At my next snuggle session with the BabyGirl, I decided to try it out. But I could only remember a line or two:
Rest your head close to my heart,Never depart, baby of mine.
She said, “More,” so I sang it again. And again. And again. For several days, she would request, “Sing more Baby Mine,” and I would sing those two lines.
Those beautiful, timeless moments of snuggles and singing are what gives life to parenthood. At other times, however, things aren’t so well under our control. Being out of control leads to incapacitating Mom Worry.
At the BabyGirl’s 4 day check-up, the pediatrician found some concerning heart issues and sent us to the ER at Children’s for further testing. Well, the further testing was concerning too, so the ER visit turned into an ICU admission for a million-dollar cardiac workup. That night, after spending the entire day bouncing from doctor’s office to ER to ICU, we had to leave her there in the hospital. She was staying there alone, hooked up to wires and monitors. We were going home alone, without our bundle of joy.
We cried and prayed together and asked God to watch over her for us while we were away. I was terrified, that having endured the most grueling and traumatic birth of 90% of women I know, that I would lose her four days later.
Prior to having kids, I wasn’t too bothered by the cosmic questions of Why Do Things Happen. Issues like the problem of suffering, and to what extent does God control each event, were things that The Professor enjoyed wrestling with but didn’t hold my attention. Until I myself experienced suffering. Then I was plagued with all sorts of questions. Why did I have a difficult birth? Why was I in constant pain for months on end? Why did the BabyGirl have to spend a week in the ICU? What is God doing here? What is the point of this?
The thing of it is, my story isn’t the one that breeds questions. I have a friend whose twins were born 12 weeks early. Everyday she made a 3 hr round trip to the NICU to hold their fragile bodies in her arms and beg God that they would live. I worked with a nurse whose son had active hemophilia. One day she got a panicked call from the nanny and had to rush home to give him a blood transfusion. Another friend’s baby was born with a birth defect that required 4 surgeries before she was a year old. Another friend’s two sons had such severe learning disabilities and behavioral problems that she was constantly worried they’d be kicked out of another school.
Talk about Mom Worry! But it doesn’t even take extreme circumstances to ignite a bout of Mom Worry; the little things can do it too. Your infant chokes on something in the church nursery. Your toddler runs out into the street. Your child stands a little too close to the edge of a bridge. And then, oh my heavens, they turn into teenagers.
Mom Worry is everywhere. Some people face it earlier than others. For some it strikes in early pregnancy. Others don’t encounter it until after the baby is born. And others may not fully experience it until years later. But I think we all suffer from it.
In all my time of grappling with the big questions of Why, I keep coming back to this verse:
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;May the name of the Lord be praised.
This baby of mine? She isn’t really mine. She is a gift from the Lord. He gave her to me, and I am honored to be her steward. But if I believe that this world isn’t my home, then it’s not her home either. If I am temporary here, then she is temporary here.
Our pastor has been preaching through Genesis, and we just studied the account of Leah and Rachel. Poor Leah was unloved and unwanted, but the Lord blessed her with children. With each son that she bore, she thought she would find the fulfillment that she sought. It took her until the fourth son, Judah, to be able to say, “This time I will praise the Lord.”
That’s how I am; too knuckleheaded to learn a lesson the first three times. When I imagine her story, I think about all the things outside her control. She was forced to marry a man who didn’t want her. She had to then share that man with her sister. She thought having a son would make him love her. She thought having two and three sons would make him love her. But finally, she saw the truth: I can control nothing in this life. All I can do is praise the Lord.
for Sarah K