sharing your stories and remembering your children
By: Nick Carrington EPLA Editor
“We’re pregnant,” a loved one told me enthusiastically, her smile stretching from ear to ear. Usually, I’d feel unadulterated joy that would burst out of me. But this time, that wasn’t the case. Mixed in with the excitement was that feeling - an anxiety that makes the heart beat faster.
I could feel it well up inside me, swiftly ascending through my body. For a moment, I thought it would take over my face and express something I did not intend. But as that anxiety hit my throat, I squelch those feelings, put on a smile, and voiced a hearty congratulations.
I didn’t want those mixed emotions; it felt unfair to my loved ones. They had a new son or daughter, a precious gift from God. It should be a time of rejoicing. However, this couple had suffered a miscarriage in the past and major pregnancy complications more recently. Their pain was a wound on my heart that may never fully heal.
Later that week, I had time to reflect on those feelings. That anxiety certainly did not mean that I wanted them to stop having children. As I came to understand it, the feeling came from two related places: a fear that my loved ones would lose a child and a fear that I would lose that niece or nephew.
Those are legitimate fears. While statistically, mothers are unlikely to have multiple miscarriages, the possibility remains. We just don’t know why many miscarriages happen.
Still, in the moment when I learned about the pregnancy, I knew that leaning into the joy was the best response. My loved ones had not forgotten the despair of previous losses. They remembered the tears, pain, and long, broken nights. They remember those children they planned for and wanted to hold. My loved ones did not to hear my concerns; they undoubtedly had the same ones.
When we are told of new pregnancies, we should delight in those children. We may rightly feel concerned that history will repeat itself, but in that moment, "take our cues from the family and share in their joy."
There is a time to weep and a time to rejoice. I love my nieces and nephews that I’ve lost, and the thought of losing any more fractures my very soul. But let’s not allow past pains to diminish current and future joys.
Nick Carrington is an Editor for the EPLA and Assistant Professor of Professional Writing at Cedarville University.