Motherhood: A Risky Business

In my first year of marriage, I joined a club I never thought I would. The one with mothers with more babies than stand at their side. In December, I had my second miscarriage. I had hoped it would be a one time thing.

I’ve struggled a lot the last two months with the betrayal I feel in God allowing me to become pregnant, only to miscarry later and how hope doesn’t disappoint even when it feels like its let you down. It hurts and to understand why God lets these things happen, to wrestle without immediately pulling the church answer off the shelf is hard. I don’t have all the answers. I don’t know what God has in store.

A friend shared this on Facebook today,

“I will not say that God causes tragedy, but I will declare that God is not thwarted by it.”

There’s still a wrestling, but somewhere in there is hope.

I know many of you have faced tragedies and struggles in motherhood. It’s a risky business without guarantee. But we continue to love our children and trust the Lord, however hard that may be.

A few years ago, this post was birthed from my own struggle with a mother’s risk.

******

I hate when I hear people ask a pregnant women, “Are you excited about becoming a mother?”

A pregnant woman is not waiting to become a mother…she already is. Motherhood, like life, begins at conception. As soon as that child is conceived the mother’s body begins to cultivate and protect the babe. Motherhood doesn’t begin when you first hold your baby in your arms. The investment, emotion, and risk begin long before the first wail.

You don’t wait to love your child until they enter the world. You love with the shades of double pink lines, with the loud oceany heartbeat, and the first picture…even if your baby does resemble an alien. You love.

And anytime you love, you risk.

Motherhood is a risk, because there is no guarantee.

There’s no guarantee that your child will be obedient, quiet, a lover of Jesus. There’s no guarantee that they’ll sleep through the night or respect you when you say “no.” There’s no guarantee that they’ll escape the terrible twos or stereotypical teenage years.

There’s no guarantee that your child will be successful, smart, or well-mannered. There’s no guarantee that your child will always be safe, always be well.  There’s no guarantee that your child will live longer than you. There’s no guarantee that your child will make it out of the womb alive.

And yet you love.

Motherhood is a risk, because there is so much to lose.

I have loved and I have lost and I have gained and loved again. And this I know for sure…God is good all the time.

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How have you struggled and gained in the risk of motherhood?

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Comments

  1. says

    Oh sweet friend…
    This pulls my heart to yours.
    I’m still wrestling.
    And no matter the age of your baby-missed…you are still a mother.
    That’s why I love Psalm 62..
    “Pour out your heart before Him…”
    Because sometimes that is all you can do.
    I’m so sorry for your hurting heart…but it is a sign of deep love…a mama’s love for her little one.

    “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.” ~ C.S. Lewis

    • Jessica says

      The wrestling and pouring was harder the second time around…I didn’t expect it to be. Thanks, Kara.

      • says

        I actually “get” that very much.
        We learned huge things about God when our daughter died…
        But the thought of going through that again… it terrifies me.
        I know it’s by His grace that we turned to Him, not away from Him…when she died.
        And I have faith that He would do it again.
        But honestly…it scares me…that thought…I know how deep the pain is. That silent-weeping-moan from deep within.
        I’m so sorry and I’m praying He’ll walk you past the “easy-church-answers” to the deep-rooted Truths that cling fast. The only thing that moves me past those fears…is that I KNOW who He is. I don’t have faith in myself at all…I think I’d probably crumble.
        But I do trust His ability to step. by. step. pull me back to that place where my eyes meet His and I know (even when I’m fighting it) His love. All Him.

        • Lisa says

          Thank you so much for sharing. I am in a different position since I was blessed with 5 healthy children in a row, and then 2 miscarriages in a row. I had a m/c in December, and then a very early one a few weeks ago. It has been terribly difficult, and yet, God has really lifted me up in amazing ways. I think one of the biggest things that has helped me, besides prayer, is having others pray for me. I had to sort of swallow my pride and ask for prayer both times, and I am SO glad I did. When the pain comes back, I ask the Lord to lift me up. Another thing that has helped is knowing that I don’t have to worry about the salvation of these babies souls! My living children need me to point them to the Lord every day, and pray that they choose to follow him. Those precious m/c babies already know the Lord. I find that comforting.

