Miscarriage. Such a misleading word for an earth-shattering experience. It sounds like you just dropped or misplaced your baby instead of the ugly, painful reality that you began this pregnancy journey as two inseparable beings and somehow, now you find that you are even less than one person. At least that’s how it feels for a while when you lose such a precious part of yourself.
My name is Jennifer Cooper
and my mountain was infertility. I battled my infertility for about 6 years, and along the way, I experienced 4 miscarriages. It was a painful trial soaked with blood, sweat, and so many tears.
During this time, I faced many uncomfortable and sometimes downright painful medical procedures (11 failed IUIs, 2 D&Cs, 1 Endometriosis surgery, countless tests and blood draws, etc.). It cost my husband and I thousands of dollars, but, more importantly, it almost cost me my joy and my peace. I couldn’t understand why God would not give me the desires of my heart, why he wouldn’t move this mountain for me. All I wanted was a baby, the chance to bring life into this world, to experience motherhood in all its blessed and messy glory. Why couldn’t I have what came easily to other women? Why wouldn’t God let me bring a cherished baby into a world where so many children are abused and neglected? I asked these questions countless times as another negative pregnancy test pushed my dreams of motherhood even further away. My eyes were so laser-focused on my curse that I almost missed the blessings that were all around me. My grief nearly swallowed me whole, and Satan almost won. He came very close to claiming my power and God’s victory for himself. Sisters, this realization I am about to share with you did not come easily to me, and I fought it with everything in me.
But, please don’t miss this: sometimes when your mountain won’t budge, it’s because God is asking you to turn around. Or he is teaching you how to wait patiently on his timing, no matter how long it takes.
Those are the hardest two lessons I have ever learned, and I hope you will walk alongside me for awhile as I share with you about how God made me a mother in HIS timing and in the most unexpected way.
I have wanted to be a mom for as long as I can remember. I am very close with my own mother, so I knew secondhand how precious motherhood can be from our own relationship. When I was in my early 20s, I began to experience that longing even more strongly. Unfortunately, I knew I was not at the best place in my life to become a mother. I had not chosen the right man to become the father of my children, and deep down, I knew that. We never tried to have children together. I did not meet my husband now until I was around 29 years old, and this was before I even knew about my infertility. I remember crying every Mother’s Day and feeling left out as I watched yet another friend step into the role that I longed for so deeply. However, when I met my husband now, I forgot all of that for a while.
This shiny, new love was the perfect distraction, and we spent the first several years of our marriage simply enjoying each other. As our love blossomed and grew deeper roots, I began to think about what a wonderful father he would be. We bought a house, and we decided it was the right time to start trying for children. So, we tried, and we waited. And then we tried again and waited some more. I began to ask my friends for advice and to do some light research on my own about how to improve our chances of becoming pregnant. After 8 months of waiting, we started to wonder if something was wrong. Then, around Christmas time, I began noticing that something was different in the best way possible. Never have I been so excited to be tired, nauseous, and moody! On Christmas morning, I couldn’t stand it any longer, and I took a pregnancy test. When I saw that plus sign, I hit my knees and praised God. It was such an amazing feeling. I thought I was complete before that day, but the new knowledge of that miraculous baby growing inside me was like feeling a beam of light shining into all my empty spaces I never even realized were there. It was like being in a secret club for two, just me and the baby. I couldn’t wait to tell my husband. When I did, he was so shocked that he simply didn’t believe it. He asked me to take a few more tests to confirm it. We went to visit his family later that afternoon, and it was so hard to keep our amazing news a secret. I was dying to tell everyone, to shout it from the rooftops. My first ultrasound appointment was two weeks later. We arrived filled with excitement at the prospect of seeing our baby for the first time, completely naïve to any other possible outcomes. I still remember lying on the hospital bed as the ultrasound technician moved the wand around.
Something in her expression was strange, and I felt my excitement drain away as the atmosphere in the room shifted. “Something isn’t right. Let me go get the doctor,” she said. The doctor confirmed her suspicions and informed us that I had a gestational sac but no baby. He used the term blighted ovum. I didn’t even understand what that meant. “Where was my baby?” I thought to myself. He explained that it was slightly possible that I just wasn’t as far along as I had originally thought, that the baby might not be big enough to be seen yet. His advice was to wait two more weeks and check again before making a final diagnosis. We left the OBGYN office that day confused and heartbroken. The only choice was to wait. My husband’s attitude quickly shifted towards thinking positively, and I admire him so much for that. My faith was not as strong. I felt betrayed by my own Judas body, and I was pretty certain that I had not miscalculated how far along I was. At my mother’s urging, I began to pray about it, and I felt God plainly tell me to trust him. He said, “I will get you through this, and no matter what happens, I will take care of you. Just trust me.”
