A girlfriend told me recently that she believes it takes ‘extraordinary people to go through extraordinary things’. That phrase stuck in my head. She shared with me of how she struggled with 7 years of infertility, before conceiving her beautiful twins through IVF. Even then, her IVF journey was not smooth sailing. Her pregnancy journey was tough.
We wondered together, how relatives could lay hands on empty wombs, ignorantly asking, ‘Why no baby yet?‘. Hushed, malicious whispers on why my friend and her husband had not conceived were painful to hear. Yet, they continued to push through, past the hurtful remarks that knew nothing of their deep desire for children. It took 7 years, three IVF cycles, and a pregnancy that required complete bed rest from the beginning, before that rainbow came.
As we exchanged our stories, she reminded me that God never puts us through more than we can bear. She also emphasised how extraordinary people are given the most extraordinary challenges because God is aware of how strong, faithful, and determined we are.
Not Taking Things For Granted
Battling anorexia was frustrating and tiring. The road to recovery was long. However, I cannot deny that ultimately, it was a battle that I feel I had control over. With a miscarriage, as much as I think I could have prevented it, I know that the truth is, it was out of my hands. Recovering from the ordeal, made me realise just how much I need to rely on God for His strength and grace. It is only through life’s trials and tribulations can we then appreciate the gifts He showers upon us in their entirety.
It was our first pregnancy, and our first miscarriage. My growing belly was cause for disdain. My stretch marks didn’t help. The thought of my abdomen being overstretched by the time we were in our third trimester struck fear in me. I took for granted how well things were going. I assumed that our babies would safely be in our arms this time of the year, that we would be exhausted but exhilarated.
I will happily accept the changes in my body both inside and out. I look forward to a growing bump, for which I will be grateful for the stories it will tell. No longer does it matter how much it stretches, how uncomfortable I become, how heavy my belly gets. All these things, will be moments that I will savour with relish.
Extraordinary People, Extraordinary Things
To have had three budding babies within me was extraordinary. I will always remember them – their rolling and kicking, their burgeoning characters that we extracted whenever we had our scan, their developing features. Then, to have them taken away from us so swiftly.
My girlfriend was right, they were an extraordinary gift, and I must be somewhat extraordinary to have been blessed with this gift, even if only for that short time. This path that Florian and I were placed on, was rather an extraordinary one. To have walked through it together and emerged stronger, only reflects the might of our extraordinary God.
We won’t always know what extraordinary ‘things’ we may have to go through in life. We can never anticipate when they will happen. Neither will we be able to know who has gone through what simply because we do not wear labels screaming ‘Miscarried!’ or ‘Depressed!‘ or ‘In Remission!’. What we can do is accept the cross we have been thrust to bear, and remember that all we have to do is place it at God’s feet for Him to take our burden away.
More than that, we have to nurture an extra portion of loving kindness to people around us. To couples without children, you may not know the tears shed for every cycle ending with disappointment. To the friend who says she is depressed, don’t brush it off and say ‘Just smile and you’ll feel better’. We may not always have the right words, but a hug is always a welcomed action for all the extraordinary people around you, who are going through extraordinary things. Perhaps this is something we can reflect on and pursue, as we step into the new year. 2020. Another opportunity to start afresh and renewed.