Friday, June 5, 2009

I have a pregnant friend

Actually, I have four.

Only one of these friends has not had the experience of losing a baby, but oh my, does she have a truly sympathetic heart! She cried her eyes out the first time we talked. She had heard about Owen from some of my other friends and had wanted to talk to me since first hearing about him.
It wasn't one of those crying sessions where you feel obligated to make the other person feel better about something horrific that has happened to you. It was heart felt; a deep sympathizing with what we must be feeling since Owen has died.

She is now, I want to say, 34 weeks pregnant with her second child. Can I just tell you that I love her to pieces? I do. I really, really do.
If sunshine had made it past the 7th week of pregnancy, I would be 36 weeks. That is a strange thought. A really bizarre twisting of the mind.

Anyways, I can't help but think, 'what if something happens to her little girl?' 'What if I'm drawn to her because her baby is going to die?' I just can't help my mind going there. Maybe it's the fact that I should be 36 weeks pregnant if sunshine had been made for this earth; maybe it's that she's almost to the point where we were when Owen died.

These thoughts sicken me.

And, really, because you're my friends and I know I can be honest with you, I have to tell you that with this friend, {and another friend, who's 37 weeks pregnant now and has experienced a first trimester loss} with these two women, it's the first time I DON'T want their babies to die.


What disgusting, horrible, and sinister person wishes other people's babies would die??!!

Me.


Friends, I am worse than even this. Promise.


Before I go on, I just want to make it clear that I don't believe in karma or voodoo dolls or the evil eye. I believe in our sovereign Heavenly Father, who has ordained all our lives before we were conceived. I can't change His plans for my life or for anyone else's lives based on my evil thoughts/wishes/ideas about them.
I don't think (AT ALL) that my feelings and thoughts about pregnant women are okay. I know it is wrong. Really wrong. SIN.



In my real life, a life full of pregnant women and babies, a life where no one was like me, I have felt isolated and cursed. Side aside and spat on. I have felt like the only one who has ever experienced the death of a full term baby (this was before I had a blog or knew all you wonderful women). In my real life, I was the only one. Well, there is one lady, who 20 years ago, delivered two of her babies still at term as well. Just one, though. ONE.

And me.

The church I attend is overflowing with pregnant women and babies. Those who make it past the second trimester ALWAYS get screaming, living babies. I assumed that it was guaranteed that your baby will live if you make it past the time of miscarriages and genetic testing. Healthy babies don't die. At least, they didn't in my church. Until Owen.


The first year after losing Owen was rough. I'm not gonna lie. I was lost. I felt so dejected and isolated; like a failure and a pariah. I must have done something wrong to cause God's wrath on me. I must have been deserving of punishment.

Why me, Lord? Why me? What was it about me that had caused my son to die?

Nothing. Nothing at all.

That was a hard pill to swallow. I guess, in some ways, I wanted to be the one to blame. Then, at least, I would have a reason for why Owen was dead.

It has been a long 19 months of the Holy Spirit convincing me of God's good sovereignty and His great, unchanging love...for me and for Owen.


I am brave enough (I think) to be honest that I have had thoughts of wishing other women's babies would die too.

I know, friends, it is disgusting. Who would wish this on someone else??

I guess the answer to that question is me. I would and I did.

I have sat alone, feeling like no one in the world understands the pain of losing a child in this way. I have felt humiliated by the continuous announcements in church about the live births of all the other women in church (and the announcements outside church too). What is wrong with me?

I just wanted someone, anyone, who was like me. I wanted someone to understand. I didn't want to be the ONLY one. I didn't want to face the horrifying truth (?) that there was actually something wrong with me that caused Owen to die...
What if there was something wrong with me? What if God was punishing me? What had I done that was worse than every other woman around me to cause God to take my son home to Heaven? ...

and then, it happened.
Tonya...Miranda,...women who lived and breathed in the same town that I lived and breathed in. I didn't know them before our babies died, but through God's providence, we have met and become life long friends.

They were just like me.

And I loved them. And I hated it.

The more I meet women in real life, women I can touch and see face to face, the more I hate that other women belong to this club. The more I hate that they are like me.

It is a paradox.

There is nothing, nothing, like having a person sit across from you and echo all your thoughts and feelings. Someone who was there with you...lying in the hospital bed, holding their child's body, recovering from labor with no baby to care for, feeling alone and isolated by society because the manner in which their child died is taboo.
There is nothing like it.

I love it and I have grown to hate it too.

Maybe everyone who is reading this right now is truly appalled by what I'm saying...maybe the other women whose babies died and were stillborn never had to deal with these feelings. If that's true, then I praise the Lord that they didn't struggle with these feelings.

But I did.


I have excuses, none are valid enough, and I have reasons (don't we all?) for my awful thoughts and feelings...but God is changing my heart. Dramatically.

