Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day

Mother's Day. Every year, this is something I typically look forward to. I love spending time with my Mom and my sister, honoring my Mom and building memories together... even if it's something as simple as lunch and a movie.

This year was somehow different, somehow tainted. I don't know if it was because I had already ingrained in my head that "next time" Mother's Day comes I would get to celebrate, or if it is because I wouldn't even be comfortable at this point if someone had given me a "Mom-to-be" card for Mother's Day. Or maybe it's something entirely different that I haven't put my finger on yet.

Yesterday we went to a cookout for some neighbors who are moving. In our neighborhood, "alley cookouts" are pretty popular. It sounds strange, but these alleys aren't what you would typically picture. There are four streets whose alleys form a large square, and in the middle is a great playground. There were kids everywhere... riding big wheels, playing with a ball, sitting in their strollers. At first it didn't phase me, but after a while it did and I had to leave. I just felt so.... jealous.

I was jealous of the mom with the 11 month-old who was just starting to walk, and of the mom with the 4 month old who sat in his carrier most of the time while other people went over to see him. And of the moms with the older kids who could throw a ball, ride a bike, and run around. If this little guy makes it, would he ever be able to do any of those things? It was a reminder that all the ways in which I have envisioned motherhood... teaching your baby to walk, showing a toddler how to ride a big wheel, or playing catch with your 5-year-old... may end up looking completely different.

Deep down I know that's okay. I know that loving your child doesn't have to mean playing catch or riding bikes. I think of Jesus when he reached out and touched...touched... the leper, and how meeting that man's need of human, physical contact, was a greater act of love than many of us would dare encounter.

And so I am back to the passage in I John that I wrote about previously... that perfect love casts out all fear, and that we can love, because He first loved us. My love is so far from perfect, but it is the cry of my heart that this experience would help to perfect my imperfect love, and would help me to be a little more like Jesus in the way that I love others. Being a mother means loving well... loving children unconditionally and helping to meet their every need, even their deepest ones.

Even though I am not celebrating Mother's Day in the way in which I thought I would be, there is something to celebrate... and that's the fact that by God's grace, I am learning to love more boldly, more deeply, and less fearfully (though this is coming slowly) because of the road He has set before us.

9 comments:

Monica said...

Stacy, you are incredible, and your demonstration of faith humbles me each time I read your blog.

I tightly cling to the belief that one day (soon), you will be surrounded by your children, and they "shall rise up and call [her} blessed."

Happy Mother's Day.

Megan said...

You are in my thoughts and prayers!

Amanda said...

Stacy,
I saw your comment on Angie Smith's blog. I'm pretty hooked to her blog. It speaks right to the innermost part of my heart.

I wanted you to know that you are and will continue to be in my prayers. I had a missed miscarriage and never knew the reason. It really tainted Mother's Day for me, too. I know that feeling of jealousy you speak of. I cannot imagine what you are feeling with this pregnancy now. I've never been in that situation.

This is what I'm thinking right now. Through my journey of losing a baby and wondering if I would ever have children, I have come to believe that God does work miracles. Just not always the way we define them. As I carried that baby after the heart had stopped beating, I prayed and prayed for God to speak life back into it. I prayed for a mistake in the ultrasound and that it would all be okay after all. I didn't get that miracle.

But I did get a miracle. I sit now three years later a healed person. God healed my spirit and my baby. That child has seen the face of our Savior and that's the best place my children could be. My soul has been molded by my experience and talking with others in similar situations. I know that I would not be the person I am today if I had not experienced that first hand.

I do have two children now. One adopted and one biological. That was a scary pregnancy and not completely uneventful. I'm still scared to be pregnant again. But I know that I appreciate my children so much more now than I would have. One thing that really hurt after my miscarriage was to hear mothers complain about their children and all the hard work it was to be a mother. I am very cautious of this now. I know how privaleged I am and hope to never express anything but gratitude to God - but I'm not perfect at that.

The last thing I want to share with you is this thought. I heard this in church yesterday. We are created to be the mommies to our children. So, even though you never held your first baby, you were still created to be his or her mommy, as well as the child you carry now. It's not out of God's hands. We live in a fallen world and bad things happen. But God still allowed it. He truly can bring good from this, in His own perfect way. So, I hope that you can feel peace that God decided to give those specific children to you for a purpose. Their lives are not in vain.

Maybe I'm not telling you anything you don't already know. Your words speak a peace that I'm not sure I would have in your situation. Your story is touching people around you in ways you may not fully know in this life. I'm praying for you and I hope these words reach you in the spirit that I intended them. I just want you to know that we are all loved by Him in unfathomable ways. The road is hard, but He is still victorious. You are not alone.

In Christ,
Amanda

Kirsten Casillas said...

I found you through Angie Smith’s blog. I write with mixed emotions, and a prayer that God will give me the right words. When I read the words cystic hygroma on your comment I knew I had to connect with you.

We experienced the same issue with our baby, but for us it was Down syndrome. My heart goes out to you because I know you are hurting and experiencing a ton of intense emotions as you process everything the doctors have told you. I’m so glad that you found Angie’s blog and that your faith is strong. Those two things were vital in helping me through our journey.

I will be praying for your family. I believe in miracles. God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow and He will hold you up as you walk through your journey.

