I was recently asked by someone I hold very dear to me, why it is so painful that I may never birth a child. She said it with more grace than I just wrote it, and with true curiosity in her voice. I got teary eyed and stumbled over how to express it to her. It has been running over and over in my head the last few days though. Does it matter if I birth a baby or not? I've written several posts on this type of issue -- God Never Wastes a Hurt, What if?, All I have to hold onto, I wonder, who you'd be today?, Lessons of Grace and Open letter on Grief.
This woman who had some trouble getting pregnant. This woman who also lost a baby. This woman who has fought many battles in her life, yet, her faith in God and her marriage stand the test of time. She also has a family full of children and grandchildren who adore her.
There’s this question that must be addressed before I can move on to answer the real question though and it is:
Why was it easier for me to be open about our infertility than our miscarriage?
Personally, I think it is because while they both hold stigmas of their own and people have varying opinions on them....there are WAY more unknowns about infertility and that is why it was easier for me to share. It's the loss of a potential child. It's the potential to never be able to carry a child to term. So many unknowns, is it me or him that's the problem? Is it this or that, or this or that....the list goes on. But at this point, we've seen a specialist to see options but haven't gone any farther. We don't know if we want to know "who" is the "problem" per se. If there really is a problem. Since God is the one who opens and closes the womb anyway.
With miscarriage though, it is more cut and dry. (Sort of) Because I was pregnant. I had a positive test, and I was growing a baby inside my womb for a time that was cut too short, too soon. I lost the baby. Not just an idea. I lost an actual human baby. Our baby. And that's sad.
I felt like I failed as a mother to protect our child.
I felt like I failed as a woman to be able to carry a baby and help them grow.
I felt rejected and ashamed of what was once but then was no more.
I felt unworthy, unable, incomplete, judged and a whole slew of other emotions.
I'm not saying that all those feelings are true or right. I'm just telling you how it was for me, and I’m assuming others have felt that way too.
And now, more than a year later….There are good days and not so good days.
I realize that it wasn’t my fault. I realize there was nothing I could do.
But even though it doesn't matter one bit in all reality whether I give birth or not. And the fact that it's a bit of a relief because I've heard more terrifying birth stories than I ever needed to and the actual birth process isn't something I was EVER looking forward to. It still hurts.
I think I am most sad about never getting to feel my belly expand far beyond what seems normal, or feeling them kick from the inside, or feeling their hickups, or all the other enjoyable and un-enjoyable moments. I know that I'm no less of a Mom because I didn't birth my child. But it sure makes me thankful for my son’s birthmother who did.
Two phrases that I shared several months ago: "God never wastes a hurt" and "Your most effective ministry comes from your deepest hurts". Our hurts aren't in vain. As I wrote this post yesterday featuring my most popular posts from 2016, the theme was clear. This is a blog about real life—ups and downs, but the most popular posts are the ones that are about the hard stuff. So, for that reason alone it’s evident that God has given those hurts a purpose. And, after all God is the one who is in control and He's always been around, knows all and works everything together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:1-5
I want to share some things that hurt and also things I have found that help me most, because I imagine they can help someone else too.
What hurts the most/What to avoid saying
- Insensitive comments in general.
- "You'll get pregnant the moment you adopt" We've all known someone (or have heard of someone) that this actually happened to, which is awesome!!! and overwhelming, I'm sure! And it happened to us too...the week our adoption was finalized I got a big fat positive but then lost the baby a few weeks later. So even though we got pregnant didn't mean that we got to have that baby.
- "Just relax. As soon as you quit trying, you'll get pregnant." Just let the irony of that second sentence sink in for a moment. And then also let's all relish in the fact that as soon as someone says "relax" it actually puts everyone at ease....not.
What helps the most/Helpful things to say/do!
- One on one time, over coffee or lunch talking.
- Questions about any and everything. (be it in private, pulling me aside, texting, emailing or over coffee/lunch like above)
- Pitter Patter (well, more like stomping) of my son's feet.
- Encouragement in life in general.
- Giving space for me to talk about it, or not.
- Seeking God through prayer and study of His word.
- Fellowship with other believers.
Do you have some issue that is weighing you down that you want to let go of before the New Year? Do you have something that you need to spend less time talking about and more time praying about? I’m with you. Let’s take some time this weekend to sit down and pray to the Creator of the Universe who knows us, loves us and wants to have a personal relationship with us. I’ll start a prayer below and you can add whatever fits your situation. Email me prayer requests at: JJJourney08@gmail.com
Thank you for caring about the details of our lives. Thank you for my family and especially my sweet son. I have to confess that I still like to act in control of my life, even though You are the One who knows and sees all. I want to follow your plan for my life and surrender the hurt of possibly never birthing a child to you.
Thank you for your many blessings, and thank you for providing me grace, patience and endurance to make it through the harder things in life too.
We pray this in your Holy name,
Here's the end of this chapter and the beginning of a new one. Looking forward to 2017!