Wednesday, June 10, 2009

the potential for joy and sorrow

In January of 2007, I lost a baby.

I'm not going to say I had a miscarriage, or refer to my little one as a fetus. These are facts, but they don't really convey what happened to me. What happened was, I lost a baby.

And it was hard. In fact, it was the hardest thing I'd ever been through. I grieved for my child, for the vanished dreams I'd entertained. For the chance to know...hold..mother my little one. It was a sudden and shocking loss, a betrayal of sorts. I was betrayed by my body. Also, I had to figure out where God fit into all of it.

The conclusion I arrived at was this: God loves my baby even more than I do. This kind of tragedy happens because there is sin in the world, not because God decided to punish me or my baby. I believe that God saw each tear that was cried for my little one, and that he mourned with me, even as he welcomed my child into heaven.

God doesn't always protect us from loss. In fact, it seems that all too often, He doesn't.

I know that this is hard to think about, but it's something that I've had to come to terms with, following my loss, and then during my pregnancy with Owen. And now here it comes again.

I struggled a lot with anxiety during my pregnancy with Owen. The first trimester was excruciating - not so much because I was feeling sick, but because I was haunted by the memory of my previous loss...and the potential that it might happen again. My pregnancy gave me no physical reason for concern - but neither had the one that ended so sadly. I had an especially hard time as I approached the 11 week mark, for that was when my body rejected the baby I'd imagined was still healthy...still present with me.

Those dark, quiet days - before it's possible to hear the baby's heartbeat, before I could feel the little one move - were so hard for me. I made Philippians 4:6-7 my personal verses, and posted them all over my home. I repeated them to myself in the shower, as I drove my car, as I prepared meals, and scrubbed sinks. I tried so hard to shed the anxiety, but it was difficult.

The reason it was so hard was this simple fact: I could have to say goodbye again.

There are no guarantees save one: God is faithful. He keeps his promises.

If he says that he "knit me together in my mother's womb," He did. (Psalm 139:13)
If he says that "all the days ordained for me were written in [his] book," they are. (Psalm 139:16)
If he says that his love endures forever, it does. (Psalm 100:5)
If he says that he is with me, and mighty to save, he is. (Zephaniah 3:17)
If he says that I should not be anxious, I should strive to shed anxiety. (Phil. 4:6-7)
If he says that there is nothing in all of creation which can separate me from his love, there isn't. (Romans 8:38-39)
If he says that he is with me, even in the valley of the shadow of death, he is. (Psalm 23:4)

I am not promised healthy pregnancies. I am not promised that I'll be blessed to see each my children become adults, or that I will grow old with my husband by my side. I am not promised a life without disease, sorrow, or loss. I hope and pray for all of this, of course I do. But I cannot be sure of these things.

What I am sure of, is God's goodness, his love - and that he will be with me, whatever life may bring.

I suppose, to some, this post may seem a bit bleak, as though I'm almost expecting tragedy to strike my life again. The truth is, I'm not. I'm rejoicing in this baby, and I'm making plans for him or her to join our family next year. I am expectant.

Regardless of what the next months bring, I have reason to hope...because my hope doesn't rest on any false promises of a life that is free of pain, but on the assurance that the Lord is my rock, my salvation, and my refuge. (Psalm 18:2)
1Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, wea]">[a]have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And web]">[b] rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3Not only so, but wec]">[c] also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. ~Romans 5:1-5 (emphasis added)


Kristin said...

Wow! Such blessed words. I lost a baby before Gavin was born and I agree, it was one of the hardest things I've ever faced. And with each pregnancy, I wondered and waited and prayed. But God is faithful and neverending help in trouble.

Praying for you!

(I'm printing this article to save!)

Jennie said...

I remember Riley. And I remember the pain. Thanks for sharing, Mindy. This was an excellent post.

Joy said...

What a wonderful post and witness to your faith journey. Holding you and all your children in prayer.

paige said...

Mindy - i just read this blog post the other day & thought it fit with what you are saying here...

California Isoms said...

Thanks for the courage and boldness you have for not only writing this, but also for sharing it. It is beautifully written. More importantly it shows a heart that knows God is faithful no matter what. I don't think that your post sounds bleak. I think it is full of hope! The hope that comes through knowing Jesus and knowing that He is THE constant and He is only part of this world that is unchanging and reliable. I am thankful for my own loss too because it drove me to my knees, to His Word and helped me understand God at a deeper level than I ever have. You are in my prayers... Sending love

Molly said...

Thanks so much for sharing, Mindy! Between your inspired words and "Enough" playing in the background, I'm sitting here crying.

I really, really needed this today. You are such a blessing!

tlc said...

Thank you.

Rena said...

((Hugs!)) I know how you feel, as you know, we experienced the same journey at similar times. Praying for you!! God loves you and this new little one so very dearly and holds you both tenderly in the palm of His hand.

Trish said...

I've thought of your loss throughout this pregnancy just as I thought of it with Gisele. I won't forget it, and I just want you to know that Riley is remembered. I love you!

Mama said...

You are such a blessing to so many through your blog, Mindy. You are a blessing to me and I love you. Thanks for sharing your (and God's) heart.

Anonymous said...

I have never lost a baby, but jsut like you everytime I found out that I was pregnant I feared that I would loose the pregnancy. Maybe it was because my Mom had several miscarriages I'm not sure. Maybe just the raging hormones. Anyway I was always glad to reach the 3rd month because I always rested a little easier after that.
I enjoyed you honest thoughts!

Krista said...

You're pregnant again? Congrats hun! You know I know what losing a baby is like. I'm so sorry you had to say goodbye to Riley. I'm sending you the biggest hugs and lots of good thoughts and prayers for this little bean. Thinking of you!