Yesterday, I had to have a pelvic ultrasound. Not to worry- I am physically OK (I will be), but I walked out of there not so mentally OK. As I was watching the screen, I teased the tech a little by exclaiming, "There is no baby in there!" as she measured my uterus. (Not such a great thing to exclaim in an OB office ultrasound room...) Of course I followed it up with, "Just kidding- there isn't supposed to be" :) Poor lady. She just needed to look at my ovaries for crying out loud...everyone is a comedian, right?
Anyway, as I stared at my purposefully empty uterus, I began to feel that little knot well up in my throat-yes, you know the one. Somewhere in Africa, there is a lady whose uterus is not empty right now...rather, it is likely filled with my little miracle (or miracles). I have never met her. I do not know her name, how old she is, whether she is married or unmarried, whether she has food and water or shelter to keep her healthy and safe. She does not know how much I love her and that child, how often I think of her, wonder where she is or what she is doing, and she doesn't know how often I lift up prayers knowing that my God knows exactly who and where she is and what her needs are. Oh, how I wish I knew her. She is the most courageous woman I ever hope to meet.
Although she will not likely have the opportunity to lay on a table and look at her unborn child on a monitor, she will know them in a personal, intimate way before they are ever born. She will be the one to feel the midnight jabs of heels or elbows, to endure the hours of agonizing labor, to be the first to hold her child, our child, in her arms. Yet, the one thing she is certain to end up with in the end: emptiness. Emptiness in her uterus, yes, but an even deeper emptiness in her heart and soul. She will give her child to us, and we will get the wet sloppy kisses, the first words, the first everything...yet she will have been their mommy first. It is a right that can not and will never be taken from her. But will her "firsts" be enough to sustain her from the enveloping pain that the emptiness will bring? Oh God, please let those moments sustain her and give her peace.
We have to reconcile that this child (or children) that we are so longing for, that we will one day soon hold in our arms forever, a gift to us from our God in Heaven, was someone else's first. The fact that God has allowed them to come into our lives means that He has allowed that emptiness in someone elses. This fact, I am certain, will leave a little piece of emptiness in my heart for her forever, and a million times more thankfulness than you can ever imagine for this woman I do not know. How can I so desperately want something that will cause someone else such pain?