It started with baby socks.
Not long after my baby girl died, I felt like God promised that we would not only have another child, but that it would be the boy. I still don't know if this promise came from Him or from some strange subconscious thought, but it kept me going as I crossed what should have been the finish line of my first pregnancy, Eve's due date. I felt compelled to step out in faith in this perceived promise, and so I bought baby socks -- the softest, most cozy socks I could find. Socks for a little boy.
I immediately felt foolish. I tucked the socks away in the room that would have been Eve's and tried not to think about them.
A few weeks later, a pregnancy test shocked me with its positive result. Pregnant again.
For the first month of this pregnancy, I felt incapacitated by fear. I couldn't do much besides huddle on the couch and try not to want this second baby too much.
Then the Best Husband Ever and I went to our first appointment of this new pregnancy, and our doctor reassured us that the baby looked healthy and had a strong heartbeat. It seemed impossible, but the truth of it began to melt my fear.
One of the many, many losses that Eve's death has brought about is that I no longer have a living daughter to lavish sweet gifts upon. I was so looking forward to dressing her in adorable outfits, tying back her curls into little pigtails, and decorating her nursery in purples. As I prepared for her arrival, I began to shop for clothes, and happily there seemed no end to cute little girl outfits.
Boys, it seems, are not afforded the same attention by stores. It has been hard for me to find even remotely cute clothing for baby boys. After the loss of Eve, this truth hurts more than it ordinarily would.
But a few weeks ago, I saw a baby boy outfit that I actually liked -- no, loved. Striped turquoise and green with a little collar, I could not leave it on the rack, and so I bought it. I took it home and hung it on a tiny hanger in my closet.
Again, as with the socks, I wondered if I had done something foolish. If I was just setting myself up for more pain. But, unlike the socks, the outfit is just too adorable to ignore, and so I continue to think of it and hope happy.
Today I went to Target, for sneakers, but somehow I found myself trailing along the aisles of the baby department. It was hard for me to be there. After Eve died, it literally terrified me. And now, even though I have a legitimate reason to be shopping for baby items, I feel like an imposter.
But then I saw it -- a diaper bag, one that I actually liked. The first I've seen ever, in fact, that I liked. I fussed over it for what seemed like a long while, ignoring very pregnant mamas and their bellies as they shuffled past. I reached fingers gingerly into each pocket and hideaway, wondering -- do I dare buy this? It wasn't like the socks, or the outfit, which barely cost anything. This would be a significant purchase, and one that I know would hurt if the worst happens again.
I bought it anyway. I left the store with my prize, feeling heavy. I drove home in tears. Am I a fool? I kept wondering. Am I? As soon as I got home, I stashed the bag in the closet holding the rest of the baby things that would have been Eve's and now never will be.
It started with baby socks. Baby socks that I had no reason to buy, but now have every reason to own.
And I have every reason to hope, don't I? Sometimes it seems that that cannot be true.
Still, I will not give up hope. And I will not give up on living out that hope, even if I feel like a fool every time I do.
Because really, those socks, that outfit, and the bag are more of an encouragement than anything else. They are vital pieces of evidence to myself -- evidence that I refuse to stop believing even when I have every reason to. More than that, they are evidence of the greater hope I have in God, and He is faithful.
Besides, I feel like I have no other choice. I can either practice hope, become lost in numbness, or wither in fear. There seem no other options.
Can you relate? Do you ever feel that you must step out in faith, like you have no other choice?