This is part of my series 100 Days: Waiting for a Rainbow.
Those days when hope is blinding, when it really hurts, those days are rough. I feel like I’m two people, living two lives, and they’re constantly at war in my head and my heart over exactly what it is I’m feeling and thinking.
You cannot be hopeless if you are actually hopeful for something. I’m very hopeful for Squishy’s bright future. So I can’t, by definition, be hopeless.
So what is this voice that trails me around all day, reminding me that at any moment things can go spectacularly wrong?
It’s one thing to rationalize with illogical fears. My coworker who keeps threatening that my cats will suffocate Squishy? Irrational. Fifteen seconds on Google will tell you that 1) there aren’t any actual documented, proven cases of baby-cat-suffocation and 2) a $10 mosquito net can relieve any irrational fears that may still be floating around. Or at the very least, keep hairballs and fur out of the crib.
It’s completely different to rationalize with experience. I know what happens with preterm births. Preeclampsia. Placental abruption. Polyhydramnios. Intrauterine Growth Restriction. I know these things partly because Google is not only informative on baby-cat-suffocation, but it is also the portal to the deep, dark part of the web known as WebMD. It sounds innocuous, but it is full of hyped-up, overly-dramatic, “this one-in-a-million-thing-may-happen-to-you.” I also know these things partly because of my own experience. The experiences of coworkers and friends. The experiences of the hundreds of pregnancy-after-loss moms that show up on a daily basis in my Facebook newsfeed as they are looking for someone who understands the fear that comes with a negative experience.
So while I’m not at risk for any of the things I mentioned, except preterm birth, I’m afraid of all of them. You can argue it’s illogical to be afraid of all of them, because I have no risk factors. My response is simply that on March 1st of 2012, I had no risk factors for preterm birth, either. I know what its like to have all of your hopes crushed – leaving all hope feeling, well… irrational.
At the same time, while I’m swimming in these fears – rational or not – I’m doing every day normal mom-to-be things. Washing diapers. Laughing at baby hiccups. Picking out baby’s coming-home clothes. Daydreaming. Singing songs. Going to a baby shower.
One minute I’m on top of the world, because preparing for a new baby is fun. The next minute I’m berating myself for being an idiot because its foolish to get my hopes up. And this is the perpetual fight inside my head – back and forth, up and down, around and around we go until I can’t even tell you what makes sense any more.
Then I sit in church on a Sunday morning, and I’m distinctly reminded of a thought I first had when I was pregnant with William. I couldn’t have been very far along, maybe early second trimester, when I was standing in church one morning and a thought hit me. As I was standing there singing about being grateful for my own salvation, I realized that this precious gift of salvation was for my baby too. Jesus loved him and wanted him for eternity. Salvation had never been more precious to me than at that moment when I realized that the one person I loved more than any one was loved by Jesus to the point that Jesus died for him.
It is a blessing I had that realization when I did. The knowledge that Jesus holds my little one, and that we will be reunited one day, is the one thing that has kept my faith flickering on very dark days.
When I begin to quiver in fear over what may happen to Squishy, I’m reminded of the thoughts I had when I was carrying William. Squishy is safe. He is held in the hand of the Most High. If, God forbid, Squishy never enjoys his life with his parents, he is not lost. He cannot be lost.
This doesn’t make my fear of tragedy go away. It does, however, take the sting out of it. It gives me real hope to face tragedy. It reminds me that when the hopes of this world hurt, the hope of Heaven is pain-free. It will not disappoint.
If you’re interested in more thoughts on what happens when infants die, I strongly encourage you to read John MacArthur’s book Safe in the Arms of God.