asher: mom, when you were little like me you didn't have any babies in your belly.
asher: but then you got big and you met daddy. i was up in heaven with God, but then He put me in your tummy and started sewing me together and then when He was done i came out of that.
*he gestures towards my stomach and the regions below. we've had a vague and age appropriate conversation about how babies are born, and although he's not quite sure of the details, he knows that babies come from the tummy and beyond.
me: yes! when it was time, God formed you exactly as he wanted you to be and then he choose you to be our baby boy. daddy and i are so very thankful for you, bud.
bryan and i believe that every child, from conception, is tenderly and purposefully formed by an intentional God. we're trying to teach our children to value life as much as we do. we're working to teach them that God's plans and timing are lovely and good and that He doesn't make mistakes.
that being said, our first two pregnancies happened so easily and unexpectedly that, if we were inclined to believe differently, we might call them accidents. a missed pill in a forgetful moment or an empty box of condoms in the heat of the moment, and a gestation period later, we had a tiny bundle of joy. this is exactly what happened both times. we never tried or agonized or planned. we just did what married people do. not only were our conceptions easy, but our pregnancies were also a breeze. no puffy swelling, no excruciating back pain, no gestational diabetes, no pre-term labor. and as for labor and delivery, well, naturally it was painful, but there were no abnormal complications or problems.
HOWEVER, although our 2 pregnancies were easy peasy from start to finish, we were no strangers to how complicated and devastating a pregnancy could be. during the roughly 3 years that bry and i were making and having our two boys (they are 23 months apart), some of our dearest friends- you know the ones who we call friends, but they are much more like family-were going through baby-related struggles that we had never had to face. tragedies like infertility and miscarriage were things we were walking through with our friends. we cried with them. we prayed with them. we tried to give them hope. but, let's be honest, how can the easy peasy baby makers who had never encountered the slightest threat of complication truly relate to such pain and loss?
truthfully, we couldn't. oh, i tried. don't think i didn't try. as a mother of two healthy boys i tried to imagine what i would feel if one of my children were suddenly taken away. if they were supposed to be in my arms, but they weren't. if their seat at our table suddenly was empty, when i knew it should be filled. if we had already chosen names weighted with so much meaning and promise to simply have them left hanging in the air with no child to attach them to. i tried so hard to empathize and comfort. mostly i just tried to listen. to give these beautiful women whom i loved so much a chance to let their pain out and to deal with their broken hearts and crushed hopes safely and without condemnation.
i did not do it perfectly. i know i said some things that were not what they needed to hear. i know i unintentionally added to their hurt even while i was trying to help heal. praise Jesus for grace. i think the most important thing i learned from walking through dark places with dear ones (not that it matters if i learned a thing since it was not about me or my hurt, but about them and theirs) is that these beautiful, brave friends were not just women who had lost an amniotic sac filled with tissue and blood. these women were MOTHERS who had lost their CHILDREN. they had hopes for their babies just as i had for mine, only theirs had been crushed and lost and taken too soon.
as i said, bry and i sincerely believe that our God never makes mistakes. even in the midst of tragedy and loss, He has not messed up, nor has He forgotten. it's hard to understand. even harder to have the faith to believe it's true. in the midst of such devastation God proves Himself faithful and good.
so here's to the brave mamas who stand beside me in the ranks of motherhood with empty arms and crushed hopes. may you find that-
The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in Spirit. Psalm 34:18