I still struggle with the hurt and feelings of isolation when I am around pregnant women. I sometimes still feel like God is holding out on me, while He is giving everything to the people around me. But I see God working in my heart in ways I don't understand. I feel a tenderness towards pregnant women that I have not felt in 19 months. Passing by pregnant women in the mall or on the sidewalk, I turn my eyes away, yes; but I sometimes say a prayer for their baby's health and safety. I am saddened for my own heart, but a small part of me rejoices in the new life she is carrying.

I praise God for these changes. I am a wretched sinner, redeemed only by God's grace.


Romans 7: 15-25
For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

19 comments:

Devon said...

oh my sweet friend, i have had every single one of those horrible thoughts and hated myself for it...

and i too have grown to love and hate this community of women, just like me, who have held their children and yet never brought their babies home.

thank you for echoing my own heart.

Sara said...

Ebe,
You are not alone... I have felt the same things. My kids have even asked, "Why did their baby get to live and ours not?" So many hard emotions, thoughts and feelings to deal with. I am so glad that God is working on your heart... Praise God. I long for that day when I really feel peace and not such bitterness at times. I have always thought that this grief thing has brought out some really ugly things about me. Yikes... but God will refine me through this I am sure. Praying for you today and missing your sweet Owen and sunshine with you!
Sara

Rachel said...

I'm not surprised by your words. I also have had these thoughts. I'd go a step further in saying that while I wanted to not be the only one, I also wanted those around me to look at someone else and not just me. I think often that people are wondering why my baby died and what did I do that made Felicity die. I know that's not what most are thinking, but I still feel that way. Thanks for being so open and honest, Ebe.

Anna said...

(((hugs))) I remember when I went back to work and one of my coworkers told me that another coworkers wife just had an emergency cerclage and was on bedrest. All I could think about was why did they catch her dilating cervix and not mine? Why was her baby being given a chance and not mine? Their son was recently born (on Morgan's 6 month birhtday/angelversary too) and I had quite the mixture of feelings. Relief that the baby was okay, sadness/jealousy that their baby got to go home and mine didn't.

Wishing your babies were here. Glad that God is working in your heart.

Love,
Anna

Charity said...

Thank you for being so open and honest with us, Ebe.
I, too, have struggled with many of these same thoughts.
I have only met one person face to face who has lost a full-term baby like I have, and that was 14 years ago...but it has been so helpful to read blogs like yours and find people who I can completely identify with and learn from as we all grieve together.
Praise God for how He is working in our lives and changing us to be more like Him.

Wendee said...

Ebe,

I too had thoughts like that, but I would shake my head and hope those thoughts would go away. No one around me went through what I have gone through and it's hard... I wish I had your faith to help me through this.

Crissie said...

OH EBE!! You are one in a million, and all for good reasons. I can't even believe that you were brave enough to admit these things. I've told my deepest, deepest ugly feelings only to my husband and at times, I'm sure he thinks I've completely lost my mind... I know I've told you this, my friend, but this is our Refiner's Fire. Not just having to have enough faith to give our little ones up for this life, but faith to keep breathing every single day without them. Faith to live through moments like this, when we have to face the ugly remains of our heartbreak through the joy of other people's blessings.

I remain absolutely convinced that these babies (my three and your three, right?) will be the jewels in our crowns. It's just so hard to get there, isn't it?

You are beautiful Ebe.

xoxoxox

Tonya said...

If I'm totally honest, I've had every single one of those thoughts that you've had. Ashamedly, I still have them sometimes. I'm human, I'm a sinner, I ask God's forgiveness and I'm praying to be a better person with a more Christ-like heart every day. Thank you for this brutally honest post. It struck a nerve in me. Especially because I just found out yesterday that another person is pregnant. It brought about a true mix of emotions in me and as I'm typing this, I can't recall even saying congratulations to her. Ugghhh...

I'm SO glad we're real life friends! It was God Himself who brought us together in this big ole blog world! Which reminds me....we NEED another face-to-face soon!!!

Love you!
Tonya

Amy said...

Ebe,

You are brave to openly admit to these thoughts - thoughts I have had too. I don't utter them aloud for fear it would make my terrible thoughts real. We wish for it and don't wish for it all at the same time I think.

Chris said...

I am so thankful that our Jesus is so faithful and sweet to work in us as He does...all the time.
I love you Ebe.
PAPA

Rebecca said...

Whoa.

I think that loneliness & isolation gets so intense that you just wish it would happen to someone else, just so you wouldn't be so alone. I've tried to explain what our situation was like {adverse prenatal diagnosis} and....there were just no words. How could I explain to someone that I was waiting for my baby to live & die, all at the same time?

I wanted to blame myself too. I still want to. I want to believe that since I didn't cherish Olivia from the very beginning {unexpected pregnancy} that was the reason God was 'punishing' me with her T18 and ultimately her death. I realize the only reason I want someone to blame is because otherwise I'd have to blame God & wrestle with 'why He did this to me'.

