It’s gotten a lot easier.
I still cry.
But it’s easier.
When we were first diagnosed with infertility, a year after our first, very early miscarriage, a young, unmarried woman told me she was pregnant. I’ll be honest. That seemed really unfair. It was even more painful when she did nothing but complain about her pregnancy every, step, of, the, way and then, once the baby was born, proclaimed loud and long that she “just didn’t bond with the baby and she was only raising ‘it’ because it was the right thing to do.”
The tears that came from my eyes in those months and years were plentiful and painfully angry.
Eight years of have passed. I have my two earth-side miracles. Miracle, after quitting fertility treatments, and Mason, after a ruptured ectopic took my right tube. And I have my four heaven-side miracles, the last two finding life in heaven just last year.
Two in one year. It’s a lot for one heart to take.
It’s even more to have two Dr’s tell you that you need to count your blessings that they “were just miscarriages not ectopics.” Especially when the last one had two accompanying ovarian cysts, seen at the ultrasound for the miscarriage, and a look at my history and increasing pelvic pain pointed to worsening endometriosis. With that, the counsel to prevent, because the risk of tubal is growing with every pregnancy. “And you know the complications that will bring. More so than a spontaneous miscarriage.”
Yes, I know.
But I’m not ready to quit.
My husband is however.
And I have submitted to that. At first with tears, then arguments, then pleadings, and finally, quiet acceptance.
This is where the pain grows. Not only has my body seemingly said “No,” my husband has as well. I’ve been shut down all the way around and frankly, I have no control. Because even if I deceived my husband and secretly pursued pregnancy, with the way it’s been going, I’m not even going to get to keep that baby anyways.
Does that sound bitter?
I re-read it and it seems so. But it’s not, I assure you.
Pain, yes. Bitterness, no.
Because there is peace in surrender. I can promise you that. But there is also pain in the peace. I can also assure you of that. Sometimes we think that if we’re surrendered, the pain miraculously goes away. That’s not truth. Jesus’ agony at Gesthmene shows us that. There is a peace and a grace to bear us through the pain instead.
So now what?
One of my best friends is pregnant.
One of the young women I mentor is pregnant.
I’m attending the birth of the young woman, and I plan on being at the hospital the minute my friend lets me, for her daughter’s appearance.
Will it hurt?
Does it hurt now, to see their pregnant bellies?
This is reality.
But this is also reality. I love them. And I know what each one has been through. My young woman? The father of her daughter drowned and after missing for two weeks, that’s how he was found. Floating in the bay. It was horrific. But then joy found her and a godly man committed to forever with her and her daughter by saying “I Do,” and now, joy has found her.
And my friend? I’ve walked with her through three of her losses. And they’ve been horrible and delayed in their agony, and I have wept for her, as she has waited for the joy of a healthy pregnancy and have it escape her. But joy has found her, and the day I hover outside her birthing room and hear that newborn squall, I will be crying as hard as she is within the room, gazing at her for the first time. And as I hold that baby, I will cry with joy that she got her miracle and I will cry with pain, remembering my own arms should be holding a newborn, of my own, right now.
Rejoice with those who rejoice. That is easy when you love them. And I love both of these women fiercely. And even as I rejoice, I hurt.
Because that’s reality.
What about when the pregnant one is not someone you love fiercely? How do you do it then?
Pondering this, I come back to the cross and Jesus and His sovereignty in our lives, when we accept His gift of salvation and allow Him to be Lord of our lives. I really think that’s the only way. Because my emotions certainly can’t muster up the strength to just get over it on my own.
This lordship thing…It’s beyond difficult. It’s surrendering to the acknowledgement that He knows better, and His ways are not ours. It’s saying, I don’t understand, and this is tearing me in a million pieces, but I cast myself upon you, trusting You to bring beauty from this as only you can do. It’s not only accepting we have no control, it’s finding peace that we don’t, because somehow we believe if we were controlling it, it’d turn out more painful than it already is.
We also do this when we find that our pain can be our greatest gift, for it’s where we find Him. Offer the pain as your worship. Here we find an astounding intimacy with God because the offering of our broken hearts reaches into the depth of His and He gives of Himself in return.
Surrendering to Him doesn’t mean praying and then forcing ourselves to let it go. It’s not a deluded denial that we’re “fine.” Surrendering is taking the pain in all its raw, screaming, tears and pouring out to Him that we are not fine and He is our only hope – our hope as our Comforter, our Healer, and the Sustainer of our hearts.
We also find peace in the pain when we focus on Him not on what we wish we had. Isaiah tells us that we will be kept in perfect peace if we stay focused on Him. The more I focus on, “I would have had a newborn right now. . . I want to be pregnant. . . my husband won’t let me. . . my arms are empty. . . my crib is sitting empty. . . this wasn’t how it was supposed to be. . .” the more it tears me up inside. But when I turn my gaze on Him, offering up each and every one of these wishes and longings – and yes, the many, many tears – and asking Him to keep them in His love, instead of me dwelling on them to the point that all other joys in my life disappear, I find that peace. Peace that truly passes understanding.
That young woman I mentor? Who’s birth I get to be witness too? Her baby is being named in honor of me. She calls me Lissa. The baby will be named Alyssa Joy. Alyssa after me, joy after the joy that has come after she—and I with her– have walked through grief unimaginable.
Grief turned to joy. Her grief turned to joy now, mine to be turned to joy in eternity and yes, even a glimpse of that miracle of joy in the pain, earth-side as well. Because, as Holly puts it – and all because of Jesus – joy does come with the mourning.
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.
Isaiah 61:3 (KJV)
(To read a blog from the perspective of pregnancy after loss, please read Holly’s account of her 6th pregnancy in https://perfectjoyministries.wordpress.com/2012/09/14/guilty-as-charged/. She shares of the guilt that she felt being pregnant, knowing so many others wish to be.)
Original material by Melissa J Carswell, MA, BCCC. Perfect Joy Ministries ©2013. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bsbp41p08-21-13