Thursday, March 31, 2016

You'd Think

(I wrote this a while back and submitted it as a guest post for a different blog. Since I haven't heard back from them, and it's been a while, I'm assuming it won't get published there. But I still want this to be heard. I think it's an important perspective worth a great deal of consideration when judging loss mothers on trying again.)

"You'd think she would just stop getting pregnant."

The words were typed in the comments section* underneath the memorial video my husband put together for Evie, our first daughter who passed away in November 2012, just four hours after she was born. The comment was in response to another comment, encouraging others to visit my blog and read the details of our fourth baby, Charlie, who passed away in September 2015 due to the same condition his big sister had.

You'd think she would just stop getting pregnant.

You'd think that, wouldn't you?  I mean, it would make fairly logical sense.  Typically, we humans are programmed to avoid pain. It's a pretty basic formula: if something causes you pain, avoid it at all costs. Seems simple enough.

Except it's not.

In the case of losing an infant, it's just not that simple.

On one hand I know the pain all too well. I am deeply acquainted with the sobs that shake your whole body, the wails that impede breathing, the sore throat from crying all day. I know the confusion, the lack of concentration, the anxiety that comes from living with a reality you wish was just a nightmare. I know the emptiness, the feeling of being robbed, the deep heart ache that comes from birthing a baby and not being able to bring them home. I have drunk deeply of the cup of longing for what will never be. And I have done it twice.


On the other hand I see my daughter, my rainbow baby, the one born nineteen months after her big sister passed away. I see her smile that makes her eyes sparkle. I hear her sweet little giggle. I watch her play and grow and learn and my heart is full of more joy and happiness than I could even explain to you. I kiss her chubby cheeks and nibble her sausage toes and squeeze her squishy body and I feel love. So much love.

If I had given into that formula, that instinctive equation to avoid pain at all costs, I wouldn't have her. And that would be a true tragedy.

But I'm not just blessed by her and her big brother. No. Those two little souls that I lost have blessed me beyond what anyone could expect from a life that was hardly a life. I treasure every moment I was able to spend with them and often daydream about their soft cheeks against mine. The road I had to walk with those two precious babies has made me a better person - more kind, compassionate, caring, empathetic - and I think we can all agree on the merit of those character traits. Very, very hard but, at the same time, good.

You'd think she would just stop getting pregnant.

In a simple black and white world, yes. But in a world where, in some inexplicable way, pain and sorrow can intermingle with joy and peace, the lines are somewhat gray and fuzzy.

Carrying to term a baby given a fatal diagnosis is, without a doubt, the hardest thing I've ever done. Doing it again, well, yeah. Also awful. But there is something about the beauty and sanctity of life that motivates me to not make fear-based decisions. Not get pregnant again and avoid the deep, deep pain of losing another baby? That sounds great. Not get pregnant again and take the chance on missing out on another beautiful life? That one I'm not so sure about.

You'd think, after the first time, I might have stopped getting pregnant. But the redemption that was born with my second daughter, my first rainbow baby, was undeniable. The pain of losing another child was, once again, paralyzing. But will I risk letting fear take over? Will I risk giving into that pain avoidance formula and rob myself of another chance at redemption, another rainbow after the storm? See, it's just not that simple.

You'd think she would stop getting pregnant. You'd think. But maybe, if your feet were following the same imprints in the sand that her feet made on that life-altering journey, you'd think again. 

*I've since disabled the comments on that video. Things got out of control! People can be mean.


  1. God has used all four of your children and your testimony in a HUGE way!!! Your strength and desire to honor God through these trials have touched my life, and for that I am thankful!!! You are in my prayers often, and I love your sweet little family!!!

    1. Thank you so much Michelle, you are so kind to say so <3