So, I've heard so many stories of lost babies in the last couple of weeks. Somehow, my miscarriage of two and a half (has it really only been two and a half?) weeks ago stirred up the old ache for Ben all over again, and hearing other stories of loss has highlighted the loss, too.
On the one hand, I long to reach out to those mothers whose babies have passed on to glory-- I long to do what other mothers did for me. I long to tell them, I promise-- I know that ache. I know that sense of desperation. I know that sense of panic you feel at two in the morning when you're all alone and your husband is asleep and your arms are empty, and you realize that this is true forever. I mean, you may have other babies, but this baby-- this one you just spent nine months dreaming about-- this baby will never be in your earthly arms. This baby is gone forever. That choking panic that rises up when you know that this isn't a dream and that there's no fixing this. It's true forever and you must learn to live with the blackest loss.... I long to tell them that relief does come. That it's not cheap relief either-- it's not a forgetful relief that makes your child's importance any less intense. It's not a relief that comes from ignoring the facts. It's a lessening of the sharpness of pain because that pain moves in. The loss becomes a part of your reality, and you grow used to it. That sounds depressing, but to me it isn't. It's simply that I miss my son-- miss getting to know him and love him and hear his voice-- and his life and death are part of who I am now. The farther I move away from April of 2009, the more the loss of him is "normal."
Is there any good way to explain it?
But the miscarriage... it stirred it all up again. I was afraid to relax the whole time I was pregnant-- hanging on for week 12-- and then the thing I dreaded happened... and it didn't kill me. It's amazing what we can live through, isn't it?
Truly, I am grateful it happened at 8 weeks. I am grateful that my body responded well and I didn't need any surgery and I'm back to "normal" today.
But I'm sad that it happened at all. That this wasn't a "viable" pregnancy. That things didn't just progress normally and result in a little baby girl or boy. I'm sad about that. Disappointed. Tired of feeling sad and disappointed.
Someone was telling me how much they admired "how we'll [you're] doing" the other day, but there was an edge to her voice and it occurred to me that it was important to acknowledge that this sucks sometimes, too. That I'm not being "good" or "bad" when I feel angry or sad or depressed or discouraged, but so often I forget to write about that any more.
Here's what I was feeling on November 15 at 9:48pm:
"Oh God, where are you? I feel so rejected by You. I feel rejected as a woman, as your daughter, as a child, as a wife, as a teacher, as a human freaking being. I don't know how to tell my husband what I'm really feeling. I feel like I have to stay 'up' or I'll scare everyone around me. Where are You? My body has lost two children now. Two. Not one. Two. One cut down at the moment he was supposed to begin, before I could see his eyes, before he could see me looking at him, before he could feel my lips on his face, just gone. The other, before he could even grow enough to make me feel his presence, enough to know mine. Oh God. My body fails me. Failed them. I am rejected as a mother. I don't qualify. I can't discuss my birth pains. I am a horror story. Mine is the one people shake their heads at and cover their mouths over. I am rejected. I don't work. My femaleness is an utter loss and a miscarriage in itself. Why am I a woman? Why have I gone through these monthly cycles for all these years? I feel mocked by my own body. I feel like a failure. Where are You? Why won't You speak to me?"
It's like a horrible psalm.
I wait for the
"But You, O God, are a good Father"
while my mind says, "Why does He keep picking on me?"
I'm not feeling that way today. But sometimes I feel that way.
And I don't shake my fist at Him-- He deserves my respect always, no matter how bad I feel about things. I know that He is sovereign.
And I know He isn't picking on me. I won't compare war wounds with other people, but I will say that I am completely aware that mine are not the worst anyone has ever sustained. They're mine and they hurt, but they're not the worst. Not by a long shot.
So what do you do when you feel that way? That's the big question at two in the morning (or at 10 at night). To me, you fight through it. You cry til you think you can't cry any more. You write down or sing what you're feeling and you know that you have a Father who knows every sadness you could ever experience and who is there in every moment. A Father who is not easily offended-- who doesn't get His feelings hurt because He knows what we really mean when we question His wisdom.
But friends, if you've never walked the way of grief (yet), this is the most important part: get your feet on the Rock. Get your house ready for a storm. Get your faith settled. Actively work out your salvation. Because to me, it always comes back to this strong reality: the wise man builds his house upon the rock. And when the rains come, and the winds come, it will not get washed away because it is secure.
"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash." Matthew 7:24-27
On days when I feel rejected, sad, like a failure, like a ruined temple, I am so grateful for the grace that I know I'm walking in. I know that I am not rejected. I know that He has loved me with a tender and gracious love that has picked me up time and again and set me in the safe place, in His presence. I have felt Him. I have seen so many demonstrations of His favor and mercy. He has given me the faith I cry out for.
But I still want a baby. I still want a better ending to this story.
And I still want to want what HE wants more than what I want.
That is my prayer.