Tag Archive: guilty

My husband mike and I decided to start a family at the beginning of last year and so I went off contraception and we started trying. We assumed it would be quick and easy, because we have only heard stories of people falling pregnant quickly – even in the first or second month, and with no complications. And so the first month or two we weren’t worried, we enjoyed the excitement of getting ready to become a family and waiting to see whether or not my period would come. But after six months I started to feel down. I was seeing pregnant women and babies EVERYWHERE, friends who weren’t even sure if they wanted babies yet were falling pregnant, and we were waiting. And waiting. And waiting. I felt more pressure to get it right, more pressure to succeed, but I didn’t know how to do it any better. And so we would try and inevitably fail month after month. I couldn’t understand how God could allow me to struggle with this when he knew how much I wanted to be a mother and how Mike and I longed for a family. I had to do a lot of soul searching (why do I want to be a mother so bad? If I never fall pregnant will I still love God? Do I trust God with the plans for my life?), and often I would spend worship time at church crying, willing myself to believe the words people sang with abandon. God is faithful, He is true, He fulfills his promises, He gives and takes away. For the first time in my life I had to ask myself if I REALLY believed that.

Before this time Mike and I had always talked about adopting, and after a year of trying for a baby the niggles in my brain (what about adoption?) became more persistent. We went to the gynaecologist to see that everything was all right and found out I have polycystic ovaries which means that we are not sure of when my egg is released and it is therefore harder to conceive because we do not know when I’m ovulating. This does not mean I can’t fall pregnant, but it does mean that it can take longer than normal. My gynae then gave us the option; keep trying naturally or go on medication to assist us. What a blow to my self-esteem! You keep thinking “what if I’m the reason we are not falling pregnant?” And then you find out – it is you, there is something wrong with your body. I felt so guilty, felt to blame in some part for the reason why we had ‘wasted’ a year trying for a baby. I had to come to terms with the fact that I could not control a hormonal imbalance in my body, and that it wasn’t my fault. That God loved me through this all, and that this was a blessing in disguise because by knowing what was wrong we could go ahead.

It was at this point that Mike reminded me again of our wish to adopt at some stage in life. We could keep trying and use medication to help, but if we were serious about adoption, why not go ahead with it now? We could try to conceive a sibling at a later stage because we now knew the obstacles we faced. And so, in March this year, we spent a weekend away talking, praying, crying (ok, that was mostly me) and setting aside all our doubts. We asked the questions that had been casting shadows in our minds: What if we don’t love them as much as a biological child? What if nature is stronger than nurture? What if our family or friends don’t support us? What if, what if, what if? But with every fear said in the open, peace descended and we realized that although a little bit of fear is good, we serve a God who can overcome every obstacle and redeem every situation. And so, petrified and excited, we made the decision to adopt.

And since that moment a lightness has fallen over me. I feel that the year of trying that we went through was a journey I had to take to grow in the knowledge of God and in trusting His ultimate plan for me. I believe that if we had adopted last year we would not have been given the baby God has in store for us, for they were not born yet! I believe that the pain I felt has been redeemed with hope, and I understand with a peace that transcends understanding that this is my journey. I am a mother, and my child is on its way. It’s just in someone else’s stomach. And I cannot wait to be a Mom. I absolutely love and adore my child. I don’t know what they look like or where they come from, but I cannot wait to find out who they are and to shower them with kisses and cuddles. And so, after finishing our screening through our adoption agency, we wait. And we get ready to start the next chapter in our lives together – Mom and Dad!

[Jane and Mike Hampton]

[To jump forward two years and hear some words from Jane and Mike since adopting, click here]

The 18 August 2009 is the day that life changed for Mike and I.

It was the day that we saw our baby on the sonar screen for the first time, but instead of tears of joy, tears of indescribable sadness flowed as we saw our quiet, lifeless baby on the screen with no heartbeat. At home that evening Mike and I sat very quiet on the couch, staring at the tv feeling completely numb. 2 days later I was in hospital to have the baby removed. I tried SO hard to be strong but as I was wheeled into theatre I looked back and saw Mike in his mothers arms in tears, my heart broke.

