I should be having a baby today. August 8. This was the estimated due date for our first little one, and today, the reality of it is kind of settling in. If everything had gone according to my plan, I'd have a baby... or be very close to it. And though I am completely in love with this new little life inside of me, and we have been carrying on conversations between us today, me talking to him and him responding with little kicks here and there, I am very aware of what could have been. I know what I have lost.
I am involved with several online pregnancy groups. My favorite one is for those of us who are pregnant after a loss. We know each other's pains and fears, and it really helps to have other people who are in the same situation to speak some truth into the crazy. And there is a saying that is often repeated... Most pregnancies end in a baby. And they do. It happens everyday. Perfectly healthy babies are born. Parents take pictures and visitors ooh and aah over tiny feet and little red, swollen faces. And the average person expects it. I expected it. We expect that when we see two pink lines or we hear of them, in 8 or so months, a healthy baby will enter into the world. We never expect the worst... until it happens.
Over the last few months, I have seen some really sad things. A friend's baby was diagnosed with Trisomy 18 and he probably will not make it to full term. Another has spina bifida. I have seen many announcements of losses, both early and late. Some of these women are real fighters. They have lost multiple babies during pregnancy, and somehow they keep going. There is so much loss. Just this week, another friend delivered a 7 ounce baby at 21 weeks. She is heartbroken, and so are we. And the weight of these stories feels so heavy. They are big and real and they deserve to be grieved.
I do not tell you all of this to be morbid. I tell you this because when I see the reality of loss, I just have to see the contrast. I have to marvel at all of the life I see around me. My mother had six children, and though she experienced her own losses, all six of us were birthed into this world healthy. I have eleven nephews and nieces, and other than one who was born slightly premature, they were born without incident. Almost all of my close friends have children, and they are all bright, happy healthy little people. It seems commonplace, ordinary even. But I have seen the other side, and I am here to tell you that it's a miracle. Every tiny person that is born into this world is an absolute miracle.
So today, amidst the chaos of your messy home, tattling children, dirty faces, school supply madness, and french fry-laden cars, I encourage you to kiss your miracles. Even if they are big. Even if they don't want to be kissed. Tell them that you are glad they are yours. Be grateful for the blessing of a child. If you, like me, are waiting for your child, get over the weirdness of talking to a baby that isn't here yet... one that you cannot see. He can hear. So talk. Tell him you love him. It feels strange the first few times, but you'll be glad you did. And talk to your heavenly Father. Give thanks for the responsibility you have been given as a parent. He is the giver of all good gifts. Be thankful to Him for your kids, even when the job is hard.
Today I am sad, but I am grateful. Grateful for each day I have with this baby. Thankful that I will meet in December, if God wills. Grateful for the child I never met or held but will meet and hold someday. I am grateful for new life and for the giver of life. It's all a miracle, and I am thankful.