Lost and Found.

Some years ago I lost a baby.

That’s not news worthy, barely noteable.  It makes me another one in four who have experienced loss through miscarriage or stillbirth or infertility. I have girlfriends who have suffered, suffered longer, suffered more.

What is of note {for me} was my reaction to the loss.

I am, for the most part; a person of joy. Silver lining, cupcakes and unicorns, bright side looking kind of person.  I have a long standing belief that you can laugh or cry about a situation and it will not alter the outcome one iota, so you might as well laugh, and I do…a lot.  I know that rain falls on the just and the unjust alike, so you’d best learn how to dance in the rain. That’s just who I am.” Baby I was born this way”.

When I lost that baby I was already in a state of ‘unknown’ , where just about the only thing I knew for sure was that I loved this little one.  Held my hand over my still flat tummy and whispered promises of love and security.  I wanted this baby as much as I had ever wanted anything, despite the surrounding circumstances.  I had dreams at night of his sweet downy head laid on my chest, and I sang… as I always do, to this little angel. Joyful Hymns, love songs, lullabies.

However, at the time I was stressed and scared and slept little.  I’d been training hard in the weeks prior and even sparring. This wasn’t the first baby I’d carried and sparred in the ring with or even trained hard during the early weeks (without knowing I was expecting) but when I began to bleed, I also began to question,  judge,  condemn.  When at last in spite of my pleas for him to stay, in spite of my tearful prayers for God to spare him, he slipped from my body in a wash of agony and tears and was forever lost to me.  I knew, I mean I KNEW, I was to blame.

mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

I get pregnant and deliver healthy babies. I just do. The pregnancy may not be uneventful, I may experience bumps along the way, but at the end of all things, downy wee heads rest on my chest. So clearly and without a doubt; I had done this. I was to blame. I was guilty.

That guilt began as a niggling idea and grew on a daily basis, until it was a constant companion.  I was angry at myself all the time.  I didn’t deserve to mourn and so I held the ache like a gnawing rot that would slip out in groans at night. I became reckless. I trained to exhaustion. I pushed the boundaries of my pain limits. I stopped eating if I felt I didn’t earn food.  I lashed out at others while I mentally punished myself. I shoved my loved ones farther and farther away and embraced a solitary thought life. I lost relationships as shame urged me to push away anyone who might see me for what I was , I lost faith in my right to approach the throne of God , I lost myself and hid the map.  I felt utterly lost.

Not the only woman to ever feel loss, but convinced I was the only one who’d deserved it. In my mind, I had failed my son and the One who had gifted me with him , I’d cost this sweet baby his little life… I was a killer.  Even now as I type this I’m choked up thinking of how hard it was to finally kneel at the site of my sons burial place and say anything other than a strangled out ‘I’m so sorry’.

jaze

Enter Thaniel.

I guess you’ve got to have a skewed sense of stuff to really follow my thinking.  Try this, look out at the world, tilt your head to the right , squidge your left eye up and stick your tongue out of the side of your mouth… there you go! now you see the world as I do.

Because I’m guessing that someone looking at things straight on would have figured that I saw Thaniels coming, and the diagnosis of Down Syndrome as punishment. Just desserts for past crimes.  I’ve heard of women and men who have said “what did I do to deserve this?” or “why me God?” and I said those things too, just not with the anguish or anger… I said all those things with awe.

God had seen fit to give me a second chance!. He’d opened my womb again in spite of staggering odds and was giving me a chance to redeem the loss. I couldn’t ever replace him, but I could honour his life with how I lived mine.

When I met Thaney for the first time and he put his downy head on my chest and those almond shaped eyes looked at me with such quiet trust and acceptance, I knew I was forgiven.  I couldn’t believe God had entrusted me with someone who would need more than just a mommy.. he’d need an advocate, a champion, a vigilant protector.  Oh how good God is!!

Like Peter who’d betrayed Jesus three times and KNEW his guilt, felt it, wallowed in it, carried it like his own splintered cross until Jesus offered him an equal opportunity to answer for his yuk… God had given me a baby I’d not only have to love but fight for over and over.

Such incredible grace poured out for my sake.

Yesterday a little girl from the school was at my desk and looking at a picture of Thaniel. She innocently asked a myriad of questions and then summed up our conversation like this.

“So not everyone gets to have a baby with Down Syndrome?”  {notice the word ‘gets’}

I reply “nope”

and she says “then I guess you’re pretty lucky , cuz you got one huh?”

*Holding back tears and trying valiantly not to grab her in a bear hug*

Yes.. yes angel I am. Lucky, blessed, cupcaked, silver lined, unicorn kissed, bright side sunburnt.

Found.

Thaney1

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