Conduits of Hope

Natalie Heinz


The other day, I got the pictures that we took with my family back when I first found out I was pregnant. We were holding a onesie; we had planned to use them to make our announcement. “We were happy then. Such a distant memory.” My husband is grieving too. In the midst of this, I’m asking myself not only where hope went, but what is it in the first place? I can only say that I’m not really sure. I wish I knew, but when hope is shattered, it makes it a lot more difficult to see the light shining in the darkness.

In October, I was pregnant. Now I’m not. I lost the baby very early on in pregnancy — but I lost so much more than the baby. I lost everything I had hoped for, dreamed for, prayed for. It’s heart wrenching to lose a life before getting to hold the baby in my arms. I completely lost hope. Everything in my life was no longer what I had planned or hoped. I struggled a lot with my options moving forward. I struggled because there was no hope, at least none that I could see.

I didn’t set out to find hope after our loss. Everything had changed, and I had no choice but to keep moving forward even though I no longer even wanted to hope.  It hurt too much to hope.  And hope didn’t come through a big sign or a miraculous prayer. It came from fumbling my way day by day through the darkness. It looked like figuring out what it means to live again.

Today I do feel differently. Hope has slowly crept back into my life even when I’m afraid of it. I really wish I could point to some event that helped me feel hope again, because maybe then it would feel more real. But I don’t think hope works like that.

Hope started to come back as I reached out more. It didn’t come from others, but people helped my healing process. I found family and friends who cared and who I could lean on for support. I think hope forms over time as we create intentional relationships with people that help us find purpose in life again. These people in your life tell you it’s okay to keep moving forward. They tell you life has meaning even in the darkness. Sometimes we can’t see that hope anymore. That’s okay because life is hard. But those people — maybe they are there to help when the times are tough. They are able to shine the light for you when it’s too dark for you to see and you have lost your flashlight.

Maybe the darkness is where hope has the most meaning. I would argue that it’s in these really difficult and miserable times that you need people the most. Maybe they can’t give you hope yet, but maybe hope will come as they lead you out of that place. It’s a miserable feeling to lose hope. I can’t say I’ve found all my hope back, but I can start to see again, even though there is still a lot of darkness.

So what does it mean to have hope? I can only tell you I’m glad to have people in my life to help me figure that out.

Natalie is a foster care therapist at the Children’s Home. She has been married to her husband Bryan for four years.

Christina Hite