          It is true that we continue to trust the Lord no matter how hard that might be. There have been many unanswered questions for me through this process. One of the biggest ones is that I’ve now had 2 miscarriages in a row, has something changed with my body? I wrestled with that one for awhile, and I”m still wrestling a bit wondering if God has anymore children planned for me… My husband however, needs me to follow his leadership on this one. Almost immediately, he felt quite sure that we should not pursue any testing to find out if something is wrong with me. I was given lots of well-meaning advice from a lot of sweet people who are concerned about me. Things like: get your progesterone tested, get your thyroid tested, take this supplement, that supplement. Each time I approached my husband with a question of whether or not we should test this or that, he remained confident that he feels we don’t need to do any testing yet. I finally reached a point where I felt peaceful about not getting tested…. I did, however, decide to add a few supplements to my daily routine, but I don’t put my faith in them. I am taking only reasonable doses. I could never quite find a solid answer as to what these 2-in-a-row miscarriages may mean, but as I talk to other women, I am learning that it is quite common. I have heard of 3 different doctor/midwives who do not test after 2 miscarriages.
          Even so, I realize that I am in God’s hands… If he gives me another miscarriage, he will see me through the pain.

          If I could give anyone advice about miscarriage, I would say to allow yourself to grieve, but allow the Lord to lift you up. Ask others to pray for you, there is an amazing amount of power in prayer…. Don’t make the mistake that I made and tell relatives who may not be supportive of the fact that you were even pregnant in the first place…. Just be careful WHO you tell, but DO share with people who can support you and pray for you. Stay in the word as regularly as possible— read it throughout the day. Take some time to lighten your schedule if you need to. I made the mistake of trying to homeschool on a day when I thought I was ” OK”, and ended up breaking down. Overall, though— remember that God can and WILL lift you up. :)

          If anyone is wondering how to support a friend going through miscarriage, I think it’s actually very simple. You don’t need big fancy words or reasons why you think it happened. Keep it simple. Tell you friend you are sorry for their loss, and that you are praying for them. As far as doing anything tangible, maybe just a pot of soup…The biggest thing, though is just to say that you are praying. Keep the thoughts of ” why” this happened to yourself. Send a quick ” I’m praying for you today” email. Believe me, this is the best thing that anyone did for me. :)

          I think that in the end, I think it’s all been worth it. The ups and downs of my 5 (healthy) pregnancies, even the pain of my miscarriages have a purpose. I hope to be able to help others someday…It’s been worth the risk because I love my children like crazy, and I guess I’m willing to risk another pregnancy if there’s a chance I could have another precious baby….If not, then perhaps I can move on to my other dream of adoption. :)

          • Kris says

            I had three miscarriages in a row, and was really angry with God. I did go through testing after the third one. Verdict: getting older. Once I found peace with Him, and started to consider adoption, I found myself pregnant again. I held my breath the entire time, and took my low dose baby aspirin every day. All I know is that I am the mother of a beautiful three-year-old son. God was with me even when I doubted Him. In addition to prayer and feeling free to cry whenever you feel like it, I found an online support group that really helped me get through the hard times. You are not alone.

  2. Finkelfarm says

    How well timed this post is. Tomorow marks the 3rd anniversary of my firstborn son’s Homecoming, and I still ache for him. Never mind that he was 38 years old with a wife and 3 sons of his own. Never mind that I have 2 other sons, 4 grandsons, and a granddaughter. The ache is deep, and anniversaries such as this are another reminder that he is gone. But my hope lies in our Heavenly reunion someday because of what Jesus did on the cross. I KNOW I will see him again, and that brings me much comfort!!

    • Jessica says

      Both of my grandmothers lost their first babies (one to SIDS and the other was stillborn) and my paternal grandmother also lost her next oldest when he was 30, after my miscarriage she told me the pain never really goes away…in some ways it lessens, but you’ll always carry it with you.

