I will offer thanks for what has been and what's to come... -Nichole Nordeman
It's been hard for me, in these past weeks since finding out I was pregnant, to write about much besides the physical realities of my life. I could give a thousand reasons for this – being ill makes me less coherent and less inclined to write; my mind is occupied with the details of this new thing; joy is much more difficult to encapsulate than sorrow – but none of them is sufficient, although the last comes closest to the deep truth.
I feel a need to step carefully in areas which had been familiar ground. So many of you still long for this blessing which has suddenly become mine; how do I write about it so that you understand my joy but know that I have not forgotten your pain? In this space I have quite often explored the theme of suffering but now I wonder if I am entitled to write about it any longer. Statements that were not objectionable when written by someone walking her own via dolorosa might become so when put forward by someone on the Easter side of that particular journey.
Perhaps you can see why I have writer's block?
But I must write about some things that have been on my mind for months, since I first announced my pregnancy here. I may not be able to write about them eloquently, but at any rate I must write about them.
When I posted that pregnancy announcement, not a few people told me, “Your faith has been rewarded!” I also found a couple of posts by other bloggers about me, writing that they had been frustrated by my refusal to seek testing and treatment, but now wondered about their own decisions since I had been vindicated by becoming pregnant with no intervention.
My reaction to the above responses is that oh, good heavens, it is so much more complicated than that.
I was as surprised by my pregnancy as all of you were, if not more so. When that second line appeared I felt raw gratitude, but no sense that I had finally gotten what I deserved. I continue to believe, as I wrote here, that every blessing comes more swiftly than we deserve it. And although in moments of petulance I have sometimes thought that I deserved motherhood, the reality of carrying this tiny beloved one makes me utterly sure that I do not. It is, like Christ Himself, pure gift.
The fact that I do not believe I deserve this is part of the reason I do not believe this pregnancy is a reward for my faith. Another part is that I have a much more realistic idea of how much faith I have (or, more accurately, do not have) than many of you appear to. You flatter me far, far too much.
The third part of the reason is not exactly quantifiable. In word form, it comes out something like this: It's just not like that.
Through two-and-a-half years of waiting, I prayed a lot, and listened a lot, and on numerous occasions received much solace from doing so. However, I never received any assurance that I would eventually become pregnant. (Friends and family members saying “I know it will happen to you” does not count.) I don't believe it is impossible to receive that kind of assurance, and in fact I think I did receive some assurance that Bryan and I would eventually have children of our own. (By which I mean children to parent, not biological children.) But I never had a moment where I knew that I would get pregnant. Even when I was arguing with God about the no-testing thing, I never got a “don't worry, you will get pregnant anyway” from Him. It was always simply “Wait.”
So through those two-and-a-half years, although I prayed every day that God would send us a baby, I never knew which way he would answer my prayer. I only knew he would answer, for God does not say “wait” for no reason. The fact that he answered with a pregnancy is incidental, I think, in comparison to the truth that He Answered. I have no doubt that if I were holding an adopted child in my arms right now, I would feel just as much joy in that truth.
Do I think that just waiting, not seeking medical intervention, is the path God has marked out for every couple struggling with fertility issues? Emphatically, no. It just happened to be the path he had marked for us. It is up to every couple to discern which of many (morally licit) paths God has marked out for them. This one happened to be ours, and as such I am grateful for it because it brought us exactly what we needed, which has been in times past and will be in times to come countless things, many of which we could never imagine for ourselves. Many of those things have been (and hopefully, will continue to be) documented here.
Do we deserve this, the gift of the little one whose ten tiny fingers we saw waving at us on the ultrasound screen this afternoon, whose profile I already find heartbreakingly beautiful? Of course not. But I think the gift is all the more valuable because of that.