Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Grateful surrender.

I have been spiraling out of control.  Not in a physical sense, but in a spiritual sense.  I have been so wrapped up in trying to conceive another baby that I didn't know how to stop.  I would pray month after month after month that God would bless us with another baby and obsessively look at my fertility chart several times each day, and use about five pregnancy tests a day towards the end of my cycle, and wind up crushed each month when my period would show up.  If obsessing over trying to get pregnant was an addiction, I was addicted and peesticks (home pregnancy tests) were my drug.

"You need to stop trying so hard," was the most common suggestion I heard.

But I didn't know how to "stop".  I couldn't wrap my mind around what that looked like.  Do I stop charting my temperature every day?  Do I give up on trying to have a baby altogether?  Do I stop hoping to be pregnant?  What does "stop trying so hard" mean?  And how do I stop?

This Sunday I went to Mass.  The homily started out by acknowledging the importance and goodness of perservering in your prayers.  The priest spoke about how sometimes though, we pray month after month for something that is just not happening and it leaves us with great disappointment.  In those situations we have to look at that for which we are praying.  Are we praying for God's will to be done or are we praying for something that we want that is not necessarily God's will?  He said that when we put a time limit on a prayer (as I was doing each month) we are tying Jesus' hands to answer that prayer.  The way that we know that what we are praying for is in line with God's will, is that we will be content and at peace with what does or does not happen each day, since in submitting to His will, whatever happens is done in line with His purpose.  If we are praying for our own will to be done (a want or need filled) and it doesn't happen and we are left discouraged, it is probably not in line with God's will. 

For me, this was a profound experience to hear a homily like this.  But you do not know yet why it was profound.  Rewind to the first three minutes before Mass started.  I sat in my pew and prayed that God would give me a very specific, definitive answer to two questions during this Mass:

     1.  Should I keep praying for another baby?

     2.  How can I know what Your will is for me, Lord?

I asked God for the answers to these two questions and He answered me in the most direct, profoundly obvious way that I have ever experienced within minutes of my asking. 

The answer is that I am to pray each day that God's will be done for my life that specific day!  If that includes getting pregnant again, then it will happen.  From that direct intervention by God through our priest's homily Sunday, I have had a new understanding of my purpose.  By praying that God's will would be done each day in my life, I am cooperating with the Lord's plan and partaking in the life of the Trinity!  And I no longer have to be burdened by an obsession over having another child.  I don't have to be disappointed at the end of each cycle.  I can rejoice in the new freedom I have that comes from cooperating with God's will and surrendering my life to His divine providence. 

It is a surrender.  I always knew it was.  I just didn't know what it looked like in this area of my life.  And it is as simple as praying for and accepting God's will.  But no one was able to tell me that in a way in which I could really apply it to my life until my epiphany at church on Sunday when God spoke so clearly to my heart. 

Today is 8 months since we lost Mary Grace.  Today I am feeling utterly joyous that God has brought to fruition the seed that He has been planting in my heart from our very first loss.  God never wanted to "break" me through all the suffering we have seen.  He wanted to bring about growth and maturation of character and love, perserverance in faith and the hope and freedom that come from a willful surrender to His plan for my life. 

Here I am Lord.  You have called me and I am Yours.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A little overwhelmed with feelings.

I'm feeling quite overwhelmed today. 

One of my best friends gave birth yesterday to a beautiful and healthy 9lb, 10oz baby boy!  And I am so excited for her family.  She gets to experience the joy of becoming a mother for the very first time!  The anticipation of meeting your little one after 9 long months (and sometimes a bit longer if you are overdue!) is quite high by the end, and then there they are...they just pop out and you get to fall in love all over again.

However today is also Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.  So today in a special way I am remembering Mary Grace and my other 2 babies who did not make it into this life, and yet I'm celebrating with my friend over her son's joyful entry into this world.  So it's been a little overwhelming.

Coupled with the fact that I have taken about 14 pregnancy tests over the last 5 days and they have all come up big, fat negative, my emotions are all over the place.

