The good, the bad & the ugly
Life has flown in the 10 weeks since I last wrote, which is both a good thing and a bad thing.
Good because sometimes you can have too much time to think. And bad because we literally only have 36 weeks with our baby, and the closer she gets to being born, the closer she is to leaving us.
Something I realised very acutely after getting the news of this baby girl’s diagnosis was that spending too much time on my own wasn’t a good thing. In a situation like this you feel rather isolated anyway, and the fact that I work from home doesn’t help either. School pickup is often the only ‘real’ adult interaction during the day, and that’s often far from deep (due to children, not school mum friends!).
I’m definitely a person who needs my own space, but there was just too much of it initially, and I felt very on my own. I guess it was just that first patch of grief – big, overwhelming feelings about losing another child and what it means for me. The end to my family as I can see at this point. No more children. Feeling like you’re losing your sense of self, your identity as a mum of little ones. Losing what’s kind of defined you for the last seven years. Changing the way you serve. Re-navigating friendships. Lots of stuff gets triggered.
There’s a definite need to have some space and work through the big questions when you’re facing something like this, rather than avoiding it. But finding that balance between too much quiet, and too much busy is a line in need of constant navigation!
I had said flippantly to my midwife on the day we got the news about this baby’s condition that I thought it’d be easier this time around. She didn’t quite agree! And boy was she right.
Yes, it’s a whole lot easier practically second time around – you know what you’re in for, you know the process and all the ins and outs of what happens when (as much as you can). But emotionally, second time round it’s a heck of a lot harder!
I noticed this particularly in the first few weeks after finding out. That combined with several close friends having surprise pregnancies, and life felt rather unfair. “Seriously God, they’re not even asking for another child and still get one?! What are you doing?” You certainly can feel slightly deserted in moments like that.
But you know what? That is a feeling that passes. It doesn’t disappear. But it passes if you choose not to dwell in it too long. I know it’ll be back again at some point, and again, it’s a thought you just have to manage – the ‘it’s unfair’, the ‘why do some get life so simple?’, the ‘woe is me’ – because the reality is, life only appears to be easy for some. We all have things we have to bear (often on our own). And there’s no universal yardstick to weigh up each difficulty against another, because they’re all relative to the person, what they can handle at the time, and how they work through it.
For me, God is a constant. In fact I can’t even think of a time when I didn’t know about him and his bigger plan beyond what we can see right now. But knowing that concept and feeling the effects of it personally are completely different things! It’s meant I’ve had to get to know him and how he works a lot more deeply and personally in the last 10 years, particularly the last two.
Whether you believe in God or not, something that makes the depths of grief a lot easier is knowing that there is hope. There is a way out of the depths. So where do you find it? My hope is based in the faith that this life and whatever happens in it, isn’t it. I believe Jesus died and rose for me, and because of that I have eternal life and get to meet my children again. I believe heaven is real. And I get to enjoy them there, forever.
And while that far off hope may seem a little hope-less when you’re hurting right now, there’s more to it. Heaven isn’t my only solace. I’m not sitting around twiddling my thumbs and longing for heaven to heal all.
But, what I see in all my reading and pondering in this experience, is that hurting is ok. In fact it’s one of the best teachers and refiners. Because what you go through can be a gift, for you and for others. In suffering we long for someone who understands, someone who’s walked that path before, someone who has staggered their way through and found truth to cling to. And I hope my story can be that for someone.
In fact I’m sure it can be, because this is a truth I cling to – “In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” That’s in all things. Good, bad, ugly, devastating. In all things God can work.
Amazing how your perspective can change so quickly as I think back to my initial reactions in my last blog, about God being good.
This quote I read recently seems like a good place to close…
"I once thought that in trusting God through my sorrow, loss wouldn’t feel so painful. But that hasn’t been true. It doesn’t hurt less when you trust in God. However, the pain has not overwhelmed me, because in being connected to Christ, He is shouldering this burden with me. As Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:8, I am “afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed,” and I have certainly never been abandoned, because it is His presence that enables me to overcome."
Love it 💙.