How I feel about pregnant ladies and newborn babies has been very weird, and random.
Today, I was on duty being on the greeting team at church. Every few minutes, a big belly or a car seat with a tiny infant would come in. I would have a big smile on my face, hand a bulletin to the woman, and say Hi to the baby. This would repeat over and over again for the duration of my duty. One of my teammates commented, “Wow there are so many pregnant women and newborn babies at our church! We will soon need more room in our nursery!” To which, another teammate said, “That’s a great thing! Right?”
So how do I feel? It depends on who it is. Sometimes, my feelings have no rhyme or reason. I didn’t mind certain newborns. I actually went to seek them out. My heart didn’t skip a beat and I didn’t feel repulsed by them. And then, there are certain women that I am friends with. I want to avoid them like a plague. One of them was the friend who announced her pregnancy on Christmas morning. She was flaunting her big belly in this adorable dress and all I could do was to say hi. I couldn’t bring myself to ask her how her pregnancy was going, how she was doing, etc. Then her husband approached me about 15 minutes later, gave me a friendly hug, and asked me how Bob and I were doing. I could not tell him our painful experience a few weeks ago. I just gave him the generic “we are good”, which we are. But there is so much more to it and I could not share. At the service right before sermon, this couple appeared on screen on a pre-recorded video, talking about their “storm” in their life with the birth of their second child as he was diagnosed with a genetic disorder. In the video, she talked about the joy that was robbed of her, that her child may never attend prom or get married, yet Jesus came through and gave them hope. Now that they’re expecting their third, she feels redeemed. Because of her experience with her second child, she has no expectation of how this pregnancy would turn out. I found myself tearing up for her experience as it must have been very painful for her to have a special needs child who was very difficult to take care of early on. But at the same time, I couldn’t help but think that I still want what she has, that she has a chance yet again to be redeemed, and am jealous of it enough that I don’t really want to talk to her.
And then I had the privilege to hold a 2.5 month old baby today during a meeting. His mother has had difficulty conceiving. Instead of doing A.R.T., she and her husband opted for adoption. After one adoption heartache over a year ago (with the Russia adoption ban preventing them from reuniting with their son), they were matched with this birth mom about two weeks before the baby was born. It is a beautiful story. I see so much love from this couple for their baby it makes me want to squeeze them tight and join in this love. The baby is getting cuter and cuter every week I see him. Last week I sat next to his mom during service hoping to hold him and he fell asleep. So today at a meeting I got to hold him while his mother was hosting the meeting. This is the most snuggly snugbug ever. He hung out for a little with his eyes wide open. With his strong legs and feet, he was able to stand up for a little. After not even fussing for a little, I rocked him to sleep standing up. Whenever I sat down, he opened his eyes again, which forced me to stand up. Eventually, he was deep asleep and I could sit down comfortably with him lying on me. After the meeting, a friend came by and said, You look good with him on you. And I said, I hope one day we’re blessed to have one for our own. I loved loved loved loved loved holding him. His smell was so yummy. His cheeks were perfect and it felt so nice to rub his tummy. His little hands were so perfect. He was just perfect. I am so happy for my friends for this gift of life and I really hope that one day I get to experience it as well.
I don’t know if I accept her newborn because she struggled with conceiving and the baby was adopted. There are three other expectant mothers at church who have been known to have struggled for years before they finally conceived. But I still can’t stand around them. One of them is even my own close friend Anna. She was the one who shared with me about being pregnant at 6 weeks. She’s currently in her second trimester. I haven’t really seen her for a while so I haven’t seen her with her belly yet. A few weeks ago, I only saw her husband but didn’t see her. I wrote her an email asking how she was doing. She wrote me back a week later saying that things were well and they started sharing their news with others. She said the ultrasound scans had been going well and she would bring the ultrasound photo that Sunday if she remembered. My first thought was… I don’t want to see any ultrasound photo… But I didn’t write her to tell her that. I didn’t see her that following Sunday. So when we had our loss, I wrote her an email detailing it, and wrote the following to her:
“In light of what happened to us, I may not feel like or look like the friend that I should be for your pregnancy. I am very happy for you, but I may sometimes not look that way. I just want to give you a heads up. My prayers are that I can go pass my feelings at times and be a very supportive friend. I am working towards that.”
