The first time I was pregnant, I announced it to my husband by writing “Baby’s 1st Christmas” on a Christmas ornament.
The second, I wrote him a note in our anniversary card.
The third, I gave him a “big sister” coloring sheet decorated by our daughter.
The fourth, I cried.
My fourth pregnancy followed two miscarriages. I was not simply pregnant. I was pregnant* (*pregnant after miscarriage). This time, I knew I was pregnant* before I even took the test. I had cramping, but no period, and a million other signs that I would never have noticed before but now reminded me of when I lost my two loves.
I skipped the joy of, “we’re pregnant,” and ran straight to the world of, “I’m miscarrying.” My expectations were low.
This pregnancy was marked by confidence. I was confident I was miscarrying.
And I was confident God would get our family through this trial as well, just like He had shown Himself strong in the past.
After all, I had come to know God in a new way in the past two years. As a God who heals the broken and makes beauty rise from ashes. Who sends grace in the middle of the pain. I believed He was now in my life creating more ashes, and I also believed He would restore joy again in the future.
But as confident as I was in another miscarriage, in back-to-back ultrasounds, when I was sure I was officially going to say goodbye to another very loved little one… We heard a heartbeat… We saw wiggly baby feet.
I started looking at the calendar, fixated on the dates. If I could make it to eight weeks… then twelve… the baby might be ok!
And then I questioned myself. I hadn’t allowed myself to trust medical percentages during my previous two pregnancies. I chose then not put my faith in numbers or clichés or feelings. So why dates? Was God limited by them? No.
Still, my overall prayer was… “Thy will be done.” Trust in God no matter the outcome.
Around the same time I saw moms posting on social media about how hard it was to let their babies go to pre-school or kindergarten or college for the first time.
And I realized we all battle. With trust.
I don’t think it gets easier. It’s a constant challenge to trust that God loves my baby more than I do and is with her every second… when she’s in the womb, headed to kindergarten or venturing to college and beyond.
Some stages seem to give the illusion of more control.
Like when doctors say there’s less to worry about after 12 weeks, or when my child safely fits in my arms or holds my hand.
When I’m hovering around baby for 16 hours a day with another eight when I’m listening through a baby monitor.
It’s a fine line between responsibility and trust.
Of course, I’m here to help protect my child. But my job is not to provide utter safety. I couldn’t do that, no matter how hard I try.
My job is to trust.
That God is here.
That God is with my child.
That God loves me, and He loves my child.
That God is powerful enough to do anything, but He’s loving enough to do His will.
Sometimes it looks so much differently than we expect.
And that’s not when we give up.
It’s when we trust.
Life is not my decision. Our society has made it out to be, but it’s not.
Life is in God’s hands from the moment He starts knitting us to beyond our last breath and into eternity.
Knowing my inclination to worry, I did not want to attempt facing this pregnancy alone. I knew God was with me.
But I enlisted (begged?) for a prayer team to surround me and our family.
To pray “Thy will be done.”
Because, as much as I don’t understand, I do know just a few things about His will.
His will is for me to glorify Him.
His will is to never leave me or forsake me.
His will is to hold our family together to praise him at the end of every day.
For my prayer team, I asked women who had been through the hurts and the difficult, who had battle wounds healed by the grace of Christ.
I chose those who I knew to be prayer warriors.
Whose knees were worn thin and whose faith swelled large.
I asked those I knew would remind me that I although it’s natural for me to feel afraid, I’m not called to natural.
To feed me truth when my emotions get out of control and when I want to doubt.
Who wouldn’t tell me clichés; who wouldn’t expect me to find peace in the doctor’s numbers and percentages, but who would constantly point me to True Peace.
I didn’t share the news seeking sympathy or flowery, encouraging words. I did not want to hear, “I know this baby will be fine;” a common band-aid statement that is not based in certain truth. It leaves an emptiness and hollow feeling, even when the speaker is trying in earnest to help.
No, I shared the news because prayer is powerful. Because women united in prayer for each other is a beautiful thing.
Sharing a weakness provides an opportunity for those outside the situation to come to God selflessly on another’s behalf and for those in the midst of the situation to be vulnerable enough to admit need for God’s help.
And I have never felt more vulnerable than when carrying a life inside me that I love but have no ultimate control over nor ability to sustain.
I believe the enemy enjoys when we try to face fears and worries on our own, keeping our emotions and real-life, gut reactions hidden from others.
Bringing fears into the light is somehow an antidote, leading to the venom’s demise.
And bringing other prayer warriors into battle with you is never good news for the enemy, who desperately wants you to hold on to the fear, underestimate its destructive powers or try to handle it in your own strength.
Worried about something?
But we’re not called to be natural.
While overcoming fears and worry is sometimes a moment-by-moment struggle – whether your baby is yet to be born or headed to pre-school or enrolling in college – don’t hesitate to tell a trusted group of godly minded friends that you’re in that struggle (likely they are now or will be sometime in the future, too!), and ask for their prayer support.
Let’s uphold each other, pregnant* or not.