Why do crack heads get babies?

Losing a baby turns your world upside down. Everything feels wrong. There’s nothing right about a baby dying before her parents. One of the hardest things to understand is why people like drug abusers and child molesters get to have healthy babies but my babies die. Sometimes, I feel like I’m being punished for my obedience to God and they are being rewarded for their sin. I know that is not true, but it sure is what it looks like from my perspective.

I have heard so many other baby-loss moms say the same thing. It’s even hard to see other parents doing things we don’t agree with because we think, “I wouldn’t do that with my baby. I would do it a better way. Why do they get a baby and I don’t?” It is infuriating to see a pregnant woman smoking or a mom slapping her kid around in a store or to see horrible things on the news about parents abusing their children; their healthy children that they got to keep. I’ve seen people lose their faith over this. “How can God take my baby, who would have been treasured and loved and well taken care of but then He gives babies to people who hurt them, abuse them, kill them; people who can’t take care of them.” Some women who struggle with infertility have tried everything they can think of to get pregnant. Some have tried for years and they sacrifice a lot to be as healthy as possible, but still have empty arms. When they see somebody accidentally get pregnant and complain about it, it feels like a slap in the face. I’ve heard them say, “Maybe I should just give up trying to be healthy, start smoking and get really drunk, because that’s how so many other women get pregnant.”

I have been working through these questions since Lucy died and even more since I lost Jude. I know that I don’t deserve a baby more than any other person because I am sinful, just like them. My sins may be different, but I am still a sinner. What bothers me is that the BABY does deserve a better situation and a better Mama. Every baby deserves to be loved and well taken care of. I have a home full of love and laughter and any baby in my house will grow up knowing God’s love. We have a baby-shaped hole in our family that aches with the emptiness. That is why it’s so hard to see crack heads getting babies. It just doesn’t make sense.

I think all these questions have a lot of very deep, theological answers that I’m not going to even try to conquer. I can only write about my thoughts and experiences and this is what I think:

  • I am not God and luckily, I don’t have to figure it all out. One day I will know it all, but not today. All the abused babies, the neglected babies and the parents who don’t care- they are not my burden to carry. That is God’s burden, this is His world, and I can release it all to Him. They are all His responsibility, just like the baby-shaped hole in my life is His responsibility too. He will take care of it all and He will take care of my family and me.
  • Another comforting thought is that my babies are safe in heaven, living in perfection. I wish they were in my arms, but they are waiting for me, cozy and loved and happy. I don’t have to worry about them. They are not being abused or neglected.
  • When I feel jealous of someone who got a baby out of a bad circumstance, I ask myself, “Do you really want her life?” And the answer is always, “No.” I don’t want her life and I don’t want her baby.
  • I don’t know what that woman has gone through. Every person has a different story, different hurts and different experiences. What I see is a very small piece of the whole picture. I can’t judge her by what I see because it’s not the whole truth. I also can’t see the future. Maybe God will use that baby’s pain to help others or to accomplish beautiful things. I don’t see what He does, so I shouldn’t mourn the small part of the picture that I am seeing.
  • Anger is part of the grieving process. All of the emotions that come with grief are so overpowering that you just have to feel them to get through them. A lot of my grief anger has been directed toward the irresponsible parents or at God for allowing such “injustice.” Some of the anger has been misplaced. It has helped me just to recognize that a lot of the anger is coming from the grief of not having my baby in my arms–not necessarily from the fact that crack heads get babies. Eventually it WILL fade.
  • When I feel swamped with jealousy and anger and confusion it always helps to pray for that other lady and her baby. It goes against how I’m feeling, but when I force myself to pray for them I feel so much better. I also pray for God to let me see them the way He sees them. I pray for God to fill me with His love for them because I’m all out. Usually, I am surprised with the compassion and pity I feel for the woman after I pray this prayer.

Ever since Lucy died I have felt like there is a war going on in my head. Satan is spewing his lies at me constantly, especially when I’m feeling depressed and my arms feel leaden with emptiness. That’s when he strikes. He points to what I see and says, “Look! God trusted her with a baby, but He wouldn’t trust you with one. She deserves a baby more than you. God isn’t good. He wants to hurt you and He wants to reward her for her sin.” But what does God say? He reminds me that He is good and He loves me and He is a just God. He reminds me not to focus on the tiny piece of the puzzle that I can see. He’s using this painful, dark piece of my life to make a beautiful, perfect picture that will one day stun the eyes and swell the heart. When He’s done with the whole picture, I will step back and say, “OH! So that’s what you were doing. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I love it!”

Look at the cross. Think of all the people who went home that night who saw Jesus Christ dying on the cross, which is the greatest act of wisdom and salvation and grace and love in the history of the world and who went home and lost their faith. Do you realize how many people looked at Jesus dying on the cross and because they couldn’t understand it they said, “I don’t even believe in God anymore. I don’t see what good God could be bringing out of this.” So they looked right in the face of the greatest thing God ever did and said, “I don’t understand it, therefore my faith is undermined.”