      It’s bittersweet. Painful, but something I don’t want to forget.

  3. Sonya Post says

    I too have loved and lost. My husband and I got married and wanted to start a family right away. It took us 2 years to get pregnant with our first child. We were to excited. 24 weeks into my pregnancy that was going just fine ended with me going into premature labour. There was nothing they could do for our precious daughter so they put her in my arms and I held her until she died. The Lord took her Home, to a Home much better than we could ever provide.
    My husband wrote a beautiful poem. If you don’t mind me sharing, here it is.
    On December 1st we had our little girl,
    Ever since then our lives have been a whirl.
    It was early in the morning at one seventeen,
    One pound, seven ounces – yet a heartbeat was seen.
    The doctor’s report said, “She took two gasps.”
    Her body wasn’t ready – that’s all it would last.
    At twenty-two weeks she wasn’t fully ready,
    Her eyes were still closed – her lungs weren’t steady.
    She was on this earth but a moment – suffered little pain,
    The Lord called her Home – she had everything to gain.
    Deanna Christine is the name we did give,
    We love our little girl, no matter how long she did live.
    When we think of Deanna it causes great pain,
    Our girl is gone – it’s like being hit by a train.
    In one single night our plans all changed.
    It was a funeral that had to be arranged.
    When we called our minister – it wasn’t to express joy.
    We received tonnes of cards – no clothes or toys.
    Her Mom is not able to hold her dear,
    Or help her speak until her voice becomes clear.
    Our little girl will never go to school,
    We don’t have to teach her the rules.
    Her little legs will never run across our lawn,
    We won’t laugh at what she has drawn.
    We don’t have to guide her through life’s trials,
    Her Dad won’t ever walk her down the aisle.
    Our comfort is knowing that God has a plan,
    With the Words of Scripture are we able to stand.
    Even though our faces could be stained with tears,
    We will smile about Deanna throughout the years.
    Life goes on – we have to get up each morn,
    Our minds aren’t ready – our hearts are torn.
    We can go on, in the strength of the Lord,
    With the comfort He has revealed in His Word.
    We are assured that Deanna is not alone,
    She is with her Lord – He has taken her Home.
    Deep down we are happy, not really sad,
    We are proud to be Mom and Dad.
    And to Deanna we will never say good-bye,
    She’ll remain in our hearts until the day we die.

    This poem was just written 2 days after she was born (and died). We grieved but we also knew that our comfort was in our heavenly Father who turns all things to our good. She changed our lives forever and yet she was only a part of it for 24 weeks. Yes, I was a mother while she was in me and that first May we did celebrate Mother’s Day. My husband bought me 2 wonderful books. A devotional and a good study book. My brother bought me a Weeping Mullberry Tree. (we have moved since and we make sure that we right away buy another tree to remember that first mother’s day without a child in our arms.)

    The Lord has now blessed us with 4 other wonderful children.
    God is GREAT!
    Sorry for the long comment, this always touches me.

  4. Julie says

    I lost my baby to Trisomy 18 at 27 weeks. It has been a little over a month. The loss is profound and I’m sorry that you have been through it. I have found that there is much gain even in the heartache. My relationship with God, with my husband, my other children and my hope for Heaven are all greatly improved.

    And yes, Motherhood begins at conception. Thank you for your post.

    • Jessica says

      Julie – I’m so, so sorry to hear of your loss. Yes, there is gain in heartache and in grieving…it does make me long for heaven all the more. One thing my husband says is that the children we’ve lost they’ve only known Jesus. No pain, no sin…just Jesus.

  5. says

    Thank you for your beautiful post. I am so sorry for the loss of your two babies. Please know that my heart breaks for you and your family. I also lost a little girl, Virginia, at 21 weeks in May of 2010 had a miscarriage a couple of months later and now had another miscarriage in December. It is soo difficult when you love that baby from the point that he or she was conceived. It seems that so many people take pregnancy for granted and a healthy baby is such a gift. We are praying that out of the loss of our 3 babies that we are going to be able to start a perinatal hospice in our area and that we can use our experiences to minister to other families who have lost a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal loss.

