Today's post is veering away from my cheery sarcasm about homeschooling and delving into a sensitive topic. If you are not in the mood for anything heavy, I understand. Come back in a few days. This is part of Pour Your Heart Out over at Shell's Things I Can't Say. Today, I will be candidly telling my story.
Shell posted about the baby ache today, which all moms can relate to. I wrote this post about a different baby ache weeks ago and finally have the "chutzpah" to post it.
I was a major disappointment to my mother.
It was in my senior year of high school when I found out I was pregnant. Of course it wasn't planned. No, I wasn't married. And no way, I wasn't going to make the next mistake of marrying the father of my baby.
When you are 18, single and people find out, they say such hurtful things.
When I was 18, I didn't always say what was on my mind.
"What the H-E-double hockeysticks are you gonna do with a baby?"
Gee! I never thought so far ahead.
"It's not too late to take care of it."
Sorry, I saw the ultrasound, I can't.
"You can't work at the front counter because you're not married."
I promise not to embarrass your fine pre-made sandwich establishment.
"Whose baby is it?"
"Are you sure he is the father?"
I keep meticulous records.
Gone were the plans to enter the University of Massachusetts in the fall. My future road map contained a major detour. In my mother's eyes it was a road block, a dead end. My mother, in her anger, decided to fill out the college forms anyways, in case I lost the baby. She couldn't believe I was throwing my life away. She had married right out of high school, had four kids and it hadn't been pretty. How could I do this to her? Well, if I was going to be so stupid, she was not going to help. She was done raising kids. She vowed not to help me.
I am not sharing this so anyone can judge my mother. If you must, she deserves applause. She delivered the tough love I needed. It was a perfect parenting strategy. Single girls who have babies and don't have to care for them continue to have babies without fathers. They keep falling for the guy and his phony "I love you". A single mom with a colicky baby and no help becomes smarter. She understands that guy with all his charm will not wake up and nurse her baby. She is not up for more sleep deprivation. Being alone becomes more appealing by the minute. I am thankful for the mother that truly loved me. She forced me swallow the bitter pill that brought me to my knees. Through my struggles as a very young mother, I was saved.
Fast forward 7 years later.
The year I married the Gman, there were about 12 weddings in our close knit church. Between 1990 and 1991, my creative pastor ran out of wedding sermons. The marraige streak ended just as the baby boom started. Only two couples didn't jump on the bandwagon. One newlywed couple who were in their 70's and everyone understood. But why us? Didn't I love kids? Didn't I work with kids? Doesn't your son need a little brother or sister? What is the hold up?
My boy was 7 years old and I was in no hurry to join the ranks. I knew being a mommy entailed too much work for my selfish life. I waited. I kept hoping finances would improve. They didn't. I was in my late 20's, I waited. I wanted to quit taking care of everyone else's children before I had anymore. I waited. My home day care business was wearing me down. I waited. Caring for the children of addicts, abused women and single mothers was crushing my spirit and leaving me with little energy. I waited. I did not want to have babies in this situation.
After I closed the home daycare, I found out I was pregnant.
What a contrast announcing your pregnancy when you are married. Everyone is happy and excited. These are moments of true joy. The single, messed-up mom who has been transformed into a loving wife is pregnant. My shame has been taken away. My son won't have to be an only child. No hurtful things, only nice words. It was o.k. now. I have a husband, he loves me and this will be a blessing from God, a new start. This is the wanted baby. This baby is part of God's plan. I followed the rules, I was doing things right.
I'll never forget the day I started bleeding. It was my son's tenth birthday party. We had a fabulous weekend, camping in the woods with a ton of boys. The Gman was going to be an excellent daddy, no, I take that back, he already was. When I saw the blood, I convinced myself, a little spotting is normal.
The cramps couldn't be ignored. They packed up the campsite, the odors of fish, musty camper and campfire would not be missed. I couldn't wait to get in my own bed. If I fell asleep, perhaps the pains would go away. The long weekend had worn me out, sleep will fix me. It didn't. I woke up in the middle of the night. Labor pains, just like intense labor pains. This can't be so. This cannot possibly hurt this much. I had experienced 22 hours of back labor with an 8 lb 11 oz. baby. I understand pain. Why does this feel so similar? This feels like I am actually delivering a baby. God please help me... I was not prepared for the physical pain of this. After a few hours, it's over. I'm spent.
I had never doubted God's justice and His love before, why now? Why is the first baby I ever wanted gone? Why? Remember God, I am not a floozy anymore. I kept myself pure since the day I followed you. I didn't even kiss my husband before I married him. My self-righteous one-sided argument with God carried on and on. I was still so young in my walk with God. I let my mind judge God, myself and everyone around me for weeks. I was shaken deep to my core.
It became worse. I had to face people and admit I lost my baby. How could I tell people? I cried so much. They meant well. Their responses picked the scab of my wounded heart. I was not comforted.
"Oh I had one, too."
I heard this from so many women. Like they had a cavity or a manicure and it was no big deal. I couldn't believe the way they talked about losing a baby. Did they even want their babies? It was like a hangnail and it will grow back or you may need a little procedure. Was the miscarriage so far in their past that it doesn't hurt anymore? Does the pain go away? I certainly didn't share in the same experience as them. I was exhausted, miserable and worn out.
A few weeks later, it hit me. Suddenly, I thought of other friends that had lost babies before me. Oh selfish one, why didn't I offer any help? Why didn't I at least cook them a meal or clean their house? Oh why am I so caught up in my own little world that I can't see the pain of others? Lord forgive me. The next time I hear of someone who suffers a miscarriage, let me be there for them.
I finally understood why some women wait to announce their pregnancies. I think about how many have suffered a miscarriage alone. Or maybe with only their husband and God to help them through. God showed me so many things during this pit. I resolved as part of the body of Christ, I have to rejoice with and bear one another's burdens.
I did make it out of the valley of the shadow of death. And I was forever changed. When I became pregnant 18 months later, I refused to let fear rule my heart. I couldn't wait to share my joy with everyone.
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