When I Lost My First Child To Miscarriage

Woke up yesterday morning to the heartbreaking news that the wife of a dear friend had given birth to a beautiful baby with severe brain damage; and that they would be taking their child off life support next week. I cannot begin to imagine what you are going through. I cannot say that I’ve been in your shoes. I do not know what it’s like. But I was asked to share my experience with loss.

I don’t know if this will help or hurt, so I apologize beforehand. I know nothing but my own experiences and I certainly do not claim to have any answers or solutions.

Religion was not a big part of my life growing up and I had no interest in changing that. I was a Muslim by name with little understanding of what it meant. The story of my loss is also the story of my faith.

I’ve never talked about my first child before, not to anyone except myself and God. I was a 20-year-old newlywed in my final year at university. The last thing I wanted was a child. I will forever be ashamed and feel immense guilt over that initial reaction of not wanting to be pregnant. What I wanted was to continue partying and having fun and not be burdened with motherhood. Not a naturally maternal person, the baby felt like a tiny stranger. I wondered if I would be able to love it.

I cleaned up my act. Got ready for baby. Started getting excited about the prospect of itty bitty feet in itty bitty booties. Teeny weeny hands wrapped around my fingers. All the cuddles and coos and kisses.

In retrospect I believe God heard my initial thoughts because when I was 4 months pregnant I started bleeding. An ultrasound scan confirmed the baby had no heartbeat. It was a partial miscarriage and I had no choice but to terminate the pregnancy.

I remember the nurses, the doctor, the hospital. Not an emotional person I reacted with logic and reason. I scheduled the termination a week later. On the drive home I called my sister and the moment I heard her voice the tears came in a flood. “My baby died.” That’s all I could say.

My family and friends hugged and consoled and said things like “you’re still young,” “you can try again,” “I also had a miscarriage,” “it’s normal,” “don’t be sad.” And I smiled and I nodded. But alone at night I begged for forgiveness and prayed for my baby, and felt an immense sense of guilt.

I never questioned “why” because I think I know. I didn’t deserve that baby. So God took him.

Back at the hospital, waiting to go under general anesthetic, lying in the bed as doctors and nurses went about their duties, I started to pray. I surrendered myself completely to God. And I said, I accept that You have taken back my child. If You choose to take me too, I accept. If You choose to leave me here, I accept and I promise to do better. Whatever Your will, I accept. And I felt His presence. Surround me. Embrace me. As I surrendered my entire being.

La ilaha illallah Muhammadur rasulullah.

I woke up with a nurse sitting by my bedside. My womb was empty but my heart was full. She showed me my baby. It was a tiny. The beginnings of a child. I named him Musa.

I took some time off. Deferred some classes, completed others. Focused on studying not for the sake of studying, but to actually learn. Started to live my life with more purpose. A little less selfishly every day. I didn’t go back to partying or any of that stuff, but I still had fun. I strive to be the best version of myself possible. A person of value, to myself and others. The kind of person Musa deserved to have as a mother.

A year later I graduated with my degree, 9 months pregnant with my second child, my rainbow baby – my Ayub.

When people ask me what pregnancy and childbirth and motherhood is like… the truth is it’s horrible, painful, uncomfortable, scary, overwhelming. And it’s absolutely worth every second.

To my little Musa, you made me want to do more, be more, and give more. You are the single most important person to have ever entered my life, and I am forever grateful to be given the blessing of both having you and losing you. It’s weird to think that losing a child is a blessing, but for me, knowing that you’re in heaven with the angels, instead of here… I like to think of you there. You made me a better, stronger, more humble and appreciative person. You make me believe in the Almighty. I pray that we’ll be reunited one day, and that I’ll finally be the mother you deserve.

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Laila Zain

Laila is a working mama who married young, had two beautiful boys, went through a shitty divorce, met an amazing man, remarried, and had a beautiful girl. Her eldest boy is a rainbow baby and special needs child. Her second is ridiculously smart. Her baby is a baby.

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