Just Hoping…

Over the last few months there have been some excellent posts challenging readers to rethink the phrase so many of us throw out in regards to our new babies, “As long as it’s healthy.”  I love Kendra’s and Sarah’s posts – they’re challenge notions about life, health and worthiness of it all.  These are messages that need to be heard and the stories are, while full of their own struggles and sometimes heartache, beautiful.  The children they share about, like so many, are so amazing and happy even though many in this world would pigeonhole them into preconceived notions relating “health” and happiness.

I struggle with this though.  As my friends here know we’re experienced two miscarriages in the last year.  Around this time last year I had a gut feeling that something was wrong with my second pregnancy.  I spent the night before my first ultrasound worrying about things like spina bifida and a whole host of problems I could and couldn’t control.  I knew, deep in my soul, that something was wrong, but I wasn’t prepared for the big black hole I saw on the ultrasound screen the next day.

Those things that kept me up that night last May no longer worry me as much, yet I still find myself saying “As long as it’s healthy” when I think of the next time I might see a positive pregnancy test. 

When I say this I’m not really talking about health.  I think “health” is relative and that you can a have “healthy” baby who happens to have chromosomal, genetic or any other type of health related issue.  I don’t mean that I’ll only love and accept a baby who can walk, talk and grow along the most normal of charts.  I don’t mean that I’ll only love a child who is statistically more likely to give me grandchildren, live to at least seventy-two years of age or run regular ultra-marathons.  I know that the way others perceive my children’s health does not affect my knowledge of their inherent value and dignity just for being the person they are.  But, at this point in my life when I say “healthy” I really mean “living”.

There’s no good way to really say “As long as it’s living” to someone who doesn’t know your history, or to whom you don’t want to spill every painful, bloody and emotional detail of your experience.  We once tried to joke with a receptionist that we were “Just hoping for human” when asked “What are you hoping for?” and I still believe that women thinks we were cult members.  I can’t imagine her reaction to the answer in my heart now “Just hoping for living” or “Just hoping this one is big enough for a physical body so I’ll have at least one picture” or “Just hoping to hold him, just once”.  

That’s where I am right now.  I can’t figure out a way to answer those questions the way I want.  I wish I knew what else to say that could be honest, but not completely vulnerable.  I’m not ready to say something altruistic like “He already exists so we’re happy”, not right now.  So friends, for now,  I’ll stick with “Just hoping for healthy” and  I know you’ll understand what I mean.

16 thoughts on “Just Hoping…

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  1. Yes! I think the same thing! I've had many people tell me I should just be happy my babies were conceived even if they didn't live past a very early stage…but I'm just not there yet. Someday, maybe. But right now, it's not enough for me to just conceive a child. I need more. I need that child to live. Is that too selfish? I don't know.

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  2. This is wonderful Molly. My first and only pregnancy loss happened on our last child conceived. I am sure that changes my perspective and my ability to move through the grieving process. but even I cannot say that I am simply happy to have been blessed with 20 weeks of pregnancy with Gregory. I wish he were here with me. Yes, I can now say that without bawling my eyes out, but it's not any less true. I wish Vincent got the chance to be a big brother to Gregory. I wish Dominic had the chance to take Gregory under his wing and show him how awesome life is (because that's the way Dominic is). I wish Sarah had the chance to “mother-hen” another sibling and I wish Dani and Helen had had the opportunity to tell him when he was 5 or 6 years old how much they had been praying for a little sister. But…that's not going to happen. It's okay, but…simply feeling blessed with the conception of a baby is contentment of a supernatural mother, IMO

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  3. I know the haunting feeling of seeing the black hole on the ultrasound. Nothing can prepare you for that. Especially when you feel 8 1/2 weeks pregnant with all day sickness.

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  4. This is exactly how I feel too–but it's very awkward to say out loud. Whenever anyone asks what I'm hoping for I always think “a heartbeat.” I've got my big 20 week ultrasound a week from Friday and I'm having a perpetual panic attack until it's over. I just keep thinking that I don't care if anything else is wrong, just please, please be a heartbeat. I know we'll make it through whatever comes, but I really don't want to have to. This time I just want a heartbeat.

    I'll offer up my anxiety for you–maybe then it can at least be useful to someone 🙂

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  5. Praying for you Molly, and Mandi and Katrina and Christina. I haven't experience that but I can't imagine anything more difficult. It makes me try hard to be joyful even with “surprise” pregnancies.

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  6. I get this very much too. With my first pregnancy I know that I worried about having a child with something “wrong” and how I would handle it. When he turned out to have more wrong than I could have ever imagined and my world fell apart, my perspective changed so much. I remember being worried when they said he had a clubbed foot (the least of his issues), but now with this baby, I know that I would handle any issue so much better because I've seen the and experienced the worst and if they told me my baby had a clubbed foot, I'd say that was just fine by me.

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  7. I've also had two miscarriages and though I've also had two full-term pregnancies, I worry so much, hoping for a living. So that question, “what are you hoping for?” Bothers me a bit. I also have a real hard time answering “how many kids do you have?” I want to say four but I don't want to delve into details of my life with strangers…

    Sending prayers your way. Beautiful post!

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