    • Jessica says

      I’m so sorry to hear your loss, but for you and your husband to see your loss as a way to minister to others…that is so God-honoring (and needed!) and may He bless you in that.

  6. says

    Wow. I just loved this post as I could really relate to it. First, because I too suffered a miscarriage. To say I have not carried the grief of that for the past two years would be a lie. But I have a lot of fear when it comes to my son (8). And I know that I need my faith to be bigger and stronger than my fear. It sure is a risk. But it’s a lovely one. Thanks for this post.

    • Jessica says

      Lis – Thank you for sharing and your honesty. I definitely have those moments of fear when it comes to my boys and all the “What if’s”.

  7. says

    Thank you for talking about mmiscarriage becuase too many don’t. I lost a baby in December of 2003 and even after 3 kids the wound is sore. Motherhood is risky, from the very beginning. I struggled to be a mom and my kids smiles and giggles are the reward for the pain, imho.

    • Jessica says

      Mary – Thank you for sharing. I think it’s important to talk about miscarriages, even though they are so sensitive. When I had my first miscarriage women came out of the woodwork saying, “Me too,” but no one wanted to go further. I know it’s painful to relieve those times, but it’s also very lonely to be walking through it by yourself…so I choose to share.

  8. Katie Herin says

    Beautiful post. Yes, we love from the moment we know. How true. I lost a baby last year, it would’ve arrived on leap day…strange how I think I’ll always remember to think of that.
    We are once again expecting and I’m doing my best to give my fears and worries to God and just enjoy this promise that I have. As a mother, it’s definitely worth taking the risk :)
    I’m a mom of two other children that mean the world to me, they are all precious. They are all wonderful blessings from God. Thanks for sharing.

    • Jessica says

      Katie – I definitely understand the fear. My first pregnancy was a miscarriage, then I over 3 years I had two boys, followed by another miscarriage. It doesn’t get easier for me, but I have to continually remind myself that God is in control.

      Thank you for sharing.

  9. Sonya Post says

    Thanks so much for your post Jessica. Praying for you. (and for all who have loved and lost.) I already wrote a really long comment but I wanted to share a name of a book. When we lost our precious daughter I was given a book by fellow staff members. The book was called, “Empty Arms” by Pam Vredevelt. It has been 6 years since I have read it but I know I liked a lot of it when I read it. Maybe this book will be nice for you or anyone else going through a recent pregnancy death. (it is for those who have suffered a miscarriage, stillbirth, or Tubal pregnancy.) Although our daughter lived for awhile after birth (a few minutes) this book was relevant for that.
    Come Lord Jesus!

  10. Tasha Schlittenhart says

    This is beautiful, and carries so much truth. I’m going to pin it so I can come back to read it again and again. Thank you for sharing.

  11. says

    I have had two miscarriages in the past 6 months. After the first one, my husband had a really hard time getting excited about the next pregnancy for fear something would go wrong. And it did. I fear for the next time I get pregnant. At what point can I allow myself to get excited, knowing the possibilities first hand?

  12. says

    Four years of infertility before finally getting pregnant with our first. Seeing our child for the first time, love exploded in my heart, despite knowing all the risks, all that could go wrong. Now we’re parents to four children ( a 2 year old and 2 month old triplets): God has more than blessed us.

  13. says

    My husband and I had three miscarriages within a year, so I certainly understand the hurt of being a mom without all my children at my side. Thank you for sharing.

  14. Anonymous says

    Thank you for your statement that a pregnant woman is already a mother. I was married 20 years before getting my chance to be a mother. From the moment I learned I was pregnant, I knew there was a chance that I might lose the baby. But regardless what happened, he was still my baby — precious, unique and irreplaceable — and I was his mother.

  15. Amanda Huggins says

    I can relate to this post. We’ve had six losses, and I had such love and hope for each of those babies.

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