Things have been going well for us recently. I'm 15 weeks pregnant and all seems healthy and normal. We're moving back near family. David was offered a job that is perfect for his background and future career development AND will give the the ability to stay at home with my children. I feel greatly blessed and, honestly, completely unworthy.
We've been married almost five years and much of our marriage has been spent struggling with one thing or another - several out-of-state moves, unemployment and financial worries, multiple miscarriages, etc. But I've never felt that we deserved for things to be better. Life is hard. There are no guarantees. And things always could have been worse. I had a wonderful husband and beautiful daughter and even when times were hard and we needed help, we always had a place to live and food to eat. Now that things are looking up, I feel very undeserving. Why should we be given so many blessings when there are so many others still waiting for a baby or a job or a spouse? Even though we've gone through medical treatments to fix my health issues so we could have a viable pregnancy and David has worked hard (and spent many years in school) so that he could get a good job, these things still feel like such unmerited blessings.
I recently read a post on "being the fertile friend". I definitely wouldn't consider myself the "fertile friend", but I'm not infertile either. And the pit in the stomach feeling when I think of all my friends that have been waiting for babies longer than me - I can totally relate to that. Even though I've had my share of fertility struggles, there is always someone who is suffering more, who has had more miscarriages, who has no children. I never think, "I deserve this baby after what I've gone through." I always think, "There are other women so much more deserving." Because there are.
Many pregnancy after loss websites and resources list pregnancy affirmations to help women cope with anxiety during a pregnancy after loss. I've found a few affirmations that have been very helpful to me (this is my favorite) but there are several I've come across that leave a bad taste in my mouth. They are along the lines of "I deserve a healthy baby and pregnancy," or "I deserve the best life has to offer".
In our society, we often invest heavily in the ideas of "fairness" or "entitlement" or "output matching input" but it's obvious that nothing in this world follows those ideals. A college graduate may deserve a good career, but there are many who struggle at dead-end jobs below a living wage. Someone who has always made healthful life choices may deserve good health, but we all know a person like that struggling with cancer or another debilitating illness. Stable, loving couples struggle with infertility while abusive parents have more children they don't want and won't care for.
As a Christian, I don't believe that anything is owed to me, especially
not a child. A baby is always a gift, a completely undeserved gift. And Christianity is not based on rewards for good behavior or results equal to effort. Thank goodness for that because nothing I do could ever be worthy of Christ's sacrifice for my sins. Christianity is not a promise of comfort or ease. It's not safe or easy. It's full of crosses and suffering, disappointments and pain. But also total undeserved grace, blessings, and gifts.
I can't explain why right now my family is being showered in blessings when others are crushed under the weight of ever-increasing suffering, other than to say that we live in a world in which sin twists God's original design and nothing makes sense because nothing is as it should be. I'm mindful even in the midst of the goodness that currently surrounds us that all in this world is temporary, blessings just as much as sufferings. And I pray often for those who are waiting for their blessings because I know that it was the prayers of others that carried us through our toughest times.
At the heart of all of the blessings and sufferings of this world, there is a light, a hope of the world to come. All else changes, all else is fleeting, but the light is constant. In good times, it's sometimes harder to keep my eyes on that light. The worldly goodness around us makes the light of Christ less noticeable, like the beam of a flashlight at midday. In the darkness of suffering and pain, that light stands in stark contrast - a beacon in the starless night. And so, there is a piece of me that is scared. Scared that the goodness of this world will detract me from my desire for God. Scared that I'll take these blessings for granted. Scared that I'll be lulled into complacency. Scared that someday I'll look at my life and feel deserving of the goodness in it, entitled to more. Oh, that is a scary thing indeed.