It's not that simple

There's something we need to talk about, and it's not going to be easy. It's a topic rarely discussed, probably because it comes with a lot of really hard emotions and, honestly, a degree of shame. But this is something I've been wrestling with and I know I'm not alone. I hope you'll read my heart in this.

Y'all, this subsequent pregnancy after a loss thing? It's hard. It's a type of hard impossible to understand completely without living it. I hope that by making the incredibly difficult decision to share something so vulnerable, I can help you understand why I seem a bit detached from the congratulatory hugs. That it might make some sense as to why I've not purchased a single baby item yet. That it might explain why I'm in a daze most of the time.

I have spent every single day since that positive pregnancy test in an internal battle with a fear so deep, I can feel it in my bones. I live with that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach (and no, I don't mean morning sickness). I don't sleep too well these days. Worst of all? I have actually felt faith shamed for my fear, to the point where admitting what I'm dealing with has been really dang difficult. After all, I should just trust God. Just choose faith over fear. Just relax. Just. Just. Just.

It's not that simple.

I trusted God and praised Him with my first pregnancy. I had full faith that we'd be welcoming our first child on Nov. 19, 2017. My heart and world shattered that March day on the ultrasound table and I have never been the same. A part of our family is missing. That's no small thing. I have so many questions about why, but I also know that I have to accept that no answer would be good enough or simple enough for my human mind and heart to comprehend.

From the moment we found out that we're expecting a second time, my anxiety has been through the roof. It's a constant thought that if we lost one, we could lose another. You guys, I'm flat out exhausted.

Were you aware that research shows that 40 percent of women who suffer a miscarriage have symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder three months after the loss? This stuff is no joke.

A subsequent healthy pregnancy doesn't cure the pain. A subsequent healthy pregnancy doesn't replace the child(ren) lost. A subsequent healthy pregnancy doesn't erase the past.

Every day, I give thanks for this new life growing. And every day I beg God to protect that life. To allow that life to grow and to flourish. To allow me the honor of earthly motherhood. I pray that the Lord would calm my heart and mind. I pray for bigger faith. I pray for the ability to let go of fear. I pray. And I pray. And I pray.

He has been faithful to send empathetic ears and the right words at the right times. And empathy is exactly what I've needed. My mom has it mastered. My closest friends have it mastered.

I'll never forget the day when a friend said this to me: "It's okay to be nervous. I'm praying for peace for you, but also not guilt if you feel nervous too."

Oh, sweet grace. The heavy weight of shame over my fears was suddenly a little bit lighter.

So what's my point here? It's simply to offer a glimpse at the emotions associated with loss and life. It's to ask that when you encounter a momma in a subsequent pregnancy, that you offer her empathy and grace. That rather than questioning her faith or telling her she "just needs to trust God," you pray fervently for her aching and anxious heart, and for her growing child. Trust me, she wants to feel joy. She doesn't want to be living this way. She wants to feel calm. She wants to enjoy everything about this pregnancy. She really, really does.

It's just not that simple.

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