He reminded me of his promise in the book of Jeremiah
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not
harm you, to give you hope and a future.”
He asked me to have faith, even just a little. Faith the size of a mustard seed or better yet, the size of a raspberry, which is how big an 8-week-old embryo is supposed to be. So I did.
Two weeks can feel like an eternity when you are waiting on an answer, but I prayed so hard during that time. That second appointment was nothing like the first. I cried in the waiting room. I cried in the ultrasound room. My husband tried his best to comfort me, even though he was anxious and hurting too. This time a doctor did the ultrasound, with a nurse standing by. They spoke to each other before they spoke to me, and I heard one of them mumble the word debris under their breath. That wasn’t the word I wanted to hear, and I knew then that the good news we had prayed for wasn’t coming. He told me that my body thought that it was pregnant, and my sac had continued to grow.
I felt so exposed, lying there naked as they pushed the wand around inside me, trying to find a baby that wasn’t there. The physical discomfort paled in comparison to how much I hurt on the inside. I wanted to throw my clothes back on and curl up into a ball and hide.
Instead, we began discussing the next step, which was a D&C to remove the useless sac inside of me. This was only 2 weeks before my husband’s birthday, and I was determined we wouldn’t schedule the procedure on that day. The night before my D&C, I laid in my bed and cried. I didn’t want them to take my sac away because, even though they were telling me my baby was not there, my wounded heart simply couldn’t accept this fact. That precious baby was very real to me, even if it never existed anywhere outside of our hearts. The doctor who performed the D&C was very kind to me. He told me afterwards that I was perfect and that there was nothing wrong with me. His wife had been through a miscarriage as well, and his compassion meant a lot to both my husband and me. He encouraged us to wait awhile and try again. He told us that most women didn’t experience more than one miscarriage, and it was unlikely that I would either.
Buoyed by his words, we followed his advice, and 6 months later I was pregnant again. Although we were very nervous, we still held out hope for a healthy, full-term pregnancy this time around. I had several loved ones share with me that they felt like everything was going to be alright this time, and that was very comforting to me. Both my husband and I were a bundle of nerves at that first appointment, and we couldn’t believe it when the ultrasound technician told us that the tiny little blur on the screen was indeed our baby. I kept asking her to show me again. We breathed a sigh of relief and began making plans. I looked around on Pinterest for the best way to make our announcement. I made an Amazon wish list filled with tiny baby clothes for both boys and girls. I gave myself permission to dream. I made it to about 8 ½ weeks this time before the bleeding began. At first there wasn’t much blood, and my doctor told me it was probably fine, as long as I didn’t have any blood clots. I didn’t fully understand what that meant, and I was at work on the day I noticed the first clot. Panicked, I called my doctor, and they told me to come in as soon possible so they could check things out. I was working for my dad at the time, and he cancelled all his patients so that he could be with me during the appointment. I also called my husband on the way there, and he left immediately to meet us there.
During the drive, I prayed the whole time. God answered my prayer with a new promise, which was that He wouldn’t waste this experience. He told me no matter what happened, He would use it for his glory. By the end of that drive, I was at peace. We received good news that day. They didn’t know why I was bleeding, but the baby was ok, growing right on schedule. We heard the heartbeat and received the sweetest ultrasound picture, which somehow miraculously resembled a baby this time instead of a blob.
Reassured by what we had seen, we continued with our plans for the weekend. Our 12-year-old niece came for an overnight visit. We went out to a nice dinner and watched a movie. Then, at about 2 am, I woke up with terrible cramps and contractions. I rushed to the bathroom and barely made it to the toilet before the heavy bleeding began.
I want to be real here, so please consider this a trigger warning for what comes next.
It was terrifying. Blood was gushing out of me forcefully, along with other stuff. I still don’t know what all of it was, and I don’t want to know. But there was a lot of it. It was the scariest thing that has ever happened to my body. I was scared for both the baby and myself. It felt like I was standing helplessly on the shore as my baby was being pushed further and further out to sea. I couldn’t rescue her because it was my body producing the waves. I wanted so badly to make it stop, to save my baby, but I was helpless, and scared. So, so scared. My husband woke up and rushed in there to check on me. I was losing so much blood, and I knew I was losing my baby. We woke my poor niece up. She was so young, too young to understand, and I remember her asking if we were still going to Splash Country the next day. We rushed to the Emergency Room. I continued to bleed, and we tried to shield my niece from it as much as possible, which meant I had to face most of the traumatic events without the comfort of my husband. The nurses were my angels that night, and they were incredibly tender and compassionate with me. I don’t remember everything, but I was in a lot of pain. I didn’t know it at the time, but the reason my miscarriage was so violent is because I have a blood clotting abnormality, and my body doesn’t break down blood clots as it should. But all I knew at the time was that I was losing my baby.
