When we first found out that I was indeed pregnant, I read everything I could about how long to wait to tell friends and family. I learned that early pregnancy is shrouded in secrecy. Lots of whispers and warnings of telling people too soon. Because the fear is that something will go wrong like it did with us, and then you will have to tell people. And somehow we have accepted the lie that is is an embarrassment rather than a loss. As if a tiny little life lost is a disappointment to people rather than a real, actual death. And so I suppose that many people grieve in silence with no one to celebrate the life that was and to mourn the fact that it slipped away.
We announced our expected baby on New Year's Day. I was going to wait the traditional 12-13 weeks, but my sweet friend Elisa encouraged me with assurance that if I announced soon, we would have more people praying for this baby for the remainder of my pregnancy. I am so glad that I listened to her. Because in the sharing of our news, I found a group of people that were willing to rejoice with us when we were rejoicing, and when our joy turned into mourning, those same people mourned with us. And they shared their own stories of babies and life and loss and healing. And they are still sharing.
It is weird to talk about. But I have needed to talk about it. Words are very healing for me, and I have been writing in my journal, hoping to make sense between the lines I write. Hoping that something will start to come together and I will be able to sit back and breathe a sigh of understanding and say to myself Oh, so that's why. So far, no luck. And part of me says it's too soon to write openly about it. There is no resolution yet. There is no healing. There is no happy ending. There is no magical purpose for this. And I am right here in the middle of it. I am right in the middle of sleepless nights. I still cry when I think about the summer and how I expected to be large and round and miserable. I cry every time I come across another maternity shirt that needs to be folded up and put away until I need it again. I get choked up when I get the seemingly endless emails from Babycenter and its affiliates. I still have yet to figure out how to make all of those completely stop. I barely held back tears as I told my students this week. I still have a moving box labeled "Baby" that is filled with books and magazines and cute little baby journals, barely begun. I will not be brave enough to open that box for a while. Maybe not until another baby is on its way. But I think that this is where the truth is. Right here in this moment. Right here on this day where nothing makes sense and everything brings me to tears. When I am still asking Why me? and Why our first baby? and I am declaring that It's not fair. And it isn't, you know. It really isn't.
I am doing the things that I should be. I am praying. I am reading Scripture. And it helps, but it does not fix it. It doesn't explain why. And even my most faith-filled days, I know that even the greatest move of God in this situation does not bring our baby back. And that feels like the only thing that would really fix it. So I wait. I wait and I read and I pray and I cry.
At the suggestion of a friend, I picked up the book Glorious Ruin by Tullian Tchividjian (that, my friends, is a name). And I barely got into the introduction and I felt like God spoke right to me. I like when He does that. A personalized message with my name on it.
We may not ever fully understand why God allows the suffering that devastates our lives. We may not ever find the right answers to how we'll dig ourselves out. There may not be any silver lining, especially not in the ways we would like. But we don't need answers as much as we need God's presence in and through the suffering itself. (emphasis mine)So it seems I am looking for the wrong thing. An explanation. A purpose. I should be looking for His presence. And I don't have to look far to find it. Because not only has He revealed Himself to me in the comfort of His Word and a tangible peace (that honestly comes and goes, depending on where my mind is), but also through His people. Through cards and flowers and messages of all kinds. Through dinners and hugs and expressions of kindness that have made us feel loved and cared for. And so today I am not waiting for a miracle. I am not waiting for an answer or an explanation*. I will just sit. I will rest. I will wait. I will wrestle with this sadness, desperate to shake it. I will let time pass. I will know that God is near to the brokenhearted. And today, and probably for many days to come, that is me.
*I have had plenty of explanations suggested to me, and frankly, they just make me want to hit someone.