Hello LIPTalk Nation, I want take the time an introduce our Guest Blogger for this Post, Terri Davis. She’s a Teacher, Writer, Wife and Mom. What is so AWESOME about this post is that Terri shares “HER STORY” of Regret and Vulnerability. I’m not going to give anything away, but I will say, that many of you may relate to “HER STORY”. Read here, How she OVERCAME the shame and guilt she carried from a tragedy, a circumstance that she had no control over.
Terri represents BEAUTY IN BROKENNESS and lives a LIFE IN PURPLE.
I had heard the accusations before. You know the variety—the “what kind of mother?” accusations. “What kind of mother would allow their child to watch 5 hours of consecutive TV?” “What kind of mother would not brush their toddler’s teeth for three days?” “What kind of mother forgets to send in the birthday cupcakes?” Guilty. Only this time they were much worse—sickeningly worse. “What kind of mother would not ask to see their dead baby?” “What kind of mother would be too scared to hold their newly miscarried child?” Again—guilty. “What kind of mother would leave their dead baby to be discarded as if it were just medical waste?”
We had decided that the birth of our third daughter would be the period on our child-bearing years. We had miscarried after our second child and waited 5 years to build up the courage to try again. Karis was born in the summer of 2012 and our rainbow baby brought us joy and a sense of completion. However, the next summer, God erased the period and replaced it with a comma—we were pregnant again! Not a planned pregnancy, but after the initial shock, we were excited for this addition. Fourteen weeks into our pregnancy, on October 15, 2013, I began to hemorrhage and in a very public, dramatic fashion delivered our fifth baby in the ER of our local hospital. The comma erased, and a very big, dark, black period put in its place.
In my mind, in the midst of all the drama—the beeping, the blood pressure cuff, the nurses, the doctors, the blood—I knew I should ask to see him. I wanted to. I really did. I was scared. I delayed. I procrastinated in the most serious of issues. I waited too long, until it was too late. I was whisked off to surgery, wheeled past the metal container that held him.
Dealing with the grief of a miscarriage is hard, but the regret of not asking to see or hold my baby paralyzed me. So what do you do with that kind of regret? How do you move on through grief—especially when the grief is holding hands with the biggest regret of your life? Well, I did it rather badly. I blamed others for my regret—if only the doctor had asked me if I wanted to see him. If only my husband had been their instead of hours away. If only God had given me courage. Then, I started to allow the questions—the “What kind of mother” questions–to turn into statements—condemning statements: “That is so like you to avoid hard things. “ “That is what you have done all your life, procrastinate and hope the problem goes away.” “No wonder God didn’t let you have that baby—you can’t even mother the ones you have.” “ You are so weak.” “A loving mother, a worthy person would have overcome their fear and held their baby.” “You left him there—all alone, cold and all alone.”
Thankfully, my story doesn’t end here. The overwhelming, soul-crushing regret came to a climax around the due date of our baby. I had been listening to the voices for six months. I had allowed the accusations a permanent place in my brain, a conversation on repeat in my mind. I think my healing started when I finally admitted my regret out loud. A friend who had been there, who had held my hand while I delivered our baby, asked me how I was doing. I told her of that regret and the load that I was carrying. Saying it out loud allowed me to look at it logically. I had let the phrases hide in the dark of my mind, but now they were there in the open out loud. Looking at it in this manner allowed me to see it as it truly was. I could see it as other people saw it. Even then, it was hard to swallow. I mean, even if the baby was disfigured or deformed, shouldn’t I have wanted to hold him and see him? A mother loves her child no matter what they look like.
Looking at it factually, however, allowed me to analyze another part of my torture. From where were these accusations coming? Was this the voice of God speaking to me? Was it my own voice? I soon came to realize that the accusations were from the enemy of my soul. He is referred to in the Bible as the “Accuser” and he was living up to his name. His voice was not the voice of truth, instead, he lied to me as he is a liar and speaks only lies. When I heard the accusations with which he peppered my mind, I had to stop allowing myself to believe them. Sounds easy, right? So not easy. I knew factually that my not holding my newly miscarriage baby did not reflect who I was. I so did not feel that, though. Instead, I felt worthless and defeated. Over time, though, I began to replace his lies with the truth of Who my God is. As a believer, I know that the circumstances of my life are not random or unplanned. No, he has planned each event, and nothing comes to me that does not go through the filter of his plan for me. You see, the day of my miscarriage was not an accident. My God knew that day and He had planned and prepared me for that day. When I dialed my phone that morning to reach my doctor, it was no accident that the “on call” person at my doctor’s office was a believer. She contacted emergency services and prayed with me while on the phone. It was no accident that the first responder police man that came to my home, took one look at me, and asked if I was a believer. He grabbed my hand, kneeled down beside me and prayed for me and my baby. It was not an accident that on that day, I was surrounded by God’s people on that day. So, the truth was this: God was with me. My loving, caring God was right there beside me in that room.
Armed with this knowledge, I went through the process of forgiving myself for being afraid. Should I have asked to hold him, or at the least ask for his remains to be saved so that my family could bury a part of themselves? Yes, I should have been brave. I should not have procrastinated. But the thing is—I cannot go back. I cannot change what I did. I cannot reverse my avoidance of the hard thing. I just have to give myself forgiveness and understanding. Sometimes, I still have to give myself this grace. After all, isn’t that what God has done for me already?
What possible reason could there be for a mom not to hold her baby? I cannot think of any. However, what is done is done. I have experienced such a healing throughout the pain. One part of that is the realization that I am not in control. I have to trust that what God has planned for my life is working out to the good for His glory. I think that has been the hardest part—just letting it go. Stopping the obsession about what I should have done and what I did not do and giving up control. In giving up my illusion of control, I have learned to trust the One Who is truly in control.
I Really want to point out that when Terri said her feelings OUT LOUD, she tells us that she was able to process her thoughts of feelings. When she did this, healing could begin.
Speak your pain out loud so you can process the information. (So important so say it OUT LOUD)
Decide on what you are going to dwell on. If the circumstances are beyond our control, and you dwell on them, you allow yourself to feel guilt and become bitter.
Trust God’s plan for your life. He’s the ONE in control.
Thank you Terri for sharing part of your story with LIFE IN PURPLE.
LIPTalk Nation, what a beautiful story of healing. It really is about “What you say is what you become.”
Be sure to visit the Life in Purple website to meet more people who are living Life in Purple!