The Way to Love Anything is to Realize It May Be Lost
So I had a completely different post planned for today. I was going to share songs that moved me like Puff the Magic Dragon moves my 6-year-old (funny but true), but something else is moving me more than any song, and I can’t hold it in any longer.
I’m in one of those “how can I keep from singing?” moods. It feels good (so does the spring-like weather around here; sunshine is good for the soul). My life is charmed, and I’m going to notice it and write about it at the height of my moonstruck glory.
I was recently chatting with one of my nearest and dearest friends about how I’ve never been one to hold feelings back. Even when I try to internalize or censor my emotions, they somehow seep out through uncontrollable giggles, sometimes through tears, sometimes in a rush of joy, or a twinge of sadness. Or they end up spilling out in my journals (and sometimes on this blog, too).
Sometimes I find myself being envious of someone like my husband whose always even mood doesn’t have highs and lows. He’s never met depression or anxiety (I once asked him just to be sure he wasn’t uber talented at masking his emotions, but nope, he’s just really that centered). But (and there’s almost always a but when we start wishing we were something we’re not created to be) I’m not sure he knows joy as intimately as I do either. I can still be the kid who runs around with excitement and when I do that he watches me from the sidelines with a bemused expression. Of course, this also means on a bad day, I can morph into the kid who pouts and throws a big tantrum. Joy bubbles up, and I laugh and laugh and can’t wipe the smile off my face. When I’m sad, I’m tragically, melodramatically sad and once again my husband is bemused, although from living with four girls (five if you include our needy, girl dog) he’s starting to get used to the emotional ups and downs. That’s just me. All or nothing.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve had to learn that my goal doesn’t have to be controlling or suppressing my emotions; it has to be staying rooted in Christ and His love no matter how I’m feeling. It has to be holding onto the shreds of joy that are left in me even through the tears, the joy that difficulties in life have picked apart, or the joy I’ve just too easily given away, the joy that is Him.
Lately there have still been some ups and downs – many of which fluctuations in hormones have likely caused. I tried to temper these feelings, especially the “ups.” Don’t get too excited. Not yet. Loss could be right around the corner. But it was no use. I had to whisper my secret to my close friends. I smiled when I shared the news. I couldn’t help it. Even when, physically, there were signs that I might be practicing the art of losing again, I couldn’t let go of the joy. Because the joy, this time, really is something more than warm and fuzzy feelings. It just might be my recognition of Him, and I find myself grateful for the tough but very valuable lessons about trust and bending to God’s will five months ago.
It’s still early, but God has planted a glorious hope within me. To make a short story terribly long as is too often my custom, I’m 12 weeks pregnant!
Because of a placental tear, I’ve had early ultrasounds – something new to me – and have had a chance to catch a glimpse of our baby, not once but twice.
At about seven weeks, I had the first ultrasound. I waited, reclining on the examination table, staring at the chalkboard screen, not sure what I was supposed to see or what I would see (or if I wouldn’t see anything at all; this was my unspoken fear). But then there it was. No one had to say anything. I knew. There was that white flash of a heartbeat – quick, beautiful, strong, alive.
There was my baby. There was my love, my joy, personified.
I’ve never questioned the tenuous nature of new life or the miracle of a new baby, but I have taken it for granted. Not now. I am in awe of the human body and the life-giving power of God and that He would use the water in my womb and transform it into the fine wine of a human being with a soul that has been created for eternity.
I’d been wondering if it was safe to make the big announcement. I even asked a few friends who had suffered miscarriages when they felt safe to share the news of subsequent pregnancies. Everyone is different, but I realized we’re never completely safe – not from losing. It happens all the time. We lose plenty in life, but we gain a lot, too. It’s been in my life’s darkest moments when I’ve felt empty or like there was nothing left that I realized I had all I ever needed: God’s love. God’s protection. He’s what keeps me safe.
I know there are no guarantees. I know joy is sometimes followed by heartache and love by loss. As Chesterton writes, “The way to love anything is to realize that it may be lost.” I’ve had friends lose babies as far along as 38 weeks. I’ve known women to give birth to stillborn babies perfect but silently sleeping or moms who have only had a chance to breathe in the sweet scent of their babies for a few days or maybe a few months before their beloved little one left this earth. But I can’t be standoffish about my love. It’s not my nature.
And so my secret is out for the world to see: We are expecting another baby set to make his or her big debut September 1st!
We’re all very happy around here, but you might have guessed that I’m getting all theatrical about it and doing a little, happy dance (when I’m not feeling too “pukey” and exhausted). The physical exhaustion (I’ve never felt more tired than I have in recent weeks), and the nausea is weighing on me just a little but not as much as in past pregnancies. Perhaps I have a new perspective, having had a miscarriage. There aren’t too many complaints this time around. There is no maternal malaise this pregnancy, although check back in a few months when I realize that Mary Elizabeth is still nursing a dozen times a day and I’m about to add another sleep and milk-sucking creature to our nest. For now, though, there is hope and gratitude for this work in progress. And there are prayers for patience, grace, and trust as this new life continues to be knit within me.
Thank you for sharing in my ongoing journey into motherhood, and thank you for being a special witness to my sorrows and my many joys.
Grow, baby, grow!
And how wonderful it’s been to see that my little one and I are in good company with Suzanne of Blessed Among Men and Charlotte of Waltzing Matilda! All of us are are due right around each other. How fun!
Oh, and now you can see that pregnesia was in play in the case of the mistaken leg identity.