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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Angel Babies-A Lesson in Healing

"I am sorry, Mrs. Reese.  The pregnancy is no longer viable."  Tears welled up in my eyes as the doctor continued with the final details of the visit.  I could not hear much of what was being said as I focused on the sense of loss I felt.  My body felt heavy and my spirit was grieved. 

The appointment eventually concluded and I made my way to the elevator.  The doors closed and finally, I was alone.  Alone with my thoughts, fears, disappointment and sadness.  I became painfully aware that I was physically alone as well.  The small being who had been growing inside of me for the past several weeks was no longer there.  Gone...never to be held in my arms. 

Suddenly, the elevator door opened and in walked a very pregnant woman.  I quickly looked at the floor, fighting back fresh tears.  As I exited the elevator, I could no longer hold back the flood of tears that had been threatening to overtake me.  With my vision blurred, I clumsily made my way to my car and slid in behind the steering wheel.  I buried my face in my hands and let the tears flow freely, filling the car with the sounds of my weeping. 

Anger entered my consciousness.  Why God?  Why?  What had I done to warrant this experience?  What had caused my body to reject the life that had been allowed to begin?  Why?  Do you not love me? 

The sense of emptiness I felt continued to grow and the weight of my grief became heavier, unbearable.  I decided to make my way home. 

I am not certain how I drove the distance to our house as I do not remember the trip at all.  Once I entered our home, I left everything I had in my hands by the door and slipped off my shoes.  The top of the stairs appeared far off in the distance but I knew my solace was near.  I slowly climbed the stairs to our bedroom, dragging my feet the entire way. I finally reached the landing and crawled into our bed, fully clothed.  I curled into a ball and attempted to shut out the world.  I attempted to shut out the emotional and physical pain I was now fully feeling.

I have experienced a total of four miscarriages in my life, each heavy-laden with its own process of grief.  I say they are my four Angel Babies.  Many might say that a miscarriage during the first trimester is not as devastating as one during a later trimester or even after birth.  I say that a loss is a loss. 

I believe there are two processes that occur during such a loss:  the physical healing of the body and the emotional healing of the mind.  Will it happen again?  What can I do to avoid it?  Should we even try again?  I suppose one could also include the healing of the spirit, a sort of reconciliation with God.

I have had numerous conversations with God, at various stages of my pregnancies. After the second miscarriage, there were times shortly after learning I was expecting when I would pray fervently prior to taking a trip to the rest room.  "Lord, please do not let me see anything on this toilet paper after I wipe.  Please, Lord.  Please."  "Lord, please make this cramping feeling go away as I do not know if I can handle another loss."  Anger-focused questions also bounced around in my head.  "Father, if it is not your will for me to carry this child full-term, then why did you allow me to become pregnant in the first place?" 

Ultimately, I found verses in the Bible for focus and told myself that God knows best.  Some might wonder why I would allow myself to become pregnant again, and again...and again.  I firmly believed God had a plan for my life and for the pain I had experienced with each loss.  I believed and still believe that I was not being punished for some past sin.  I imagine that some day when I am in heaven, I will hear four voices which will say, "Hi Mommy.  We've missed you."  Until that day, I choose to focus on healing and the blessings I presently have in my life.

Shatanese Reese is a freelance blogger who lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband and their six children.  Shatanese enjoys walks on the beach and color-rich sunrises.  Her goal is to find inspiration in the every day happenings of life. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Their Eyes Are Always Watching

Allow me to be transparent for a moment as I share an example of how I was not at my best as a parent.  Last week, while traveling to visit my parents, I allowed our oldest son to get in some driving practice by driving our SUV to our destination.  We quickly learned that traffic was going to be problematic on the interstate and that an alternate route was needed.   I was seated near my two youngest children and therefore navigated our route from the backseat guiding him off the interstate through the side streets of southwest Atlanta. 

Suddenly, a situation unfolded before our eyes.  I told my son to take a left to enter the on-ramp leading to I20 east.  Since we were attempting to take a left-hand turn, we proceeded cautiously towards the intersection. We could see that traffic was slowing to a crawl and wondered what was the delay?  Was there road construction or a terrible accident? 

As we approached, we discovered there were two cars blocking the on-ramp and one of the two cars had stalled.  There were a number of individuals who were vacating their cars in an attempt to offer assistance in pushing the car off the road.  One of these individuals was a woman.  While I am sure she thought she was offering assistance, she instead was adding to the chaos and confusion.  She became argumentative and began shouting and hurtling comments at cars who were now honking at the stalled car and attempting to speed by.

Drivers began coming from behind our vehicle to pass us and enter the on-ramp.  I told my son to proceed, albeit with caution.  As he delicately maneuvered our SUV closer to the ensuing chaos, I kept my eye on the back of the truck to ensure a smooth passing.  Just as he was sqeeking by, the woman reached out and slapped the rear of our car as if we were a horse!  I was instantly infuriated!  I turned around quickly assessing our situation and realized there was not much of anything I could do.  In an attempt to assert myself and not be outdone, I rolled down the window and yelled as loudly as I could, "DON'T HIT MY CAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRR!!"  Keep in mind, I was on the passenger's side of the vehicle while she was on the rear driver's side.  Truly effective, right?  #NOT. 

The kids were stunned.  Their faces were frozen with amazement, surprise and perhaps disappointment and mouths were hanging open.  My oldest daughter told my son to proceed as quickly as he could to the on-ramp and to disregard my requests for him to stop the car.  The younger kids were looking around as if to say, "What in the world just happened?!"  I was hot under the collar and quickly sent a text to my husband which stated, "I am going to jail today!"  Of course, he FaceTimed me immediately. 

I lost my temper as well as an opportunity to illustrate taking the higher road to our kids.  I allowed the situation to get the best of me and I responded out of anger.  As parents, we are living examples for our children and if we profess to have a relationship with Christ we are also live models of God's love.  As parents, we show our kids how to cope with life, resolve conflict and how to deescalate situations.  I was not successful on that day and was not proud of my reaction.  I realized, however, I could still use that situation as a teaching opportunity. 

As the kids described what happened to my husband, levity entered the situation as my angered screech was repeated several times, in what seemed like Minnie Mouse voices.  Ultimately, our discussion focused on how they would have handled the situation differently and how the way Mommy handled it was not the best course of action.  When it is all said and done and my time here is over, I hope my children learn not only from my best days, but also from my not so good days.  I also hope they see that God can still use my imperfection.  I am reminded of King David as well as others in the Bible who were fallible but still were used by God to accomplish mighty feats.  I thank God for His grace and mercy.    #GodIsNotThroughWithMeYet.

Shatanese Reese is a freelance blogger who lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband and their six children.  Shatanese enjoys walks on the beach and color-rich sunrises.  Her goal is to find inspiration in the every day happenings of life.  Check out Shatanese on YouTube