I stood in my bedroom with a lump in my throat and a tightness in my chest. I stared at the bassinet that was sitting at the foot of my bed. It had been sitting there for months, but now it was time to put it away. Why was this wave of grief hitting me!? It wasn’t even putting it away for a sad reason! Noah has been growing beautifully, he’s healthy, and now he is rolling over, with the obvious desire to crawl in his eyes. He’s gotten too big for the bassinet. It’s time to move him to the big crib, he’s making the big move into the bedroom with his brothers.
That Saturday, Daniel set up the crib and now I was taking down the bassinet and storing it back in the attic. I pushed past the wave of grief and folded the sheets, took apart the pieces and stored it away.
I spent the next few days pondering why it was so hard for me to put away the bassinet. I’ve transitioned 5 kids before Noah, and this never bothered me! Why now? It wasn’t just a passing weird wave of grief, it was bothering me, like an itch I couldn’t scratch. I mulled it over for a few days and then it hit me.
Hope. This bassinet had a become a symbol of hope to me.
It’s actually a fairly new addition to my baby gear. After Ava, when I found out I was pregnant again I had told a friend here in town. She told me she was clearing out a bunch of her baby stuff and asked me what I needed. I brought my van over and she loaded me up. One of the things I was excited about was the adorable bassinet she was passing on to me. It was early in my pregnancy, so I put it all in storage when I got home. I was waiting until it was closer to my due date to set things up.
Then a month later, I miscarried. I never pulled it out for that baby.
After I found out we were expecting Noah, I was so nervous that I was going to lose him too. I remember lying in bed with the flu (now we know it was probably COVID-19), feeling terrible with a fever, and praying I wouldn’t lose him. I was struggling to get a grip on my fear and anxiety, as trauma sought to suck me under.
Day after day I was thankful for the morning sickness, but I wondered when I could stop worrying. “When can I carry on with peace of mind?” I thought. It wasn’t like I was gripped with fear constantly. Some days and moments I felt very at peace, but others…others were rough. It felt like fear and grief were just sitting under the surface and I never knew when it would bob up to hit me. In my earlier pregnancies I never had to war back and forth in my mind like this. This whole waring with my emotion’s thing… It was foreign, hard and uncomfortable.
I had my 12-week ultrasound, (the one that would bring us the news of T18 with Ava). I was so nervous. I lived in dread of it for about two weeks prior. Our worry must have shown on our faces at our appointment. The doctor looked at us intently and said “You really shouldn’t have to worry, T18 is incredibly rare, the likelihood it would happen again is almost 0”. She was right. Noah looked great in the ultrasound. We were all happy to have good news about this little one.
So now I should stop worrying right?!?
I did worry less, that is true. But I still struggled.
At the beginning of my 3rd trimester, I pulled out the bassinet and set it up at the foot of our bed. I put on the sheet and set his folded blanket in it. I would look at it with hope. One day in the not-so-distant future I would be placing my healthy baby inside. It helped me look toward the future with a little more excitement and a little less fear.
The day I finally got to place Noah in his bed was a moment of peace and joy! My baby boy was swaddled snuggly and slept peacefully in the beautiful bassinet. My physical hope was finally realized!
I got the future I was dreaming about! So why was it so hard to put this symbol of hope away? After all, it really is just a bed.
Sometimes I think we attach meaning to things in the hope that once it happens we will feel better. We will feel healed. “Once I get this job, I will no longer have to worry about finances.” “Once I get married, I will feel truly loved.” “After she apologizes, I won’t be angry with her anymore.” “Once I get this promotion, I will feel recognized and valued.” Or “Once I place my baby in the bassinet, I will stop worrying so much about him and his future.” ….
While it is true that different things can bring healing and help us in our journey, it will never fix us. Being able to place my baby in his bed didn’t cure me of worrying over him, or worrying for my children, or being afraid of getting pregnant in the future. It helped me in the healing process, it gave me something physical to look at and thank the Lord for. But the fact is I still struggle. Reaching that moment that I hoped for didn’t “fix” me.
I think it’s hard to move past moments that we longed for, when we realize they didn’t bring us all that we wanted.
We long for more, we want to feel whole. We don’t want to struggle daily with our emotions, finances, health or relationships. How often do we pin our hopes to things that don’t add up in the way we thought they would?
When we realize that our thirst to fill that void is unquenchable, we are in a place to understand there is only one thing to cling to, only one who can truly fill it for us and bring us peace: Jesus.
Jesus offers us hope and healing. Jesus sits with us knowing our deepest hurts and struggles. He hears our cry and knows our pain. He came to fix what was broken. He restored our relationship with Himself, God, and tells us that all will be whole and new in the life to come.
As we stumble along the way here on earth, struggling daily with sin, Jesus intercedes on our behalf, he fills us with true hope through his word.
The truth is that while I have symbols of hope, nothing fills me with hope like hearing God’s promises in his word. Those promises give me strength for each day. They give me peace in my trauma. They are true on the days I feel it from head to toe and still true when I want to hide under the covers all day.
The bassinet is in the attic, Noah is in his big boy crib and I continue to heal, taking comfort in the one who never changes. The one who roots me in hope. I take comfort in Jesus.