Motherhood is a dream for many; the thought of holding a baby in one’s arms brings joy. The pain of losing a baby is, however, unfathomable. The loss, unforgettable. The following story is about how life changed for Precious Taah – from being congratulated and receiving pregnancy advice to being consoled after losing her first child through miscarriage. That was the beginning of a long and painful journey.
Precious married the love of her life in December 2014 and they chose to delay having children initially. A few years into their marriage, they decided to try for their first child. It wasn’t difficult to conceive, thankfully.
“As soon as we started trying, God blessed us. We didn’t really struggle there,” Precious told The Weight She Carries. “When we found out we were pregnant, we were so excited. It was really surreal to see those two lines (on the pregnancy test). We were literally screaming and we started telling our close friends who were also very excited. Some were giving us pregnancy and baby advice already.
“I remember going to a wedding that day and I was on top of the world. I was glowing. There is something so interesting about the process of procreation and just knowing you are a part of it is amazing.”
Within the first trimester, Precious started experiencing complications, which her doctor said was normal. He encouraged her to rest.
“I stay in a small town, and I doubted the medical advice I was getting,” she said. “As I continued to have problems, my doctor referred me to the capital city, and there, I had a couple of appointments. I would go for a scan and other tests and be told everything is fine even when I felt otherwise.”
With the threat of a miscarriage, the doctor put Precious on bed rest. For the next two months, Precious remained in bed as much as possible. Her pain intensified in the 20th week of her pregnancy.
“I felt something was wrong. I was in serious pain,” she said. “Little did I know I was having contractions. I was driven to the hospital, but unfortunately, I lost the baby. My husband was not there, I had only gone to Harare for medical care. It was really difficult without him there, and I remember feeling numb, shocked and confused.”
“I felt like this was not supposed to happen to me and thought I would soon wake up from this bad dream. Doctors would come and tell me, ‘You are fine; you will be released. Medically, you are doing well,’ but I wasn’t doing well. Emotionally, I was a wreck.”Precious Taah
Precious poured herself into her job and did everything within her power to suppress her emotions.
“I was on autopilot and would follow my normal schedule like I was supposed to. I didn’t want to be in touch with my emotions because I felt like there was no point. I was ready as ever to just move on,” she said. “I lost the hope I had in God. I thought, ‘God, if I am doing what is right in your sight, this is not what I am supposed to get. Why is the world so cruel?’”
It was hard to wrap her mind around the idea of a loving God who would allow her to go through so much pain. She questioned why He chose to bless certain people she deemed more sinful.
“I was thinking if somebody who is a murderer or serial killer can still be given children, then what sin had I committed for me to deserve this? I questioned the scriptures. If the Word of God says a child is a gift from God, then why am I not worthy of it too?”
Precious wrestled with the loss, but in 2019, she was blessed with a child. Unfortunately, her baby was born prematurely and only lived for a few days. She was crushed.
“Initially, I was shocked and numb. Then I had hope that we would get through the loss. But it really hit home for me because it broke me. I thought I had been broken before, but I was so broken I couldn’t even afford not to talk to God,” she said. “I was going to lose my mind if I didn’t have the conversations I had with God.”
“I thought of giving up. I would say to myself, ‘You know what? My body is not good enough; something is wrong with me.’ I felt like I was not woman enough; I was not complete. It’s like you are in a puzzle and a chunk of the pieces are missing. You get into a vicious cycle of trying to find the problem and fixing it. You are restless and do not know who to talk to, what to do.”Precious Taah
Compounding her pain even further were the ill-intentions of some of the “friends” who came by to visit her.
“The world is so insensitive sometimes. People would come and ask about my situation, not because they were concerned, but because they wanted to go and share my story with the next person,” she said.
Precious realized that she needed to be intentional about her healing. It was up to her to take baby steps towards wholeness.
“At that moment, I made a decision that I needed to show up for myself, not just in theory. It’s not easy to do that when you are down and out, but that’s when God steps in. Were it not for Him, it would have been a disaster.”Precious Taah
Something else that helped Precious tremendously in her healing journey was hearing other women’s stories.
“There are extraordinary women out there. Some of my friends had multiple miscarriages but still had happy endings. They gave me hope. God gives you people that come to you and tell you it’s going to be OK from a genuine place, who take it upon themselves to carry you,” she said. “God also gave me a supportive partner. We would pray together.”
Slowly, she began to focus more on God’s goodness instead of her losses, appreciating God for every single blessing He had given her.
“Something magical happened to me,” she said. “I realized that despite my situation, I could sleep at night; I had food on my table. I started appreciating the things I took for granted, like waking up in the morning, having someone I love who loves me back, a family who loves me, a job. I did not have everything I wanted, but God had given me all I needed.”
“When you start counting your blessings, your mindset shifts; you look at things from a different perspective. I do not have everything I want, but someone would give anything to be in my position even though when I look at myself, I feel like I’m in the worst situation. Nick Vujicic’s story also helped change my perspective on life. He has no arms or legs, but he is still making an impact.”Precious Taah
In 2019, Precious had the courage to share her story, which inspired many women.
“I opened up on my baby’s death anniversary. I thought, ‘How can I honour her memory?’ And for me, the best way was to help someone the same way I had been helped,” she said.
“I remember when I went for therapy, my therapist encouraged me to embrace what I had gone through. Painful as it was, I made the decision to share my story without shame. I did not want to promote the stigma that is already in the society by hiding my story. You hear people whisper and gossip about infertility in the corridors.”
Precious, who has learnt a lot from her pain, gave sound advice to other women going through similar situations. She said:
1. You are more than your struggles
“I want women who are either infertile, have had miscarriages or have not ticked a certain box that they were supposed to ‘tick’ at a certain age to know that their value doesn’t come from somebody’s inability to see their worth.”
2. Redirect your focus
“If your journey to motherhood has been quite a challenge, your identity should not be solely defined by your ability or inability to have children. There are many facets that make up who you are. You have to tap into the other gifts God has given you. Do not be fixated on the one that you cannot do anything about. I have been there; that is why I am saying that.”
3. Trust God’s timing
“Motherhood is a blessing, but we do not need to put that responsibility solely on ourselves. It’s God’s decision, and in His appointed time, things will work out for you. We need to trust God more and surrender. We need to hand over to God what belongs to Him, and we need to be more supportive of one another and work collectively because I feel together, we can go further. We need to create safe spaces where women can confide in each other.”
Precious is a holds a masters in communications and media and is in the process of restructuring her career. She is an advocate for social change, a writer and occasional speaker.
“I want to be a better version of myself every day. I don’t like to be stagnant. Learning is something I am passionate about. You need to be an active learner, and with my current situation, issues around female reproduction interest me,” she said.
“Progress and growth drive me. I am passionate about progress especially with regards to the girl child. I am very passionate about empowering women, not necessarily from a radical feminist perspective, but I am a liberal feminist. Women have so much power; we just need to nurture it. We need to show up for ourselves.”Precious Taah
Phoebie Shamiso Chigonde is a journalist passionate about gender equality, social development programmes and grassroots-based solution seeking initiatives. She has a passion for women and community development. Phoebie is also a radio personality at a regional commercial radio station, a platform that enables her to network with like-minded women, journalists and activists as she continues to document and tell the story of the ordinary woman from the lens of that very ordinary woman.