There are two pink lines.
I know these two pink lines will change my life forever. I have prayed for these two pink lines. I have longed for them to appear.
Yet in this moment, I am overwhelmed with one thing: fear.
What if I lose this baby?
Two years earlier.
After counting down the seconds, I open my eyes and look eagerly at the results in my hand. I turn to my husband with excitement as a shriek of joy and disbelief leaves my lips.
We are going to have a baby!
To assure myself of this impending reality, I take two more tests. Four more pink lines confirm the first two. Each time, I watch those lines etch their way across the width of the white plastic stick.
I open my phone and download TheBump app. Four weeks: Your baby is the size of a poppyseed!
In this moment, I have never loved something so small so much. I can’t stop smiling. How could I be so lucky? Who am I that God would choose me to be a mama? Who am I that my imperfect and awkward body could create and sustain life?
I stare at six pink lines and make one phone call to my doctor’s office.
The next morning, I am sitting on a table covered in paper when the doctor opens the door. “Another positive test. You’re pregnant,” she says.
I look across the room at my husband with a big smile on my face.
“Don’t be excited yet,” she says. “One out of five women miscarry in the first trimester.”
My expression falls as the reality of her harsh words sink in. I knew miscarriage was common, but one in five? Those were not the odds I was hoping for. Why should I assume that I’ll be one of the lucky four?
When we leave the office, I realize I have left behind the excitement, the joy, the hope. With my doctor’s warning ringing in my ears, my mind is now fixed on one haunting thought: what if I lose this baby?
I start counting the days. Am I allowed to be excited yet? Am I allowed to put that fear away? Every day I imagine waking up to sheets covered in warm, red blood. Every day I imagine losing this baby. Every day I imagine being the one in five. No, no excitement yet. I tell myself to wait just a few more weeks.
To help hold that fear at a distance,, I keep a journal of letters to my growing baby. I tell my little one that he or she is loved more than words, and more than fear..
Thirty-two weeks later and my heart bursts open wide. I am holding my eight-pound three-ounce baby boy in my arms for the first time. I have a new name – mama, a new purpose for my own existence. Never has there been such a beautiful human being, a miracle of life. I trace each hair growing on his brow. I run my dry, chapped fingers over his smooth, soft skin. I watch his tiny chest rise and fall as it fills and empties of breath.
I never knew I could love like this.
He was worth the fear.
He was worth the risk.
I have known that I am pregnant for the second time for six weeks.
I have ignored my belly growing beneath my shirt, pulling my clothes tighter against my skin. I have ignored the signs of growing another life within — the mood swings, the sickness, the cravings for pickles and cream cheese.
I have forbidden myself to acknowledge the miracle of life growing within me.
“Wait”, I tell myself, “Don’t be excited yet.”
I stroke my son’s soft wispy hair as he sits in my lap. I cannot imagine my life without him. I cannot bear to imagine losing a love like this. I cannot bear to imagine losing the opportunity to know this child and to watch him grow. A part of me believes that if I do not acknowledge this new life within me, maybe it wouldn’t hurt to lose it. Maybe if I don’t let my heart feel love it won’t feel fear.
But I know I can’t stay there. I know I need to choose love even amidst the possibility of loss, to choose hope even amidst the possibility of despair.
This tiny life within me, this heartbeat contained inside my body but separate from my own, this human being deserves to be rejoiced over. This miracle should be celebrated, dreamed for and spoken to. Love believes all things and hopes in all things — I want to love this sweet baby. I want to believe in his or her existence, to allow my heart to hope.
I realize this truth — endings do not negate what once was, death does not render life useless.
If I lose this baby, it does not mean my hopes were in vain.
If I lose this baby, it does not mean my love was wasted.
If I lose this baby, it does not mean my joy was foolish.
The capacity for loss and pain should not deter me from loving, from sacrificing, from dreaming — from hoping.
Instead, may the capacity for loss and pain only spur me deeper into love on this day. For on this day, I am being used to usher a new life into the universe. For on this day, there is a separate heartbeat from my own contained within me, the miracle of two souls residing inside of one body. For on this day, this life inside of me deserves to be loved and cared for, hoped for and prayed for, rejoiced over and spoken to.
So, I will.
Guest post written by Selena May. Selena lives just outside of Portland, Oregon with her husband Andrew and their adorable sons Elliot and Jude. Along with her husband, who is a full time youth pastor, she has dedicated her life to sharing the love of Jesus with teenagers. She also enjoys reading overdramatic teen novels, knitting cozy infinity scarfs, and drinking massive amounts of coffee. Selena writes about motherhood, healing, and hope at selenamay.weebly.com.