So much of what I believe and feel is shaped by my perspective. I never thought about this much before losing Lucy, but when she died it hit me like a slap in the face. And it keeps hitting me, every day. I am still shocked by things every day that I was totally unaware of before I lost my girl. My perspective has changed even more since losing two babies in 4 months to early miscarriages after we lost Lucy. Josh and I often lock eyes over the boys as they play trains or wrestle or eat dinner and one of us says, “How did they make it here alive?” We ask that question at least once a week. How many times did I overlook the fact that every single child that makes it into this world alive is a miracle? Do you know how many different hormone levels have to be just perfect to enable the egg and the sperm to meet? And then the embryo has to travel and implant in the right place. It has to implant and divide just right to even get pregnancy started. There are SO many things that can go wrong during a pregnancy and during childbirth. Every child is a miracle.
There’s a great website, Babycenter, that has lots of different support groups and discussion boards. You choose the groups that relate to where you are in your trying to conceive/motherhood journey. The groups I used to be a member of were things like:
- Breastfeeding Support
- Baby Names
- Bargain Hunters
Now, I am a member of these groups:
- TTC After a 2nd/3rd Trimester Loss
- Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Infant Loss
- 2nd/3rd Trimester Loss Support
- Antibody Isoimmunization
- All Things Surrogacy
- Carrying Pregnancy Despite Poor or Fatal Prenatal Diagnosis
- Actively Trying: The Next Level
- Actively Trying with Repeat Loss
How can this be my life? It is such a bizarre feeling to see my list of groups that symbolize where I am in my motherhood journey. Sometimes I laugh at the things that former Bethany used to spend so much time worrying about. I used to stress over how far apart I should space my kids and whether I should have 4 or 5 or possibly 6. The other day I stopped in front of the baby/pregnancy book section at Barnes and Noble and was shocked at the trivial things I used to care so much about. The books were about baby names, how to choose the sex of your baby, how to get your baby to sleep through the night, how to teach your baby sign language, the list goes on. There wasn’t one book on how to keep your baby alive, or how to pick up the pieces after your babies die in your womb. None of the other stuff is relevant if you can’t keep your baby alive. I definitely have a new perspective on pregnancy and motherhood.
Before losing Lucy, we lived in a little two bedroom apartment. Most of the neighbors loved our boys and would wave to them and talk to them when they passed by. There was this one guy who lived above us who would avoid my boys like the plague. He would hurry past, averting his eyes, and rush up the stairs if the boys and I were playing outside. When Asher was almost one year old he started calling all men “Daddy.” Several times, when the guy from upstairs passed by, Asher would toddle up to him with his chubby arms outstretched and say, “Daddy! Daddy!” I would laugh because it was so cute and the guy looked nothing like Josh. He STILL acted like he couldn’t see Asher or hear him calling him Daddy. He would deny Asher even a smile or a bit of eye contact and would run past him. I thought he was so weird. I thought there had to be something mentally wrong with anyone who could pass up such a cute baby boy toddling after him, reaching out trustingly. I always wondered what that guy’s problem was. Wow, has my perspective changed! Now, I AM THAT GUY! I avoid little babies at all cost. They literally make me cringe. I avert my eyes, I run past them, I usually don’t return their smiles. Sometimes when a baby is making noise (crying, babbling, whatever) I literally cover my ears because the sound feels like a knife in my heart. The problem is that I love babies so much that it kills me to be reminded that mine are dead. Mine aren’t babbling, smiling, laughing, crying, reaching out their chubby arms. Mine are dead and every baby is a reminder of that fact. From the parent’s perspective I am some weird, mentally ill person who does not like babies and tries to run away from them. I wish I could tell them that I think their babies are miracles. I wish I could tell them that I know the worth of their babies and that’s why it hurts so much to be reminded that mine are gone. I will never know why that guy ran past my boys every day, but now I know that he probably had a very good reason. He could have lost his own baby. Every time Asher called out, “Daddy!” it could have been like a stab in that man’s heart.
I know that there are some people who have far more suffering than me, who see my life as easy. Their set of circumstances has given them a different perspective and helped them appreciate things that I take for granted. If only we didn’t have to suffer loss to realize how precious certain things are. I wonder what things I am overlooking now that I will treasure in the future? I know I take my easy marriage for granted. How many people have suffered through horrible divorces or struggle with their marriage every day? I take Josh for granted even though I know I shouldn’t. I think humans have a really hard time empathizing when we haven’t actually been through it ourselves. This is why it’s so meaningful when someone who has experienced your same type of suffering encourages you and comforts you. This is why it is so important that Jesus came to earth and suffered. He knows our pain, He sees our perspective, He has stood in our shoes.
I think my favorite new perspective that I have gained since losing Lucy is that heaven is so real and so close. I think with a more eternal perspective. I used to feel so sorry for old people. Seriously, I would cry in the middle of the grocery store when I saw a shaky old lady slowly reaching for a can of peas. I felt bad for old people because their lives were almost over. Now, I feel so happy for them because they’re almost done. They are so close to heaven and so close to the beginning of their REAL life. Their race is almost finished and their suffering is almost over. I feel excited for them. I want to go pat them on the back or high five them and say, “You did it! You got through your life and you’re almost there!” How weird. Elisabeth Elliott’s husband was murdered and she spoke of heaven after he died, “That was where my treasure was now, for my heart was there in a way it never had been before.” That’s how I see it now, and I am actually enjoying this new perspective.
What is your perspective? How many treasures in your life are you overlooking? How many judgements of other people have you made based on YOUR perspective? I am ashamed I have made many. Let’s try to be aware of the slant that our personal perspectives put on our views of the world.