I was pregnant with Ginny in July 2018. I’ve officially been pregnant for two years. Well technically I had an 8 month break between Ginny and Chet, but I felt pregnant in my heart during that whole time. I was still anticipating holding my living baby in my arms. I still am.
For weeks it has felt so close but still so far. I have continued to have painful contractions on and off with not much progress toward getting Chet here. Thankfully Chet has looked great every time he’s been monitored. He is growing and moving and reacting to the movements and contractions. Even with that reassurance, I still have to work hard to believe we will bring him home one of these days. I feel guilty for not being more grateful or not feeling more confident in his safe arrival. I pray for trust and patience.
During these long days of contractions, I have realized something… These prelabor contractions are an uncanny physical metaphor for grief. Most of the time they are a dull achiness that doesn’t quite leave you alone. But sometimes they come crashing into you, and you are in too much pain to do much of anything. Even just walking from bedroom to the living room is a huge feat. Sometimes you never quite know when they are going to hit. It seems so random. Other times, you know something will trigger it, and you almost ask for it. Sometimes they are consistent and come after some predictable period of time – unstoppable. And through all this you really hope that if you stick it out long enough, if you go through enough pain, you will eventually be relieved of it. You hope to be done and move on with your life.
The main difference between the contractions and grief is that eventually the contractions will end. I will deliver a baby and the contractions will fade away. With grief, there is no end in sight. At the beginning you may hope for a “cure” or for your grief to end, but that’s not how it works. Grief stays with you your whole life. It may settle down for a while, but it will eventually crash into you again. And you may just grow accustom to the achiness.
But both labor contractions and grief come from a loving anticipation. I anticipate being united with my children. The contractions are my physical yearning to be united with Chet outside the womb, and the grief is my heart yearning to be reunited with Ginny in heaven. One of these days both will be satisfied.
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Romans 8:18
“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13