I received a well-meaning text the other day: “Praying for you for peace, perseverance, and trust.” I wanted to reply, trust in what? Trust in God, in the universe, that neither of them would be so cruel as to let a second baby die? I’m part of the baby loss world, I’ve read the saddest stories. I know that lightning can strike more than once.

Issy's 32-week bump with quilt she's making for baby - Please let me be scared

Author’s Personal Collection/Issy Jorden

I do trust in God, as it goes. I’ve grown up with a Christian faith, and somehow, it’s lasted this long; I’m not sure anything could take it away now. I trust that my first baby is in heaven, that she is safe and close to Jesus, that I will be reunited with her one day, and that all the wrong things will be made right. When we lost her last summer, this was my only comfort, and it felt more certain to me than ever before.

I trust in God for this life, too, I think. That there is joy and peace to be found even amongst pain. That my life isn’t over, even though I’m living without one of my children. I believe that I can still have a full and fruitful life in spite of (and in part because of) the tragedy we have known.

But my trust in God does not mean that bad things won’t happen.

I trusted him last year, and my baby died. I don’t believe that God caused my baby to die, but also, mysteriously, he didn’t prevent it. I trust that if we lost this baby, too, I would somehow survive and have more children waiting in heaven for a joyful reunion one day.

But I’m no longer naive to the pain that is possible in this life. I don’t believe that being good, prayerful, and trusting will protect me from bad things happening. And it’s hurtful for this to be asked of me.

It’s hurtful to ask me to not be afraid, to tell me to think positively, to diminish my lived experience.

I know that it’s unlikely for the same thing to happen again, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. So far, in my experience, 100% of my pregnancies have ended in death. My fear is rational. Maybe it makes others uncomfortable; perhaps it’s easier for them to assume a happy ending and not consider the alternatives, but that’s not an option for me. So you either see me and validate my reality, or you shut me down and show me that you’re not a safe person to be honest with.

My mum recently said to me about this pregnancy, her fifth grandchild, “I’m no longer completely terrified, and instead I feel completely numb.” This might sound strange to some, but to me, it is so comforting. Typically, she would be overjoyed in the lead up to the birth of another grandchild, but she lost Dottie last summer too. She knows what can happen, and she’s afraid too. And this validates and comforts me so much more than platitudes and forced positivity.

I am starting to feel excited.

It’s scary, how close and real this baby feels: another loss would break me apart all over again. But I tell myself daily that it is possible – likely, even – that he will survive and arrive safely. Scans show that he’s growing well, his heartbeat is strong as it should be, and his delivery date is only weeks away. We continue to prepare, as much as we can, and hope for the best. But please don’t invalidate my reality. Please let me be afraid, and celebrate with me when it’s time to celebrate.

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