Some women love being pregnant. Each movement of the baby brings a sense of awe and delight. They shop and prepare with great excitement and anticipation.
For other women, pregnancy is difficult. Even though they may welcome the new addition, the realization of pregnancy brings dread along with gladness. The joy of adding to one’s family is edged by the promise of pain. This is my story.
The searing pain jolted me out of my fitful sleep.
Now that I was awake I tried with all my strength to move my legs even a little bit. Maybe if I was more on my side, I would be able to sleep more comfortably. But try as I might, my legs wouldn’t move. Crying, I woke my husband who gently turned me onto my side. No matter how tenderly he moved me, I groaned in pain. I’d never experienced any other pain like it before. Every day and night passed in similar fashion while my third baby (second-born) was being knit together by God and carried in my womb.
Not even childbirth had given me agony like what I experienced during the last half of my pregnancy with Samuel. The midwives were unsure of the reason, suggesting that I possibly had an over-abundance of Relaxin in my body, causing my joints to be out of place. I visited the chiropractor regularly, sometimes daily, for periods of several weeks.
Fear and stress and pain were my constant companions.
Even being raised in a Christian home and having made the decision to follow Christ as a young girl did not prepare me for the trial of pregnancy. I had a supportive husband and caring family, and yet no one else could carry my burden. It was mine alone.
During my pregnancy with Samuel, I cried buckets of tears. I struggled to hold onto faith. And through it all, I grew a baby who now brings me delight and joy on a daily basis. But it was the hardest time of my life. Death and suffering are the result of sin in the garden of Eden. Some of us bear the curse of humanity differently and to varying degrees than others. For me, I woke up every morning and went to bed every night with the literal fulfillment of the promise of pain.
“I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children…” – Genesis 3:16
Pain was not the only mark of a difficult pregnancy.
At week 8, before I had even been to the midwife, I began to bleed. After having lost one baby soon after my husband and I were married, I feared the worst. Though the bleeding was likely caused due to an immense amount of stress and quickly passed after resting, the knot of fear in my stomach was all too real.
At 14 weeks, I again thought that I would never know the joy of bringing this child into the world to love and cuddle and kiss. As I was preparing to attend my sister’s baby shower, unbearable cramping doubled me over in pain. The bleeding, including large clots, started soon after. All weekend I cried…waiting for my body to expel my dead child, certain that his or her little life had ended, yet crying out to God that I was wrong.
Monday morning, I went in for an ultrasound.
I gripped my husband’s hand tightly. As soon as the probe was placed on my tummy the image of our bouncing child filled the screen. He was very much alive.
Though delighted to know that our little baby was still living, we were given the grave news that I was “not out of the woods”. I was diagnosed with a large sub-chorionic hemorrhage (blood clot in the uterus). I was told to be careful, try to avoid any excessive jostling, and pray for a good outcome.
It seemed like once the immediate threat of miscarriage passed, the pain started. I tried everything to alleviate it, with no success. There was no escaping the searing pain. Sometimes I felt like I was viewing my life outside of myself. Looking back, I think it was a sub-conscious effort to separate myself from the reality I was enduring. At the time, I thought I was losing my mind.
Through all of this, my husband was right by my side. He loved me when I was unlovable. He held me as I cried, turned me on my bed when I couldn’t turn myself, and walked me to the bathroom in the middle of the nights.
Both my family and his family walked with me through the valley. They helped me with Justice more times than I could count. On many occasions they met the physical needs of food and the immediate need of housing (we were in the process of building our house and were staying in a small travel trailer).
I’m sharing my story because there is always the promise of pain when a woman becomes pregnant.
And I’m sharing because, even though I had the blessings of a supportive husband and caring family, I have tasted some of the circumstances that could drive a woman to pursue an abortion. On more than one occasion during my pregnancy, I had the thought “If I had known how difficult this would be, I wouldn’t have willingly gotten pregnant”. Pain (as well as fear and uncertainty) can drive a woman to the end of herself. If there is no support structure in place, it’s all too easy in our American culture to turn to Planned Parenthood for what is billed as “an easy fix”.
My difficult pregnancy ended when I birthed our sweet baby boy.
The relief I felt when he was born was overwhelming. But I know that, had I been in different circumstances and chosen to abort my baby, that the sorrow and regret would have been just as strong. Our child, my precious little Samuel, makes me so happy every day. His smile and slobbery kisses and gentle voice seem to thank me on a daily basis for going through pain and fear for his sake.
As Samuel grows older, I will tell him (if he cares to know) the pain endured on his behalf. But I will also tell him that he was worth every sleepless night and every pain-filled day. You see, we need to not only celebrate the joy of each new pregnancy but also be ready to bear the burdens that come with them. Because sometimes, those double pink lines, although they tell of the gift of a new life, can also bring with them the promise of pain.
Next time I am faced with pregnancy,
I will have joy in the knowledge that a new life has been created. I will know, that whatever difficulties I may face in the pregnancy, that God is my Rock. But I may also be filled with trepidation and fear as I look over the next 9 months and realize that I may be going through excruciating pain while my baby grows in my womb.
Let’s all be gentle with one another and recognize that our experiences are not all the same. The excitement that fills you upon learning of a new pregnancy could be dread filling another. So share your congratulations and express your happiness when someone tells you their news. But, when she tells you in several weeks time of her misery, be ready to substantiate your congratulations and meet whatever physical needs you can, just like so many did for me.
Have you ever experienced a difficult pregnancy? What is the best way to meet the needs of a pregnant woman who is struggling either physically or emotionally? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear from you!