I just needed to share my heart for a moment. This sixth pregnancy has been really difficult so far – not just because of the constant morning sickness, the hemorrhaging, the complete lack of energy, or the uncertain outcome. The hardest part has been the guilt…yup, the guilt. I feel guilty for being pregnant.
I have been on the other side of this coin. I have sat before God begging for a child. I have cried and dreamed and wished for a baby of my own. I have heard nearly 20 doctors say, “No” to my inquiries. I have been wrecked and discouraged by the glimmer of hope being snuffed out. In early 2007, I finally gave my desire for children over to God. I quit fighting Him, and I told Him that I was okay with the fact that I may never have a biological child. It was positively one of the hardest things that I ever did. I was definitely broken, but finally at peace in my heart.
Sometimes, God asks us to give things up, just so that He can turn around and bless us with those very sacrifices. This was one of those cases. Channing was born in 2008. Childloss wasn’t even on my radar. As most, I just took for granted that my pregnancies would end with a baby in my arms. Well, God had another lesson for me. I miscarried my second child in July of 2009 and then, another in November 2009. What a wake-up call! I began to understand what nearly 700,000 other women experience each year.
I had no idea that this was so common! 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. Another 26,000 end in stillbirth – each year! I knew there were a lot of hurting people out there. I knew how much my heart hurt. I had nothing tangible from my little ones. It was as if they never even existed. I couldn’t hold them, and I couldn’t even bury them, so that I would have a place to remember them. Around that time, I heard of Calvin’s Hats, a ministry that sends small hats to women of childloss. Something tangible! I cried when I received that package. Nothing was sweeter than the feel of those little knitted hats, hand-made for my little ones. Finally, I had validity for my grief.
During my fourth pregnancy, I began writing “Joy Comes with the Mourning,” and doing research on infertility, miscarriage, stillbirth, and early infant death. Staggering. I literally spoke with hundreds of women – some wrote for my book, and others just shared. So many women were literally bound by the chains of grief – some for decades.
Carter was born in 2010. In September 2011, we lost our fifth little one.
After my book was published at the end of 2011, I decided it was time to start ministering to others. I began Perfect Joy Ministries in May 2012. I began by sending out little “Joy Bundles,” filled with tangible items that would put validity to grief. About 50 bundles later, Melissa Carswell joined me, and we began the online Bible study and support group, Perfect Joy. We also began a local one at our church. God began to grow the ministry by leaps and bounds. Women from all over the country, and even a few outside the country, began contacting us for support.
In August 2012, I found out that I was expecting baby number six. I had spent so many months looking at negative pregnancy tests, I almost screamed with excitement to see two pink lines! My joy was short-lived though. As I began telling people, almost immediately, I sensed a withdraw from many. I tried to be sensitive and not to be too “happy” in my circumstance. However, the more I shared, the more I began to feel guilty. So many women that I deal with on a daily basis, not to mention friends and family members, would do anything to be in my shoes right now. They were where I was 6 years ago. They long for the faintest chance that they might be a mommy. How could I expect them to be happy for me? It seemed that the excitement of the situation turned instantly sour. I didn’t want anyone to be uncomfortable or mad because I’m pregnant. I began to think that it would be better if I wasn’t. That way, I could remain on the end of wishing and dreaming, instead of having to make excuses for my new-found joy. I had decided that side of the coin is easier – way easier.
Then, it hit me. Someday, when they finally get their moment, will they feel the guilt that I feel? Why shouldn’t every mom have the opportunity to be overjoyed at the prospect of carrying new life? As much as I didn’t want to discourage a woman, who is longing for her own child, I wanted to share my blessing. I wanted to share my story. There is hope! God is still in the business of miracles and answered prayer. Shouldn’t our desire be to see those longing to be parents have that chance, if God so wills? Then, why should we begrudge another woman her child? We should be quick to congratulate and quick to offer a smile and a hug. We, of all people, know of the struggle and the emotional roller coaster associated with bringing a new life into the world. We should be the first ones to rejoice with a new mom-to-be.
Before you get upset, and say “how dare you, you are pregnant!” I did not receive good news at my doctor’s appointment this morning. Unless God works another miracle – which He can – I likely have a blighted ovum. This is when everything develops normally, except for the baby. There is no baby at this point. The baby likely died right after conception, but the sac continued to grow and produce the appropriate hormones for pregnancy. I had seven vials of blood drawn and have another ultrasound in a week, but the chances of a viable pregnancy at this point are very slim.
I had decided to write this before today, but knew that I had to, after today. I thank God for the few short weeks that I had to experience the miracle of pregnancy again. It did not end the way that I had hoped; however, I have a peace knowing that my God doesn’t make mistakes. God has a purpose for this little life, no matter how very short it was. I will still honor that life and remember that life for as long as I am here on earth. Do not feel sorry for me. I want God’s will to be accomplished in my life, more than anything, so I know this is for my good and for His glory. That being said, I am grateful that many of my friends and family members rejoiced when I rejoiced and will weep as I weep. I am thankful that I had my 15 minutes of bliss. Thank you to those of you, who let me experience that again.
To those of you, who avoided me or were envious or resentful towards me, don’t worry, I forgive you. I know what it feels like to be in your shoes. I know the heartbreak that you feel. Unfortunately, I also know what you will experience, if you are able to try on my shoes one day. Pregnancy is a blessed thing, but sometimes, it comes with its own burden to bear. I pray that next time you hear of a new pregnancy, you will look at that excited mom with new eyes and a thankful heart.