Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Grieving Mother’s Story

The Community Pregnancy Center is so blessed to host pregnancy test appointments in the evenings. Last Monday night, our client advocate sat down with a young woman to ask our procedural questions before she gave the pregnancy test. This client was an engaged 20 year old, and a mom to one toddler. She lived with her fiancĂ©.  They were planning to get married after her pregnancy, but these plans were not revolving around her current possible pregnancy. Her story began 2 years before.

After their daughter was born, the couple conceived again. Surprised by the news, they both chose LIFE for this new baby. They hoped. They made plans. Just a few weeks later, however, she miscarried. The grief of the death came just as quickly as the excitement for the LIFE.

They wanted a baby deeply after their loss, and they were blessed soon after. They conceived! Again, they hoped. Again, they made plans. The weeks passed, and she reached her second trimester! “Approximately 1 in 3-4 known pregnancies are lost within the firsttrimester due to miscarriage”, so when our client reached 13 weeks, she trusted that she was safe from the pain of that loss. At 17 weeks into her pregnancy, however, she miscarried. For the second time, they grieved yet another death.

Trying to fill the aching gap in their hearts, the couple focused on having another baby. They conceived again. Against their instincts, they both hoped again. They both made plans again. Surely this was their chance. Surely this pregnancy would carry to term and erase the pain of the past year. They reached the second trimester seemingly without a problem. They reached 17 weeks, surpassing the age of the previous pregnancy. At 20 weeks-halfway through a full-term pregnancy-she suffered salmonella poisoning, which devastatingly resulted in an early labor. She delivered a stillborn baby girl.

Now she sat in the Community Pregnancy Center, scared to even look at her pregnancy test: positive. Of course, she wanted this baby, but she was terrified. After 2 years full of loss, she was too scared to hope, too scared to make plans. Those in her family and those in the church attacked her with accusations:

“How can you take care of a baby when you can’t even take care of yourself?”

“You’re losing your babies, because of the sin in your life.”

                She sunk so deep into her grief that she began to believe these hurtful opinions as truth. She blamed herself for the miscarriages. Maybe this was her fault. Maybe this was a punishment. Maybe God was mad at her. When asked about God, the client told our client advocate,

“God doesn’t love me, because He gave me my miscarriages.”

                After sharing with her the hope in Christ and after praying over her, the client advocate sensed a wall. The client was too insistent on blaming herself that night after seeing the pregnancy test to accept any stories about God. The client advocate scheduled the young woman for a limited ultrasound by our trained technicians for the following Thursday evening.

                The client arrived half an hour early, anxiously waiting to see her baby on the screen. Finally, the ultrasound technician welcomed the client to her appointment, and together they saw a perfectly formed 7 week old baby. The client cried, thankful and fearful at the sight. Two of our ultrasound technicians then talked with her in our counseling room about moving forward. The client unloaded the weight of her burden: miscarriage after miscarriage after miscarriage, hurtful words by others, raising a young daughter through the pain, and all the while blaming herself for every loss. She sobbed, staring at her ultrasound’s pictures. Our new ultrasound technician, Claire, spoke directly to the deeper issue.

“How is your relationship with God?”

                The client stopped. She knew the answer. She prayed “the prayer” at 13 years old, but it was a temporary phase. She said that she knew she was sinning by sleeping with her fiancĂ© and living with him outside of marriage. She knew she had rejected church. She knew she was lacking something, but when our technician asked if she wanted to accept God and claim peace, she said, “Not today.”

                Knowing this was a divine opportunity, knowing the devil was keeping this client in dangerous limbo, our technician, Mikelle, shared her own salvation testimony, unpacking the Gospel. God’s heart is so fiercely passionate for her that without hesitation, He sent His own perfect, beloved, sinless Son to die her rightful death, so that she could freely run to Him. She didn’t have to hold her own burden. She didn’t have to accept loss as her fault. She didn’t have to blame herself for 3 miscarriages. The world is so broken and fallen, but God’s grace will always reach mountains and valleys and oceans farther. Hurtful words are still said, but His promises speak louder. Tears still fall, but His love rises higher.  Miscarriages are still suffered, but His hope is and will always be offered with arms wide open.

                Our ultrasound technician explained that this peace-this consuming, lasting peace-is available. This client didn’t have to live in her sin, live in her fear, and live in her self-declared guilt. She could accept Christ Jesus as her permanent Savior and run straight into the life He’s planned especially for her.

“I would like to do that!”

                The client humbly prayed to her Creator, the relentless Lover of her soul, and claimed salvation! Her entire countenance lifted. A calmness filled her. She left with hope, because Christ-the Prince of Peace Himself-still reigns!

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
                                                                                John 16:33