This post is actually a personal letter I have written to my future children. In September of 2013, when we started trying for a baby, I started writing letters to my kids that I will put together in a book to gift to them when they turn eighteen. The letters aren't usually this long and I normally wouldn't share them because they're so personal, but when I read this after writing it, I realized fear is something a lot of people probably deal with. In hopes that my experience with it may help someone else, here it is. [CAUTION: Sensitive subject may be hard for some to read.]
Because I've been so excited about getting pregnant, I've read tons about pregnancy. This means I've read a lot of cool stuff, but I've also read a lot of scary things. Stats like one in four women experience miscarriage. One in four. From the moment I read that, it has terrified me and driven me to find out all I could not to be that one in four. I know plenty of woman who are, and my heart breaks for them. It's not always avoidable, but there are some things a woman can do to prevent it. I've been doing everything I can as if your life (well, the life of the first at this point) depends on it.
I've been driven by fear. If I lost you, I don't know how long it would take me to recover emotionally or if I even could. You mean so much to me already. The thought of losing you is unbearable. So I have been doing everything in my power to make sure that doesn't happen. Except the fear has caused me stress, and stress can easily lead to miscarriage. Is there any way at all to make sure this doesn't happen? No. Our human lives are fragile. We live in flawed bodies on a flawed earth. Today is not guaranteed to any person no matter if they are twenty four years old, eighty, thirteen, twelve weeks, or four weeks old. Today is a gift that is not promised. The future is uncertain, and I can either dwell on that, or I can dwell on the certain God who holds my future and your future.
Our family is the most important thing to me on this planet. There will never be anything more important to me than your dad and you, our children. My worrying about your future will only do harm.
I was having lunch with my friend, Mary Beth, a few weeks ago, and we got to talking about pregnancy. She knew I was getting discouraged because of the time it's taking to conceive you, the first. Eight months (maybe going on nine). That's really not a long time, but to me it feels like it. I don't remember why I said it, but I told her that my number one biggest fear is miscarriage.
I started crying in the middle of Panera. I couldn't stop.
MB helped me see that maybe it's taking so long to get pregnant because God doesn't want me to be pregnant with you while I'm pregnant with fear. I was carrying that fear, motivated by it, so I could make sure that I could carry you. MB pointed out to me that if I didn't learn to give up that fear to God and let Him help me with that, that I would carry it with me past pregnancy. I would be afraid when you're a baby. When you're a kid. When you're a teen and when you're the beautiful or handsome young adult you are now. I do not want to be a fearful mama. Fearful mamas are not fun. I don't want to pass that fear onto you. I want to be able to teach you that "Perfect love casts out all fear" (1 John 4:18). But how can I teach this to you if I don't understand it?
MB gave me a book to read called "Jesus + Nothing = Everything". It has helped me see that I have been trying to save myself. People try to save themselves one of two ways, and both are wrong. The first way is by breaking all the rules to experience freedom. God didn't give rules to confine us, but to protect us. The second is to religiously (with devotion) follow all the rules to free ourselves from any consequences, to protect ourselves from any pain. I am the second.
I have been following all the rules to protect myself from having a miscarriage. Don't eat that! It could cause a miscarriage! Don't work out too hard! Don't, don't, don't. Do, do, do. The problem is that my focus is on what I can do, and my motivation is my fear. This is a prison and no way to live, and I don't want to pass that on to you.
Instead, I need to focus on my Savior. He is the Creator of life. He holds us. He did everything already to protect us and set us free simply because He loves us! Lavishly. I need to rest in that love because it sets me free. I don't need to worry about what I can and cannot do. I need to keep my eyes focused on what He has already done. That is freedom.
Might I miscarriage anyway? Maybe. And I will be devastated. But I know if I do, you won't be dead, but alive somewhere else and I will see you again. That doesn't mean it won't be painful. It will, and God will need to be there to pick up the pieces of my broken heart because I will certainly not be able to do it for myself.
But I hope with all my heart it doesn't happen. My only job is to keep my eyes on Jesus. And know that Jesus plus nothing equals everything. Literally.
(Note: It's still important to eat right, but my motivation is health, not fear.)
Baby, I don't know what scares you. Maybe at the time you're reading this, I will. Maybe I won't. But the important thing is that you know and Jesus knows, and He's waiting for you to hand it over, kick back, and relax in His love. Just relax. Your future is uncertain to you, but a certain God is working it all together. His perfect love truly does have the power to cast out fear. It's normal and even okay to be scared of things, but don't let the fear control you. Don't waste today worrying because today and tomorrow are gifts, not promises. Enjoy your day. And know that you are so deeply loved by me and even more by God.
Thanks for reading. I'm sorry if the sensitive subject was hard on anyone.
Here's a song that really helps me when I feel afraid.