This is the story of how I became a mum, and probably some of the story that follows that. I am so HYPER aware of how much sadness, confusion and stress there is around kiddos, having them, not having them, wanting them, not wanting them, biology, adoption, fostering, barrenness, loss and all the things and so I offer my story gently to those who are interested.
I’ve always been a bit of a mum, even in high school my friends would call me mum, checking in that friends were eating properly, that people were getting home safe…I guess it’s in my nature, although isn’t it slightly in all our natures?…anyway. But since I was a teenager I’ve also wanted to mum some actual kids, not just my friends. For me the plan was always adoption, until that door was temporarily closed a couple of years ago because of visas. At the time, I was completely devastated and moaned (a lot) to God that this was always MY plan but wasn’t it his too (hello self-righteousness)? Wasn’t adoption what he was wanting for the ones and twos who have been left to the side? In a moment of kindness during a prayer week, he spoke back and told me, Clare, I know you believe in the redemption story, but I want to show you how it was intended, how I planned family to look.
Now disclaimer, before everyone jumps, I know that this is not the ONLY way, THE answer. I know that the stories around family and children are painful, hard, confusing and so this was simply a little bit of kindness for me to hold on to as I transitioned from a lifelong dream to adopt and honestly, a fairly nothing feeling towards giving birth, towards feeling inspired and in awe of what it could mean to become a [biological] mum.
Having made peace with the idea of housing a small person in my body, hubby and I set out to create one (wink) and for whatever reason, this happened super quickly. I must be honest, I assumed that because God had convinced me along this path, he would keep it fairly straight, because presumably in the perfect plan of family, there wasn’t loss, miscarriage. Alas. March 2016 will forever be etched in my heart as the month I lost my first child, Acorn. You can read about that here.
So fast forward to three short weeks after losing our precious Acorn, Lloyd and I had just arrived in Belfast and were enjoying family time at mum and dad’s; merrily eating and drinking…until, I don’t know what exactly, but something told me to not start that next glass of wine before doing a pregnancy test. The human body is weird, and incredible and baffling.
I was pregnant.
I sat in this space of knowing that this was my heart’s desire, but at the same time, just not being ready to move into celebration when I was still grieving. On the other hand, I knew how many people struggle to fall pregnant for years, people who cannot conceive children, also their heart’s desire, and here I was battling to celebrate this new life growing inside me. Please don’t get me wrong, at my core I was deeply grateful and in awe, this little one was not going to grow not knowing he was loved and waited for, but I was caught in this middle.
We named him Snowflake, as a step towards building relationship, and naming him meant that I could engage my heart with his, share with him the story of his sister, and make sure that he knew my sadness wasn’t for him. The womb is a sacred space, and the more I understand about pregnancy and birth, the more I am convinced that the mystery of new life, connection, and our spirits is something to wonder at. I knew that in my speaking truth over my little one, I was protecting him from the potential negativity he could have experienced. For me this comes from a belief that we are alive and have a spirit from the very beginning, that God has created this incredible process of nurture and knowing and feeling and discovering, the secret place where mum, baba and the Holy Spirit dwell. And the more I stayed in this place of authenticity and truth, the more I fell in love with my boy.
The anxiety was real though. Every time I went to the toilet, I expected to see blood, I dreamed of miscarriage, and spent most of my time waiting for something to go wrong. Lloyd was the champion of our happy vibes over Snowflake and he gave me space to grieve and deal with my very real fears – giving me enough permission to feel them, but also being the truth speaker over our family when it was time to stop and remember that we are not alone. This season was one of wrestle with God. I wrestle a lot on a good day, but my question really reduced right down to this – how do we have hope on earth? I get the one day in eternity chat, I really do, I believe it, and I get that God is mysterious, but what does it mean to follow a God who asks us to see the kingdom now? He promises miracles and healing, light overcoming darkness and so much more, but what does it mean to believe for, to contend for those promises when time and time again, they seem to go unfulfilled?
I must confess, a year on, I still wrestle with this question. For me it’s a question that the church can’t ignore, we need a theology of hope that holds the reality of the broken world we live in. I have found hope again, but in moments of waiting, I admit I find myself doubting the promise in the first place.
Despite this wrestle, I fought for celebration, my heart found peace, both for Acorn and Snowflake, and as my belly grew, so did my excitement…
“My mission in life is not merely to survive but to thrive, and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour and some style” Maya Angelou