I became a mom in September 2011, 4-1/2 years ago, and in April 2014 I also became a Hope Mom when I lost a baby in miscarriage. I am now a mom to my two sons, my MiniMen, and three Hope babies. In 4 years God gave me 5 babies! He has entrusted two of them to us, and three of them are with Jesus and my heart longs for the day we will be reunited in heaven!
The journey has been painful, but I have found support, encouragement, and been challenged so deeply in my faith by an amazing organization called Hope Mommies. This spring I joined a Hope Group, which is an online support and study group. We've been divided into small groups with a facilitator and come together weekly to discuss a chapter of the book we are studying, "Anchored: A Bible Study for Miscarriage, Stillbirth, & Infant Loss", by Erin Cushman. Sharing with other women who have walked such similar journeys - sharing the dark pain of grief together and pointing each other to the Hope of Christ - nothing has impacted me in so many ways before. I feel as though my joy is being restored!
I'd like to share my journey of faith today in the hopes that it will encourage and bless others who are struggling with the grief of losing a baby.
There are dark days when the grief hits like a tidal wave, threatening to drown. It is an indescribable feeling, but there were days I wasn't sure I could make it.
"My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to Your Word!"
In my Christian faith I know that God is in control and that His ways are not always our ways. I know the Truth in my head, but feeling the confidence in my heart has been the hardest part.
During one of my prayer times I cried out to God for reassurance, and I felt a strong peace come over me when I felt He said to me, "Alicia, I love your babies". I took great comfort in this - yes, God loved my babies and they were safe and secure in His arms. But I did not feel loved by God personally; I felt abandoned and broken. And at times I felt ashamed that I didn't feel that unconditional Love, even though I knew in my head that it was always there.
"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."
The more I struggled on my own to stay afloat, I now realize that I gave way for the enemy to subtly torment my thoughts and fill me with lies. I tried to find answers for why this kept happening to me - why is God giving me babies, only to take them away? The enemy would whisper lies that perhaps I wasn't a good mom to my MiniMen or that God changed His mind on seeing me fit to raise more children. While my husband immediately stopped me from spiraling downwards in my thoughts, I couldn't help but feel guilty and feel that there must've been something I had done wrong.
"Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too one walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator."
A mama in grief is so vulnerable to the enemy's lies. You see, he couldn't shake my faith - I was confident in my salvation and that my babies were in heaven. So he used envy, anger, slander, covetousness, etc. and I struggled emotionally and mentally.
I tried to remain confident in my hope - in the hope that I would one day be reunited with my Hope babies, and also in the hope of my prayers that God would bless us with more children one day.
"Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart."
However, I now realize that my hope was misdirected. I was placing my hope in a desire, rather than in the true source of Hope - Christ. The Hope that I have in Him is not about my babies, but rather the Grace that He has died for me, forgiven me, walks daily with me, and will one day call me home to be with Him in heaven. It's only because of Christ's Love and Grace that I am His.
"Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, 'The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.' The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him...For no one is cast off by the Lord forever. Though He brings grief, He will show compassion, so great is His unfailing love."
Lamentations 3: 21-25, 31
This Mother's Day weekend I realized that I used to long to hold my Hope babies and nurse them and comfort them. But they have never been hungry, have never cried, have never been sick, and have not needed our parental discipline. They are perfect, healthy, and indescribably happy! What more could a mother ask for?
With that realization the cloud of grief began to lift and I felt peace. I could see the gift of my MiniMen and my strong responsibility to raise them and to be grateful for their lives. God hasn't given me only two children - He's given me two children!
"I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him."
1 Samuel 1:27
Now, does this mean that the grief is behind me and that I am at perfect peace? No. One of the hardest realities to accept is the fact that our lives are marked by loss. Every life - every marriage - will face trials. But it's how we walk the journey we've been called to; and I had to realize that my journey wasn't anyone else's to walk. Others would not and even could not understand what we were going to. I had to turn to the Lord and find Him as my Comforter, my Source of strength, and my Redeemer. Do I walk the journey perfectly? No - I fail often and I'm still regularly tempted by self-pity and jealousy. The losses will always be with me this side of heaven, but the shades of grief will change, and I have to submit those feelings to the Lord each time they seek to overwhelm me.
But through this journey, one of the things I'm most thankful for in the midst of the loss, is my ability to empathize with others who have suffered a miscarriage, or even those facing infertility. I'm thankful that I now understand what the journey looks like, and how to share with others and find comfort in each other.
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too."
2 Corinthians 1:3-5
To those who regularly ask, "are you thinking of having more children?" Yes; it's the strong desire of our hearts. We will accept any children the Lord blesses us with, but the knowledge of when and how many are completely out of my control. I may have more miscarriages, we may face death at any stage of our children's lives, but we are unbelievably grateful for the lives God has given us, and any others He may choose to one day entrust to us.
"So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold - though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world."
1 Peter 1:6-7