That was end of February, ten days ago. I have yet to hear from her acknowledging that she has read my email about my pregnancy and my loss, or responding to what I had to say about her pregnancy. I really want to try NOT to feel disappointed. But I am. I choose to be honest with her about my feelings, but I feel that my honesty and my email got lost in the deep sea. I searched for her today at church but didn’t spot her or her husband. I am not going to write her another message. I will see if and how she responds. But is it crazy that I am disappointed? Should I be? I don’t know…
Another girl had her baby shower yesterday. I didn’t attend. I saw her from afar and I didn’t go up to her or say anything to her. She tried for years for a baby and was shocked to find herself pregnant right before they signed paperwork for an adoption agency. She has one of those myths or miracles happening to her in her life: once you decide to proceed with IVF/adoption, you get pregnant. I am not necessarily jealous of her, but I just don’t want to stand next to her, hug her, or do anything with her. She is someone who struggled and finally got pregnant. But I still can’t.
Yet there is another woman who recently gave birth to her third. I was very surprised by her pregnancy because she already has two older children (probably in 3rd grade and kindergarten), and she is in her 40s. For some unknown reason, I was very jealous of her pregnancy. Later I learned that she struggled for a long time before conceiving this one. But that didn’t help with how I felt about her. I didn’t attend her baby shower either. Good thing I didn’t. I saw a Facebook photo of all the pregnant ladies who attended that shower. I just don’t think I could handle seeing all these ladies standing together for a photo. I also saw a newborn photo shoot on Facebook with her and her new son, which I quickly clicked it away as I didn’t want to see it.
And then there is my friend Alice who gave birth to her third child on the day I got my first beta. It’s so interesting to me, as I still have not felt any jealous towards her. She also struggled for her number one and number three and she is also in her 40s. But I feel very happy for her. I loved the photo that she sent out when she announced the birth. I also love the professional photo that was posted on Facebook from her newborn photo shoot. That baby looked so adorable and looked so at peace. I went back to look at that photo over and over again. And I also texted Alice and told her that I would love to come visit and hold the baby whenever they’re ready for a visitor. Her text said, “I am off until May 1st and welcome visitors like you anytime!”
I got together with my maid-of-honor for a dinner. She is single and dating so she’s not thinking about kids anytime soon. However, her friends are all married and starting to have kids. It has been very tough for her. Last August, she celebrated her birthday with me and another friend of hers. This other friend is known to be beautiful and generous. She recently got married and wanted to try for a baby very soon. I casually asked my maid-of-honor about this beautiful friend. Of course she is pregnant and is due in June. Although she had an early pregnancy loss before quickly getting pregnant again with the current baby, I found myself not having any sympathy for her loss mostly because it was so very easy for her to get pregnant and keep the pregnancy again. Isn’t it mean for me to think and feel that way? But I couldn’t help myself.
So I don’t know… I am sorting through my own feelings. I am doing better and better each day with the healing part. I still get sad at times and still mourn the loss of Clay and Eli, but I think it’s normal. But somehow, this experience of pregnancy and loss set me back a little with my uneasy feeling and jealousy with others who are pregnant or just gave birth, sometimes regardless of their own prior struggles or losses. I know that God is a God of healing. I need His grace and mercy daily. I also need Him to help me get better again with these feelings so that I can continue to have peace and be able to celebrate with others’ happiness again. This is the journey. There are three steps forward, then there is one step back. As long as I am moving forward, I am okay. I would rather acknowledge my own feelings and work through them again than being in denial about them. Work in progress. As long as God is helping me, I am going to be fine.