In case you haven’t read anything from me before, I am a happy mother of four. I even want more and pray that the Lord’s will for me is to have more. But once upon a time I was far from this place. I was married like many, not wanting to start a family right away. I used the birth control pill for years with no though of what it could be doing to my body and conceiving a baby was far from my thoughts. For a while. Then, after discussions with my husband, we decided it was time. So, naively, I excepted I would just end up pregnant without knowing what I was doing, understanding my body and be pregnant before I could count to 3. Years later and one miscarriage to grieve, I was no closer to pregnancy.
My experience with pregnancy-related loss ran the gambit of emotions from disbelief, to anger, and finally to acceptance. Getting there was no easy task and it took a lot of soul breaking along the way. But I wouldn’t change it for the world. God knew what I needed and when I needed it. He opens and closes the womb. Bring life and even death (Psalms 139:16). It was a humbling experience.
Since then I have been blessed to see life in my home. But I have seen others that are going down the same road I traveled and want to encourage my sisters that this time, too, has a purpose.
Pregnancy-related loss can be defined as many things, but specifically I am talking today about infertility, miscarriage and stillbirth. This loss leaves a woman wounded with no physical solace for the pain; no baby to be salve for the wounds. What can we do when we are at this troubling place? Are we still mothers? Will we ever be mothers?
During my years of infertility I sought God daily for answers. I prayed for a baby. I cried for a baby. And then I cried for the baby I lost. Then I waited still. I cannot tell you that it was easy. During a particularly hard time I cried in my bath tub nightly. I wanted to be a mother so badly. So badly.
I was leading a bible study in my apartment community where my husband and I served and during these studies, where I delved deep, deep into the Word to create the study for the ladies in my community, I was moved into acceptance. Not a pitiful acceptance that sounded more like resignation, but joyful acceptance. Acceptance that Jesus was enough. And if I never had a baby, never carried a child in my womb, never had a beautiful home birth, that He was still enough.
God showed me that Motherhood does not define me; Jesus does.
There was still a regular dying to my flesh that was needed to stay joyfully in this place, but I finally found peace. Not bitterness at ever newly pregnant friend or relative. No more crying at every movie with a pregnant woman and impending birth. I was no longer just waiting for motherhood to start living.
The Lord taught me to rest in His will, seek His glory, and start being defined ONLY by Him.
I recently had a friend and client loose a baby at 41 weeks gestation. It was devastating for her and her family. It was heartbreaking for those around her, like myself, who stood with her, joyfully awaiting her child. But I have seen such a beautiful phoenix rise from the ashes of her pregnancy-related loss, her grief. Joy, yes, joy in Jesus and He who has her, her family, and her precious baby in His arms. She does not blame others. She is not bitter. While she is still hurting and will carry the memory for her precious baby she felt kicking around inside her belly for 9 month forever, she knows God is sovereign. He still deserves glory.
For “the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away. Blessed by the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21 ESV)
Now even after 4 health pregnancies and 4 healthy babies growing into young men and women, I reflect on how motherhood does not define me. I am not a mother, a wife, a childbirth educator, a homeschooler. I am defined by Christ. I am a Christ follower. That is who I am.
How has Jesus been shaping your walk thought infertility, miscarriage or stillbirth?