We recently had the joy of announcing that Justin and I are expecting our second child. The news of this baby comes with so much excitement, joy, and hope; but at the same time, it is accompanied by both fear and guilt.
When I first learned that I was pregnant, after a wave of joy and excitement came overwhelming fear. This time around we are so aware of every single thing that could go wrong, the fear of losing another child, at times, paralyzes me. I worry in between doctor appointments and I hold my breath as I wait to hear the heartbeat again.
I am all too aware of when Jesus said, “you will have suffering in this world” (John 16:33 NLT) and the thing that scares me the most is that He didn’t say “one and done.” He didn’t say I will suffer once and then I am good after that. When we entered the community of parents who have lost children, we heard countless stories of loss and suffering. Many parents have lost not just one baby but sometimes two or three or five. I am scared what more suffering I could come across. Is it losing another baby? Losing my husband? Cancer? I have no idea what will happen.
It is here that I approach a fork in the road. A sign points one way that says, “frozen in fear” and a sign points the other saying, “freedom in faith.” It is up to me to choose which road to take.
Early in this pregnancy I prayed fervently to God, asking Him to give me strength and to help me find a way to not be scared.
He simply replied, “trust Me.”
Looking in God’s Word I found so many people that faced paralyzing fear, and instead of hiding under a rock, they chose to put their faith in God. When Moses’s mother was faced with the fear of having her son murdered by Pharaoh, she trusted God and sent her baby down a river— a river!?— and God protected him. When Joshua and his army faced countless enemies as they entered the Promised Land, they chose to trust God and listen to Him, instead of retreating like they did in the past, and God gave them victory. When Goliath challenged the Israelites, instead of waiting in fear like the rest of Saul’s army David trusted in God and His deliverance and faced the giant.
David speaks of another time when he was struck with fear in Psalm 55. It is believed that David wrote this Psalm when David’s own son Absalom built an uprising against David. David says in verses 4 and 5:
“My heart is in anguish within me;
The terrors of death have fallen on me.
Fear and trembling have beset me;
Horror has overwhelmed me.”
David was afraid of the mob coming after him and what they would do to him, a fear that was overwhelming. But look what he says in verses 16 through 18:
“As for me, I call to God,
And the Lord saves me.
Evening, morning and noon
I cry out in distress,
And He hears my voice.
He rescues me unharmed
from the battle waged against me,
even though many oppose me.”
And then in verse 22 he brings it home:
“Cast your cares on the Lord
And He will sustain you;
He will never let
The righteous be shaken.”
As David faced danger and fear he knew that all he needed to do was to turn to God for help and to have the strength to face the unknown. He affirms his faith in God in the last verse of this Psalm in verse 23:
“But as for me, I trust in You.”
Sometimes I need to be like David and just say out loud, “I trust in You.” Because when the fear overcomes me, I need that reminder. I remember David and so many others in the Bible who faced paralyzing fear, but who dug down deep and found their faith and marched forward. The very faith I have comes from the Son of God who faced unimaginable horror but, in the midst of the fear, continued forward to the cross.
I think it is also important to realize that God gives us strength and comfort in the fear, but He doesn’t necessarily take away what we are afraid of. These moments of trial and fear are there for a reason, to make us stronger in our faith.
I thank God so much for this baby growing inside me. I know that this pregnancy, especially at this specific time, has been a gift from God.
A gift of joy and hope, but also a gift of faith.
I am learning to constantly put my trust in God, that no matter what I face I know He will deliver me.
I have not had a chance to raise a child yet but from what I have seen, I know it definitely calls for a lot of trust in God. I am thankful for this time so that if God allows me to raise this baby, I can do it remembering this time of fear and how I learned to put my faith in God and the comfort He has brought me. That is something I hope to raise this child knowing too: that in the midst of fear, we have a God who will be there with us.
Accompanying my fears and hopes for this pregnancy, there is also a sense of guilt. This might be harder to understand than the fear, but I have found that other mothers who are expecting after loss experience the same thing.
When I feel joyful over this baby, I feel guilty that I am not grieving Audrey. Then when I still grieve Audrey, I feel guilt that I am not being joyful over this baby. So, what can I do?
The only conclusion I can come up with is that it’s okay to be sad when I’m sad and its okay to be happy when I’m happy. The best example from the Bible I can share is the famous passage Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, where Solomon says there is a season for everything. In verse 4 he says:
“A time to weep and a time to laugh,
A time to mourn and a time to dance”
This will be the pattern of my life from here on out. I will always mourn Audrey. There will never be a time that I will not grieve and miss my daughter, but I also know I will have joy and laughter. I already have! There is no reason for me to feel any kind of guilt over my feelings. God has blessed me with two children and not only that, He has blessed me with a heart that has plenty of room to love both of my children.
This pregnancy has not been what I imagined it would be. It has been emotional and messy but at the same time it has been beautiful. I am placing my trust in God every day. I am constantly praying to God for protection over this baby but also thanking Him for every second that I have to carry this baby. I treasure being pregnant so much more now than before I experienced losing Audrey. I value what this time is teaching me, to always place my trust in God and to not feel guilty over my emotions.
While I do face fear, every day I have increasingly more hope and faith in God. And when my emotions battle inside of me, I rest knowing I can still find joy and love in the arms of my Heavenly Father.