The club no one wants to join

7:00 AM

This is an edited version of an essay I wrote about two years ago just before we found about Tiny and six months after I had a miscarriage. 
I wanted to share it because in that year I went through some very dark times and asked some very big questions of God. These are questions he answered in his goodness and it's my hope that someone out there reading this will be helped just like I was.
It's important to remember that just because I sit here a woman with 3 small kids, my road has not been perfect. It's important to know that as I have shared my journey I have heard similar stories from almost every woman. 


Käthe Kollwitz, Grieving Mother, 1903




From the time my husband and I were dating we knew that infertility would be an issue for us because of some underlying physical conditions. Because of this, we decided early on in our marriage to not actively prevent having children. We were still young, the doctor had said this was in our favour but it might never happen. And then the heat intensified. I started to long for a baby. It was like the knowledge that it may never happen unleashed a great desire in my heart. I was not content to sit with the lot that God had given me but began to desire a child. I cried out to God to make me content no matter what, and then it happened. A baby. And this blog began. 

Two years later an almost embarrassingly similar situation happened. I was pregnant again. 
I wrote in a blog post,

“I forgot.
I forgot about the last time when He listened and listened.
I forgot about the last time when he heard and answered. When he stilled my aching heart and gave me hope.
I forgot that He knows good and He knows me better than I do.
But.
Once again. He answered.”

I praised God for these two precious children. Any chance I could get I would tell people of their unlikely existence, giving praise to God. 
And then two years passed. We started to hope and try for another baby. I cried out to God and waited for another year. 

And then I fell pregnant. (Joy of joys!) But the day after discovering the news, we lost the baby.

It has been six months since we lost our baby and the heat has not been turned off. It is a constant heat which blasts into a roaring fire at times but never cools below a slow burning smoulder. 

Without going too much into the details, there are particularly difficult times each month when we are trying to fall pregnant. These times fill me with anxiety there are books to read, techniques to try, bodily functions to analyze all to “improve our chances.” 

They drive me to distraction. 

Simple actions such as going to the bathroom fill me with fear. 
I am feeding myself the lie that if I take a series of actions I can control everything. 
I cease to trust God as the controller of my life and all things
I blame myself and my inability to make a baby. 
My heart is hijacked by a belief that a "good mum" is one who is able to create babies in a pre-determined timeline in a predetermined way. I spend time living life in an anxiety induced rage with bouts of sadness and crying based around my inability to have control of my reproductive system. I trowel the depths of the internet searching for ways to be better instead of digging into God’s word to find out who He is. 
Things don’t get done around the house, my husband and I become distant and my kids get scared of angry mummy. I feel completely justified in my actions.


In January 2016 I went to see my doctor as I had just taken a positive pregnancy test the day before but thought I was losing my baby. 
She spoke some very wise words “At this point, whatever is going to happen will happen. All we can do is just wait and see.” 
It was as though I hit rock bottom like the author of Psalm 119:81-88 
My eyes had not failed, nor had the arrogant cast a trap for me but my careful planning and worry had failed me. 
I was completely out of control. 
From this place of rock bottom I was able to turn to God with unyielding trust.  
I could do nothing in my own strength. 
In my weakness it is God who is strong God is timeless and has made all things. 
And yet he is mindful of me.  
He knows my struggle because he has felt the loss of a child first hand. His precious Son.
 He is also our good father who waits for us to come back to him when our lack of control leaves us in the pig pen.  

I knew that whatever happened, God would still be God.

Although I would have been excused for crumpling in a heap and doing absolutely nothing, Jesus had rescripted the inner logic of my heart. There was no room for despair and I was filled instead with peace. 
This is not to say I was not sad, or unwavering in my trust. I felt a lot of guilt about how to be sad. Surely, I told myself, If I trust God then I do not need to be upset. 
But a lost child demands to be mourned. The pain was fresh and real the whole experience still screamed at me words of failure and disappointment. 
How could I possibly give my sadness room and yet still bring praise to God?
I needed to feel the sadness and take it in prayer to God. To come to him crying and falling apart and rest at the foot of the cross.