6 Months later I was pregnant again. It was a new year with new beginnings. After 1 successful ultrasound we were reassured that things were looking good. However, 2 weeks later at a routine ultrasound appointment the doctor once again had the awful job of telling us that she ‘was sorry’ but there was no heartbeat! I lay there thinking no, no, no, not again – this really cant be happening again? She wanted me to try miscarry naturally as during the first procedure my uterus was perforated and she wanted to limit as much trauma to my uterus as possible. But after a week I had to go back to theatre to have the baby removed. What pained me most was signing a paper that stated that I gave them permission to “burn all contents of my uterus”. Is that it all was? The “contents of my uterus” was a little boy!

We were then referred to a specialist at a fertility clinic who did tests and discovered that I had a septum in my uterus which could “possibly” have been the cause for the previous miscarriages. So, once again, I was wheeled into theatre to have the septum removed. Mike, again, my constant supporter and encourager!

10 Months later I was pregnant again. To find out on Christmas day that we were expecting was the most amazing feeling ever! This had to be it? The weeks leading up to this occasion had been incredibly stressful as it involved scans and blood tests to assess my ovaries so that I could start taking extra hormones at exactly the right time. Unfortunately, our world came crashing down again. This pregnancy was very short lived and once again we said goodbye too early.

Very soon after that I fell pregnant again! This HAD to be it? People were praying, my uterus was healthy, I was taking the right amount of hormones – everything was perfect? After 3 fantastic ultrasounds, our baby boy was growing so well. Good strong heartbeat, growing perfectly. Until the 9 March 2011, when our world collapsed again. Routine ultrasound showed out baby’s heart had stopped beating. My doctor just held me and we both sobbed. 2 days later I was back in theatre having yet another operation. 7 weeks later after being referred to yet another fertility specialist, I ended up back in theatre as there was still placental tissue that hadn’t been removed from my uterus and was causing problems. This was all we could handle – enough was enough!

It has been a journey that Mike and I NEVER thought we would go on. It was not something we had discussed before we got married – “what if we struggled to have kids?” It just seemed like a given – like a package deal when you get married – you have kids too.

We have been through some very low patches emotionally, spiritually and financially. It took months to get through a church service without sobbing and it took a year since the last loss to pay off our medical bills. We held a special memorial service in June last year with close family and friends. That was a turning point in our journey. To be able to openly share our pain with those who love us the most was so special! The grief we feel is definitely for the little souls we have lost, but also for the uncertainty of what lies ahead. Will we be parents? Are we willing to put ourselves through another pregnancy which might or might not work? This journey has caused us to drift from certain friends and get closer to others. The lessons we have learnt along this journey are invaluable. The things we have discovered about each other are just so special. We have definitely grown closer through this process and have a much greater appreciation for one another. It bothers me when people say “oh, look how blessed you are because you are pregnant or have kids”. Where does that put the couple who have lost kids or are struggling with infertility? It makes us feel like we have done something wrong to not be blessed? I have learnt that I mustn’t measure how blessed I am by what I have or don’t have. We are all blessed because of the fact that Jesus died on the cross – not because of what we have or don’t have.

I don’t know what our future looks like? It doesn’t have the fairytale ending that we had hoped. We still have baby clothes but no baby, so much baby love to give but no baby. But one thing I am SURE of is that we serve a faithful God who loves and cares for us beyond what we could think possible. Through all our hard times we have KNOWN God’s peace and healing in our lives. We came to a point where we thought that we actually can’t go on, but here we are. Sharing our story with others in the hopes that it encourages others to keep going.

I can’t wait to get to heaven one day, meet my babies and for God to say to me “Well done, My good and faithful servant!”

Blog: http://www.sandalsgilmour.blogspot.com

[Sandi and Mike Gilmour]

Shaun and I had been married for a couple of months and decided to start trying for a family. Imagine our excitement as we found out I was pregnant. At about 8 weeks things didn’t seem to be quite right so found a gynae and went for a check-up. I had terrible pain and was bleeding a little. After some scanning and much to our surprise the doc couldn’t find any indication of a pregnancy in my uterus. It was confirmed that I was experiencing an ectopic pregnancy (where baby is growing inside the fallopian tube and not the uterus) and was rushed into hospital for emergency surgery. We didn’t have too much time to process all this as I was whisked off to theater and when I woke up was told that all was fine and there was no permanent damage. Yes, we were relived that my tube and uterus were intact but what about our little baby we would never get to meet. What was probably the worst for me was the comment people made like “oh well. You can try again” and “it wasn’t really a baby anyway”…to us it was!

