Thursday, April 23, 2015

Moving Forward

"Godly fear is loving and trusting in Him. As we fear God more completely, we love Him more perfectly."
—David A. Bednar, "Therefore They Hushed Their Fears"

The app on my phone sent me a reminder this morning, 12 weeks. I'm still trying to figure out how to shut it off. About a week ago, and just days after telling family and a few close friends, the heart beat and the tiny squirmy body that was once growing inside of mine suddenly wasn't. At first I was numb, rationally telling myself I had seen this coming all along. But the wave of emotion didn't take long before it engulfed any defensive walls I'd put up.

Almost exactly two years ago, I held Lydia for the first time. It was a moment of instant love and adoration for this perfect baby who I finally got to meet after an uncomfortable nine months. But that moment was quickly followed by an overwhelming feeling that we weren't done. It was terrifying. Terrifying enough that I never mentioned that feeling to Paul for a few months. I remember his expression of shock, because he had had those impressions too, but would NEVER had brought it up if I hadn't. It was a scary moment for us, but we just sort of tucked that fear away for a later date. Right now we had four kids. We were adjusting our lives to care for four tiny human beings, and that was enough.

There's a popular thread that's been going around Facebook for a while now about so-called "good samaritans" calling the cops on "bad mothers" who leave their kids unattended for brief periods of time. As outlandish and far-removed as these reports sound, part of me wonders how long it will be before I'm brought in and questioned for seeming neglect. You see, I let my kids play outside, by themselves. I let the older boys wander off and play in the nearby woods where I can't see them. I often leave Lydia in her crib while I walk across the street to the bus stop. Obviously, I physically can't helicopter my kids like our culture seems to demand, but don't intend to either. Adding one more child to our circus still scares me, but for even more reasons than it once did. I'm sure we are already being scrutinized for our bare feet, dirty faces and lack of constant supervision. The attack on the family really is starting to feel crushing, and I sometimes have to remind myself why I'm in the fight.

When we found out we were pregnant, it was a bit of a shock, but only because it came so fast. It felt like I'd just jumped into a rushing river, blindfolded, trusting that God had my back and that I would somehow make it to the other side with His help. I trusted His timing, and felt comforted in knowing that He knew what I needed more than I did. I kept waiting to feel pregnant, but never did. I was a little tired, but the morning sickness never came. I didn't want to complain about not feeling sick, but still, this was a little unsettling to me. At my first appointment, I requested an ultrasound just to see it for myself. When I saw the wiggling legs and arms and the regular heartbeat, those fears seemed to subside for a moment. That day, with some hesitation, I told our kids. Then I began to tell others, with that same unexplainable reticence. But for whatever reason, it never felt real the same way our other kids did.

So it really didn't come as a huge surprise when I first knew that I was miscarrying. I scheduled a doctor's appointment for the next day, and came in to face the music. When it was confirmed that the baby was no longer alive, it finally hit me. I was a mess.

Even in those really tough moments, it was obvious to me that this was an experience I was meant to have. I suddenly had much clearer eyes and deeper empathy for the many women in my life who I knew had also gone through this. That pain is real, and until that point, I had mostly taken pregnancy for granted. I was grateful for the simple reminder that God is in control, that He is the author of life - not me.

I've come to understand my stewardship a little better. As much as I love my kids (and I really, really do!), I know that God's love for them is even more than I can comprehend. They are His, and I am entrusted with them for such a short, but vital time. I will be accountable to Him for any neglect or abuse. Kind of makes the societal pressures seem silly when I really think about it. It is amazing to know that He trusts me to care for another one of His children, whenever that might be. As for today, I am ok. I'm perhaps even a little relieved to have a moment to pause and reflect on why I'm crazy enough to want five children. 


Rachel Sorber said...

Sarah, thank you for sharing the feelings in your heart. I have never experienced what you have just been through-yet-but it is good to hear you talk about it and to mourn a little with you. I love my little Cannon nieces and nephews so much, and I look forward to meeting the next one- whenever that may be. I love you, Sarah. Thanks for always being such an inspiration to me.

terrah said...

Have you seen this article floating around? My friend wrote it. I think it is so touching to see why sharing about a miscarriage can be such a benefit. It didn't even occur to me when I had a miscarriage 4 years ago (on Valentine's Day of all days). I missed out on opportunities! Thankfully, with some parts of our society, we really are getting better. Big kudos to you for sharing, and recording your feelings to look back on later. I hope you continue to feel lots of sympathy and love from your friends -- and me too!

Momo Cannon said...

Thank you for sharing, Sarah. It is by tasting of the bitter that we are more appreciative of the sweet. Going through these experiences help us be more compassionate and realize that God loves us and is involved in every aspect of our lives.

Jeannine said...

I'm sure this was very hard to put into words and share aloud. You are so amazing and strong, Sarah. Thank you for being such a great example of faith and trust in Heavenly Father. You're an awesome mother and your children are so blessed to have you in their lives!

Liz said...

Oh my gosh, I am terrible! I didn't see this until today. I love you and I'm so sorry to hear about this. It's amazing how quickly we become attached to these little people, isn't it? Please let me know if you need to talk, and know I'm sending prayers and HUGS times a million your way. I love you!

Marc and Miriam Deru said...

I'm super slow seeing this, too-- sorry Sarah! This entry is so beautiful and touching and real, and I love you. Thank you.

Danielle said...

I just saw this post. I'm so sorry Sarah. I'm glad you're feeling better. It's never an easy thing to go through. In all my ordeal, I've really had to learn to be at peace with whatever comes my way. I hope you can keep that peace with you too. And great work on the house and mural! I wish I were that motivated. :)

Becky Lowe said...

I didn't realize you are going through a different kind of persecution for having a large family than I did. It is so sad that evil is now being called good and good evil. You truly are an example to those around you. I am glad you have a larger yard and places to explore where busybodies won't be as likely to interfere. I also am grateful to read your feelings at the time of your miscarriage. I was insensitive and I apologize, having never been through that. You are growing into motherhood as I did - one baby at a time - and you'll handle 5 just fine when the time is right. Love you.