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Challenge: Pregnancy and Infant Loss

Standing in the Tension

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"Mommy, I want a baby brother or sister, but I know God doesn't give us everything we ask for." This sweet poignant comment came after many conversations of faith with my then four-year-old. She noticed most of her friends have siblings and would ask why she didn't. I shared, fighting back tears, that sometimes God gives you what you want and other times He doesn't and we don't really know why, but He is good and we need to work through how.

As I have tried to process our story, I've tried to use it as an opportunity to teach my daughter that life can be tough and confusing, and it is good to wrestle with the hard questions and disappointments. Pat answers can leave you with a nice feeling for a moment, but drilling down into the tough stuff develops a weatherproof soul. I so want this for my daughter. I need this for me.

A friend mentioned how we can only find emotional balance if we learn how to hold the good (met expectations & blessings) with the bad (sadness, disappointment, loss, & longing). If we try to drop one for the sake of the other, we go off kilter and throw a way a very real part of our story. We have to hold both in tension.

My blessings are definitely abundant. For one, I have the greatest guy to call my husband. He has integrity, is intuitive, and talking and spending time with him is my very favorite thing on earth. My daughter - I am just in awe of her, and the cool human she is turning into. And the fact that I get to be her mom? I'm so humbled. We have great family and friends and have all our needs and many wants provided.

Then, there is the tension - the longings that still exist. We have a failed adoption after waiting for over 6 years, something I still can't reconcile and am not sure where that path goes from here. It was, after all, a very real and distinct calling to adopt a child that needed a home. Then weeks after hearing our adoption ended, I found out I was pregnant after years of trying and many specialist visits. The joy was quickly met with unbearable heartbreak, when I learned the pregnancy was ectopic, a tubal pregnancy, and the baby would not survive. I said goodbye to two within a month - a scar in my womb and a scar on my heart.

I still sob when I think about the ones I lost. Even two years since my pregnancy loss, things will bring me back to that time. Yesterday, I was putting antibiotic ointment on a cut and the ointment reminded me of the gel that was used during the ultrasound to find the baby in my uterus to no avail. I sat in my bathroom and wept as if it were yesterday.

I continue to learn this skill of holding things in tension. Life continues to ebb and flow, and I get to practice balancing the load daily. In August of 2018, I learned that through the scars of my past miscarriage, the little embryo that could passed through what was nearly impassable and landed safely and healthily in my womb. My beautiful son came into the world in March of 2019 and is nearing his first birthday. He is a gift, a joy, and I am tremendously grateful for him and for my daughter to have a brother. But, my son's birth doesn't and can't cover the sadness of the loss from adoption and pregnancy.

Even though it is painful and time marches on, I do not want to forget. My husband and I have purposeful reminders of our adoption and pregnancy loss. In our back yard, we planted a magnolia tree so that as it grows large we can imagine the children growing too. At Christmas, we hang six ornaments - ones we purchased each year we waited for our adopted child. I look forward to watching my son and daughter climb the large magnolia tree and, at Christmas, helping me hang the precious ornaments on the tree with gratitude but acknowledging the pings of heartache. Those simple acts will weave our family's story together and I'll do my best to hold the tension with both hands.

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