I started this fortnight with a new plan: I was going to conquer my anxiety! It seemed like a lofty goal considering the fact I am pregnant after a loss but I wanted to do it. I was so tired of feeling paralysed by anxious thoughts and having them steal the joy of this pregnancy. And so I created this, my anxiety basket!
The idea was simple: when I was most anxious, I couldn’t decide what to do and therefore couldn’t pull myself out of the worry. The basket contains 24 eggs and each egg contains one piece of paper. On the paper, is an idea of something I could do in order to distract myself from the anxiety of PAL. The ideas range from silly (taking ridiculous selfies with my eighteen month old son) to practical (going for a walk for fresh air and exercise). There’s also some calming ideas, like colouring in or listening to a meditation track. I’ve had this basket for about two weeks now and ironically, I haven’t had to use it. But it’s nice knowing it’s there for if I do start to feel anxious again.
When I realised that I haven’t needed the basket, I began wondering why. Why is it that I’ve felt calmer despite approaching the gestation when Ariella died (39w)? The anxiety turned up a notch as I neared the end of Levi’s pregnancy, but this time it’s different. Why? I was a bit confused to be honest! After a lot of thinking, I have my answer. People have often commented to me that they are amazed that I didn’t lose my faith after Ariella’s death. It seems to honestly shock some people that I still believe in God and believe He is good. And I do. I never questioned His goodness or His character, although I definitely questioned His action or rather, lack thereof, in saving my daughter. I didn’t understand His way but I felt I could still trust His unchanging character. That’s what pulled me through; that’s what kept me believing. When I read Kristi’s thought provoking article “You have to have faith” I couldn’t stop thinking about this quote:
When people reminded me to “have faith”, what I wish I had said was that I do have faith – but my faith is not in knowing that my pregnancy would have a positive outcome, although I prayed for that fervently, with every breath. As much as I told myself that this time would be different, this baby would come home with us, I knew that my words and my optimism could not guarantee such an outcome. My faith was in God, knowing that his character would not change in spite of the outcome, whatever it was. A take-home baby would not prove his goodness any more than another loss would prove his absence.
I realised I wasn’t at that point. I couldn’t say that my faith was in God’s character; I was so anxious about this baby and I was sure that a loss would destroy me and my faith. If God didn’t act how I desperately hoped He would, I didn’t know my faith would survive. That thought made me so very anxious. I had lost sight of the fact that it is possible to have faith and be afraid, and it wasn’t until I reconciled the two that I was able to fully trust God with this pregnancy. And trusting Him has resulted in much lower anxiety levels.
Am I sure this baby will live? No. But am I sure that the goodness of God will remain unchanged whatever this pregnancy’s outcome? Yes. And for me, the goodness of God includes knowing He will sustain me, my husband and son regardless of what we face at the end of this pregnancy. And it’s that knowledge that has given me the peace I was searching for. I hope you find it too.