December 22, 2011. I put on the most beautiful white gown and walked down the aisle to say “I do” to the man of my dreams. We were so happy that day. So insanely happy.
Since before we were married, my husband and I had thought that we would like about six children. We agreed that we would take it one child at a time, making sure that we were doing a good job parenting as unto the Lord before adding another child. But we thought the end result would probably be us having about six children.
After marriage, we moved into a 250 square foot apartment. It was tiny, but cozy and perfect for our first love nest. A baby would make it tight, but we knew we could do it for a few months until we moved out.
The months started to pass. We weren’t preventing pregnancy, so every month made me a bit more confused and discouraged as another negative pregnancy test greeted me.
As it turns out, it took us ten months to conceive our son. In hind sight, it wasn’t all that long. But for an individual experience, while living those day by day moments…it was quite a while. And definitely emotional.
Fast forward a year and nine months. We had the sweetest little boy and we were loving our life as a family of three. We decided to start trying again. Once again, the months ticked by, with no new pregnancy.
Over the years, both before and after our son was born, I had many doctor appointments and several tests and procedures. Some of those visits were scary emotionally and some were physically uncomfortable or painful. It was not fun!
Finally we were at about the year mark of trying for our second child. This was last fall in September. I was about two weeks late starting my new cycle when I took a pregnancy test and it was positive! Praise the Lord! I told my husband, who was away for business. He was thrilled!
I was happy but so nervous. I just felt like something was off. Deep down, I didn’t have a good feeling about it at all. Sure enough, only a few days later, I knew for sure that I was losing the baby. It knocked the wind out of me and crushed me like nothing else ever had. My heart was absolutely breaking. This precious child, made in the image of God, just as real as our toddler son….had died. There are no words to describe that pain.
To our great surprise, we conceived again on the very next cycle. My symptoms were off the charts, and I honestly thought this was our precious rainbow baby! I was so nauseous much earlier than I was with our son, and I had several other very strong symptoms. We began planning for a June baby.
One day something changed. Once again I had a strange feeling that something might not be quite right. A few days later, when I went to the bathroom, my deepest fears were confirmed. Our third child was also going to be with Jesus.
I’m not going to lie. This shook my faith.
Children are a gift from the Lord. It was a good thing that we desired. It was a God-given dream that He put in our hearts. So why wasn’t it working?
I questioned God. Why, Lord? Why was this happening? I asked the age old questions about God’s sovereignty. Is God all-powerful? Did He cause my losses or did He “just” allow them to happen? It felt like God was capitalizing upon our pain to “merely” bring us closer to Him. Did God take the lives of my children so that He could teach us a lesson?
My heart was absolutely breaking. I questioned myself. I have felt so incredibly broken. My body is broken and there is not much I can do about it. What should have been the safest place in the world…my womb…is the place where my children died. I couldn’t even protect them. Was it something I had done? Was it that time I wore high heels and I stepped off a step very hard and felt a pull in my stomach? Was it that time that I pushed myself too hard when walking for an extended period of time?
My life looks nothing like what I thought it would. I chose to be a stay-at-home Mom to our children. I chose to not work, because I wanted to be available for our six children for whatever they needed.
At this point, it looks like we will never be able to have six children. If it continues to take us 2+ years to conceive, or if we continue to have losses, six will just not be possible before I become too old to bear children.
So I write this post not at all as someone who has figured this thing out. I still grieve over the loss of our dream. I longed (and still long!) for our son to have a sibling close in age. I dreamed of how our children would be such good friends because of their close ages. I still remember a few months ago when it hit me like a ton of bricks. My dream will never happen. It is now impossible. My good, God-honoring dream of having a somewhat large family with children close in age….will not happen.
What do you do when a dream is halted? When you realize there is absolutely nothing you can do to change something? I believe a big key is realizing that it is okay to grieve the loss of your dream. It was so freeing when I realized that my feelings and my disappointment were okay. My dream was gone. It is perfectly normal and acceptable to need time to process that your life is going to look differently than how you planned.
How do you move on? I don’t know for sure. Is it a cliché to say “one day at a time?” Maybe. But I think that’s where I’m at right now. Almost every day I have to choose to move on. Whenever I’m faced with the pain of realizing that our two children are gone, that I will never see them playing with their big brother. When I see how much our son loves little babies and enjoys holding them and my heart aches that he doesn’t get to experience the joys of taking care of his sibling. When I realize that even if I get pregnant right now that there will be a significant gap between our children. When I am faced with yet another negative pregnancy test.
It is in those moments when I have to take a deep breath and say, “Ok, God. I am choosing to follow you.”
After our second loss, it took me a long time to be able to feel that God is good. I knew He was. I knew that the Bible says He is. It started out with me being brutally honest with God. I would say, “God, I am hurting so badly right now. I do not understand how this is good, but I know that somehow You are good. My circumstances are horrible, but You are still good.” I clung with what felt like white knuckles to what I knew the truth was. It was honestly several months later, when I was listening to a song by Phil Wickham, that I felt a stirring within my heart. And I felt deep down in my heart that joy of knowing and believing that God is good. My soul began to worship.
Healing is a slow process. But it is a process that cannot be rushed, nor should it be. God is not surprised when we ask the hard questions. And I honestly believe that He wants us to. Take a look at the Psalms. Or Jeremiah. They sure didn’t hold back! True Christianity is not putting on a smile and doing the “mature” thing. True Christianity sometimes involves wrestling and grieving and pain.
If you are in the position of feeling like your dreams are on hold, or even off the table completely…it is ok to grieve that. And it is ok to be honest with God. Who knows what new dreams might enter? I have no idea what our life will look like moving forward. I hope it includes more children, but even if it doesn’t, I know that staying on the Shepherd’s path, as scary as it is sometimes, is the safest place to be.
Take courage. This life is full of hardships. But God is still on the throne. And He is still the giver of dreams!
Bonnie is a stay-at-home Mom of their precious almost three-year-old son. She is a Norwex independent sales consultant and a pre and post natal fitness instructor. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, writing, being outdoors, or playing board games. Bonnie blogs on a variety of topics, including TTC, miscarriage, Christianity, and books. Check out her blog here.