God’s timing for us was very different than we ever expected, yet, when I read your blog I find so much hope. God hasn’t changed just because our circumstances look bleak. He still loves His children and loves to be glorified through miracles. I’m focusing on the percentages that say that your baby will be delivered healthy and whole. And the knowledge that God has you, your husband, and your son (Noah) in His loving hands.

Our journey is shared on our blog if you would like to visit. www.blooming-faith.blogspot.com or email me kirstencasillas@sbcglobal.net. I hope that although our story ends with a loss, that you will see the hand of God throughout our story, and that it will be a blessing to you as you treasure the time you have with your baby in the womb. I’m praying that you will have a lifetime of memories with your son and that you will find joy in each day. I’ll keep checking in to see how you are doing.

God bless you,
Kirsten

gina said...

I too am not sure how to respond and I am filled with emotion as I try to type this so bear with me. Three years ago (exactly) I was in the same turmoil you are now. My circumstances were a little different, I had monoamniotic twin boys. The roller coaster of events and emotions, from the day I found out I was pregnant, to the day they were born into the hands of Christ could fill a book. The words "cord accident" echo through my mind still. After their death, I was lost. Totally and completely lost. I attempted suicide so that I could be with my boys forever. I am not sure why I thought Jesus would accept me into his Kingdom after such a sin, but the devil had a hold of me. I had a loving husband, a 3 year old son and a 6 month old daughter. I had everything to live for! The guilt of it all still weighs on me like a 10 ton brick sometimes. But I was saved. I am a better person, a better mom, a better friend, a better wife, and a MUCH better Christian. I am glad that I had the opportunity to love those boys even though it was only for 18 weeks. I am glad I got to see them, name them, and bless them. I am so very sorry that you are being called to walk this path. I am so very sorry that your future is uncertain. I am so very sorry that you can not rejoice in every moment. I do want to share something that I feel is very important. I have one regret. I spent so much time worrying and trying to project what would be that I missed out on just enjoying and loving my babies. If I could change that, I would. I would shout from the mountain tops that I loved those babies. I wouldn't have tried to avoid speaking about it. I wouldn't have worn extra big coats in May to try to hide my huge belly. I am their mom. I will forever be their mom. If you read this and it speaks to your heart at all, you can contact me at gina . shanahan @ hotmail . com (remove the spaces of course). I will pray for you and for your entire family and for the miracle that we all know is possible!!!

Stacy D said...

Thank you all so much for your messages of encouragement. The specific problem causing the cystic hygroma and omphalocele has yet to be determined. The doctors are hoping that as they measure our son's development through ultrasounds and echocardiograms they will be able to identify soft markers for any possibly genetic syndromes. There's still a lot of information to be gathered.

Gina- thanks for your advice. I have been struggling with feeling like I want to somehow ignore this pregnancy rather than celebrate it. As someone who has been through this and is on the other side, I appreciate your perspective. :)

Kirsten said...

I echo Gina's comments about enjoying the pregnancy. I wish I had spent more time making memories with my daughter in the womb. We took pictures of our feet in the water to mark her first trip in the water. I treasure those pictures now!

Once we knew there were problems, I remember that I hated to wear maternity clothes. And I hated taking my prenatal pill. Our situation was different, all the doctors told us our baby wouldn't make it. So, I got mad every time I took that pill because it reminded me that I was pregnant and I knew the pill couldn't fix the problem. All those feelings were normal and OK. I'm so thankful for the special times though - reading books to the baby, going to my favorite restaurant or store, sharing our lives with the baby.

You will be in my prayers. God is good. He still does miracles. He will provide you with comfort and strength. And most of all, the peace that passes all understanding.

I'm sorry you are experiencing this, it is so hard. Hold on. Hold on to Jesus. Hold on to your husband. Hold on to hope.

Aunt Robin said...

Dear Stacy- your outlook is awesome and right on the money! We love our children regardless of any limitations or imperfections. I know that God will never give you more than you can handle. The three of you are in my thoughts and prayers each day! God works miracles every day!
Love Aunt Robin

Jen M. said...

Stacy,

I finally got around to reading your blog, and I have no doubt that Mother's Day was hard for you. I too can identify with the jealous feelings you find yourself having, I had them often when Archie and I were trying to get pregnant.

When we found out that we had fertility issues, I was even more jealous of coworkers, etc, who had been able to conceive naturally without any help, and then at work, found myself angered when people who were substance abusers, had these perfectly healthy children (after the withdrawing was over), and yet some of our families who were intact and had so badly wanted a child had children who were so sick, or had anomalies. It just wasn't fair, and I wondered why were we the ones who were having problems.

For some reason, God feels that you and Spencer will be able to handle this, and I'm sure you will, your faith is so strong. But it doesn't mean that you won't have normal human emotional feelings as well. I felt so guilty for feeling jealous because most of the people wanted and deserved their babies, but it was a feeling I couldn't help but have.

You will have your children, and you will love them to the bottom of your heart and more.

Amanda said that after her miscarriage it was hard to hear people complain about how hard it was to be a mother. It was hard for me too, because I just wanted the chance to be a mom and experience it, regardless of how hard. There are definitely hard times, but when I speak about things going on, I always follow it up with, I wouldn't have it any other way. It is not easy, but much as I am sure you also feel, it's just nice to be able to have the chance, and to experience everything that encompasses being a mother.

You will love your child with everything you have regardless of syndromes, appearances, or anything else. We will be here for you anytime if you need any help or have any questions. In the meantime, we'll continue to pray a miracle, and for God to support you and Spencer as you go through this journey.