaning Idiot. I'm sorry you had to deal with so many on your path.

  15. Angie

    So powerful. Sometimes people don't know what to say, and they end up saying the wrong thing. Not that it excuses hurtful comments.

    What a lovely tribute to your daughter.

  16. Tayarra

    That speaks to me like you wouldn't believe. I'm so sorry about your losses and things people say in response to that.

    I'm glad to read that you have come to appreciate your family as they are…. beautiful and yours.

  17. Jessica

    What an amazing, heartbreaking post. I can completely identify with all of the wrong things that people say. I am not sure why people think we find comfort in such harsh words. I am glad you have found some peace in the place that you are at now but I wish you had your Ava Grace.
    My recent post How We Keep Ourselves Busy

  18. Amanda

    Oh wow.

    I have been to that place, too. Only once so far, and it was before my sweet Lilah. Though I know it is all to common, there was nothing anyone could say to me to make it make sense. Because of this experience, I will never again ask a couple when they are planning to have kids (or more kids), I will never again tell someone that if they just relax, maybe it'll happen, and I will never again offer platitudes to someone struggling through pregnancy loss or infertility.

    I learned so much by being forced to go to that place, and looking back, I wouldn't change it. But I still have secret fears about it happening again when we decide to try for a second child. I wish that no woman ever had to go through that kind of pain.

  19. Bruna

    Aw, what a sad but well written post. I feel for you. I have miscarried before and have a good friend who has struggled through pregnancies and getting pregnant after losing a baby boy to cancer at only 18 months.

    It's hard and I can only imagine your loss. My heart goes out to you. *Hugs*

  20. letmestartbysaying

    This is beautifully sad, but in a way that doesn't make me feel sorry for you. It makes me wish you all goodness and light and joy. And it made me miss Ava Grace, though I never got to know her.
    Came from the weekend linkup.

  21. vinobaby

    Thank you. There was a time, when this was fresh and raw, I was wallowing in misery and wanted pity. Certainly not now though. We all have shit happen in our lives. The journey to get through it and come out on the other side to see the light again is what makes us stronger.

  22. roxisbrilliant

    I'm crying for you. Your words are simply astounding. A beautiful post from a beautiful and strong woman.

  23. sheri

    Oh my. I am already a fan of your site but saw you were on SITS today and that this was a featured post. I'm now sitting here crying. I can't imagine what you went through, or how you found the strength to put it on paper so beautifully, but I so appreciate and respect what you've written here, and thank you for sharing it with us. You are an amazing writer.
    My recent post my “super bowl post”

  24. gretafunk

    This is an amazing post. I'm thankful to have never known what that felt like, so I can never truly understand, but I DO know (deep in my core) what people's words during a time of grief can do.

  25. Ms Connie

    What a painfully beautiful post; your writing is amazing. I am truly sorry for your loss. I too suffered a miscarriage after delivering a healthy baby two years previous. I heard many of the same comments you mention. I tried to give people the benefit of the doubt, assuming they meant to be comforting but just didn't know the right thing to say. I think this is one experience people can't understand unless they have been through it. I wish you all the best in your healing process. P.S. Found you through SITS:)
    My recent post Meet Fancy Nancy: Books and More

  26. aka_vinobaby

    I'm sorry for your loss as well. That's pretty much all someone can say. Those who have not gone through this have no idea how devastating, how demeaning their words can be. Thanks you so much for dropping by.

  27. kvetchmom

    So powerful and beautifully written. I want to give you a big hug. I hope you let yourself feel however you need to feel as your grieve these losses. XO

  28. Tara

    It bothers me that woman who want to be moms & should be moms to as many children as she wants, cant. Yet, people who mistreat kids and do not deserve to be parents ,can. What a beautiful, brave post.

  29. Mary Ruff

    What a beautiful post. I have been on the same journey and I too had to withstand the hurtful, idiotic comments from people who were trying to make me "feel better". It is so difficult to accept pregnancy loss (or stillbirth in my case) as God's plan. But you are right – what doesn't kill us does make us stronger. I hope you are feeling better and are beginning to heal. You are in my thoughts.
    My recent post My Brand of Crazy

  30. sfiberworks

    Your imagined image of your daughter is stunning I it's detail. An honor to have you share this. Visiting from the weekend hop.

  31. Twins Happen

    Wow. I read this and cried for you and for the depth of your pain. However, I am also cheering for you for the depth of your strength. This was beautifully written and incredibly poignant. Thank you for sharing.


  32. jfarelyn

    I remember reading this last year when you first published it. It's an amazing and powerful piece of writing, and Im so glad you feel that it's one of your best posts. *HUG*

  33. Steve

    As a once would be grandfather… choices made many years ago still haunt me. Regret, like guilt never fades. Now, having 3 children, and 3 grandchildren, I often wonder what could have been. Unable to change the past, I can only hope to help others make better decisions than I did. Thank you for sharing a part of you. Thank you for keeping "what could have been" in the forefront of my thoughts.

  34. Pingback: Presenting Three Minus One: Parents’ Stories of Love and Loss | KerryAnnMorgan.com

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