A couple months later we fell pregnant again and I was terrified… I didn’t ever fully enjoy my pregnancy and it was filled with complications. I eventually had to have an emergency caesar at 35 weeks. God blessed us with a wonderful little boy. As I was already heading for my mid-thirties we decided that we didn’t want too much of a gap between the children so fell pregnant again when Merrick was about. 9 months old and things seemed to be progressing well.

Then disaster struck. I started bleeding again at about 6 weeks. We were on holiday in Plett and drove straight back to CT to see my gynae. She couldn’t find a heartbeat but said that it was perhaps too early. Blood tests, bed rest and a 2 week wait. We went back..a perfect little sac was seen on the inside but no baby… It was called a blighted ovum. In other words something had gone wrong during fertilisation and the foetus had not developed properly. Not some people don’t even consider this to be a baby. But we did..as we believe its our child the moment conception takes place. Another procedure to remove the remains of our pregnancy. And more comments of “it wasn’t a real baby”. “You’re so lucky cause you already have a baby” , “your age gap would have been so small” and lots of other insensitive things like that. Guess people thought they were being helpful but all I really wanted to hear was “I’m sorry for your loss”.

Often I think situations like this are more difficult for the husband as the loss is not physical but emotional and we know how most men are not so good at dealing with their “emotional side”. We were blessed with a gorgeous little man and had the courage to try again a couple of months later. We are now the proud parents of 3 beautiful children here on earth and two little souls up in heaven. I guess people may think that it was “just a miscarriage” – but not to us. We know God has reasons for these things happening but that doesn’t mean that we are always able to look at the big picture and see things the way God wants us to. Yes I get upset when I think about them, yes I get angry when I think about the thinks people say and yes I am thankful that God gave us more children.

This may not make a whole lot of sense but perhaps someone who reads it can relate..its okay to be angry, its okay to be sad but mostly its ok to talk about it.

Love Heidi xx

[Heidi and Shaun Hudson-Bennett]

My second daughter, Zoe, was stillborn at 37 weeks on 24th March 2007 in London, UK – we had no warning, one day she was well, with a strong heartbeat, head down, ready to come into the world, and two days later, she was dead. It turns out that Nicole has a blood condition that pre-disposes her toward clotting, and the best guess is that there must have been sudden clotting in the placenta/umbilical chord which starved Zoe of oxygen. We didn’t know this until after Zoe was born but because our first daughter, Janel, had been premature, Nicole had been under closer observation than a normal pregnancy, including specialised prenatal care, so there was nothing more that could have been done under the circumstances. Nevertheless, you plague yourself with “what if” questions – what if I’d taken Nicole the emergency room the night before when she first commented that Zoe wasn’t moving regularly, what if Nicole had noticed earlier that something seemed to be wrong?

The church community we belonged to were amazing and really rallied round, providing us with meals, doing laundry, taking Janel out so we could be alone. We were put in touch with a charity called SANDS (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society) who invited us to a meeting of parents who had lost their children. It was just incredible to meet with other parents who had walked a similar path to us and who could tell us that there was some light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how long and dark it might prove to be. When we returned to South Africa, we looked to find a similar support group, but saw that none existed. As a result we started Born Sleeping and have had the privilege of supporting, and being supported by, many couples both in Cape Town, where we live, but also around the country via email and Facebook.

The issue of my faith in relation to this experience is a difficult, complicated, and ongoing one – in the weeks after Zoe’s death, we felt God’s love and comfort expressed to us by his people and we truly felt that, somehow, it was all going to be alright. As a bloke, I was in full strong-man support mode for Nicole, we had a 18-month old daughter to take care of, I had a job to go back to after a couple of weeks, we were preparing to move home to South Africa, etc and although I had the opportunity for some counselling, I don’t think I was able to fully engage with the enormity of my grief and its impact on my faith. When we moved back to Cape Town, we struggled to find a worship community where we felt comfortable – going to church itself was not a happy experience, when you have deep questions about the goodness of a deity who would allow a child to be created only to take her back before we could know her, it is not easy to be surrounded by people singing His praises. The best advice we were given in this time was permission to miss church, to stop feeling duty bound to attend if it was damaging our relationship with God. In spite of this respite, for many months, I would go through phases of truly hating people who had an open, easy faith, because they had what I no longer could claim to be my own.

