*trigger warning– this is an essay about miscarriage*
Lately, I have been thinking a lot about hope.
What it is, and why we have it.
For something that seems to have such power over our minds, it seems to lack strength in the real world.
I have found myself wishing that it could be something that it isn’t. So that I could use the mass quantity I seem to possess and harness its power for the use of my own purposes.
You see, I have rationalized that if hope was a life-sustaining force, they would still be here.
Only, they would no longer be the size of a blueberry or sweet pea, because nestled into my hope-fueled body, they would be growing and changing; becoming the precious children I would hold and see and marvel at.
If hope had that kind of power, it could change the outcome of something I desperately wish could be different.
But as it turns out, hope does not have the propensity to sustain life.
It isn’t such a mighty force as that.
Hope doesn’t come barging in, boasting and whisking dreams up into its arms, turning them into reality.
It doesn’t have the ability to remove all obstacles from the path of the heart’s quiet musings, no matter how precious or longed for they may be.
I think such a burden would be much too heavy for it to bear.
Instead, its load consists of only the most delicate of things: the nearly translucent laid up dreams and plans of a future not yet here. Nothing quite solid or weighty enough to gain the momentum needed to propel them into the world.
Or maybe it is smaller than even all of that. It’s force not even as strong as the wind that can carry leaves and sway branches, changing the landscape with its gusts. But instead, more like the tiny seed that quietly inspires and gives life to a wish.
Yes, in my experience, hope has been more like that.
It’s strength presents itself in the quiet, almost imperceptible act of it’s being planted and taking root in a person’s very being. And in that very small way, without much force at all, it does change the landscape of your life.
Or at least, in this way, it has changed mine.
It’s been through this realization over the last few months, that I’ve come to understand that hope may not lead to a desired outcome, but that it still does have a purpose. Somehow, even without making many physical changes to the life we know, it has the capacity to change our hearts into something far more than they once were.
It’s this small truth that has allowed me to see just how inextricably hope is intertwined in the inner workings of becoming a mother. In fact, it seems to be the only thing necessary in her creation.
It is the tiny speck that transforms her ordinary heart just by preparing it for something more. A glimpse into the future of a life to come.
And as quickly as that seed appears, it is fated to become a little seedling that though it may be fragile, will grow with the ferocity of that fabled beanstalk grown with magic beans. Against all logic, and in no time at all, that tiny seedling of hope has become a wondrous stalk, reaching past all that can be seen.
It spirals into the sky, past all the physical limitations of this world.
The wide reaching branches.
The mountain peaks.
Even past the thick puff of dark clouds, cloaking just what the future may hold.
The higher it climbs, the more imaginings become attached to it.
There are fated birth dates and whispered names.
Images of chubby hands and hazel eyes.
Visions of a beaming big sister and proud big brother.
The mental rearranging of beds and adding of chairs to make way for a changed and bigger family.
But even simpler than all of that, there is just the faint, sing-song melody of heartbeats that turn to giggles, cascading down from the clouds.
That is how it goes with hope. It is not tidy, staying in its own little corner.
No, it shows up and weaves itself around all of the things that already exist, with no clear distinction between what is only longed for and what is actually to come.
And no matter our knowledge of how delicate and fragile it is, or how quickly the stalk appears to grow frail and wither before us, it is impossible to extract its roots –even as we see it become threatened and damaged beyond repair.
That’s it. That’s all it takes. Just that tiny seed of hope, and she is created.
I used to think it took more than that. Maybe a certain week of pregnancy reached or the eventual child she holds that marked her creation.
But it’s not.
It is just hope. It is just the rooted dream that never leaves her heart.
That, I suppose, is my strange story of miscarriage.
The only explanation I can conjure up of the phantom-like pain that manifests when you become a mother all over again to someone who is never born.
The simple and yet obscure account of the hope and love I feel for the children I have held in my womb, but not my arms.
And the only way that I have found to form into words or coherent thought, the deep severity of a loss of little lives that I will never know within my own. A small way to measure the impact they made in their short existence.
It is through this explanation of hope that I can begin to understand the depth of grief that comes from a loss that many would say is not much of a loss at all.
And how I have managed to fathom the inescapable longing to have them here, despite logic lecturing me that their little bodies were not made for this world.
I write this knowing that these ramblings may make no earthly sense to so many that read them, all the while not caring, because for me, writing is synonymous to healing.
And I suppose I feel compelled to share, both to dispel the novelty and secrecy that so often accompanies miscarriage, but also because of the small chance that it may find its way to a woman whose hope has been squelched inside of her, too. Whether it be by miscarriage, infertility or some other tragic end that I do not know, I want to send her a small message of validation that this pain and this loss is not insignificant.
For the sweet souls that I have lost, our brief story extends only as far as the journey of hope that I had for them.
But it will always be felt as deeply as the sprawling roots those hopes and dreams left behind.
Until we meet again,
“My love will fly to you each night on angel’s wings,
Godspeed, sweet dreams”