My first pregnancy ended in my living room, then in a hospital surgery, at 11 weeks.
My second pregnancy is now Sam, my incredible, tender, strong, sweet, inquisitive 4 year old.
My third pregnancy ended at 8 weeks while sitting in the parking lot of our church. I just knew it was over, and I was right.
My fourth pregnancy is now Josie, my sparkly, vivacious, sassy 2 year old.
My fifth pregnancy is now Clara Grace, my squishy, soft and sweet 6 month old.
Every single time I used the bathroom I expected to see blood on the toilet paper. I’d pray to be nauseous, thanking God each time I threw up. When news of pregnancies lost would inevitably cross my path, I silently wondered if it was a sign that mine would go next. Some days I am grateful for ‘only’ having three kids instead of five, then the guilt swallows me whole and I am ashamed. I wonder if babies grow in heaven, or if they’ll still be babies when I get there. I creep into their room in the dark of night and breathe relief when I feel their chests rise and fall. My friends seem to have no trouble getting and staying pregnant and I stifle the burning jealousy that fills my chest at their ease. Someone talks blithely about the number of babies they’ll have and I seethe at their ability to be naive. Any time I had hope that a baby would come home from the hospital with me, I felt almost guilty and waited for the other shoe to drop. The gratitude that flooded me with the birth of each of my children was consuming, and it returns from time to time unbidden.
These are the things that often remain unspoken. The ugly feelings, the fears, the timid hope. My church offers a whole service to recognize these experiences and the pain of infertility, pregnancy loss and the loss of a child (if you’re local, you and your stories are most welcome to attend this Saturday night.)
If the coming Mother’s Day is going to be difficult for you, please know that an army of women and men stand with you. You will be prayed for. You will be listened to. You will not be overlooked, and your children will not be forgotten.
I love moms, and I’m greatly humbled and honored to be a mom. But I also love the women who want to be moms but for whatever reason are not yet. I once stood in that place, and once your feet have stopped there they never really leave, no matter how many children you have. Your heart scars over with callouses, and soul-deep healing is hard to truly embrace.
So while I will be joyfully celebrating Mother’s Day this weekend, I will be thinking of you, friends. I wanted you to know that you will be on my mind and in my heart.