I don’t write about my pregnancy much. I’m not sure why that is, exactly. Every single day feels like a miracle, every kick feels like a gift, every moment that feels right feels remarkable.
I wish there were some way to explain how it feels to carry a baby that you already love with all of your heart, who’s health and strength and growth means the world to you, but who is also a constant reminder that every moment of life is precariously close to death. It’s not just this baby, this womb, this season. It’s every day, every where. You, me, your neighbor, your friend…we are all one last breath away from no longer existing here on earth.
I don’t mean to sound morbid. This pregnancy has been such a giver of hope and faith. I’m certainly not walking around waiting to cease being. But because of our journey in getting here, because of our experiences with loss and confusion, because of our trials and our sufferings, this pregnancy is a symbol of “after”.
Because three didn’t make it, this one can be born.
Because three chapters ended early, this chapter began.
Because three hearts stopped beating, this heart had a chance to exist.
I was on Facebook the other day when a memory popped up. It was an “on this day, one year ago” and it was a picture of our daughter reading a book about becoming a big sister. It was our pregnancy announcement for another baby, another life, another time. It was beautiful, perfect really; a pajama clad blue eyed blonde sitting in front of the Christmas tree, eagerly awaiting a present that would never be delivered.
Every life that has been given to us over the last couple of years has altered ours in ways we could never have imagined. It isn’t that the length of time being present on earth validates the importance of each, because each one validated the importance of God. We wouldn’t be here, who we are, with this baby in my belly, if we hadn’t traveled that road. And thoughts like those bring comfort almost as much as they bring guilt.
Comforted because God had a plan all along. He knew this child would be ours before we even knew this child would be. Guilt because my heart longs for this baby. But if it’s true that this baby wouldn’t have existed without the others being called to heaven, how can I want this baby with my entire being? Yet, if I wished the others, the first, had stayed, how can I accurately and fully love the ones who might never have existed at all?
Look, I know intellectually and in my heart of hearts, love and life is a complicated thing. I want this baby as much as I wanted the others, maybe more. And if more, it’s only because the others were here first. That I’ve been pregnant 5 times and held one child at my breast, has increased my capacity to love. Multiplied my ability to nurture. Grown my ability to mother.
The enemy wants me to doubt how much I could have loved the others if I love this one for being here right now. But God is showing me that loving this blessing is honoring His authority in my life. He gives and He takes away, in accordance with His will for His purposes and He asks us to trust that He knows best. And we hurt, and we grieve, and we weep, and we wish it didn’t have to be this way… and then we surrender to the all encompassing truth that none of our resistance to life will change life in any way, if God doesn’t allow it to be so.
I felt crampy the other day. For three days straight, actually, and it brought on waves of fear and paranoia. It brought be back to those moments of despair and desperation. It brought me back to my knees, back to a moment of total surrender, back to the realization that I cannot keep this baby for myself just because I want to. I couldn’t keep the others, and Lord knows I wanted to. I am allowed to love every heart that beats in my womb, despite, or perhaps because of, the ones that stopped beating in the same place.
You’ll be happy to know the cramping was a completely normal pregnancy symptom. All is well. This girl of ours is jumping, kicking, and making her presence known every day. I can already feel the bold, audacious spirit within her. She’s going to rock our world like we cannot even prepare for. God willing, she rocks the world with His love and His light, challenging culture with truth and inspiring change in every heart she touches.
I thank God for my pregnancy with Raegan, because I had the luxury to be naive and recklessly hopeful for the baby that would surely be. But I thank God for this pregnancy, as well, because I have the luxury of gratitude for every ache and pain that reminds me He’s still breathing the breath of life into her tiny little lungs. One pregnancy I was able to focus completely on the baby. And the other, completely on my Savior.
We’re saving her name until after delivery, as much as anyone can save a name that they’ve already shared with their five year old, but we can’t keep the reason she is here a secret. She is our testimony. And as a friend once told me to ease my worried mind, “today you get to be pregnant, so just enjoy today.”
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”