Photo by Whitney Alese. Used upon permission.
This is a picture of me at my last book signing for my book, Sunshine and Daniel: Seeking Grace in Lost Motherhood. It looks so easy doesn’t it. Smiling at a handsome baby in his stroller.
For years this was not possible. The corners of my mouth didn’t turn up when I saw a baby. They turned down. Tears filled my eyes. I avoided these little ones because the fear of facing the jealousy in my heart left no room for "coochy-coos" or baby talk to another mother's baby. Only why’s and why nots to God.
Earlier this month, as I listened to Gabrielle Union share the details of her own drama with infertility treatments and the 8 to 9 miscarriages that plagued her during the “At Home with Oprah” interview on the OWN Network, I was struck by this famous, successful, and extremely beautiful woman’s reflections on her story:
“I’ve failed at so many things... It’s hard to let go of that,” she told Oprah.
Gabrielle said it. I’ve said it. And every Silent Woman who tried, cried, prayed, prayed, and prayed again to carry a baby in her womb has said it. We say it because we believe it. We don’t want to. We know it’s not true, really. But maybe it is. Maybe we did something wrong. Maybe we did something to deserve this curse. Because otherwise, letting go of that inkling just doesn’t make sense.
Failure is exactly what I have felt for so much of my life. People didn't know this because I hid it so well. "They didn’t know about the days I cried, begging God to please let me get pregnant and allow my pregnancy to succeed to birth. The times I prayed that I was no longer the misfit who had a prolapsed uterus, prone to fibroids, that couldn’t carry a baby to term. I felt like people could see all of this when I entered a room. As if I carried the Scarlet Letter on my chest. Only instead of the letter “A” for adulteress, I carried the letter “F” for failure. I failed at pregnancy. I failed at carrying to term. I failed at protecting my babies. I failed at fertility. A big fat failure." (Sunshine and Daniel, p. 232). Thus, after my second baby, Daniel, died in 2002 my sense of failure suffocated me. In return, I swore off holding babies and getting near enough to them to dream of motherhood again, because of my failures. It worked too! Whenever someone held a child near me, I simply walked away. Most times, unnoticed.
So imagine the minor internal crisis that struck my heart when this baby’s grandparents rolled his stroller near my table. My sweat glands went into hyper-drive. Cold perspiration began to bubble across my hairline and in my armpits. For a second, I hesitated. This involuntary, habitual response wanted to take over. My mind quickly thought, “They aren’t stopping here are they?” Yes. They did. Then, with the same uncontrollable impulse, this happened. My built-up resistance and fear of smelling a baby and feeling the irresistible softness of anything baby-related submitted to my loving, inborn, motherly baby-smitten-self. I looked in the stroller parked in front of me and could not resist love.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18 NIV).
As we end 2018, I give you and all the Silent Women who are afraid to love again this image. The image of a childless mother smiling and embracing a child in her sight and in her heart. Breaking through the fear of getting close. Breaking through the hold that the past wants to keep on her to prevent her from releasing the love within her. See her now free of fear. See her now released from the punishment of sadness. See her smiling her way into being made perfect in the love of God's amazing grace!
"You see, the way of Grace is to let Grace have her way" (Sunshine and Daniel, p.238).
As you see her, see yourself! Now is the Time to be free to love!
Happy New Year!!!
Be Well, Be Blessed, Trust the Savior!
Ms. Kim Paris Upshaw © 2018 mskimparis.com/grace-now-blog