My first pregnancy was a dream. I may not have known it at the time, but it was the very best of everything. I saw those two pink lines and felt nothing but pure and utter excitement. I couldn’t wait to tell the world! Even the morning sickness could not squelch the joys of my growing belly. I just assumed that everything would be fine, and that in 8 or so months, I would be a Mom. Sure, there were the usual questions and nervousness as we wondered if he would have all of his fingers and toes, but nothing serious could happen to our baby. “Those” things only happened to people on the news or maybe to a friend of someone that sits across the auditorium from us at church.
Well, after losing four of my six past pregnancies and now at week 17 of my seventh pregnancy, my perspective has changed.
I’m sure that many of you have experienced this same strange phenomenon in your own life, if you have traveled a similar path. I’d like to share a few random things that I’ve experienced and learned. The first three are simply things that I have experienced. The second four are areas that God has been working to perfect me – things that I am learning.
1. “Normal” pregnancy fears are completely different from those experienced in a pregnancy following loss. Because I was blessed to have had a “picture perfect” first pregnancy, I know what it feels like to have a before and after perspective. Even though most mothers probably carry some uncertainty and even some fears into a healthy pregnancy, until you have suffered childloss, you cannot begin to comprehend the new levels of anxiety that can accompany 40+ weeks of growing life inside your womb. Awareness brings reaction, whether we acknowledge it or not. When you know what “could” happen, you put up a guard to protect against it.
For example: If you had a loved-one drowned in a pool, you will view pools much differently than the majority. Because you know what “could” happen, you put up the guards to protect against it.
The key is moderation and balance. Even though the possibilities are very real, we must be sure that we maintain control over our emotions and actions, instead of allowing them to control us. If you find your life revolving around your fears, you must take them back to God and lay them at His feet.
2. There are three major questions you will ask yourself over and over again, especially right before each doctor’s visit:
– “Will I take this baby home from the hospital in ___ months?” or…
– “Will I have to bury this baby?” or…
– “Will this baby be thrown out as medical waste?”
These questions may sound rather harsh to someone that has never experienced miscarriage or stillbirth, but I hear them repeated in my head, every time I look down at my growing tummy. Never again will two pink lines mean the same thing they meant that very first time.
3. I find that I’m living my pregnancy backwards. You know how you get behind in your finances sometimes, especially if you have a seasonal job or live on commissions? You either go into debt by setting the bills aside or you use a credit card or home equity line of credit, and then, when the paycheck comes, you pay for everything you ate, used, and borrowed over the past ___ months. Then, repeat. This is how pregnancy after loss works. You spend a month thinking about what might be going wrong, you have a much-awaited doctor’s appointment to hear that heartbeat or see that ultrasound picture, and then, you breathe a sigh of relief…but only for the month you just experienced. Now, it’s time to start “going into debt” for the next month.
4. Because of numbers 1,2, and 3, either there is an urgent, overwhelming desire to love and enjoy this new little life, because you don’t know how long you have with him/her, or in my case, there is trouble bonding. I hardly acknowledged that I was pregnant until my first ultrasound, and even as I looked at the picture on the screen, I felt I was looking at someone else’s. It isn’t for a lack of desire to bond, rather it is as though my heart built a wall to protect itself. Now, even after two ultrasounds, I still struggle to connect with this little one growing inside me. I feel separated and withdrawn from this pregnancy. I’m not sad or depressed, just indifferent. My first rainbow baby (a healthy, full-term baby, delivered after a loss) was not quite this difficult, but I’m hoping the feelings – or lack thereof – will pass as the baby begins to move around and make his/her presence known on a daily basis.
5. There are two types of fear. When I began to mention my fears to other Moms and to medical professionals, I seemed to get the same “spiritual” answer over and over again, “Just trust God!” Ummm, okay…still kinda fearful. So, I started to seek out scriptures to answer this dilemma. Here is the principle that I pulled from studying God’s Word on the topic of fear.
There is a healthy fear. This emotion is God-given and keeps us safe. Then, there is the sinful kind of fear. This fear consumes, suffocates, and controls us. It keeps us from doing what we are suppose to do, and can even destroy our life or the lives of others, when left unchecked for a long time.
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. Psalm 56:3
Yes, as humans, we will be afraid at times, but it is what we do with that fear that makes all the difference. Take it to God…over and over again. Allow the healthy fear to protect you and help you make wise decisions about the care of yourself and your child, but allow God to take the unhealthy, sinful fears. Trust in His sovereignty and in His power to protect and care for you and for your child.
Please see https://perfectjoyministries.wordpress.com/2012/10/04/from-fear-to-faith/ for much further explanation on this topic.
6. It is all in the perspective. Our belief-system will determine our actions and re-actions, every time. When I lost my first two babies, my initial reaction was, “Why me? Don’t I deserve to be a Mom again?” Whoa! What a warped belief-system! Why NOT me? and what do I truly deserve? The Bible promises that we will have trials, hardships, and pain in this lifetime. Why did I feel that I was exempt from that promise? On the same token, I deserved hell. Period. God, in His grace and mercy, chose to redeem my soul and give me an amazing and blessed life. I have a magnificent husband, a beautiful house, two cars that work, and countless daily items such as toilet paper and a toothbrush, that I just take for granted. What made me believe that I deserved a child? Whose children are they anyhow? God is the giver and provider of all things. He owns and loans us everything that we have. If He chooses to give me anything at all, I need to hold it with open hands, ready to give it back at His request. Because He owns it, what right do I have to insist on keeping it? Just try using that logic at your local library.
I am blessed. I have far more than just food and clothing, not to mention that I have food enough to waste and clothing enough to let it sit in laundry baskets for days at a time, without running out of something to wear. I am blessed with children. I am blessed without children.
But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 1 Timothy 6:8
7. I have the God of peace surrounding me. Would you prefer to have the peace of God or the God of peace? This is not a trick question. If you have the God of peace, you will have the peace of God. Seek God and know Him.
What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:9
8. Joy and thanksgiving through the pain. Many will say, “I was thankful afterwards,” but is that what we are instructed to do in scripture? It is a habit that must be perfected. Again, if our belief-system is correct, we will act and re-act accordingly. I have been on both sides of this as well. I promise, it is much easier and much more manageable to go through trials with joy and thanksgiving than without them.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:20
Please refer to https://perfectjoyministries.wordpress.com/2013/02/07/gods-sovereignty/ for further study on the sovereignty of God.
Original material by Holly M Besser. Perfect Joy Ministries ©2013. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bsbp31p03-28-13