Momma’s Day.

Last Mother’s Day we had just entered matching & had received our first match opportunity. It was an exciting time of possibility and hope. A year later, we have not only been matched with and transferred our 4 little ones, but we’ve lost them as well.

It stings.

With both Mother’s Day & the baby shower for my bro & sister-in-law coming up, I didn’t want to take a risk of being caught of guard with a negative beta…so I took a few pregnancy tests this past week. All negative. I handled it pretty well {minus one convo with my mom that was a bit teary} and held out hope that the beta would be positive.

No thanks to a series of unfortunate events / timing after my blood test on Friday, Chris & I were not able to receive the news together…and it did not set us up for success in handling this grief together. Although the loss was seemingly similar to the last transfer, it hit us both differently this time. Chris was angry & wanted to internalize…refusing to even eat the brownies that a friend dropped off because they might have been baked with pity. I was hurting yet trying to be strong for the events to come, all while feeling increasingly isolated. We were much less open this time around, a bit more guarded, and I found myself lacking the support & encouragement from others that I didn’t even totally know I needed until I was in the middle of needing it.

Saturday started rough {seriously grouchy husband}, then got easier, then ended rough {seriously emotional wife}. Although there were a lot of emotions lurking right under the surface, the shower was really nice & baby Miles was honored and celebrated with our whole hearts. Staying focused on him helped me from thinking about what wasn’t to be for me…I can’t wait to meet & love on him.

But I guess one can only keep their feelings in check for so long…especially when frustration & confusion reigns and there’s hurt between a husband and wife. By the time we got home on Saturday night I felt unheard and alone in my grief…which resulted in a lot of tears and a panic attack. Or hyperventilating. Whatever it was I couldn’t catch my breath and it concluded with Chris rocking me on the floor of the laundry room praying with me until I could finally breath normally. The crying took longer to get under control. Chris and I were able to talk & get on the same page, I called my momma so she could tell me it would all be okay, and eventually it was okay enough that I could go to bed calmly.

Which brings us to today. Mother’s Day. I had planned on pushing through church because there were no less {but potentially more, I lost count} than 5 of my friends having babies dedicated. In the end, we decided to stay home & sleep in, then went to a local breakfast spot to drink endless cups of coffee and watch the rain. We wore scrubby clothes, barely brushed our hair, and I wore no make-up. It was actually really nice. In the hours since, Chris has not strayed from my side {a grand gesture for him, since his computer is in the other room} while I’ve eaten all sorts of junk, binge-watched Hart of Dixie, and online shopped for a new comforter for our bed. The couch probably has a permanent impression of my rear end, but it’s a small price to pay for a day of R & R.

I gotta be honest…it’s not how I pictured my first Mother’s Day to go. But it could be worse. Chris was so sweet to look me in the eyes and wish me a Happy Mother’s Day. And I’ve received several texts from my close friends with just the kindest words of encouragement and validation. {From my dear friend L: “Happy Mother’s Day to you too. You’ve prayed over, rejoiced over, worried over, praised over, wept over, sacrificed for, loved, and carried 4 sweet babies. You’ve already been through more real, gritty mom stuff than most. If that’s not being a mother, I don’t know what is.”}

And so that’s where I’m at. A momma who has both welcomed and lost 4 little lives inside of her. A momma with empty arms and a heart that’s bigger and more full than it was a year ago…albeit broken for the time being. A momma that doesn’t look like a momma to most and who has no idea where to go from here.

But even more than all that, I am a woman who was invited by God to become a momma so that I could help usher 4 little lives into His kingdom. He didn’t have to involve me in this plan…and when the pain is at it’s greatest I almost find myself wishing He hadn’t. But it has truly been an honor to have mothered our little ones in this way, and through them God has been at a great work inside of me. I can’t say I understand what He is doing at all, but I trust that He is good.

I read the following verses from Micah 7 today…I think I’m going to be meditating on them for a while. “7 – But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me. 8 – Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.

So yes, even today, blessed am I.

 

 

Advertisements

Mother’s Day Thoughts.

