Do you want to live out of fear or love? It's become the guiding question of my life, and I'm grateful for it. I know which one wins as I pick up the pen and share a reflection on February 5, 2018, the day we were supposed to meet our third child.
Why fear at all, you might ask? Because I have friends and family who have lost much more than a baby whose heart stopped beating at 9 weeks 4 days old, and I don't want to for a minute have them thinking that I am placing our loss in the same category. It's not the same. And I'm so sorry this happened.
That aside, fear rises to the surface because I'm sharing something so personal. While I'm not your small talk, surface conversationalist, when I write I turn to fiction for a reason. I love creative writing and always will. For in the midst of that process I can channel my joys and pains into a character who doesn't have my name. And while it's a beautiful medium, one that I won't leave, I'm sometimes nudged to write about actual events and those who are real. Like Eden was real. We didn't know the gender, but Justin picked out a name on my way home from the procedure I had a few days after learning there was no heart beat. I loved him for knowing I wanted a name. I'd wanted another child for years, but life's storms stopped my intended timeline, and I realized I wasn't in control now either.... A word on the misplaced guilt a mom who miscarries might feel. it's normal to put the searchlight on how you could be at fault, but it isn't healthy. I did the entire walk through: "if I hadn't run five miles one day and done the Stairmaster the next...If I'd taken my iron pills more often...If I hadn't tried to move that dresser..." But the truth is, women in dire circumstances, living in third world countries, give birth to healthy babies every day. That one thing that you think might be the culprit likely isn't at all. More often than not there's a chromosome abnormality behind the miscarriage. I had to remember that.
A sense of unloveliness waited on the heels of self blame, but I didn't let it last. When I stepped in my closet the morning after the d & c, my first inclination was to steer clear of anything floral or feminine. I wanted to head straight for black. As versatile as black is, I didn't like my immediate rational for wearing it and purposely found a few floral dresses, funny as that might sound.I bought them to help me bounce back and because the connotation of the baby's name wasn't lost on me.
Living from a place of love instead of fear meant living in expectation for what God would do next. I've learned to watch for Him in seasons that stretch me, in seasons that break my heart. He doesn't fail me.I think of how the ultrasound tech at CareNet took both my hands in hers and kissed my cheek. How one of my editors/friends kissed the same cheek less than a week later and wrote, "God loves your mother's heart" in the midst of our text messages about edits. Her statement spoke powerfully to me. God loves the mother's heart of a woman who serves others regardless of whether she's brought five babies into the world or none. Walking through my miscarriage has shown me even more that God is the author of life; He decides when and if it will happen. He decides if it won't at all. And while this is so hard to understand sometimes-how some of the most equipped women don't have children they desire-He sees those hearts as much as one with many children.
While I wish our third baby was here with us and always will, I'm able to see places of beauty in the midst of the sorrow. Sometimes hardships can make me retreat or lessen my voice. But I'm not going to add another subject to "what can't be discussed" because that sounds a lot more like fear than love. I can see how the aftermath of this loss is refining me even now, as it's undoubtedly refined many of you. We make daily decisions that lead us toward love or fear. There's a cost for both, but one is obviously more blessed and rewarding than the other. I'm grateful that the little one I never met is helping remind me where to fix my eyes and how to actively step into a life more rooted in His love.