Many of you have asked recently about the miscarriage I suffered last year. For those who don’t know, I miscarried on Memorial Day weekend, 2011. The Lord traded our mourning for joy when Judah William was born on May 23, 2012. (His original due date was the 28th, Memorial Day 2012.) This story originally ran in the January/February issue of Designed to Flourish. You can see the back issues here.
On a Sunday morning last year, we got a bit of a surprise—two pink lines on a pregnancy test. While I can’t say I was shocked (after giving birth to four boys, I do know how this works), there was some panic there.
FIVE kids??!??! Am I nuts??!!?
What was I THINKING!?!?!!
Of course, as the day went on, we got excited. Another one to cuddle, to rock to sleep, to nurse and love. (And maybe, just maybe, this one might be a girl?) How could we not be excited? At the same time, the reactions were not all happy, dare I say. “You guys DO know how this happens right?” was a frequent comment. Eye roll, but I must admit it “got” to me and brought up self-doubt. How would we afford another child?
So even with the excitement, there was that underlying hesitation or embarrassment, even in telling my family and friends. But it was not meant to be. Just eight short weeks into my pregnancy, I was struck down by a horrible event that comes in the life of many women—a miscarriage. Suddenly the opinions of others didn’t matter a hill of beans. Who cared what they thought!?? I just wanted to be pregnant again.
The hormones took me up to the heights and then dropped me down to the depths. I went through about a 24-hour pit of despair where my husband was seriously concerned. The sudden drop of hormones in my system temporarily robbed me of my sense and left me a raging lunatic. Thankfully, I came out of that horrible place and proceeded to work through my grief.
We knew we wanted to conceive again as soon as possible, but my doctor cautioned me about trying TOO soon. So we waited. And waited. It seemed like forever to me. My maternity clothes were still in the closet. I couldn’t bear to put them up. I’d need them again soon, I assured myself. Occasionally, I would run into people who didn’t know I had miscarried, and I’d have to tell the story all over again, dragging up that misery. The date I was allowed to try to conceive again was marked in red on the calendar. Those two months felt like a holding pattern. I couldn’t think or plan anything until I knew if I was going to be pregnant again.
Finally the day came when that line turned pink. Again. And the fear set in. Fear of telling people I was pregnant again, but this time it was NOT because I feared their disapproval. This time I feared the agony of telling people it was over—again. Fear that I wouldn’t be able to trust God and control the fear. Mostly, fear of telling my boys, because they had been so disappointed with the first loss.
As the weeks crept by, the fear lessened. When I passed that line—you know, the week in which I miscarried last time—we started to tell close friends and family. I made the biggest leap of faith, and we told the boys. Everyone was very supportive, even the naysayers, because they knew how hard this was for me.
But God is faithful. Every time the fear rises up within me, the faith comes up right behind it. For every fear, He sends comfort. At 16 weeks along, I’m now feeling the baby kick and roll, and every tiny movement is a reassurance from the Lord—Everything’s ok. The baby is fine. Stop worrying, and let Me take care of both of you.
While the “large family” concerns haven’t gone away completely, my focus is no longer on that. I’m just so thankful to be blessed with another child, I could care less how hard it’s going to be, or how society may frown on our decision to have a large family. I have a family, and that’s all that matters.
I can’t deny that in my darkest moments of pregnancy-induced hormone surges, some of those comments still bring me moments of doubt. How WILL we afford this? Am I ok if this is another boy? Where am I going to find a minivan that seats seven? But then I stand up on the inside and remember the pain of loss. Surprisingly, the experience has brought me clarity and courage; strengthened my passionate belief that the Lord is happy with my decision to trust HIM with what we believe is our calling to have a large family. I can’t be afraid of what other people think when I’ve come through that Valley of the Shadow of Death. All I can be is thankful for God’s blessing. “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13).
I know, beyond a shadow of doubt, that this was HIS plan for my family, and it’s okay if it is different from His plan for other families. And if He is pleased with me, who cares what everyone else thinks? I know well the Psalm, “Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, are the children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame” (Psalm 127:4, 5). I will not be ashamed. When people say, “Oh my, are they all yours??!?” I now smile and say, “Yes ma’am! God has blessed us with four beautiful boys, and one more on the way!” (Not that I don’t harbor a small wish for pink. Just sayin’.)