For weeks I would listen to Christian music that would prompt emotion “Oceans,” “Be Still My Soul,” “All Is Well.” 
I read passages of scripture to remind me of the truth. Job, Lamentations 3, Psalm 121. 
I would watch really sad movies about loss and grief and try to fit the truths I knew about God into the godless narrative of the film. 
By understanding who God is in that moment and trusting him I could be sad without letting that sadness overwhelm me.
I can also go through each month knowing that God is the one who provides and is in control. 
I can unyieldingly trust in the Lord and not obsess over the details.


Of course it is one thing to be content in my own sadness but it is quite another to be joyful when others have what I do not. When others anounce their pregnancies I feel happy for them but also the pang of disappointment.
It is in this moment that I have a choice. I could burn with anger against them, I could curse them and God for rubbing it in my face. I chose to be happy for them. Genuinely happy. Because I am. 
I don’t want anyone else to know the pain I feel.  I want them to feel loved and to know that despite my suffering I can still be happy for others because of Jesus.

But I know I don't always respond in this third way. 
Often I believe I know better than God not only in my life but in the lives of others. 
For my life, I believe that right now, a baby is the best thing for me and the idea that God would allow my friend, or drug addict etc to have a baby is incredibly unjust. I feel jealous and bitter.
 This has two really terrible consequences. Firstly I am not trusting Gods plan and Gods sense of justice and secondly I am focusing on what I don’t have instead of what I do. If I continue in these thoughts I will fall into a pit of self centred anxiety. I will live my life longing for more and angry at God.
God is just.  
Jesus tells a parable about God as the just judge. God will see justice done for his chosen ones. 
He promises justice, not a baby. 
He promises to be with me, not a baby. 
He promises to bless me, not a baby. 
I cannot know his exact plan but I know that he has never promised me a baby. 
He hears me cry out day and night and it is enough just to know that I am being heard. 
He hears and listens and sometimes acts and gives us what we desire at the right time according to his justice. 
He also teaches us faith and you can only learn how to endure when you have to go through something hard. 
He knows what I need. He knows what my friend needs. 
He even knows what the drug addict needs and it is not my job to guess. 
It is my job to trust him. 

***

It is often easier to focus on what we don’t have. As I weep for the lack of a third child I have often neglected the two I have.  I am teaching them to grumble rather than to find joy in God through their own suffering. 
I can remember when they started growing inside me. I felt such thankfulness to God. They were truly a miracle. God had done what I thought was impossible.  
Praying with my husband early in our marriage I had readied myself for a life without biological children and here I have two!
Even through our miscarriage I can be thankful for the mountain of people who rallied around us with food, flowers, love and prayers. 
As we had just moved to a new church/job/city it enabled people to quickly come into our lives with love which was such a comfort. 

So what would it take for me to be content?  I can focus on what I can do rather than what I’m missing. I could look into adoption or foster care, I could help lift the burden for friends with newborns. Making meals or caring for them and their baby. 
There are some positives about being out of the newborn stage. 
No nappies, more sleep, less baby fog. 
I am freed up to do more ministry that was impossible a few years ago. 
When I get caught up thinking about babies I forget the other things God may have in store  If I look at where he has put me now I can serve him with a content heart to His glory and not mine.

In conclusion, I will strive to look forward to the day when all my longings are fulfilled in Christ. I am a long way off. I keep thinking I know the best way my longings can be fulfilled. In reality, life in the new creation may look quite different. 
I may not have children of my own, I may never feel the kicks of a babe in my womb that I long for so much. God knows the good that he desires to give and it will be truly good. The joys of this world, as Paul says in Philippians are a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus as Lord. 

1 comment:

  1. You are a strong and powerful woman. Although it has not been smooth your children are lucky to have a beautiful strong mother. the love you have for those kids is better than any other experience you could give them.

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