Having a baby after a miscarriage is both an exciting and scary time. While the excitement for the sweet little person growing inside of you is wonderful, fear about the ‘what if’s’ can sometimes drown out the joy.
Even though I love telling others about the little life growing inside of me, there’s also a shadow of fear that seems to follow pregnancy after loss.
Long gone is the innocence that I had with our first pregnancy with Marion. We now know that positive pregnancy tests don’t always mean snuggling with a baby nine months later, and sonograms are sometimes filled with tears and bad news instead of cute baby’s first pictures.
While I would love to spend all day picking out baby names and browsing through maternity dresses, sometimes something seems to hold me back. Even making plans for what next Spring will look like can be a daunting task. After all, there are no guarantees with life.
In a time that’s full of smiles and worries, how can you overcome fear and joyfully embrace this little and the adventures they bring? Since I’m living in this season right now, how do I work to overcome fear?
Jesus, I trust in you
A prayer that has been on my heart and lips every day since we first found out that we’re expecting is a simple one: Jesus, I trust in you.
The temptation in pregnancy after loss is the cling to my plans for this baby’s life, to demand that God give me a break, and hesitate to trust Him with our child’s life. But if I stand here, clutching on to my plans, I won’t be able to open up my hands and receive the graces that God wants to shower on me and this little baby during this season.
I don’t know what this pregnancy will hold, or if we’ll get to meet this sweet little person growing inside of me. But I do know that God has a plan. I know that He’s a good, good, Father who shows up and keeps His promises. He’s trustworthy, a firm foundation even when everything else seems to be falling apart.
Within minutes of seeing the positive pregnancy test, Joseph and I entrusted our little baby to the Lord and to the Blessed Mother. We asked for the graces of trust and courage in this season.
Treasure every moment
I can spend time comparing every minute of this pregnancy to our pregnancy with Marion, and I’d be lying if I said I haven’t compared the two already. Already, this baby is farther along developmentally than Marion ever was.
But as we get ready to enter into the eighth week of pregnancy, I’m reminded that this was the week that we lost Marion.
It would be easy to enter into this week with fear, but instead, I want to choose love. I want to treasure every minute that we have with this little baby.
If God will us to meet this little person, bring them home from the hospital in May, and snuggle with them as they grow up, I still want to learn to treasure every moment. Nothing is guaranteed. But I won’t be able to enjoy even the moments that I do have if I’m wrapped up in fear.
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment,” Saint John writes. “and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love.”
Be Not Afraid
Saint Pope John Paul the Great’s battle anthem encouraging us to ‘be not afraid’ is one that has rang loud in my heart for years now.
When I discerned my vocation to marriage with Joseph? Be not afraid.
When we lost Marion to a miscarriage over a year and a half ago? Be not afraid.
When we found out that we were pregnant three weeks ago? Be not afraid.
It’s a phrase that’s engraved in the inside of Joseph and I’s wedding bands for a reason. If I ever muster up the courage to get a tattoo, that’s the phrase I’ve chosen.
“There is no place for selfishness and no place for fear! Do not be afraid, then, when love makes demands,” John Paul II said. “Do not be afraid when love requires sacrifice.”
Loving the baby that’s growing inside of me requires a lot of sacrifice right now. Mornings are riddled with nausea, feeling light headed, and fatigue. My body is changing, making room for this new life inside of me.
Be not afraid.
This week, even amidst the fear, I’m choosing love.
Would you pray for trust and courage for Joseph and I as we enter into this eighth week? How can we pray for you?
Want to know more about pregnancy after loss? Earlier this year, I sat down with Laura Kelly Fanucci. She’s a mother, writer, and wonderer who has been an incredible resource to me during this season. Listen to our podcast together and head over to her website, ‘Mothering Spirit’ to learn more about her story.