For the second time…
The next two weeks were so hard. During that time, our elderly cat passed away, and then my grandmother died. I wish the feeling of peace I experienced on my drive to that ultrasound had stayed with me, but it didn’t. And that’s ok because I was grieving. I grieved for a long time after that.
When you are going through a hard time, people expect you to move on after a while. Because grief is like a sad parade that no one wants to watch. There’s no music, and yet it marches on, oblivious to everything and everyone else around. I tried.
I camouflaged how I felt on the inside by focusing on my outward appearance, hiding behind freshly washed hair, makeup, and a nice outfit, but my carefully applied mascara washed down my face in runny black tears. I was not ok, and there was nowhere to hide.
I couldn’t tell my grief to go hide in the corner like a naughty child. I had to face the world, and yet I felt like no one would understand what I was going through. Satan used my struggle to whisper lies into my vulnerable ears, and I swallowed them whole. I blamed my body because it had betrayed me. TWICE. I pushed my husband and his own grief away because it had not happened to his body. Worse yet, I blamed God. Satan’s lies mixed with words from friends and family.
Some words were comforting:
- “You have the right to grieve.”
- “Your loss is valid.”
- “Your baby mattered.”
Some were not:
- “At least you can get pregnant.”
- “Everything happens for a reason.”
- “You can always try again.”
- “Maybe your body just knew there was something wrong with the baby.”
Everyone meant well. I know that now. They did not understand my experience either, and they did their best to comfort me. But at the time, the words they offered felt like receiving a Christmas gift of fruit cake. You know the kind, well-intentioned yet unappetizing. I didn’t want to hurt their feelings, so I choked down the crumbs, still hungry for grace. It’s hard to know what to say or do when someone you care about is going through something so hard, especially when it has never happened to you. I did not know how to ask for what I needed because I wasn’t sure if anything would make me feel better. Ever. Honestly, at that time, I just wanted to be alone with my grief. I don’t even like to have company over when my house isn’t clean, and this all encompassing grief was the messiest place I had ever been. On the inside, I felt like I was still sitting at the scene of the crime with no mop in sight and no cozy chair for any guest to sit in, let alone my husband. Let alone myself. It was just me and my sorrow. The suffocating, palpable absence of the baby I had lost left no room for
anything or anybody else. Even though I didn’t want to be in that painful place even one moment longer, I felt like there was nowhere I could go to escape my pain. Honestly, as painful as it is to say now, I didn’t want to be anywhere anymore.
After reproductive loss, many men and women have feelings ranging from shame, guilt and sadness to anger, depression and insomnia. These feelings are totally normal and there is help available to you. The International Helpline is here for you to talk with 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Depression doesn’t have to stop you from living your life. Reach out!
I knew I needed help, so I looked up nearby counselors who specialized in the particular type of loss I had experienced. God was looking out for me during this time, even if I didn’t realize it. The counselor I found had experienced pregnancy loss as well. During the time I saw her, my husband and I also began to see a fertility specialist. I learned more about why I was having so many problems both conceiving and carrying to term. There were multiple reasons, which wasn’t very encouraging. I had a third miscarriage, and I didn’t even find out I was pregnant until I was
already losing the baby. I was so incredibly angry. I shared that with my counselor, who was also a believer. She told me that God was big enough for my anger and not to turn away from him. She told me to bring all my grief, my pain, my shame, and yes, even my anger right to his feet.
“So you want me to pray ANGRY,” I asked in disbelief. “Yup, that’s exactly what I want you to do. He can take it.”
So I did. And it helped.
We continued with the fertility treatments for about a year and a half. Nothing worked, and the negative pregnancy tests piled up month after month. Our dreams of becoming parents had never seemed further away. Now, before I add this next part, please remember I can only speak to my experience here, and I am not against pursuing fertility treatments in any way. I know many people who have had their prayers answered by these same treatments, and they can be a wonderful thing. It’s just that for me, they weren’t. I had to be there 3-4 times a week, and the appointments were eating away at my time. The medication I was on made me moody. Intimacy became robotic because of the necessary medical interventions, and I felt like a walking science experiment. The treatments were stealing away what little joy I had left, draining our finances, and damaging our marriage. Then, the unthinkable happened, something I never expected. My dad passed away. It happened suddenly and without warning. I never even got to say goodbye. Life is no guaranteed, and only God knew that it would happen. I dealt with so much guilt after that. As I mentioned earlier, I was working for him during that time, and yet I had
been so focused on my own issues that I had failed to appreciate the gift that God had given to me: time with my dad. Of course, I never could have predicted what was going to happen. Prior to his death, my dad seemed perfectly healthy, and losing him caught everyone off-guard. Guilt doesn’t care about the facts though; it’s illogical.
