(c. photo Hel Ka Photography)
Have you ever tried to compensate for something missing in your life? For example, when Richard and I were struggling through infertility, I got a rabbit. This rabbit ruled the roost. Literally. I let this rabbit, named Sylvester, run wild. It had free reign of our home…Of our balcony…Of our couch cushions—which it gnawed to smithereens…Of our electrical cords—which in turn had their revenge on Sylvester-shocking him 4 feet off the ground (Don’t worry—no bunny was hurt in that revenge. Well, maybe temporarily). This rabbit was my compensation for no children. When Adelyne arrived in our lives, rainbows abounded, the sun sang to us with its rays, birds chirped melodious tunes. Life was so complete. Life was so beautiful. Life was richer than we had ever imagined. And Richard and I were completely content. For nearly 5 glorious years of Adelyne’s life, we had more joy in our souls and family than imaginable. We had no idea, however, that life could get grander than Adelyne…That is, until we experienced Sam. When I first thought I was pregnant, neither my husband nor I believed it. But after I saw two little pink stripes—I knew! My husband took the rest of the day to let it sink in. But, by the end of the day, I had a beautiful bouquet of flowers and our daughter dancing around the room at the news of her impending sibling. Let me say, the entire reason we were given our second baby is because I had a daughter that for two entire years of her life PRAYED faithfully for this sibling. Notice I said my daughter prayed. I did not. You see, Adelyne was miraculous enough. I never thought God would grant us a second. So I became content with my family and did not ask God for more. And, despite my lack of faith, my daughter said, “I want to pray for a brother!” And so, from the age of 3, she prayed. Nightly. Faithfully. Beautifully. Truly, I admired her great faith-even though I had none of my own. And, sure enough, 2 years after she started faithfully praying, God gave us our 2nd most amazing miracle. Our Baby Sam. When I was pregnant with Adelyne I was in great shape. I had no pain. I had no complications. The girl hung out in my belly for 42 weeks. I went bike riding pregnant, rode alligator boats, swam with Manta Rays, was stung by a jelly fish, jumped off a mountain in Austria (jumped off a mountain before I knew I was 6 weeks pregnant) and off a 30-foot platform too (again-before I knew I was 6 weeks pregnant). And through all of Adelyne’s belly adventures, I had the most gloriously easy pregnancy known to man. When my pain began with Sam, I was astonished. But the pain was unmistakable. And then the contractions began. The bleeding was daily. Through it all, the baby kept growing. The doctors became confident that we were making it—although painfully—through the first trimester and would make it to the finish line. So when I woke up that morning—full of energy, without the need to run to the bathroom, and not starving my guts out—I knew. I knew my baby that my daughter had prayed for years—My baby that I had fought so painfully hard for—My baby was gone. I went to the doctor the next day and received the beautiful picture—and the tragic news. My baby was curled up with beautiful toes and a hand reaching to the sky. But there was no heartbeat. I had never before in my life experienced such heart wrenching and hollow pain. I curled up inside of myself. I would lie in a dark room for hours at a time. And I wondered if the pain would ever go away. And I told my husband to let me be. I needed to grieve. And he did. He allowed me my grief. And my daughter—what could I do for her? Her very being was crushed. She cried for months after. We lost our baby in the summer. But one wintery and snowy day when I was picking her up from school, she started crying as I was putting her in the car. “Why, Momma? Why doesn’t God give me a brother?” And she cried. And she cried. And she cried. I couldn’t even start the car. The two of us sat in the car, and, despite the snow outside, we sat there and cried. And we allowed our pain to reveal itself deeply in the car, in the parking lot, of her school. And that’s okay. Because pain needs to be felt. Pain needs to be shared. Pain needs to be relieved. But what could I do? I couldn’t give Adelyne what she wanted most—and so I did something for her. I got her a puppy. You know, to replace her sibling.
