Monday, April 22, 2013

25 Years Later, Looking Back on a Miscarriage

Twenty-five years ago today...

I miscarried our second baby at six weeks.

I wrote about this five years ago and a relative told me how much it meant to her, since she had just experienced a miscarriage herself.  Here is an updated version of it...


Several of my dear friends have had miscarriages in the past year or so. I know at least a little of how they feel, because I miscarried our second baby on April 22, 1988, when our oldest was about ten months old. 

I remember my friend Darlene warning me, "You may feel fine now, but in a couple of weeks you might have a hormonal backlash. You may feel really horrible for a while, but it's normal. Don't think you are going crazy." I'm not sure I believed her at the time, but she was right. Two weeks after my miscarriage, my emotions went wild for several days. I was edgy and angry, like a monster case of PMS. So when I hear of a mama who has had a miscarriage, I pass along that helpful tip. Most of the women I have talked to have confirmed it to be true. If you have a miscarriage or stillbirth, do allow yourself to grieve your loss, even as you learn to accept it. Get your rest. Your body and soul need it. 

If you have lost a little one, I also encourage you to be comforted by the testimonies and counsel of others who know what it is like. You can find many web sites and books on the topic of pregnancy loss. I find that even now, I have a very soft spot in my heart for wee little children and their mommies. When I see them suffer in any way, it pulls at my heartstrings. And I still grieve the miscarriage now and then. I don't think about it often anymore, but when I do, I allow myself to feel it and to receive God's comfort. As I was thinking about writing this article, I couldn't sleep. I got up early in the morning and paced the kitchen floor, weeping. But it is a good kind of mourning, the kind that knows joy will come again. I will hold my little one in Heaven, where he or she is already safe in the arms of Jesus, waiting for Mommy and Daddy to catch up! That's the truth about God's grace! 

Bolivia Trip #2, 2009 
And there was joy after our mourning. Just under a year later, our second daughter made her grand debut, followed by eight more children after that. I thank God for granting me this precious baby just a year after my loss and growing her up into such a lovely young woman.   I realize that if I hadn't lost our second pregnancy, this daughter would never have been born, and she is a treasure.  She has a very soft spot in her heart for people who are suffering.  She and her husband are active in ministry to the homeless in Orlando and to impoverished regions of Bolivia, where they are leading a short term missions team this summer.  (It will be her fifth trip there.)

Not every grieving mommy will have another baby.  I can't promise sunshine and roses.  The ache may linger for a lifetime.  But God knows the End from the Beginning. We can trust him to work out all the details in between. 

Grace and peace,

Virginia Knowles

Thursday, April 11, 2013

"The Blue Bowl" and Thoughts on Making a Home

The Blue Bowl

Blanche Bane Kuder

All day I did the little things,

The little things that do not show;

I brought the kindling for the fire

I set the candles in a row,

I filled a bowl with marigolds,

The shallow bowl you love the best-

And made the house a pleasant place

Where weariness might take its rest.

The hours sped on, my eager feet

Could not keep pace with my desire.

So much to do, so little time!

I could not let my body tire;

Yet, when the coming of the night

Blotted the garden from my sight,

And on the narrow, graveled walks

Between the guarding flower stalks

I heard your step: I was not through

With services I meant for you.

You came into the quiet room

That glowed enchanted with the bloom

Of yellow flame. I saw your face,

Illumined by the firelit space,

Slowly grow still and comforted-

“It’s good to be at home,” you said.

Blue rimmed bowl from Goodwill
Marigolds from Lowes 
I read this poem many years ago and it has always stuck in my head.

I'm not a Susie Homemaker and it's really hard to keep the house clean, orderly, and pretty when there are 10 people still living in the house.  But I try.

I think the core of the matter is consideration: thinking what the other person might like. What matters most to each will vary, whether it is clean laundry, or a well-cooked meal, or a blue bowl with golden marigolds gracing the table. 

African marigold
(much larger bloom than the others)
Not every person will be appreciative of our efforts, whether in the home or elsewhere.  Our work may go completely unnoticed or even be criticized.  Your loved ones may not say, "It's good to be home!"  Gratitude might not be in their vocabulary.

This is not the time to give up.  Try to understand what they want and make your reasonable effort to bring them joy and peace in a way that fits them.  Watch for the little clues about what they like.  Listen to the hints and the suggestions.

Just don't get stuck in a performance trap. Your worth is not tied to their approval.  You have been created by a Gracious God who treasures your presence and your efforts.  You have dignity no matter what anyone else thinks.

Do the things you need to do for others just because it is right and good, and we are all called to serve with love and diligence and confidence.  

Sometimes the sanctuary and beauty you create will be for yourself.  Taking care of Mama is the right thing to do, too.  If you are overwhelmed and exhausted and emptied out, you will have nothing left to give -- and what good that be?  Nurturing yourself is good for your whole family.  Like my old t-shirt said, "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!"

What do you think?  Leave a comment!

With love,
Virginia Knowles

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