I thought I would be brave. That if I ever had the chance to carry another child, that I would be enthusiastic to use my journey to conquer my fears and even help other women through theirs. That was my hope, that was my intention. That is not what has happened. I have experienced emotions that I never knew existed through this entire journey to building our family, emotions that are too strong and unique to label. But fear, this agonizing, terrorizing, paralyzing fear is up high on the list of ones I hope to never revisit again in life. It has taken over me and this remarkable story that I am about to share with you. My hope and deep prayer is that by finding the courage to do so, it will help release some of this worry and allow me to exhale, even just a little bit.
Rewind to October, about six months ago. We had just experienced our fifth loss and we found ourselves very low on the emotional energy to endure more fertility treatments. My husband and I sat up one night, after many months of praying, and we made a firm to decision to stop trying to get pregnant and to pursue another path to building our family. This journey of trying to conceive and the difficulties of pregnancy for me has reeked havoc on our hearts and we knew it was time to face this difficult truth. It wasn’t meant to be this way. I cried for weeks. Even with the peace and excitement of adoption in my heart, I still needed to grieve so much about the loss of carrying my own children. But as the days progressed, I felt a lightness that I haven’t felt in years. I no longer watched the calendar for cycle dates. I no longer had to consider numerous doctors appointments or scheduled medications. I no longer had to time our physical intimacy. It was beginning to feel, well, nice. And I was completely content with our decision. We met with a local agency and quickly fell in love with them, completed the stacks of paperwork and background checks, finished our adoption education classes and handed in our initial payment. I was preparing for our child. It was such a beautiful feeling and far from the stress I endured over the past six years. I prayed earnestly that if the Lord wanted us to carry a child of our own, that He alone would grant us the opportunity-with no help from a procedure. I prayed that if this were His plan, that He would heal my body and make it a healthy place to carry a baby. I felt in my heart that one day, He would make this happen, in His perfect timing.
That one day came three weeks later.
And we are now half way through this pregnancy.
If I had it all my way, I would hibernate for the duration of this experience. But this baby (by God’s amazing grace) is growing rapidly and my bulging belly has made this hibernation quite difficult. So I awkwardly go about my day and speak little of this obvious being inside of me to those around me. It’s not that I am not excited, or grateful-because trust me, I don’t think I have ever been more grateful for anything in my entire life. It’s just that I am also carrying around extra layers of grief, anxiety, post-traumatic stress and a fear that paralyzes my ability to take any of this with a light heart. I wish desperately that I could find the same anticipation and joy that I used to in pregnancy but my heart is so scarred and that overwhelming fear that lingers in my mind is constantly reminding me to not get too excited yet. Remember what happened?
Then I feel the baby move and my mama heart melts with a joy that makes the entire world stop. I close my eyes and I am reminded of the life inside of me. My gratitude for the reality of this miraculous life itself is beyond any words I can muster. Regardless of what is to come, this little one is here right now in this exact moment and this is not a dream. With every flutter and poke, my love deepens and my strength to keep fighting this ridiculously consuming war inside of my head grows stronger. Sometimes I dare to dream and can taste the magnitude of possibility that lies just months away-months that feel like decades but are not. I envision the moment we meet face to face and just as I begin to indulge in this happiness, the war begins and the images of my previous birth haunt me. So I stop dreaming. The mind is a very powerful being of it’s own.
So this may not be your ordinary pregnancy announcement, but this isn’t your ordinary pregnancy either. It is however, a step out of the comatose state I have been in for five months. It is a step towards belief, towards the maybe, towards hope.
Today, this is my brave.