Does it really? No. But that is what many of us do in life. We try to replace our pain with something else. For some, it’s alcohol. For others, it’s eating. For many men, it’s pornography. For too many, it’s seeking love from the wrong places. Others it’s shopping. The list goes on. Compensation for pain is very real. And it’s what I did. With a puppy. As we headed into our second year of our loss, and our pain lessened, and our lives went on…I did two things to compensate for what my heart truly desired: First, I went car shopping—looking at a sporty little convertible (no—not a good idea for a freezing country like Poland). We even took it on test drives. At least I had fun, eh?! And secondly…I got a nose ring. Yep, an honest to goodness nose ring. Now, let me tell you…I am a HUGE fan of nose rings. They.Are.Awesome…in my opinion. And, I finally felt like—Hey! This is something I can do. This is a way that I can have a bit of control over my life—I can pierce my nose. I know. I know. But, again, like I said—we all try to compensate somehow…in some way…for something we have no control over. And a nose ring was my way. Let me also share—getting your nose pierced in Poland is the MOST EXCRUCIATINGLY PAINFUL EXPERIENCE OF YOUR LIFE! The lady, in the little city next to our little village, said, “Lie back!” And then she started the SLOW process of the Stone Age’s way of inserting a nose ring—she started screwing it through my nose. My sister-in-law, here in the States, has a nose ring. I just found out that there is a FAR faster way to get said ring—and it’s called a nose ring gun. Yep. Didn’t have that. Had the hammer and chisel way to go about getting what I could control. Talk about PAINFUL control, eh?! Yep. But, in the end, I had what I had control over—a nose ring! And I loved it. Or at least I thought I loved it. How, then? How was your nose ring “snot” a good idea? Well—life is great at throwing us the unexpected. Just as my husband and I were preparing to fly a social worker out from Germany to Poland for a home visit so that we could start the process of adoption, we saw the most glorious two lines! A positive pregnancy test…It is now eleven years into our marriage. This time, however, my heart smiled—but in smaller measure. This time, however, we kept it a secret. This time, however, we approached with great fear. Not great rejoicing. And…all of our worst nightmares began to reveal themselves. Pain. Bleeding. Cramping. And, so we did what many of us also do in life—we threw the “Hail Mary” pass. We called up our families and said, “Please! We’re pregnant and it’s not going well. PLEASE pray for us!” Friends, let me share now…Yes, sometimes touchdowns are scored on the Hail Mary pass—but God would ALWAYS prefer us to come immediately before his throne. Don’t wait to seek His face. Come first—and bring along your prayer warriors. Our families…they immediately responded to our pleas. Prayer became intercessory around the clock for us, around the world, on behalf of our baby. But, despite the prayers—despite the support—despite it all…Fear became present in my very being. In my core. In my soul. The pain did not subside. The cramping did not subside. The bleeding did not subside. I did what any normal human would do—I cried. A lot. And that’s when I realized that my nose ring was definitely “snot” a good idea. Here I was fighting for the life of my baby…crying…and snotting. And so something had to go. I had to let go of the ONE thing that I had control over—my nose ring. I had no control over my body. I had no control over my baby. But I had control over the 1 thing that I got to exercise control—my nose ring. Isn’t it funny how in life we sometimes have to relinquish the one thing we have control over? And that’s how I went from awesomely cool momma with a nose ring (okay, that’s my opinion of myself) to fighting momma with a hole in my nose. I’ve learned a lot in my 37, going on 38, years of my life, and I’d like to share them with you. We have many desires in life. Sometimes, we are freely granted the desires of our hearts. Other times, we lose the desires of our hearts. And, on occasion, we go through hell to get the desires of our hearts. But compensation for desires never fulfills your very heart. Your very soul. Your very being. And, so, Friends, I leave you with this… When you are in pain—cry. When you are afraid—seek help. When you need to be alone—be. When you need a friend—tell them. When you need a hug—receive. But always, always, always go about your life with God. Compensation will never fill the void. But God will always be there.
I have found an article that I think beautifully states how we need to be very aware of how we speak to someone that has lost a child. Please take the time to read “Why Miscarriage Matters When You are Pro-Life”. It compares how Pro-Lifers react to abortion and how some of the very same people react to miscarriage. It gently shares that many have the mentality, “one is a tragedy the other is a blessing”.
Both are losses. Enjoy the read: