On Guilt

For the second time in my life I was staring at a positive pregnancy test. I had taken so many tests over the past few years, and had seen so many negatives that I didn’t quite believe my eyes. Thank goodness I’d asked my husband to pick up the digital tests that literally read “pregnant” and “not pregnant.” I’m not sure I would have believed the little blue lines. That I would be experiencing pregnancy after infertility – especially so soon after a miscarriage – was not even a thought in mind!

Pregnancy after Infertility Announcement

Back in April, when I became pregnant with our first baby, we’d just completed an IUI cycle and I was being monitored by my fertility specialist and OBGYN. Routine (for fertility treatment) blood work revealed I was pregnant. That blood work was repeated several times, and it didn’t enter my mind to take a home pregnancy test until it was well-established that I was pregnant. I only took the home pregnancy test for the photo op.

But this time it was different. This time I didn’t know I was pregnant. I thought my period was late because my hormone cycle was still out of balance as the result of fertility treatment and the subsequent miscarriage. I took the home pregnancy test because I knew it was time to call my doctor, and I knew he would ask if I’d taken a pregnancy test. It never occurred to me that the test would be positive.

But it was.

And the very first emotion I felt was fear.

And then guilt.

My husband and I sat on the edge of our bed for about an hour, and the only thing I remember thinking was “I can’t go through that again. Not this soon.” My heart was still wounded, still healing, from the loss of our glory baby just twelve weeks earlier.

There was so much fear.

I wish my story was different. I wish it was a little more like in the movies where the happy little wife finds out she’s pregnant and she joyfully surprises her unsuspecting husband with the good news. While I was surprised, I wasn’t joyful, or happy, or exuberant. I was scared. I was so scared that my body would reject another baby. I was scared that a dream come true would turn into another nightmare.

And I felt so much guilt because of all that fear.

As the weeks went on and my body responded well to the pregnancy, that guilty feeling weighed heavily on my heart.

There was a deep sense of guilt and grief over the knowledge that this precious baby would not be here if I had not lost our sweet baby last May. And somewhere deep inside I wrestled with being excited, because it felt like being excited about this baby meant that I was somehow okay with, or even happy to have lost our first baby. A battle waged within me of celebrating a new life that could never have existed if we had not grieved that first life. And I wasn’t ready to stop grieving that first precious life.

This inward battle was most definitely driven by pregnancy hormones, and I know to some it is completely irrational. But I wrestled so, so much. As we started talking about names, looking at baby items, and sharing our secret, this new baby’s life seemed so much more real, so much more valued than our first baby. In April we didn’t talk about names, we didn’t look at baby items, and we shared our secret with a blessed few members of our immediate family.

Everything about this pregnancy was different, and better. And I wrestled with wondering if this baby was more loved than our first baby, even though I know with my  mind, that of course is not true. But my heart wrestled.

But there was another reason I felt guilty.

I felt guilty that our journey through infertility was, at least for a time, over, yet so many more are still muddling through that awful, lonely journey. I felt guilty that I could finally rejoice for myself, while others still grieve and groan under the weight of waiting. I felt guilty that our journey was only for four years, while others wait so much longer.

Oh but you see how the Enemy can use those crazy pregnancy hormones to get a girl off track, can’t you?

It took many weeks, and love-spoken truth from my husband and a dear friend, for me to realize that all those guilty feelings were a lie and a distraction from the Enemy.

And it took the realization that all of those details – the miscarriage, a surprise pregnancy, infertility, those who are still waiting - all of it is outside my control.

The successful IUI…

The miscarriage…

Our unexpected pregnancy twelve weeks later…

A healthy, low-risk pregnancy…

Infertility…

My sweet friends who are still waiting and wondering…

…all of it is so far outside of my control that there is absolutely no place for guilt.

And I am reminded of Romans 8:1:

Romans 8-1 Printable via A Royal Daughter (right click + save as if you’d like to print an 8X10 – feel free!)

Oh I know this verse isn’t talking about crazy guilty feelings related to pregnancy after infertility or miscarriage. In this passage the Apostle Paul explains that through the work of Jesus Christ, those who trust in Him, are no longer condemned by the Law (in the Old Testament). But this particular verse has been a healing balm to my spirit, and I know it will encourage many of you as well.

This is a verse I need to carry with me for a while, so I created a background for my cell phone. I’d like to share those with you, if you like: just right click + save (on a mobile device click and save to photo albums) and enjoy this reminder from God’s Word.

iPhone iOS 7 Background Romans 8-1 (iPhone 5, iOS 7 background)

iPhone Background Romans 8-1 (iPhone 4 background)

Do you wrestle with feelings of guilt? Even completely irrational feelings of guilt? This time of year seems ripe for guilty feelings – resolutions and goals from last year that went unmet definitely leave me with a sense of guilt. Thank you Jesus for grace upon grace upon grace!

Amanda
Amanda
Amanda

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Comments

  1. Caroline says:

    I hate you felt that way, but glad you soon recognized it’s the enemy!!!! He is so deceitful!!

  2. becky says:

    I can so much identify with these feelings. Thanks for sharing, Amanda! For me, the fear was always justified, it seemed–pregnancy has always ended in miscarriage for me–but I like what you shared about it all being out of our control, in God’s hands. So then, maybe I shouldn’t say that my fear was justified even if my fear came true? Is it possible to go through something like that without struggling with fears? We are only human… but to STRUGGLE with the fears means we are trying to overcome, rather than giving in to the fears. Although I am still on the waiting side, I have continued following your blog even after all the pregnancy talk because your writing gives me HOPE: hope that all the waiting can end in a healthy pregnancy, and hope that if it doesn’t, it will still be okay. Because GOD is there!

  3. Megan says:

    I had a chemical pregnancy in April. Another one in November. Which means positive test and then lose it later that day (for me). It robbed me of that joy, too. In November I took the test and didn’t tell anyone for a few hours. Then sent a text to a friend, because I didn’t want to tell my husband. I didn’t want to hear him say “wait and see.” Again. I felt that guilt too. And then I lost it again. And then I told my husband. When I do get pregnant and it sticks, I know I will be afraid to tell him. Thanks for sharing from your heart.

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