After it happened, I remember wondering if I had even hugged him goodbye on what turned out to be the last day I saw him. I have forgiven myself since then, but unfortunately it took the tragedy of his death to really wake me up. To shift my perspective away from what I couldn’t have to what I already have. A loving husband. A nice home. A wonderful family. And a dad who loved me so much he gave me a job. A dad who loved me so much he left work on the day of my second miscarriage to take care of me. I was surrounded by so many blessings, and yet for the longest time, my attention was focused on my idol: having a baby. The desire to become a mother is a wonderful and natural thing, but the enemy knew how to strike me right where I was the most vulnerable. And it took losing my own father for me to learn that anything, truly anything, can become an idol.
You can tell something has become an idol in your life when what YOU want is more important than what GOD has planned for your life. It’s an idol when it robs you of your joy and turns your eyes away from Jesus. It was time for a change. It was time to re-claim my joy. We stopped our fertility treatments. I took some time to be with my family and to settle my father’s affairs. I lost my job when he passed away, so that was an immediate concern. If you have read this far, you deserve some happy news, so here it comes. It’s about time, right! God showed up in several huge ways, and truly, he had never stopped showing up in my life. It just took me a while to recognize it and give him the credit he deserves and had always deserved. The first thing that happened is that one of my best friends, who was a children’s director at the time, offered me a job as her assistant. Part of the job description included teaching pre-school age kids at a Mother’s Day Out program. Even at my first day on the job, I knew I was in my element. I had found my true calling. Working with these young children helped to heal my aching heart, and it gave me a creative outlet as well. I still work with children to this day, and it is one of the biggest blessings in my life.
“When your past, your pain and your passion overlap, you find the sweet spot of your purpose in life.”Brian Jarrett – Change Your World by John C. Maxwell and Rob Hoskins
God also began to speak to my heart about motherhood and how there are other ways to become a mother. He helped me learn how to unpack my pain, which led to the discovery that the consuming grief I felt was just love in need of a new direction. He showed me how to channel my desire for motherhood by matching me with someone in search of the very thing I had to offer: that untapped reservoir of love that had almost drowned me. I became a Big Sister through the Big Brother/Big Sister organization, which pairs an adult male or female with a minor in need of a mentor. God had a sense of humor too because I thought they would give me a little
girl. Nope, they assigned me to a teenage girl. An incredible, resilient, wise-beyond-her-years 13-year-old girl. I questioned this decision because I felt like I was better with younger children, but God told me it was the right choice. I didn’t know why yet, but the difference this time around was that I had learned to trust him more. We got along so well. I gave her advice, but we also made memories together. I took her shopping for her first formal gown. We got our nails done. I taught her how to make my dad’s favorite cookies. She helped to fill my emptiness, and if I hadn’t been obedient to God, I would have missed out on all of that. But more about that in a
moment. In the meantime, my husband and I began to take foster care classes, and I also began to share publicly about my infertility on social media. I learned that I was not alone.
Satan had been lying to me the whole time. I was never alone, but in my self-imposed isolation and grief, it was easier for him to feed me his lies and make me believe that I was. I learned that my story mattered, that my experiences were not in vain. By proudly exposing my own scars, I could help embolden other women to do the same. I learned how utterly gorgeous it is when we are vulnerable, how perfectly it pairs with God’s plan for Christians to testify of his love. Because the one thing a non-believer can’t argue with is your story and how God delivered you from the worst pain you have ever felt in your life. For me, it was my infertility. A mountain that never moved because it was never meant to move. Instead, God reached down with his loving
hands, scooped me up, and turned my life in a new direction. His direction.
He taught me how to wait on His timing, and even though he moves much slower at times than I would like, his plan is infinitely better than my own. His plan is more creative, more all-encompassing, and it’s never limited to just one person, one perspective, one life. We focus on our own puzzle piece, but God sees the whole puzzle. When he calls us out, he is teaching us to see beyond our own pain to the world around us. He longs for us to consider both the God-given blessings that surround us and the pain of others. It’s about claiming victory by owning our
stories, sharing our testimonies, and being obedient to his calling. It’s for our own good, even when we don’t realize it. For a long time, I lost hope, but God never did. He was just waiting on me to remember the promise he gave me (and all of us) long ago in Jeremiah 29:11. Once I stopped dwelling in the past, he delivered my future in the most unexpected of ways.
Oh, and that amazing teenage girl I mentioned (my “Little Sister”): she’s my daughter now.
Did you miss episode 3 of Iron Sharpens Iron? That’s okay! You can watch the full episode with Jennifer Cooper – When God Doesn’t Move a Mountain below!
Worthy Women has an online store where we are taking your testimonies and turning them into swag, giving you a unique way to witness. Visit our online store today to purchase this shirt inspired by Jennifer’s testimony!