Truth be told, my relationship with God had been on a downward trend for some time before Zoe died, but the questions that her death raised for me became stumbling blocks which I couldn’t overcome and although we settled in a church and joined cell groups and I even began to lead worship again, my personal spiritual life was essentially dead. Matters came to a head one Sunday morning when God, through one of his children, lovingly confronted me and said that I could not continue like this, struggling on my own and hoping that things would improve, that I needed to seek help. And so I re-entered counselling, and have made progress – Zoe’s death has become the scalpel God used to cut through layers of tradition and habit to uncover fundamental flaws in the way I view God and how I relate to him. There is much work to be done still, but I have hope again that at some point in the future I will be restored as God promises, I will be able to say with Spurgeon “Oh Blessed Hurricane that drives me onto the Rock of Ages” and mean it.

Next month it will be 5 years since Zoe died, and although we have been blessed with a son in that time, I still think of her often and am surprised by how close to the surface the grief remains. In writing this, I have been reading through some of the messages we wrote and received at the time, and the tears have flowed freely again. You never “get over” a loss such as this, but you learn to live with the pain. You never ever quite work out how to properly answer the question “How many children do you have?” but you stop feeling guilty when you say 2 instead of 3. There is life after stillbirth, but it is never the same as before.

Graeme [Graeme Broster and Nicole Masureik]

Born Sleeping Website – http://bornsleeping.wordpress.com/
Born Sleeping Facebook Page – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Born-Sleeping/150344014978601

the one thing that stood out for me yesterday from the lausanne footage we watched was the dude doing the ephesians 4 devotional who spoke about how some people can look at a footprint in the sand and know if it was a woman or a man, if it was someone old or young, if that person is carrying a burden or not, if that person has a slouch or walks straight and tall… he then referred to about five different verses in ephesians that spoke about walking and posed this question:

if we take a week and watch how you walk, what would we be able to tell about you?

[similiar to the statement – if you were ever tried in a court of law as a Christ follower, would there be enough evidence to convict you? well, would there? excluding any testimony from you.]

so last nite we had another incredible time with enGAGE – our church congregation – i preached a talk called ‘The Crit of the Hippo’ – crit being and assessment, a mark, an evaluation… and hippo being a really big creature… so The Big Evaluation essentially… and of course the words ‘crit’ and ‘hippo’ combining nicely to form the word ‘hypocrite’ of which the original meaning was simply actor – so being someone you are not, or as the Cretans liked to do – ‘claiming to know God but by their actions denying Him’ [Titus 1.16]

during worship an older (50ish) homelessly looking white woman walked in to the service and then out through the back towards the hall and the toilets – my beautiful wife (aka the beautiful Val) came up to me twenty minutes later asking where she was and she had completely slipped my mind so i said i wasn’t sure and she went off to find her… apparently she found he naked (or close to, with a rag wrapped around her waist) taking a bath in our bathroom (well using the sink to give herself a clean) with Lindri, one of the other ladygirls in our church hanging out with her…

Lindri then came to me afterwards – after a fine preach and some interaction on being a hypocrite or matching what we say we are with who we are – and said that the woman needed a place to stay and she had no money and could we take her to the shelter…

and that’s where it becomes real, and uncomfortable, and messy, and confusing… cos i honestly didn’t know what to do – i did know that the hostel – which is more than likely full – has a cut off time and was most likely closed – i do know that we have a general policy of not giving money to people on the streets although we also have a policy of doing what we can to help them and at the very least buying them something to eat or maybe helping out with clothes and stuff – but the reality of last nite was there was an in-your-face situation and i didn’t know what to do and so we missed it

and later in bed tbV quizzed me about the whole thing which made me quite upset cos i knew i hadn’t know what the right answer was and cos we hadn’t really done anything (except not thrown her out of our church for taking a bath which i guess would put us ahead of at least one or two other churches) and cos it meant i had to think about it again and feel guilty and not just snuggle down in my warm bed and conveniently not have it invade my thoughts

