On October 25th, 1988, when I was just four years and five months old, President Ronald Reagan declared the month of October, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.
He so eloquently stated;
"When a child loses his parent, they are called an orphan.
When a spouse loses her or his partner, they are called a widow or widower.
When parents lose their child, there isn’t a word to describe them.”
For those of us who have lost a child, a pregnancy, a hope, we don’t need a designated month on the calendar to remember what we’ve lost. We remember daily. I will always mourn March 17th, 2016 and May 25th, 2017.
Just as a widower catches a glimpse of a memory and recalls their spouse, I have similar flashes of moments that take my breath away. Now, I don’t know the round faces of my children, or the softness of their pudgy hands, or the way they smell when you pull them tightly to snuggle. But I remember holding an ultrasound picture in my hand. I remember the hug my mother-in-law gave me when I handed her a wrapped onesie. And I remember the bitter taste of that peach cobbler she delivered when she had no words to comfort our loss.
I can’t escape pregnancy and joyous new life. My social media feed is compounded with pregnancy announcements and growing baby bumps. Sweet text messages from friends bring a smile to my face and tears to my eyes. Even my favorite network shows are filled with glowing pregnant woman. Bernadette on The Big Bang Theory is ridiculously fertile with a growing baby boy just 9 months after the birth of her daughter. And even though her first pregnancy was announced on the show in May while I was battling my second loss, I stuck with them. And crazed Queen of the Seven Kingdoms and Proctor of the Realm, Cersei Lannister from Game of Thrones is pregnant by her twin brother Jamie! Come on HBO, at least give me a Daenerys Targaryen, John Snow baby!
But don’t get me wrong. I don’t WANT to escape these women. I want to JOIN them!
I want to be tired during my first trimester.
I want to join a maternity wear subscription my second trimester.
I want to decorate a baby’s room my third trimester.
I want swollen feet, and nausea, and random food combinations.
But God has chosen to protect me during His time and not provide this request I so desperately cry out for. The word “protect” was given to me by my beloved counselor. And in full transparency, it’s super hard to swallow and at first, I hated it. But, I have to believe that God’s “no” or “not right now,” is for my protection, for my benefit.
Professionally, I am thriving! I feel like I have come back to life in my new role guiding educators all across Northeast Georgia with the production of their yearbooks. Yeah, I know. Yearbooks. Not the most glamorous profession. And certainly not the most noble. It might even sound like a silly career choice and to some; unsteady or unfulfilling. But God knows my strengths. He knows my passions. He knows my talents. Ten years ago, He placed me inside the classroom. When I had doubts about this career, He affirmed me with relationships with my colleagues, students, and even a few undeserving accolades. Ten years later, God knew that if I were a young mother or an expecting mother, I never would have taken this career leap of faith. God knew I would be missing out. And if I dare to be so bold, those I work alongside would be missing out as well.
So, God protected me.
He protected me from being pregnant when Jason was so sick with seizures.
He protected me from being pregnant while we raised and fostered a teenager and young adult.
He protected me from missing out on a blessing He richly prepared for me.
But what is God protecting me from now?
For the past several years, Jason and I have been beating the pavement trying to make sure we are actively pursuing options to start our family. Multiple doctors, and drugs, and treatments. Evert time we encountered a set-back, I’d give up for a while and take a few months off. It’s exhausting physically, mentally, and you betcha, emotionally.
This year I was finally told that my infertility was “unexplainable.” That’s my official diagnosis. How comforting! (insert massive sarcasm here). I was not going to be able to get pregnant without medical assistance. “Then bring it on!,” I was ready. And after I did conceive this past May with “medical assistance,” my body could not hold on to that beloved life for longer than 25 days. And in the midst of another broken heart, God was surrounding me with protection.
Since May, I’ve been a coward. I’ve avoided my doctors and further treatments. I’ve avoided making long-term plans because even in the midst of my diagnosis, what if I get pregnant? What if we need that money? What if? What if? What if?
But is this how God has called us to live? In Fear? In Anxiety? In a constant state of “what ifs?”
I refuse to live in a state of what God hasn’t done.
Instead, I want to live in the presence of what God has done.
Bianaca Juarez Olthoff said;
“When we forget about what God has done, it makes us doubt what He can do.
When we remember His promises, when we remember His goodness, when we remember His miracles, we can hold on to hope that He will rescue us in our time of need” (Play With Fire).
But oh, how quickly we forget.
Sometimes I get so wrapped up in the disparity of my circumstances that I forget about the provisions and the miraculous wonders God has already done in my life.
Father God, this October I have taken this time to remember and mourn. To pray and to celebrate.
But God, I don’t need just one month of remembrance.
You are every month.
You are every day.
You are every moment.
Father God, I thank you that your silence is not your absence.
I thank you for your protection.
I thank you that I’ll never forget.
The Big Bang Theory, Series 03 Episode 23 – The Lunar Excitation