I have had so many women email or talk to me about their pregnancy loss since I posted about Johanna, and I would like to share with you some of my thoughts about dealing with the fear women face when they think about going through another pregnancy after pregnancy loss.
Many women who have experienced pregnancy loss, deal with fear - fear of future loss, fear of personal guilt, fear of death, fear of loss of health, fear of the hardships of pregnancy as they get older, and fear of birth defects (especially those, like Down Syndrome, that have been linked to advanced maternal age). I'd like to address these fears, especially how it should be viewed as believers.
If you are a believer, then you should know the verses about worry. I was just studying them in my quiet time this morning (I am doing a book study on "Loving God with All Your Mind" by Elizabeth George. The Bible has much to say about worry, such as "do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will take care of itself" (Matthew 6:25-34)and "do not worry but with thanksgiving in your heart make your petition known to God" (Philippians 4:6)...etc and so many others - check this list out.
When you struggle with fear, you need to remind you of what is true - "whatever is true....think on these things" is a command! Remind yourself that God knows your tomorrow, He knows your strengths and your weaknesses. He tells us in Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Remember that God is the giver and taker of life - He numbers our days, and those of our children, before even one of them comes to be (Psalm 139:16).
Remind yourself that God gives strength to the weak, and comfort to those who mourn. He does all things well, and He never makes mistakes.
Remind yourself that if it is in His will for you to carry another eternal soul, whether or not that child is born healthy and full term, He will give you the strength for each day through the journey, I can guarantee it - if you are living in His strength and not trying to do it in your own strength.
I love this quote I recently heard - "Pregnancy is momentary, a soul is eternal" I heard recently (Doug Philips was quoting someone else, I believe). What other things can we do in this life that has eternal value? And remember to, what Paul said about affliction in II Corinthians 4:17 - "For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison", and I will openly admit that pregnancy for me would often be put in the category of affliction.
So many women are concerned about pregnancy in later child bearing years, that it is "risky", that the likelihood of having a child with birth defects increases with age. Yes, the statistics show this, but you have to remember that God is not bound by our statistics...our stats only show us how God has acted in the past, but He is free to do whatever He pleases at any time. If He chose, every baby born in America tomorrow could be born with Down Syndrome...He is that powerful.
I have also heard of mothers who are concerned about their own life, should they become pregnant again. I, myself, could face this if I were to get pregnant again. But remember that God has numbered our days before we were born...nothing can take us out of this world "before our time". We are to take good care of the gift of our life, not to do things to jeopardize our health, but does this apply to pregnancy? I think not, because I believe that God is the giver and taker of life. I would rather die carrying a precious soul for my Lord, than live one day longer fearing the "what ifs". I could avoid pregnancy like the plague, and get hit by a drunk driver tomorrow. My life is in God's hand, and I choose to trust Him with all that I am and all that I have. I do believe we are to be good stewards of our health, eating right, getting exercise, taking nutritional supplements, avoiding things that can compromise our health, but even if we are having health issues, God is still sovereign!
What about how hard pregnancy can be, especially in later childbearing years. But I ask you - should we avoid all things that are difficult/painful? I put this into the category of a trial, and James says that we should "...count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him." I think this is a great scripture to claim when facing a potentially difficult pregnancy, or when you are in one. Also, Paul says in Roman's 8:28 "all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a]have been called according to his purpose" No matter the outcome, we must claim God's promises and apply them to pregnancy as well. What better thing to bring us to our knees in weakness, claiming God's promises and living in His Strength. God can and will use pregnancy in the lives of women to bring Him glory, and to bring about good in our lives.
I know about difficulty carrying babies later in life - I have carried and birthed three babies since I turned 40 (I am 47 now), and when I could not go on, God's grace was always sufficient...I had to make many adjustments (and my family did too) and lower my expectations of what I could do each day, but it was so worth it, every time. Do I ever fear getting pregnant again? Yes, I am at times fearful, but I try to catch myself every time I begin to think about the "what ifs", and to dwell on what I know is true, and the fear vanishes.
One last thought about fear/worry in our lives - I have come to believe, that when we worry about the "what ifs", we are taking on tomorrow's problems. God does not promise that His grace is sufficient for the "what ifs" - but He does promise in II Cor 2:9 that "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" and in Phil 4:13 "I can do everything through him who gives me strength" - He will give us the strength to do what He asks us to do, and the grace needed for each day. When we worry about the "what ifs" we are facing potential trials on our own...and that breeds debilitating fear - I know, because I have done this, and I do not recommend it at all!
I recently heard an amazing talk given by Doug Phillips (Vision Forum) and he suggested that it is possible that God uses miscarriage to populate heaven - also that it might be that in His mercy, He brings our little ones into the arms of Jesus before they see this world - they never have to suffer pain, sickness, fear, consequences of sin and all the other evils this world has to offer. And having our unborn child precede us to heaven also makes heaven a sweeter place that we mothers will yearn for all the more for the hope of seeing our little ones there for the first time!
I realize that I may have stepped on many toes out there, and that what I have shared might offend some. But I have learned so much through the difficult times that my loving Heavenly Father has brought me through - and many of those difficulties relate to pregnancies. So many of the truths of scripture can be applied to pregnancy and pregnancy loss if we just meditate on it. If your hackles were raised by what you read today, take some time and read through the passages I listed here and talk to God about your questions. I have found in my life, that when something really gets my back up, I am usually either dealing with un-resolved guilt, or have been fighting against God in something He is trying to teach me.
I would also like to share with you, that when I meditate on the truths about God and His promises, fear seems to vanish...I have said before that where there is fear, there is no faith, and where there is faith there is no fear...they just don't go together.
Philippians 4:6 - 7 pretty much sums this up - "do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus"
Let me leave you with this:
I found this at an Etsy Cart - and you'll find the full lyrics to this song:
And watch to this, but you'd better get a box of tissues first.
(and you might want to get her book I Will Carry You: The Sacred Dance of Grief and Joy)
(and you might want to get her book I Will Carry You: The Sacred Dance of Grief and Joy)
If the Lord asked you to carry a little one for Him, would you do it gladly?
I pray that the Lord will use my thoughts to draw you into the peace of resting in His promises for all the things in your life.