It’s remarkable how much things can change in a year.
On January 1 we had a miscarriage. Just days before, at our family Christmas celebrations, we had shared the happy news that we were expecting. And then, on New Year’s Day, we lost the baby.
About two weeks later, my sister, who was nearly six months pregnant, lost her baby too. The year ahead was looking incredibly bleak.
I had mourned the deaths of loved ones before, but nothing could have prepared me for the loss of my child and my nephew. Most of those who had gone before had been elderly—their loss was terribly sad, to be sure, but it was expected. Losing two children within two weeks felt so wrong, so unjust.
In the following weeks, I felt bitterness when I’d log on to Facebook and see updates and photos from moms highlighting their children’s achievements and showcasing their beaming smiles. I felt annoyance with the mom-oriented programs at my church and how the mothers would gather in a group as they sipped coffee following the service. For a brief moment, I had been in the “mom club,” and then it was snatched away from me.
A few months later, we were blessed with another pregnancy, and in December our son was born. A year that started with such loss ended with such a gift. And yet the heaviness of the last year remains. My sister still longs for another child. I long for another niece or nephew. And we dearly miss the children we didn’t get the chance to know.
It’s remarkable how much things can change in a year. A year ago, I didn’t fully appreciate that children are a gift, not a given. As a girl, I had always assumed that one day I’d get married and have children. And while I eventually learned that childhood dreams don’t always pan out, I still assumed they would for me.
I’ve also learned that while camaraderie with other moms is a fabulous thing, the “mom club” can be downright cliquey for those who aren’t members and even worse for those who long so desperately to be.
This year I remind myself not to take our child for granted. He is a gift. And while I celebrate this gift, I also try to remember the feeling of being on the outside looking in.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn,” says Romans 12:15. So rejoicing moms: rejoice in that baby. Rejoice in the community of moms. But don’t forget to mourn also. Remember and mourn with those who wish to be moms, the grieving moms, the struggling moms. They are part of the club too.