Jesus said ‘whatever you don’t do for the least of these, you don’t do for Me’ and that is a haunting piece of scripture on any occasion you don’t give money or food, or walk past someone who is lying in the gutter…

another probably reality is that if we did take her home and give her a place to stay for one night, what then? Send her out the next night to sleep in the cold? Adopt her completely and have another person in our home and in our lives to feed and look after? And then the following week there will be two people in church wanting a place to stay and by then our house is more than full (legally i don’t even think we are allowed extra tenants but i don’t think that’s necessarily the point)

as a community we have been helping one of our own guys who has been struggling with a place to stay and money recently and so a bunch of us have done a little bit to help him out – there is a car guard at Ginos, our local restaurant hangout, who a couple of our guys have befriended and we are in the process of organising him a French bible – and there are kids from kayamandi and cloetesville and vlottenberg who a bunch of okes are engaging with every week and building into… so we are doing something

but none of that really helps that old lady from last nite and i am not satisfied that me not knowing what to do and doing nothing is even close to enough – i didn’t feel a specific prompting by God to do anything specific but as tbV said well hasn’t God already told us what to do in His word and yes. the least of these

so i don’t know. It’s easy to have answers when you are not faced with situations (and people). It’s easy to have theory and preach that powerfully or effectively. It’s easy to avoid or ignore or come up with some kind of justificationary thort or reasoning or whatever

all i know is i feel crap that we didn’t help that lady. I feel crap that i didn’t know what to do. I am glad she felt the freedom to hang out and take a bath in our bathroom and i am glad that some of the women from our congregation engaged with her and hopefully shared some life and love

so what’s your answer then?

I thank You, God
For granting an audience
To someone as weak and insignificant as me
I kneel before You
In a futile attempt
To right a millenia of wrongs committed against You
I represent a group of people
Totally unworthy, fully undeserving
Completely unaware and oblivious of their need for me to be here

If the court stenographer will read back the testimony
It will be made clear
That time and time again You have born the brunt
Of false testimony, claiming You were the guilty party
For all manner of unspeakable acts of evil
Disease, Death, War and Famine
All thrown accusingly at You
Accompanied by a menacing, pointing finger
And the strangled screams of, “Why?”

In fact, how often have I been there
Part of the crowd
Adding my voice to the throng?
Or even just the lack of it?
A silent accusation off to the side
Taking it all in
But making no real attempt to voice an objection
Or run to Your defence
“Sometimes the cries were just SO loud.”

But taking out some time
To build up a case
I have been forced into an encounter
Coming face to face with who You really are
Looking beyond the weak Hollywood interpretations
Cartoon caricatures; comical characterisations
Even moving past the weak and off-putting representatives
You have dirtying Your name here down on earth
I finally start to catch a glimpse of the You behind the scenes…

And I know!

September 11 – You were there!
WWII Nazi death camps – You were there!
And in Ethiopia where a vulture picks at a rotting child!
And in Hillbrow as another mugging takes place!
In the belly of the Titanic!
In the local AIDS clinic as yet another baby dies!

Your alibi is shattered!

I have seen Your character. I have tasted who You are.
There is conclusive, overwhelming proof

…and finally, I see it…

…something I should have known all along…

You couldn’t not be there!!
When that fatal shot is fired; at the moment of impact;
another suicide bomber snatching the lives of those around him.
So You stand in the midst of it all
Taking it all in…

Taking it all on!

You hurt…
You bleed…
Your heart breaks even before the family and the friends whose will follow…

You picked up the battered and twisted bodies
Welcoming some of them home.
You screamed at the horror
The violence!
The pure, unadulterated evil of it all.
You screamed!!!

You wept…

You weep!

And as I stand by the grave side
And watch as they lay my person to rest
And ask, “How could you, God, how could you?”
“How could you take this person from me?”

Suddenly it sinks in
Finally hits home
I start to ‘get’ it
One person I loved with all my heart
One more person You love with all Yours
Another one.
And another.
And another.
And another.

And one more.
Because You have to stand here every day.
And another.
Watching the ultimate consequence of sin.
And another.
Something that should never have happened.
And another.
Who do You get to shout at?
And another.
Where do You point Your accusing finger?
And one more.


“I am sorry!”
I know that can’t mean much.
Doesn’t even begin to start.
But, “I’m Sorry..!”

It’s been true all along,
I know not what I do…
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