-Timothy Keller

I am choosing to trust God to make something beautiful with my loss and my pain. I have to relax in the fact that I am not God, I don’t know everything and I am not in control.

I think Satan wants us to be jealous of other moms with their babies. I think he wants us to be eaten up with bitterness and anger and hate. Let’s choose love. Let’s fight for love and pray for those other parents and their babies. What would our babies want? Let’s make them proud by living lives full of love.

I Corinthians 13:4-7, 12

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things…For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

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A Big Step

Tonight I held my nephew Jack for the first time ever. This is only the second time I have seen him in person since he was born. He is four months old and he and Lucy were supposed to be the closest cousins. She would be almost the same size as he is now. He has big chubby cheeks just like I thought Lucy would have, just like she had in my one dream of her. I have purposefully had to keep my distance from baby Jack since he was born because even thinking about him brings me to tears. The first time I saw him I looked at him for about 5 seconds and then ran crying out of the house. It breaks my heart that I associate him with Lucy, which means I associate him with Lucy’s death. I have four nieces and Jack is my first nephew, so I was so excited about being his Auntie. It has been heartbreaking to stay away from him, but I know it would be even more devastating to be around him. The night after I saw him for the first time I honestly felt like I wanted to die because I missed Lucy so much and I felt like I couldn’t live one more second without her in my arms.  I realized I had to set up some boundaries to stay emotionally healthy for my family. My boys can’t have a Mama who wishes she was dead. I cry all the time when I think about Jack because I feel like I’ve lost Lucy and Jack. Lucy’s death was like a rock being thrown into a placid pond and the ripples of destruction have spread out further and further and they seem to touch everything in my life.

Today my brother came and brought his three kids to my Mom’s house. I wanted to go over and hang out, but I knew baby Jack was there, so Josh just took the boys over to play with their cousins and I stayed home. I felt defeated and sad because I hate having to stay away. I wish I could control my emotional reaction, but it’s truly out of my control. Grief has it’s own timetable and I just have to go with it. By evening I had such a strong feeling that I wanted to see Jack and I wanted to hold him. I have thought about holding Jack many times in the past and I weep every time. I started crying just thinking about it, but I got in the car and drove over to my Mom’s to hold my little Jack. Holding him felt amazing and I just cried and cried. He is so cute and he came right to me and smiled at me. It was also so hard because I could just imagine it was Lucy I was holding. That’s how she would feel right now in my arms. How I have dreamed and dreamed about holding her; feeling the weight of her, the warmth of her on my chest. It was a huge accomplishment, though. A huge step in my healing process. Sometimes I feel frustrated with myself because I am still so devastated 7 months later, but while I was holding Jack I was reminded that Lucy is not the only one I have lost. I have lost my baby Jude. I have lost my lifelong dream of a big family and I have lost all those future children I dreamed about. I don’t know if I’ll ever hold my own four month old baby again in my lifetime. There’s a very good chance I won’t and that is a death in itself.

I am very proud of myself for taking such a huge step today and finally holding Jack. I have missed holding him and knowing him for these past four months. A few people have told me that they think one day I will have an extra special relationship with Jack because he reminds me of Lucy and he is Lucy’s age. That always seemed impossible because of my intense pain. Tonight it seems like it could be a reality. I can’t wait for that day when I will be healed enough to have an extra special relationship with Jack, I think he might even end up being my favorite.

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Another Day, Another Hurt, Another Mercy

This morning I sent Liam to preschool with a note for his teachers explaining that he has a baby sister named Lucy who was stillborn earlier this year. This week his class is discussing, “My Family.” His teachers know he has a little brother, but they don’t know that he has a little sister. I didn’t want them to be confused when he started talking about his baby sister in heaven. I cried the whole time I wrote the note. I should have been breastfeeding Lucy and getting her dressed this morning instead of writing a note explaining to Liam’s teachers why he might be talking about his dead sister at school. It was a very hard way to start my day.

Every day brings new challenges, new surprise hurts. Every morning I wonder what new heartache will confront me that day. Another negative pregnancy test, another person asking how many children I have, another pregnant belly, another Mom calling for her daughter Lucy in the store, another newborn baby, another beautiful baby girl dress in the baby clothes section, another family with two boys and one girl, another friend who lost her baby. Every night I feel relieved and accomplished because I conquered all those challenges and I survived the day. This past weekend, I went and saw a movie with my best friend, Shelly, and it was a movie with no babies or pregnant ladies, so I was excited. I felt relaxed and confident and then, as we walked into the theater, I saw a woman walking in with her newborn baby. There went my confidence and excitement and I sat through the movie with the newborn in front of me making cute little newborn grunts and cries. It was very frustrating, but I made it through the whole movie.

I am thankful that God’s mercies are new every morning and His love is constant. Even though I can’t predict what hardships will confront me, I can be confident that His love will always be there to sustain me. He knows what every day holds and He promises to provide enough strength to get through all the challenges for that day.

Lamentations 3:21-24  But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in Him.”

 

*Right after I posted this I checked Liam’s school calendar and realized that this isn’t even the “My Family” week. Now his teachers know I’m crazy.