{Disclaimer: I know for a lot of women who are struggling with infertility or waiting to adopt Mother’s Day is a painful reminder of what they want so badly. What I’d like to share today doesn’t come from that place, but I hope you’ll understand that my experience in no way invalidates yours. As you’ll see in my thoughts, we all come at this motherhood thing from a different place, and we should support one another in our walks!}

I approached Mother’s day this year from a place of curiosity. I wasn’t nervous about attending the service, or upset about the inevitable flowers that would be handed out to mothers. I attribute this in large part to two things – a) I’m in a much more stable emotional place right now than I was back in the fall. If Mother’s day had fallen in October I would have been a sobbing mess probably. b) From early on I prayed against jealousy and ‘baby fever’ in my life, because I had read how it was a struggle for so many women in my position. God has truly honored that prayer, and I believe He strengthened me again on Mother’s day.

But since I wasn’t feeling anxious or upset, I wondered what I would feel exactly.

Chris went to be with his mom that weekend, so I headed off to church on my own. When I sat down, I took a moment to acknowledge the flowers {dun, dun, duuuuuuuuun!} and tried to prepare my heart for what God had for me through the worship and service. I had a sweet time of worship, smiled at the chubby cheeked baby in front of me, and prayed alongside my church family as babies were dedicated to the Lord. Our pastor has a very gentle heart, so when he recognized mothers for the ‘flower ceremony’ he also asked those who fill the role of a mother to stand and receive a flower as well. I knew that I could stand, but chose instead to sit and look around, to thank God for the mothers in my church who I have learned from and be blessed by.

That’s when God really began to open my heart to what probably goes on in the hearts of mothers on this day meant to celebrate them. The enemy would like to have us feel alone…isolated in our pain…to pit those without children against those who have children. But instead of feeling alone, I felt…amazed.

You see, there I sat…childless. Having recently given to God the opportunity to have a biological child…waiting on His timing to welcome adopted embryos into my heart and womb. But I wasn’t alone.

Behind me sat a mother with a row full of children {seriously, I don’t even know for sure how many kids she has, but I know it’s a lot!}…but I knew one was missing. She had shared with me a while back that her adult son passed away a few years ago. I praised God for her strength…it couldn’t have been an easy day to come to church…to celebrate being a mother…while knowing that one of your babies was gone.

I knew somewhere in the congregation was a sweet, sweet teacher who has never married. {I have a few friends like that actually, women who long to be married…to be a mother…but for whom neither of those things has happened yet.} She is a foster parent who has two little ones right now, and it was only a few months ago that she had to give a child back whom she had taken home from the hospital and raised for 14 months with the hopes of adopting. Her arms were full, but I know her heart had to be aching.

My dear friend & pastors wife sat with their 3 girls…but she’s been waiting two years now on God to move and match them with a baby through traditional adoption. Her heart longs for His promise and call to be fulfilled, and I know she struggles to understand why they are still waiting.

The more I looked, the more types of mothers I saw…single moms, moms who {like my own} have lost their mothers, moms with wayward children who have been praying faithfully for years for their return. Moms with toddlers who are tired, who struggle with wondering if they are getting this mom thing right. There were stepmoms, grandmas, grandmas raising their grandchildren…moms-to-be, at least one who had just found out a few days prior. Moms of teenagers {all blessings to you!}, moms who grew their families through adoption, and women who act as ‘surrogate’ mothers to so many. I know of a mom for whom Mother’s Day marked the one year anniversary of her baby girl’s birth AND death…a baby that she carried to term knowing there was no chance of survival outside of the womb. Working moms, stay-at-home moms, homeschooling moms…

You see, I think there’s a lot of truth in the statement that the struggle is part of the story. Being a mom is no walk in the park. Waiting to be a mom is no piece of cake. But God has grace enough for all…and He is glorified through the strength and beauty that I saw shining through so many women that day. I pray that He was shining through me.

motherhood

So that’s what God was up to in my heart this past mother’s day…it’s a lesson I hope I never forget. It reminded me of how necessary it is that we be honest with one another in our struggles and joys, how important it is that we lift one another up in word & prayer.

And yes, I did end up receiving a flower. A couple actually, given to me by the children of sweet friends. I kept one to enjoy as a reminder of the day…and gave the other to a woman in the church who, while not a biological mother herself, is faithful to pray for me, hug me, and who genuinely cares about me. That sounds like the heart of a mother to me.

Blessed am I.