This is the (lightly edited) testimony I shared with my MOPS group at the very beginning of the year. The one that started all this.... stuff. The real reason I wanted to start this. I mean, yay on the crash pads and body wash... but I'm nothing if not real. And real needs some brave to get it going. -deep breaths-
Hi, I’m Jessica. If we haven’t had a chance to really chat there are three things you need to know about who I am:
1- I have no filters. No, I HAD filters but I think they broke or need to be changed or something and I just don’t have time for that stuff right now… so I have no filters. Someone recently asked me if I listened to the words that come out of my mouth and I responded “NO. Then I’d be really upset with myself most of the time!” So forgive me. No filters.
2- You must understand that I don’t judge anyone’s mothering. No, Really. I have no time to judge you. I’m too busy judging myself. Every day. Every moment.
3- In the end I truly believe that every mother who is at least trying to be a mother, is doing the very best THEY can do for THEIR child. Because HE gave us our children knowing who WE are to our core.
I say all this so that you know nothing that follows comes from a place of judgment (not even for my own parents) but from a place that God has brought me to.
So back to my story....I was a happy surprise: the first child to a couple living in the mountains of Virginia.
Like most couples my parents wanted more than just one child. They wanted a real family. My parents made no secret of it and although I knew they loved me my little child mind took their endless “trying to conceive”, fertility treatments and in vitro fertilization appointments as “Jessica, you are not enough.”
It continued. The words that came from my parent’s actions were:
I wasn’t pretty enough.
I wasn’t skinny enough.
I wasn’t quiet enough.
I wasn’t creative enough.
I wasn’t athletic enough.
I wasn’t a good enough student.
I wasn’t a good enough friend.
I wasn’t a good enough daughter.
After 10 years of failed attempts and a couple of lost babies my parents finally had my brother in 1991……in the midst of my father’s infidelity.
And when my father finally decided to leave my Mom for another woman during Christmas of 1992 and I tearfully asked him to stay...If only for me...
His leaving said more than any words he could ever say: I wasn’t enough.
My parents divorced and My mother moved 11 year old me and my 1 year old brother up to Upstate New York to be closer to her family. A strange land of snow, cold and salt. I had never seen more than 3 inches of snow at one time and we had arrived the summer before the famed “Winter of ‘93”. It was a new world to say the least.
Even though we had a new life the record was the same:
I wasn’t enough.
And I believed it, whole heartedly.
Even after I accepted Christ and found my future husband (all in one summer. Woot-woot!) I still believed the track my parents gave me. Their actions continued to prove that I wasn’t enough.
I went on with life; graduated High School, got married. Got a job or two. Bought a house. And enjoyed life with just me and my husband for 7 whole years.
Then five years ago I had a child. My beautiful little girl. I tell her every day she is my gift from God because she is.
I prayed for a beautiful, smart, outgoing, fearless (believing it would be easier to reign in fearless-ness than teach confidence. HA!), compassionate, helpful, Jesus-loving little girl. I wanted her to be adventurous and receive whatever God had planned for her with open arms and a joyful heart. To have my eye color and lashes and Cor’s height and smile. And He gave it to me. All of it.
I was post-baby glowing; I was pretty enough.
I snapped back to pre-pregnancy weight -10 pounds; I was skinny enough.
I could help my itty bitty one off to sleep with just a boob and a rocking chair; I was quiet enough.
I went from a 40 hour a week job to staying home with an infant who slept all. The. Time. I finally had time to craft to my heart’s content; I was creative enough.
And Athletic? Well, you can’t have it all..
I was a good enough Wife
I was a good enough Mother.
Finally I was enough. Motherhood made me enough.
So why just one? Why wouldn’t I do it all again?
In October of 2012 I lost a 6(ish) week pregnancy. It was hard, I cried but I was really OK. I named him October. I loved him (or her) and the little man (or lady) he (or she) would have been. I mourned for the thought of the child more than the child itself and found it easier to deal with at the time.
The second time we were so close to being “safe”. She was so much like her sister I knew she was a girl. It was love at first morning sickness all over again. I had named this one Sparrow. Her name came from my favorite hymn.
“I don’t know about tomorrow
it may bring me poverty
but the one who feeds the sparrow
is the one who stands by me”
I knew THIS time Jesus was standing by me. THIS time would be it. That He knew I was enough to be a Mommy again. But nearly 12 weeks in I had lost her; 3 days before my 31st birthday.
And there I was, alone in the exam room, sobbing as I was losing my sweet fragile little Sparrow. Not enough all over again.
Not even for God… not enough to give me another child. Just one more little one, I wasn’t being greedy.
But the song continues:
“And the path that be my portion
May be through the flame or flood
But his presence goes before me
And I’m covered with His blood.
Many things about tomorrow
I don't seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand”
I am enough for Him. Enough for Him to go through all the rage and resentment and anger and sorrow and hate and everything I felt towards Him and every single pregnant woman around me popping out babies like gumball machines.
He was with me as I wept, as I slept away my afternoons because it was easier than functioning as an adult.
As I parked in the “expectant mother” parking spot at Wegman’s because passive aggression is a great release sometimes.
As I tried to live a Christian life while ignoring Him as being a part of it.
But even more precious than Him waiting though all of that is that he waited for me to get to the other side.
To where I know my mothering isn’t based on how full my quiver is. That I’m just as good of a mother with one little girl as Michelle Dugger is with her 18? 19? 31? Kids.
To knowing I am not less blessed with my one child than those with more babies than bedrooms.
To the point where I know I’m enough for Him, and that’s all that matters.
And slowly I’m getting to the point where He is enough for me. Some days are better than others. And some days I’m thankful for unanswered prayers (Did I mention that my child was fearless?). But I’m getting there. To enough.
A few weeks ago my sweet daughter and I were sitting on the couch chatting.
“Mommy, you have one little girl.”
Yep, one sweet little girl.
“Some Mommies have girls and some Mommies have boys.”
That’s the way God planned it out.
“Some Mommies have lotsa little boys and girls.”
“But you have just one Me.”
“Is that enough?”
And here was my moment of truth.
Here was God looking at me through her little child eyes and saying: “Here’s what you prayed for. Every little detail in one little package that I made for you, just for you, before YOU were even born. Is it enough?”
My sweet human. You are enough for me. Every day. Every minute. Every second. You are more than enough and a little extra on the side.
*I had originally planned to post this on October 15th: National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day....but things didn't work out as I had planned. As they rarely do. Since 1988 the whole month has been dedicated to remembering our nation's lost children. I felt it was only right to stop in the middle of my daily madness and remember our two lost children, even if it wasn't on the 15th.
I know we are not alone in this. That we live life with many hurting Mommies and Daddies. It doesn't make it easier... It doesn't make it better... But maybe we can all heal a little stronger with each other's support. Or at least know we're not alone. Nothing is worse than suffering loss all on your own. Don't. Reach out. Find someone. Share your story.
And most importantly, if you're a Momma of a lost child and hear nothing else in what I've said hear this: It's. Not. Your. Fault. You ARE enough.