‘Is She Your Only Child?’

Just today I got asked this question again.  For many years I didn’t know what to answer. At first I would answer with the truth. ‘No she’s not. I have three deceased sons also’. Reactions to this were discomfort and withdrawal. I realised quickly that people weren’t asking to talk about dead babies. So then I would answer the question with “Yes, she’s my only one” and I internally I would feel sick, because I felt like I was betraying the existence of my three precious sons. Finally I realised that there was an implied word in the sentence that people weren’t saying, the question is really ‘Is she your only live child? To which my answer is easily ‘Yes’.

In 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 I gave birth to a baby every year. The first three births were boys. There names in order were Elijah, Max and Drew. The fourth birth was a girl called Poppy. All the births were premature. The first three births were so premature they were not able to survive outside the womb. The boys are all listed on Poppy’s birth certificate. They do not have their own. A baby has to be 20 weeks gestation or weigh 400 grams to receive a birth certificate in Australia. My boys were 1-2 weeks short of the required gestation and they were very small as was Poppy who was 2.5 kilos at birth.

I am currently writing a book on my experience so I won’t go into much detail in this post but I do want to talk about the profound disappointment I faced in my relationship with God when I lost the babies. My faith was rocked to its foundation and I distinctly remember thinking to myself ‘if my faith doesn’t meet me in this place what purpose does it serve in my life?’ When we are in deep emotional pain we become profoundly vulnerable in our relationship with God. Our disappointment can make us susceptible to a lie that ‘God is not good all time’. If we don’t resolve that we can internally battle. We can harbour deep thoughts and feelings of anger and resentment toward God for ‘letting us down’. At the time I was very messy spiritually but I came out of that dark place with a faith in God that was stronger, deeper and more real than I had ever had before.

As I cried out to God ‘why did you let this happen?’ God answered me. As my humanity grasped for some explanation or context to ‘understand’ my loss, God met me. The bible says that we can have in all our circumstances ‘the Peace of God that surpasses understanding’.  To this day I still don’t ‘understand’ why God allowed it to happen and I might never understand it this side of Heaven but while I wait for that understanding to come I can have God’s immeasurable and Perfect Peace abide in me.  His Peace can give rest to the weary soul. His Peace can lift the weight of grief that can crush a life. His Peace can hold human frailty gently in the palm of His Hands imparting unconditional love and goodness. While God’s Perfect Peace laid the ‘why’ question down my pain was still so severe and unmet. God’s comfort was the answer for the pain. His comfort curled up with me through the long, painful, nights of sadness and overwhelming grief. His comfort sewed my broken heart back together. His comfort breathed life back into me. His comfort went deeper and further than any other human was willing to go with me. His comfort was enough for me but also enough for the many people I have met who have suffered such loss. The nature of God’s comfort is so full and overflowing that there is enough to give away.

His Peace and His Comfort. They are yours too. Take them. Apply them to your questions and your pain like a healing ointment. Take it from me – they work.

Over and Out,

Catherine xoxo

5 Responses to “‘Is She Your Only Child?’”

  1. Dear Anonymous, thank you and blessings. We all struggle, but God has big shoulders. Catherine xoxo

  2. Thanks for sharing this with us Cath. It was a pleasure and a joy to share time with you in hospital

  3. Cath, I still remember the day you gave a similar testimony at your Church. It was so profound and I will never forget it, I carry that with me and remember in my days where I struggle how great God is in being comforting and carrying burdens for us in our times of weariness. Xx

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