I threw the pregnancy test on the back of the toilet, set the timer on my phone for 2 minutes, and proceeded to ignore it. I knew the drill. I’d done this before. I could be pregnant but I didn’t really believe that I was. We had miscarried 4 months before. The 3 negative pregnancy tests that followed brought waves of grief and anger. I shouldn’t have to go through this. I was already pregnant. It’s not fair.

But when the timer went off, I saw the plus sign and I couldn’t believe it! My husband and I danced and laughed in the bathroom! We couldn’t contain our excitement. In a single moment, my emotions swung from sadness to incredible joy. But as we were celebrating, an unwelcome thought snuck in. Don’t get too excited. What if you lose it again?

I firmly believe in the inherent value of every life. Life is from the Creator. It deserves to be known and celebrated as the gift that it is. That’s why I told myself that if we got pregnant again, I would love that baby from the very start. We’d rejoice and share the news right away because our baby deserves to be celebrated. I would not live in fear. And I would not let fear steal our joy.

But reality bites hard. The fear of losing our baby wasn’t in the distant future anymore. The danger was here. It was present. And I was painfully aware of how quickly joy can turn to grief.

I tucked the fear down deep and tried to ignore it. I sent the happy news to family and close friends. I gushed the news to my closest co-workers as soon as I got to work. You know the verse, “my cup runneth over” (Psalm 23:5)? That’s how I felt. So blessed and so full, my joy spilled over the brim. I truly felt like I had conquered the fear and didn’t let it win.

But a few weeks later, I woke up to discover that I was bleeding. Again. Just like the first time. And I panicked. I cried the entire way to the doctor’s office. I remember questioning my decision to throw my whole heart into our pregnancy so fast. Maybe I shouldn’t have let myself get my hopes up. Maybe I shouldn’t have told anyone so we wouldn’t have anyone to “untell.” Fear had a hold of me and I just knew the worst was happening again.

But when we got to the doctor’s office, we were given a gift. There, on the screen, was a little baby with a tiny, fluttering heartbeat. Right then, I realized that I wasn’t wrong. I was so right. Life deserves to be celebrated and babies deserve to be immediately loved. No matter what.

My doctor said my bleeding was likely caused from a tiny subchorionic bleed. She wasn’t overly concerned but couldn’t guarantee that I wouldn’t miscarry again. I bled periodically throughout my pregnancy and fear tried to get me down. But I had settled the matter in my heart. I was not going to spend my whole pregnancy afraid.

After that, every act of celebration and preparation felt like defiance in the face of fear. We announced it on social media, we bought a crib, I took baby bump photos, I started a baby registry. I embraced my pregnancy with my whole heart because I knew that no matter the outcome, my baby is worth it.

The truth is this. Life is fragile. We could have waited to announce until it was “safe” but when is it really safe? Ask the mamas who’ve experienced a late miscarriage, a baby born sleeping, or a baby who passed away in their arms. Ask the mama who lost her child to an illness or her teenager to an accident. When is it safe to love them and when can you know for certain that you won’t lose them? Never. When is it worth it to love them? Instantly.

Love is not safe. Life here on earth will always be fleeting, broken, and temporary. Pain will always be a possibility. But in Christ, we have the hope of heaven. 1 John 2:25 says, “This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life.” He created us to be eternal souls from the beginning. He knew us before we were born and He knows our babies before they are born. He numbers our days. Why should we fear?

Now that my little boy is a healthy, active 1 year old, I look back on my pregnancy and give thanks that I did not let fear rob me of all that joy. If you are pregnant after experiencing loss, that’s my prayer for you, too. The fear is real, but take heart, mama. Love is worth it. And love conquers fear.

“Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:16

Shannon Lenz

I am a wife to my best friend, a mama to a sweet boy and baby girl, and a dog mom. My mission is to write words that encourage, comfort, inspire, and draw my readers closer to the Lord. When I'm not writing or chasing after my kids, I'm singing, reading, or cheering on the Huskers. You can read more from me at http://shannonlenz.com/.