Losing a baby- in any way, whether it be via the devastating realization of infertility, a terrifying miscarriage, a painful still birth or child loss, or a heartbreaking changed adoption plan changes a person.
I have yet to talk to a Mama who struggled through the challenges of infertility who doesn’t wonder if she ever lost a baby. In a true and honest conversation, almost every woman wonders if ‘medicine missed it’ or if ‘God was trying to protect her’ .... but she wonders if she’ll walk through Heaven’s gates and be greeted by a baby she never knew she was missing. My own Mama and I have had this same conversation many times. How many women are haunted by this question that simply cannot be answered this side of Heaven? She wonders ‘why me?!’ Her body has failed her.... has failed her husband. She has failed her husband. Surely she has done something so horrible in her past to ‘deserve this.’ Surely God loves ‘her’ more than He loves me. So we cry out to Jesus ... and it changes us.
Losing a baby- at any stage in pregnancy or delivery or life changes the very makeup of our existence. Who we are, how we are built, how we think, and even holds the potential to change what we believe. Does it matter if life is lost in the warmth and should-be safety of a Mama’s belly ..... or within reach of her strong and should-be safe arms? Both are loving... both are intrinsically desperate to protect and nurture the life that has been entrusted to her, yet somehow that isn’t the plan. Regardless of the details and circumstances, lives lost under the seemingly carefully watchful eye of a Mama lead to Mamas who feel like they failed their babies. Their body failed, their arms failed, they failed their calling.... they are unworthy. So we cry out to Jesus... we struggle to find our worth, which we are truly only able to find in Him.... but still, He seems so far away sometimes.... and we are changed.
A changed adoption plan ‘seems trivial’, some may say. A changed adoption plan is a change in plans- just like any other family planning. For some, it is the very life vest that was thrown at the exact time to save a Mama’s hope and renew her spirit. The plan that God used to MAKE her a Mama: to let her know she hasn’t been forgotten- that her baby will come. To some it is the vessel He uses to forge a new path- to change direction for a family that isn’t clear: to confirm or deny ‘open or closed’ or ‘here or there’ or ‘one or more’. A changed adoption plan always symbolizes a Mama becoming a Mama.... but maybe not the Mama who thought it would be her. Her turn. It’s never bad.... it just doesn’t make sense. And so this Mama cries out to Jesus and asks ‘why?!?’ but in yet a different tone- and she, too crawls in His lap and trusts in His complicated and seemingly nonsensical plan.... and she is changed.
Infertility..... miscarriage.... still birth.... infant loss.... child loss. We are changed. We will never be the same.
“I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born!”
Isn’t that His point?
The pain of losing our #3 is still fresh- our infertility journey still haunts me. I birthed a healthy baby and I still call myself infertile .... by the way, we have at least 5 babies now; 4 here with us and at least 1 in Heaven (more, of you ask me, but I don’t have proof so.....). Am I grateful? Of course. Beyond. I’m blown away by His mercy and grace and by the goodness of His plan! I’m thankful for the things I didn’t see! But yet- I still wonder what parts of that journey changed me.... changed my marriage. Sometimes it’s a distant numbness and ache and sometimes it comes crashing over me and I can’t possibly see it coming. It’s a memory or a scent ... something someone says or does. I don’t have a photo with all my babies in it. Some days, that reality is sheer torture.
I know you hurt, Mama. I do, too. I don’t think it ever goes away. But what has been born from that pain? Have you seen it?! You have to let yourself see.... you have to let Him show you!
Do NOT let that pain be for nothing, precious friend! Do not waste the story He wrote for you while you wait for your turn to meet that baby .... don’t you dare let wasted time be part of the story you tell him or her!
“No, in all these things we are MORE than conquerors through Him who loved us!”
Conquer this part of your story. Conquer this part of the story of your marriage ... of your other babies.... of your future children.... don’t waste it. it all starts with you! It isn’t the same without him... or her... or them.
It’s not lost on me that sometimes, in the quiet and still... in the dark, in the car, in the shower.... this is so so hard to hold on to. I know. Our worth here on this side of Heaven is so hard to find and trust and believe.... even when we know in our hearts that HE loves us enough... those lies dig deep.
I know. So hear me, friend. I know. Sometimes we just need to know that someone knows.
What do we have in common? We’re all Mamas. We all hurt. We’ve all been given this incredible charge- we are loved, we are called to love, and we are called to pass that love on.
We are changed.... because of that love.
“We love because He first loved us.”
1 John 4:19
You are loved. And your baby is not forgotten.