Furthermore, yesterday someone gave me the book Don't Sing Songs To A Heavy Heart:  How to Relate to Those Who Are Suffering.... well now why on earth would I need that??  I know, I know...this is not a very christian attitude...I need to be thankful someone was sort-of thinking of me.  But in all honesty, that is a book for THEM to read, not me!  I am the one suffering.  I don't need a book to relate to others who are suffering. 

But as I thought about it....maybe I do.  Maybe I'm so caught up in feeling sorry for myself that I'm not pregnant, feeling sad about losing Mary Grace, feeling overwhelmed that life goes on now matter what stage I'm in....maybe I'm missing opportunities to relate to other people who are suffering.  Maybe I am simply not noticing when another person is suffering. 

I had assumed that the suffering I went through would make me more aware, more open, more understanding of others who were suffering, but maybe that isn't the case.  It won't be the case if I don't allow it.  It won't be the case if I am too self-absorbed to notice.  So maybe this book will be good for me to read.  Maybe I will try not to be so defensive and just accept the "gift" book for what it is. 

Jeremiah 31:13b says, "I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow."  Imagine the anticipation turned to jubilation we will experience when Robert and I get to meet our three babies in heaven...I think that will rival a 9 month wait any day of the week.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Two posts in one day.

Well, I normally don't do this, but I am so excited about something that I just found from someone on my message board that I had to share it with you!

October 15th Raleigh is a special event in Raleigh in honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, which is (as aptly named) October 15th! 

I had no idea there was such a day designated, but I am so very grateful and touched that there is a special person who has organized this for our area! 

While I don't want to infringe on copyrighted information from the October 15th Official website, I do want to point you to a link worth reading which explains the origin of October 15th and the background behind Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month from the official website.

It is so sad to read the stories of other mothers, and especially other mothers in my area who have suffered the loss of their baby.  Please send up a special prayer for these women and their families during this month and especially on October 15th! 

Rob and I will most definitely be attending the candlelight memorial on the South Lawn of the N.C. State Capitol on Thursday, October 15th.  I am joyful that Mary Grace will be remembered in a special way that evening!

Thanks, friends!

The forgotten anniversary.

September 28th marked 7 months since our daughter died.  And the most horrible part of that, is that on September 28th I forgot that it was an anniversary. 

Not to say that I didn't think about Mary Grace this past Monday.  I find myself thinking of her here and there, briefly, every day.  She has been on my mind a lot as of late, but somehow it didn't connect on Monday that it was an anniversary.

That makes me feel like an awful mother.  I mean, not overall...but in that instance.  Who forgets their daughter's death anniversary at just the 7th month? 

I know.  We are only human.  I would not beat myself up like this if I had forgotten a friend's birthday, or my parents' wedding anniversary....but it wasn't any of those things.  It was my own daughter's anniversary. 

I only remembered while I was lying in bed last night.  And then, of course, I had a terrible time falling asleep, because what kind of person would forget such a thing?  Am I awful?  Am I that self-focused that it just "slips my mind"?

The longer someone is gone, the harder the memories are to hold onto.  They become unfocused, fuzzy,... maybe that is how it is becoming with Mary Grace for me.  I have photos and momentos to remind me.  But the actual memories are already greatly faded.  I guess it is natural.  I just didn't expect for it to happen so soon.  I didn't expect to forget an anniversary so soon.  I knew that there would be at least one month that I would forget....eventually.  But not yet. 

I wonder if women who get to have their babies for a longer time remember for a longer period of time.  Are the memories crisper if your baby died a few days after birth?   Would they be more vivid if I had had a few more hours holding her in the hospital?   If I had had more time?  If she had grown for another month in my belly? 

Am I just a horrible person for not being able to see these things clearly in my head? 

No, actually, I don't need you to answer that. 

I think in the end, we all want more time with our loved ones.  It feels like more time would mean less pain and more memories to keep in your heart. 

But I feel rotten about the forgotten anniversary...if your own mother forgets, who will remember?