Note: This is the third and final part of a series on miscarriage from abortion survivor and national speaker Melissa Ohden, who shares her own story about recently overcoming the pain and grief of a miscarriage through a strong belief in God. Read parts one and two.

Just three days after finding out through the ultrasound that our child had stopped developing and had passed away, just one day after undergoing the S & C, I spoke as scheduled at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.  Some may call that crazy, but I call that ‘by the grace of God go I.”  He knew all that was going to transpire when I scheduled that date to speak, and with the university being close to our home in Sioux City, Ryan and I reflected on what a good opportunity it was to speak for the first time after all that had transpired with my family there to support me.

God gave me the strength to speak that night, just as He always does, and I was taken aback that night, as I have been every night since losing our child, by just how heavy of a burden, yet how transformational of a power, exists in grief.  I have never felt so weak as when I knew that our child had died and there was nothing I could do about it.  I have never felt so unprepared as a wife and a mother as when I had to first tell my husband that I believed something was wrong with the pregnancy, and later when we had to prepare Olivia, over the course of a number of days, for the reality of her sibling’s passing.  I have never felt more vulnerable than I did during those days when we first found out about the miscarriage and I went through the medical appointments and surgical procedure.

I’ll be honest–I still lie awake many a night talking to God about why all of this happened, about what His divine plan is for our child’s life, for our family, and for our ministry.  My heart aches with a grief that I never knew existed.  The fears and anxieties about life  that I first faced years ago after finding out the truth about being an abortion survivor and spent years working through, stirred once again in my soul during the first few days of our loss.  That’s the by-product of experiencing a trauma, of facing a loss—it rocks your foundation, it shakes your core.  Yet despite all of the pain, there is something beautiful rising up from these ashes.  There is a transformation happening within me, within our family, that brings me peace and fills my grieving heart with joy.

Even in my times of vulnerability, even in my times of feeling weak and unprepared on this journey, I was being lifted up by God, and so was my entire family.  And the

woman who felt shattered and broken just a few short weeks ago, has found an inner strength that is even greater than the one she had known before as an abortion survivor.  I am a woman, like so many others, who has lost a child through miscarriage.  It is not something I wanted to experience, but let’s be honest, I never was looking to be an abortion survivor, either.  Now both are a part of who I am, and God-willing, I will continue to become a better person not in spite of, but because of them.

Our family, that was once so carefree, so full of joy about our family growing in number, so joyful about life and serving others, is a bit heavier in the heart these days, but we are all more in love with one another and with the Lord, than we have ever been.  We have not turned our hearts from Him; He did not turn His face from us.  Our hearts have been broken with what breaks His, and now our resolve in saving and transforming lives has been further strengthened.

Despite the pain of this experience, my miscarriage inexplicably always leads me back to the pain of abortion.

As an abortion survivor, as a woman, as a mother, I can’t turn away from this.  For far too long, women have been told that an abortion would fix whatever problem they were facing in their lives, far too often women have been told that the child they are carrying is not yet a child, and they are not yet a mother.  Obviously, I always knew this was a falsehood, but what I’ve gone through recently has given me an additional perspective on how I can address these issues in our society.

Despite our great loss, I can’t imagine not experiencing the joy that we did over our child’s conception.  I can’t imagine not sharing in the love of our child with our family and friends, of sharing it with the world.  I can’t imagine not learning the difficult but beautiful lessons about life and death that we have through this experience.  Losing our child through miscarriage does not undo all that was done.  He was conceived.  He was loved.  I was blessed to carry him.  We are all blessed to carry him now in our hearts till we meet him again.  I want every woman to know that her child’s life, her experience in carrying her daughter or son, is a gift, no matter how it’s packaged.

Looking back on these past couple of months, I can easily see that I am not the same woman I was before I experienced this miscarriage.  My heart is a little wider with pain, my eyes have been opened with grief, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing.  I can think back to the Melissa I was before I married Ryan, the wife I was before I was blessed to be a mother, and although I was happy with myself and my life during each of those seasons in my life, I would never want to go back to being the woman that I was in any of them.  Because through God’s grace and my personal choices in the moments of adversity that I faced during each of these seasons, through every experience, every situation, I learned, I grew, and I changed.

Although I would give anything for our son to still be alive, to still be carrying him in my womb, I wouldn’t change what I’ve learned through this journey of loss, the woman that I am continuing to grow to be as a result of it.  That is the transformational power that exists in surviving major difficulties, thriving in the face of painful traumas, and overcoming great losses.  That is the transformational power, too, of grief.

Yes, sadly, once we experience pain and trauma, we will never be the same, but God-willing, we will walk through the dark tunnel of difficulty and loss to ultimately come out on the other side of life.  A life that will never be the same, but one that has been transformed for the better.