Sometimes when you are going through something you cannot see anything but what is happening to you. When bad things happen in life we can get bogged down in the whys and sadness. Sometimes you can get stuck there for years. This month is pregnancy and infant loss awareness month. This is subject that is dear to my heart since I have experienced it, twice. I know so many people who have been affected by infant loss, whether you have gone through it yourself or love someone who has, you know how painful it is. I thought I would share my story and a little bit about my journey with God of coming out of the valley of despair.
I had my first two boys no problem. Then I decided to try for number three. It was spring of 2008. By August we found out we were expecting. It was prefect in my mind, baby #3 would be exactly the same spacing apart as babies 1 and 2, which at 2.5 years apart I thought was a great spacing. I still do, by the way, after now having kids 3.5 and 1 year apart, but that is another post altogether. I had my perfect life all planned out. Everything went great for 15 weeks and then at a routine doctor’s visit they couldn’t find a heartbeat. They took me in for an ultrasound and confirmed my worst fear. The baby had just died, most likely the day before since I had felt him kick that night. I was shocked and devastated. But sitting in that ultrasound room staring at the screen with my perfect looking baby I heard God say to me, “I am right here”. He knew that day was coming, it didn’t shock him. I had an amazing peace over the next few days as I endured the loss of our child. I felt like he was a boy, although I don’t know for sure, but we named him Aaron, which was the name we had picked out for him. I did okay for a while, that all happened on Halloween and I still don’t like that holiday, but then slowly I just got sadder. By Thanksgiving, I was just plain angry. I was angry at the situation and at God. Why had He taken my son? I remember on Thanksgiving day we have a tradition of everyone in our extended family standing in a circle and saying what we are thankful for. My husband asked me on the way there what I was going to say. I told him, “I don’t have anything to be thankful for!”. I really didn’t believe I did. I hid myself in the bathroom most of that day and cried. December was hard. There was a point where I locked myself in my room and wouldn’t come out. That really was my lowest moment. I just couldn’t function. I finally had to deal with God about it all. I began to pray and read my Bible again. I asked God why it had all happened, but He didn’t answer. I decided to give into my grief and be sad. I cried every night for nearly 6 months. I know those of you who know me well are thinking, “I had no idea she went through all this.” Yeap, I am the queen of hiding stuff.
Finally, God showed me a dream. I was standing on a beach and there was a wave coming toward me. I could either stand there and let the wave hit me or I could turn around and swim with the wave. The wave is like grief. I could either allow the wave to hit me and knock me down, which was what I was doing by fighting against my grief. Or I could turn around and accept the grief and “swim” with it. I allowed myself to grieve and I began reading about heaven. I knew Aaron was there. The more I read about heaven the more I realized that I was glad for him to be there and not be here on earth experiencing the pain I was going through. What a blessing for him! God had spared him all that pain and heartache that we all go through by allowing him to never be born. I know that may seem like a crazy idea to some of you, but it brings me a lot of comfort. I know I will see him again someday, but until then he is having a wonderful time in a perfect place and what more could I want for my son than that.
In the summer of 2009, I found out we were expecting again. This time the pregnancy ended pretty quickly, at 8 weeks along. We named her Clara, after my grandmother. I have to say this loss was not as hard to deal with as the first. I knew, again, that she was in heaven and I would see her someday. And she was being cared for by her grandmother who shared her name. That made me happy. Two things happened after that second loss. One thing was that I realized I didn’t have control over what happened to my kids. I began to worry about losing the two boys I had here on earth. I spent many nights in their rooms praying and begging God not to take them from me. As I prayed, I realized that worrying about it was doing no good, since I didn’t have any control over what happened to them. God had them in His hand and I had to give them over to him and not think I could control what happened to them. This changed my perspective on parenting. These children I have are God’s. I don’t control what happens in their lives, I can only help them deal with what life brings. I have to love them the best I can and let God handle the rest.
The second realization from my second pregnancy loss was that I knew I could not handle another pregnancy. We wanted another child, and had discussed adoption before, and knew it was where God was leading us. So, we signed up and had a homestudy done. We adopted Joshua in March of 2010. And then were blessed unexpectedly, with Elijah, by birth in March of 2011. God healed our hearts from our losses in so many ways. We will never fully get over the losses we experienced and honestly, I wouldn’t want to. Those losses have changed me so much. They have made me who I am. I would never have ventured into adoption without those looses. I would not have been able to handle parenting a child with special needs without realizing God’s in control and I am not. If you allow it to, pain can change you for the better. It’s all about perspective. Don’t get stuck in grief, allow the wave to come and take you to a new place in life. God will not let that pain go without using it to better you as a person, if you allow Him to. What is God asking you to do with your pain? He does not give us pain without having a reason and wanting us to use that painful experience for good. It’s your choice what you do with pain, will you do something good with it or wallow in it?