Yesterday, after all your blog comments, I was sitting in my room & just said out loud, "I love Ebe". Is that weird that I could love you & not even 'know' you? Last night was a terrible night & I thought of you & wished I could just drive across the country to wherever you are & cry on your couch together & eat ice cream or something. We just have that need for someone to understand.

Slowly, I am coming to understand that God does. He knows grief. Maybe not stillborn grief. Maybe not adverse prenatal diagnosis grief. But He knows about losing a child & the pain that it brings. I think more than finding another Mama who has gone through what I've went through, He wants me to find Him. Sometimes that's just so, so hard.

Sorry to ramble on.

{{{hugs}}} for your bravery & beautiful heart from one wretched sinner to another

Laurie said...

Ebe-
Once again you have me in tears. Our Lord didn't take a baby away from my womb...he never gave me one.

And even though I am a mom today, the curse of barrenness is a weight I will carry with me forever, I fear.

My heart aches reading all these words saying...Me too...

Oh Lord, how can we as women bear the weight of so much grief and pain upon us, so many of us? Maybe it is just a community like this that God has given us to lessen our load.

I carry your burden in my heart today, Ebe. I carry your secret thoughts...I pray you will carry mine.

T said...

You are one of the bravest people I know and I wish I could hug you and take it all the hurt away. I think all of the feelings that you have had are very natural because even though your children are well protected by God, you still want them here---we all do.

I am so happy as I read these other comments that you are surrounded by such a supportive community of women (and The Papa of course!) I have not experienced what you have but I still want to you to know that I give you much love and support through all of this.

I have a friend who has helped me during hard times who tells me that you are a member of the human race so you are not perfect and you do get to have human emotions that include anger, jealousy, bitterness, etc. But the beauty of you, Ebe, is that along with those emotions you are also a loving, caring, and kind person.

you are in my constant thoughts and prayers!!

Dana said...

You are not alone--I have felt all of these destructive thoughts and more. We have become the anathema. People are afraid to be around us for fear that we are contagious--that their baby will die too, and more often than not, I don't want to be surrounded by their pregnant-ness either. The jealousy and bitterness is something that I am working through now and I thank you for your words of encouragement. They may not have felt encouraging to you but they give me hope that I may not always feel this way.

God Bless,
Dana

Ebe said...

.....


that's about all I can say.

Thank you so much. Thank you.

I was so afraid of the reactions that this might cause, but I am saddened and glad to know that I am not alone. A paradox.

I love you all.

Casey Chappell said...

Wow. I got behind in some of your posts and just caught up and though my feelings aren't like yours in some ways, some ways they are.
You are definitely raw and I think sometimes my soul connects while my surface mind and body wants to react (I guess that's the part of me that has to keep going and in some ways is forced to move on faster than some) But I'm glad you are wide open. I pray for the hearts that may come across your blog randomly like me that they will so see your humility and repentance for confessed feelings. That is the life of a believer. He will keep you to the end. He will sustain you and not let you go. It's just not always pretty during the journey.

grieving with you in a strange but deeper than I think I'm even aware of way,

Casey Chappell

Miranda said...

Ebe,

I just read your post (i have been on vacation) and oh how I feel the same way. I know we have talked about this before but it's so real on a daily basis. I have these thoughts too because I just want other women (especially my friends) to understand the horror of losing a baby. I can't "just have another one" and forget about Caleb. Part of me wants them to be in this club with me so they can stop thinking that I am "crazy" or "overreacting" or that I "just need to move on" But our Lord is forgiving and merciful and knows that we are not perfect..He gave His son because we aren't. His grace is sufficient for anything we do. Thanks for sharing your feelings. We HAVE to get together again soon. I am wide open next week if you have some time.

All my love,
Miranda

Alice in Australia said...

Ebe, We don't know each other and I have been through nothing close to your experience of losing your precious Owen, but I am so grateful for your honesty - Thankyou, Thankyou. Praying for God's continued comfort and working in your life.

Alice

Groves said...

I wonder if you still get the comments on these older posts - if you ever see them in all the newer comments?

But I read this post tonight and I felt just like one of the others who said: "After all your blog comments, I was sitting in my room & just said out loud, "I love Ebe". Is that weird that I could love you & not even 'know' you?"

That's how I feel. I hope it doesn't sound crazy! It's just that you are such a real, true, heartfelt person - the kind of Christian that makes Christ even more beautiful, if that makes any sense. So many Christians drive others away from Christ - you drive them towards Him with your lovely heart. You might think it isn't lovely because of some of the thoughts you shared in this post - but it is.

You live out the true Gospel and it is sweeter because of your witness.

I'm so glad that, because of blogs, I get to "know" you. Will you introduce me to ALL of your children when we get to Heaven? It will be an honor to meet them - and you.

Thanks again,

Cathy in Missouri