I was fairly new in my Christian walk then, and didn’t yet understand how God sometimes allows suffering in order to bring us closer to Him, and can even use our pain for His glory and the benefit of others.
Recently, it seems that everyone in my circle of family and friends are sharing the news that they are “expecting” – either their first, second or third child. It’s always such happy news, particularly when a couple who struggled with infertility finally gets the two lines on a pregnancy test, or that confirming phone call from the doctor.
All of these announcements made me think back to more than 20 years ago when my husband and I got that confirmation after trying to conceive for over a year. Relief washed over us, our prayers finally answered – we were going to have a baby!
We lived in California then, away from our East Coast families in New York & Pennsylvania, near Travis Air Force base where my husband had served four years before deciding to leave the military. We were very active in the Base Chapel at the time, singing together in the Protestant service choir who we considered our “other” family.
A few weeks into my pregnancy, I mentioned to a friend of mine as we set up for a church event that I was having some weird cramps and wondered if that was “normal” or not. She was older than I but had never had children, so she wasn’t sure.
In less than 24 hours, I was in the ER and was told I had miscarried. I was devastated, confused, and angry at God – why? Why would God allow me to experience that moment of joy, only to take it away from me?! Was I being punished for something I did or didn’t do?
It took a long time for me to process and move past the pain and disappointment of losing my child. Friends and family consoled me, but I still felt alone in my grief. Back then, not many women spoke about miscarriage or infertility. There were several Baby Showers I had to attend not long after my loss. Not only did I feel envious of these other women who easily got (and stayed) pregnant, but I then struggled with the guilt of feeling that way!
I was fairly new in my Christian walk then, and didn’t yet understand how God sometimes allows suffering in order to bring us closer to Him, and can even use our pain for His glory and the benefit of others. The event made me seek out God’s word more and I clung to verses such as Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His Purpose.”
Later that year, my husband and I felt God call us to move closer to home, and in 2000 we landed in Akron, Ohio where my husband had found employment. Why Akron? (God knew.)
I soon learned of an infertility specialist there and started services in the hopes of finally conceiving. Unfortunately, treatments didn’t work and my husband and I became stressed and worn out of the “process.” It was then that I surrendered “my plan” of having children to God. At the end of myself, I told God I didn’t want doctors to get the glory, but Him. That instead, I was OK if we never had children, but whatever His will was, I was “in.” I shared with my husband about my talk with God and then told our specialist that I was “DONE” with treatments. And we went about life together.
About six weeks later, I found out I was pregnant! We were elated and gave God all the glory! I will admit though, that the minute I found out, part of me feared I’d miscarry again. I asked my doctor over & over if the right “numbers” were going up, not down. In December 2002, God blessed us with our miracle baby girl, Shannon. A few years later, we had our son, Trevor. Over the years I’ve been able to share my story with other women, as my way of bringing them hope.
I know however, not all women get the “happy ending” that I did. For them, I am so glad there is Cornerstone of Hope! I feel honored to work for an organization that provides a place for women grieving the loss of a baby to join together in support of one another through our monthly Mom’s Club in Independence, and through Pregnancy Loss support groups at all three of our locations.
Additionally, on October 15th, Infant Loss Awareness Day, we will hold a Waves of Light memorial service for all mothers who have lost a child, participating along with grieving parents all over the world to light candles in remembrance at 7 p.m. I encourage anyone who has experienced this type of loss – whether recent or a long time ago – to join us.
Eileen is the Marketing Coordinator at Cornerstone of Hope