As promised last week, I'm going to share with you guys a a little bit about getting to a place of peace and acceptance with this new pregnancy. Or getting there BEFORE this new pregnancy, which I managed to allow God to help me do. Because I have received so many wonderful private messages and emails and I realize that so many of you have the same concerns and care for our family in such a deep way (for which I am forever amazed and grateful).
What I'll do, I think, is to copy and paste an actual email response I sent to a friend, at her suggestion. I'm touched that my words were not only able to help her but that she feels they might help someone else as well. So keep in mind that the following text is unedited, off the top of my brain, messy, and maybe hard to follow at some places. But sometimes it's better that way. Sometimes I just need to let go and let God, know what I'm sayin'?
On deciding it was the right time to accept a pregnancy after loss. An exact email transcript...
First of all, one of the great blessings of NFP is that I didn't automatically go on the pill (or other abc of your choice) after our loss, which most people would naturally do. I'd just cover up everything in my sadness and move on. But NFP makes me, us, really think about what God's plan is for us. And when I say God's plan, I don't mean that he sets everything up so that certain things HAVE to happen. You know, free will and all. But by God's plan I mean "What God knows would be the very best for us."
But knowing what He thinks would be best is often hard. That's where discernment comes in. And a righteous spouse, too! So the first thing I had to do was decide if I had a really SERIOUS reason to postpone. Would it be risky to me, health wise, to have another baby? High risk OB says no. Would it be risky to future babies for me to get pregnant? High risk OB says no. Was I suffering from true PPD? I was certainly sad, and very much grieving, of course, but there wasn't a dangerous depression situation I was dealing with. Would it be detrimental to my children in some way for me us to have another child? This one was an easy "no" as they were very excited about Nicholas and very sad to say good bye. I knew another baby would bring them nothing but joy.
Okay, so I couldn't really come up with a super serious reason to abstain (my husband and I are very fertile together, so if we want to be sure to avoid conceiving, we have to abstain for minimum 10 days straight per cycle, which is a lot for us. We did manage a 5 year gap between #2 and #3 using NFP in that way, but it was really a hard time in our marriage.), so I moved on to asking God to help me see through the fog of emotions. Help me sort it out. Sometimes you just have to name things and suddenly the answer to your question becomes clear.
So what was the main problem? Fear. And what was I afraid of? Was I afraid to BE pregnant? Afraid of the very fact of being pregnant? No, that wasn't it. Was I afraid to have another baby in my arms? Certainly not! That, I had to admit, was one of my most aching desires, the desire to have my arms full again. So what was it? What I feared was loss. So is there anything I did to cause the loss? No. Was there any advice as to how to prevent this sort of loss in the future? Nope. And THAT was the root of my problem. Control. I had no control of the situation. If I were to conceive again, I'd once again have no control over whether such an unusual thing would happen.
And that is what I didn't like.
Would waiting make me have control? Would waiting change the fact that we'd lost Nicholas? Would waiting make the fear go away? What would waiting *accomplish*? Sometimes I know waiting DOES accomplish things. That waiting is the thing we're being called to do. But once I looked at our particular situation and my particular emotions, I knew that my desire for control and perfection wasn't going to go anywhere on its own. I had to put my faith in God and His love for me and our family above my certainty that if only I were given 100% control, everything would be easy and wonderful.
And then I prayed....boy, one of the hardest prayers I've ever had to pray. Because I couldn't lie to God about this. I could try, but when a physical act is involved, the ability to bluff kinda goes out the window, you know? So I prayed. I said something like "Lord, someday I would love another baby. My family would love another baby. But I'm afraid of loss. Only you can take away that fear. Only you can give me the grace to push through DESPITE that fear. I am asking you to guide our lives in a direction that will make this suckiness better. If you feel our lives and our hearts are ready, if you have a baby in mind for us right now, then I'm willing. If it's your will, then let it be so. But if it IS your will, I beg you for the peace of mind and heart to be a good mother and good wife, to be joyful and grateful and to be able to SURVIVE if we endure another loss."
When I think about it, loss is always waiting for us on the other side of love anyway. I mean, my born kids could die before I do. My husband could (and likely will!), die before I do. Friends can move. Pets can run away. Loss all over the place. So I guess I need to work on (am working on!) appreciating the fact that the love is worth it despite the loss.
As for my relationship with Nicholas, we miss him as a person. As an individual, you know? Whether we have another baby now or in five years, the level of missing and loving Nicholas won't change. That was another thing I had to define in my mind. I don't miss the idea of a baby, but actually him as an individual. And as a saint in heaven, I'm sure there's nothing he'd love more than to see his family growing. To know that his mother is willing to try, at least a little, to trust in God's plan and wisdom more than her own. He is an inspiration to me in that way as well.
Wow, okay. That is probably the longest email I have ever written!
So sorry to talk your eyes off. I hope this helps a little and know that I am PRAYING FOR YOU.
Lots of love,