Saturday, August 27, 2011

when sharing good news is scary

photo: Raj Lulla

We announced on facebook this week that Lindsey is pregnant, and it was hard.

Despite the statistics which overwhelmingly suggest that a pregnancy this far along will most likely result in a healthy baby, after two miscarriages, it is difficult not to feel foolish about getting excited and sharing our joy with others.

Perhaps it is the inherent sense of disconnected connectivity facebook produces.  After the first pregnancy, though we scrubbed facebook of notifications, we still got some delayed messages several months post-miscarriage inquiring about the status of the pregnancy.  We never announced the miscarriage on facebook, as it seemed an oddly intimate thing to post between peoples' complaints about the government and pictures of their breakfast foods.  Still, many caught on and expressed their sympathies, and a few even brought food.

We were wiser and didn't announce the second pregnancy online, but that was only marginally better.  Sure, we avoided the awkward and painful questions, but we also lacked the outpouring of support followed the first miscarriage.  Lindsey's aunt graciously and swiftly came down and cared for us, but other than that, it was a lonely and private grieving.

I think, however, it was neither the uncomfortable publicity of the first nor the isolating loneliness of the second that made this announcement difficult.  Rather, it was the vulnerability of believing that we will meet this baby this side of heaven.  It is exactly like believing in love after heartbreak.  Part of you feels an extreme fool for risking heartache, having been once (or more) bitten and twice shy, but another part of you dreads even the idea of an existence so numb and guardedly self-preserving that even joy must be hidden from view.

I believed wrongly that only sharing bad news was difficult until I was reminded twice in the past year that even our blessings are only held tenderly and by a string.  There are many who have endured much worse than I, and so I don't claim to be a martyr.  Rather, I hope that they find solidarity in someone willing to admit that shadows and silver linings are sometimes uncomfortably close to each other.

Having been a pastor for some time now, it is no surprise to me that people turn to faith in matters of life and death.  Those moments crystallize reality, helping us realize that it is unlikely we are alone in this universe.  They also show us that death is unnatural, a predator to be resisted at all costs.  When there is a story as powerful as the gospel of the Bible, people are irresistibly drawn to the hope that God has found a way for us to conquer death.

It is because of that hope that we shudder to conceive of an life so secure that it lacks both joy and pain.  So it is with a vulnerable yet defiant joy that I announce to you: we're having a baby!

8 comments:

  1. This was a beautiful post Raj. I also got to steal a conversation with your wife tonight. So excited to see God's favor in your life!

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  2. I just want to again express my joy for you both! I'm so happy for you my friend. You will be an amazing dad.

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  3. So much love for your family today. :)

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  4. Hi Raj,

    I'm not sure how I ended up at your site, but here I am. My wife and I are the parents of three exceptionally healthy children and of one that we lost before we ever met. Losing our second child during the pregnancy was one of the hardest periods of my life, and by a wide margin. There was a strange amount of shame that I felt having spent 4 weeks telling everybody I knew that we were having a baby only lose the pregnancy. As you noted, all the awkward conversations you have will people can wear on you.

    A couple of months after the miscarriage we found out we were expecting again. Immediately my wife and I began to devise a strategy. Of course we would tell our parents, but probably not the church, well maybe this couple that were really close to, wait no, maybe not even the parents...the last one was very tough on them too...we will just wait.

    And that last all of two days before the two of us came to each other that evening and said we had something to talk about. We both had felt the great sense that the spirit was pushing us toward telling our church family. It became clear to us that were we to lose another baby, we NEEDED the community of believers to hold us close and care for us, all the awkward conversations and painful retellings of the situation included.

    I'm glad that you leaned further into the comfort of our Lord and his Church by proceeding to tell people about this joyous event. I pray for health for your wife and your child. I pray the Lord uses you to spread the gospel to a part of the country that "knows" Jesus, but does not know him.

    Andrew

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  5. Andrew,

    Thank you for sharing your story. I'm sorry that you and your wife know the pain of miscarriage, and I am glad that you have been blessed with three healthy children.

    It has been incredibly interesting to walk through these things in community with others. Our first miscarriage was very public and actually ended up provoking women who had experienced miscarriages to confide in Lindsey and seek comfort in her. This was good, but it was hard to comfort others when we were in need of comfort ourselves. The second was much more private, and we were handled like fragile glass. Isolation made the sadness feel much deeper.

    Thank you for leaving a comment. We very much appreciate your prayers. I hope to get to know you better on here.

    God bless,
    Raj

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  6. Congrats on the baby, and very well put. I'm copying a line from this into my journal, but not telling you which. Mwahahaha. :-)

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  7. Thanks, Marcie! Nice evil laugh. :)

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