“The Heart of a Mother – Part 1”
By Gracie K. Harold
Trigger Word Warning: miscarriage, rape, painkillers, grief, “hellish”.
As I said in my first blog posting; I lost my oldest daughter through a miscarriage during my Senior Year at a Private University. I was shocked. I hadn’t even known I was pregnant. Because I wasn’t sexually active at the time; (and the pregnancy was a result of a rape while I was on painkillers), I never fathomed that my body changes were the result of a pregnancy. Instead, I merely assumed that my hormones were simply fluctuating based on the stress of my senior year and lack of sleep.
I later figured out that I had been about 4 months pregnant. I was devastated. In the months and years to follow, I grieved for my daughter that I wasn’t able to hold. I grieved for the death of my dreams and hopes. As long as I could remember, I had simply wanted to be a mother. Different seasons of my life had me passionately pursuing different vocations, but I always knew that motherhood would be in tandem with whatever else I became.
The holidays that followed were hellish. My womb was barren, and my arms physically ached for my daughter. It didn’t matter to me that her life was the result of a rape; all that mattered to me was that she was mine. I became her mother because she was in my heart. Mother’s Day was almost impossible to get through, as I had no outward signs of my motherhood. I remember going out to dinner on that holiday, and watching the servers hand out potted flowers to the smiling women who entered with their children. My boyfriend at the time thoughtfully went up to an empty table, spoke with a server, and brought me a flower in honor of my daughter.
My mother and I bought “memorial” flower plants and planted them along the hiking trails at a local children’s camp. Every spring, I sneak out to the trails, and smile through my tears as the lily blossoms nod gracefully on the breeze. I’ll never forget the reaction of my mother when I told her of my miscarriage. She enveloped me in her arms, and sobbed, “Oh sweetie. What a loss!” The following autumn, we drove along the lakeshore and grieved. Sometimes we would sit by the beach, watching the waves roll onto the shore as we sobbed together.
One day, mom told me, “Gracie, you need to ride the waves of your grief. Some days will be calm, peaceful and still. Other days will be a tsunami. They’re both okay.”
Over the next years, I learned to grieve. I began to heal, and I began to let go of the overwhelming pain that accompanies bitterness. It took almost 5 years, but I forgave my rapist. I stopped blaming God for taking my daughter, and instead, over the next few years, started thanking God for the incredible gift of motherhood. I learned that there wasn’t a quick fix. Instead, day by day; sometimes second by second, I became honest in my grieving.
I gave myself permission to grieve. I realized that grief can’t be checked off of a to-do list because grief is a journey.
I eventually accepted myself for who I was; a grieving mother.
The next posts will continue to explain my journey through motherhood, grief, laughter and joy.