This is to share the intense feelings of a mother wondering if a frail little life in the womb will survive or not. Many, many women know this feeling and it’s not easy to give it words, a mixture of hope and faith, heartbreak and yearning, and no one – no one – but the mother knows exactly what it’s like.
And that’s OK. Such intimate knowledge comes with the mystery of motherhood.
From the instant you see the plus sign on the home pregnancy test, you know without a doubt that a new human life has entered the world – not the life of a random stranger, but the life of your child. You wonder exactly at what fraction of a second, at what instant in the still dark quiet of your body, someone new came into being, body and soul. Your child, your child! With awe, you realize that only God knows this answer. In those first intimate moments when you realize you are pregnant, you also realize that you are the only other human in the whole world who has met this new little person.
For now, it’s just the two of you, and God. It requires such faith to believe you are not alone, you are in the presence of another human being living within you, even though the sign on the stick right in front of you is tangible proof. It’s painful to realize that many people in our day and time would think you downright insane to care so much, so suddenly, about someone so small.
“That’s not a person.” Or more cruelly, “That’s not your child.”
Sadly, so many people no longer view children as gifts, accepting them as they are, offering them unconditional love. Entire nations don’t even grant unborn children the right to be worthy of life or recognized as a person unless the innocent child is wanted. As a result, so many people miss these precious moments and instead, possibly out of fear, dismiss the short life of even their own child as merely a pregnancy that didn’t take, or worse, a pregnancy they just didn’t want. How much they miss by not facing their fears! Like grass growing through concrete, the tender, warm truth of life grows up through cold, hard realities. Life is real, and in ways designed and known by our Creator, every life once begun, will go on into eternity.
For anyone who has ever suffered a miscarriage already, there is a fright that sets in right away upon learning you are pregnant. As each slow minute passes, day after day, you wonder if you will cradle the baby in your arms, watch her grow up, or if instead you will see those first signs of impending miscarriage. Once the merciless blood starts to flow, it will not stop even if you stand on your head. If you see the blood, you know it’s already too late, that just as quietly and secretly as the child slipped into life on earth, he or she has slipped out of it too, and again, in those first moments of realization, it’s between you and God alone.
If allowed, even the short little life of a miscarried child can change a person though. Such knowledge allows one to peer into, and contemplate, a realm of understanding that goes beyond the visible. People don’t acknowledge the unborn as real because they can’t see the unborn, but if a person can get past that, the truth is that whether seen or not, the unborn are in fact there and worthy of love. It’s a new level of awareness, almost like getting your head around the existence of angels and demons. They are there. So much is there that we cannot see. What is the true world population at any time? Again, only God Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth, knows.
With a smile, my own thoughts often turn to one of my husband’s favorite (under-appreciated) movies, Men in Black. The salvation of the earth depends on saving a Galaxy whose infinite power could change the tide of intergalactic wars. While the men and their foes search for a powerful, magnificent, and grand Galaxy, the world they seek actually resides within a seemingly insignificant little bell on a cat named Orion’s collar. Remember the clue from the dying alien, ”To prevent war, the Galaxy is on Orion’s belt.” The moral of the movie? Our thinking is too confined by time and space.
So in those days and hours while a mother waits and wonders if her son’s or daughter’s heart has started to beat, something that will continue for life until the day of death, she can appreciate all the moments, and in courage and wisdom, she can let her love flow freely without fear. Everything she does for that child can becomes an act of love, a private melody orchestrated between giver and receiver – a relationship.
Take your vitamins? “Mommy loves you, dear.” Get some rest? “Come little one, let’s take a nap together.” Crave strange foods? “Ah, you are already asserting yourself, aren’t you!” Say your prayers? “Pray with me, my love, for your life is blessed.”
And there is peace. Whatever the next hour, day, or week holds, it’s the same for all your children and for all the people you love. You don’t know when anyone’s time on earth will end; pregnancy can teach you to love with all your heart, to live each day fully. When the time comes to say goodbye to loved ones in this life, grace allows you to go on and continue to fulfill your own purpose, knowing that life is never free of suffering and loss. If miscarriage comes, you know that while you were privileged to mysteriously hold and love someone so tiny, so hidden away in a world we can barely imagine, you know you loved magnificently with all your heart.
For anyone of any age, that’s the most you can do. In the end, whether the child lives for a few days or nearly a whole century, the love you share can change the world.
Originally published on Integrated Catholic Life and is reprinted with permission.