Better together. By: Marriah Cummins
Two years ago, I found out I was pregnant with my sixth child. While a pregnancy is usually an occasion for joy and celebration, mine was marked with despair. My youngest had just turned seven months, my oldest twins were five, I had a 4 year old and 2 year old in there, and I was in the depths of post-partum depression and anxiety. As awful as it was to say, I prayed for the pregnancy test to be a false positive, for it not to be real, because I couldn’t bear to add another child to our family. I already felt like I was failing the ones I had.
Yet, at 10 weeks when we went for my appointment, I saw that little heartbeat and my baby moving and wiggling her arms and legs around. My heart leaped out of my chest. An overwhelming sense of peace overcame me, and I knew that whatever else may be, a baby would be the last thing that would ruin my life or my family.
Then, four weeks later at my 14-week appointment, I received the most devastating news an expectant mother can hear. There was no heartbeat. I sat there stunned in my OB’s office, the same routine that showed five healthy babies on the monitor, showed me without a doubt, that my initial prayer had come true.
I was no longer pregnant.
If you can imagine the guilt and anxiety that filled me when I saw the positive sign on a pregnancy test, it was nothing compared to what overcame me in those next few days. I couldn’t talk about it, I couldn’t face the world or myself because I couldn’t bear to handle the sorrow and guilt that filled the very depths of my soul. I was ashamed, heartbroken, bitter, and even embarrassed for what had just transpired.
I couldn’t bear it, but my precious tribe of females could.
I remember calling my friend Lisa, who had experienced a painful miscarriage before, and before I could even break down, she knew. She absorbed the strength I did not have, and immediately went to work calling my friends and organizing meals to be brought to my family. Because she knew the pain I was experiencing, she even brought the food to my house, so I wouldn’t have to answer questions, or be strong in front of anyone else when I couldn’t even do it for my family.
That is true, unconditional friendship, and that is why we, as women, are better together.
When I had my D&C, I bled out, needing two emergency blood transfusions. With five children at home my husband couldn’t stay with me overnight, so I was left alone at the hospital. I remember sobbing in that hospital room, mourning my loss, scared at what might have been, when I heard a knock at the door. My best friend Jordan showed up, armed with trashy gossip magazines, Ben and Jerry’s, a bit of laughter, but most importantly a shoulder for me to cry on. She showed me how a friend comes to your rescue even in the most inconvenient times and embraces those uncomfortable emotions.
I realized I wasn’t alone, and I leaned on her strength and peace, in the absence of mine. Together, we both became better.
We women have such incredible power, and are undeniably linked to one another in a sisterhood. Proverbs 27:17 tells us “as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” Sisters, how can we be that person, lean into a friend and be there for them today, so maybe they don’t have to be so strong? And friend, if this is you, can you break down your wall and allow someone in? Because just as I experienced in the heartache and misery, we women have strength, grace, and resilience far more than we realize, and when we offer that to each other, we are, unequivocally, better together.