Monday, August 10, 2015

Sacrifice

People always talk about how being a parent means sacrificing for your children. I sometimes feel real comfort from that because I feel like the only thing I've been allowed to do for my son is sacrifice.

I sacrificed the time I spent being pregnant. I sacrificed my body by giving birth to him. I sacrificed my innocence by being there for him after his death.

But there's one sacrifice that I still struggle to give. I notice it most when I'm praying for other parents.

I plead with God for other parents. Don't let them go through what I've gone through. Aren't the statistics supposed to be one in one hundred or something like that?* Doesn't that mean that because I had to go through this, ninety nine more babies should live? Can't theirs be one of them?

Please, just let their baby live.

But, because I know, I always have to end my prayers with, "But if he doesn't, please just let them be okay."

And I know they will be. I know that God allows you to survive that even though you think you shouldn't be able to. Somehow you do. That's the sad miracle God grants parents like us.

Thankfully, that's not the only miracle. The real miracle is the same reason why I know not every baby I pray for will live. It's the sacrifice I mentioned.

It's that my son is well. I hate clich├ęs, and although it's true that he's in a better place, that he's where he's meant to be... how can a mother believe any place is better for her baby than in her own arms? This is what I struggle with. But I do believe it, somehow. He is safe. He is taken care of. He is happy. He is better off--not without me, because he'll never be without me, but outside of this world. He is protected from the muk of the earth and he is needed where he stands. He is where he needs to be, and my sacrifice is to allow him to be there and send him my love and support.

I struggle. Sometimes I feel like I can handle it for myself, but I can't stand to see other mothers and fathers join us. This weekend, I attended a memorial service for an acquaintance's son who lived only two hours. It was a beautiful service that reminded me why each of our sons had to leave us so early. But my heart still breaks to know a portion of that couple's pain.

The difficult part of sacrifice is understanding full well why you need to do it... and still not wanting to. I feel selfish asking God to let these babies live just so that those of us waiting for them won't have to hurt so badly. I am a mother. I know I would make the sacrifice for my son, and any of these other mothers would make the same sacrifice. I don't mean to suggest that they would not or could not do it. So I have to acknowledge that if it has to be that way, please, God, just care for them. Because I know they could do it. But please, please, God, just don't ask them to.

*Regarding a stillbirth like Liam's. Sadly, this doesn't include the statistics of infant death, or the heartbreakingly high rates of miscarriages.

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