Monday, 21 February 2011

Knitted Together In The Mother's Womb

The hairdresser is the only place I tend to read magazines.  I'm not particularly interested in who's shacked up with whom, which 'celeb' has spent millions on a house not quite big enough to accommodate their ego, or which lip gloss is considered the most suitable for the pout of the season.  But today, whilst having my hair done I came across a short interview with a British actress who had agreed to do a photoshoot because her pregnancy had miraculously made it to 26 weeks.  She has a very publicly documented pregnancy due to a previous late miscarriage, having delivered her son at 22 weeks, only for him to die moments later.  This pregnancy for her is fraught with danger to the point she's on bed rest until the due date.  All through the interview it was clear she felt proud she'd managed to hold onto this child in her womb for so long.  Each day she feared she would go through the devastating loss again of delivering a pre-term child that was not to survive.  But now, having gone past 26 weeks she feels confident of her baby's future.  I shared her anguish, but not to the same extent.  Reading her story was uncomfortable and chilling.  I remember with each of my four pregnancies that sudden fear at realising it was over an hour since my baby squirmed or kicked, wondering if something had gone wrong.  I remember delivering my first child and the horror I felt when the midwife could not find his heartbeat and the emergency team rushing into the room to deliver him without further delay.

Those panics were momentary as I have four beautiful healthy children.  To experience those panics for anything longer would have been torture.

So, my thoughts wandered off and I found myself thinking about another actress, Amanda Holden.  As I read the magazine I sat with tears in my eyes, wondering how on earth she was coping with the devastation of her recent stillbirth.  The joy she had felt at reaching over 30 weeks pregnancy after having a late miscarriage last year, her relief at knowing she'd gone beyond what is normally considered the dangerous phase.  Feeling confident enough to break news to the world she had less than three months to go before her beautiful child would be with her.  Then to face the utter devastation of her child dying and having to endure the awful distress and cruelty of having to deliver that child into the world.  I couldn't even begin to fathom how it felt.

On Sunday 13th March, Reading Family Church are holding a Thanksgiving Service for children recently born in the church.  Children are so precious, moreso than we at times admit.  They are a gift from God - each and every one and they are miracles.  They are miracles of His perfect creation and each one is unique, formed by Him in the womb and known by Him before we even know we're expecting them.  On that day, even though my children are no longer babies I know I will be thanking Him for each one of them.  Thanking Him for four healthy pregnancies, four relatively easy labours and four little lives entrusted to me and Andy.

As I watch them grow every day I still stop and pause and thank Him that they're here.  I thank Him I never had to ensure a miscarriage, a stillbirth, a cot death or a tragic loss of a young child.  I marvel at who they are and how they came to be.  I wonder at times why I seem to have had such a simple ride whilst other parents have had to endure unimaginable and excrutiating heartbreak.  I feel helpless that my feelings are nothing more than sympathy - I can't empathise with them, as I haven't been there.  But I do know that each child that is lost was preformed by God, known by Him and belonged to Him.  I know and trust with all my heart that those children taken before their consciousness was mature enough to decide, and are innocent, are in His care and safely in His presence in Heaven.  I know that God grieves with those parents who grieve and my prayer is that they come to know this comfort and love and find their peace with it.

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