Learning to adjust when things aren’t going according to plan
by Rosemary Pope
If you’re reading this post, I’m thinking something in your life hasn’t gone according to the plan you thought it would. Perhaps, you’re struggling with infertility or experienced a pregnancy or infant loss, and you’re wondering how things got so off-course from your plan.
It’s been over 12 years now since I started my motherhood journey and things have rarely gone according to plan. I have delivered my stillborn son, carried my daughter deemed “incompatible with life,” endured two early miscarriages, and delivered four healthy babies.
I learned early on that I could plan all I want, but the ebbs and flows of life will happen and though the circumstances may not be ideal, I’d still have to learn to adjust when things aren’t going according to plan.
Are things not working out as you hoped?
Does it seem as though everyone around you is having healthy babies? When you dreamt of motherhood growing up, you may have thought, “surely it can’t be that hard… right?” But here you are, replaying every step you’ve taken, wondering what went wrong, and longing for that dream of motherhood to come true.
Why is it so hard to become a mom?
We know the statistics, there are many women struggling to just get pregnant, or deliver a healthy baby. But when we see a woman with a big round belly, or a mother with her kids, oftentimes it’s hard to see past what’s right in front of us. We don’t know her story and how she got to be where she's at. It’s easy to think she achieved what she has effortlessly and then in turn think we are all alone in our struggle.
I’m here to say, you’re not alone.
As a mother to 4 children on Earth and 4 in Heaven, I often reflect back to the seasons of longing to have my arms full. I had this expectation of how ‘easy’ becoming a mother would be, until one day I was blindsided by a change in my plan.
The day I found out my baby no longer had a heartbeat.
The changes didn’t stop there:
Once I made it through the waiting period after delivering my first, I thought getting pregnant would be easy… it wasn’t:
For the next 6 months I was met with wave after wave of emotions as my period would return instead of a positive pregnancy test.
I eventually got pregnant again. I was relieved, happy, and I truly thought things would be smooth-sailing from then on. But it wasn’t:
At the 20-week anatomy scan, I got the news that the precious baby girl I was carrying had conditions that made her “incompatible with life.”
A mindset shift.
Over the next week or two I had a lot to figure out. I was presented with the option to terminate. Something I never thought I’d actually consider, but I did…
I had already gone through the nightmare of losing a baby once. I was told I was going to lose another and continuing to carry would have prolonged the process. I wanted the nightmare to be over and go on to have a completely healthy baby.
I wanted this baby girl with every fiber of my being though. I was her mama. I had a decision to make.
I made a plan.
I had been praying for God to heal my baby. If I were to have terminated, I wouldn’t be allowing God to work a miracle in mending her.
I was to carry my baby girl as long as I could in hopes that God would heal her precious body. By doing this, I knew I had to be okay if things didn’t go according to plan.
“I’m reminded of the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the book of Daniel. These three men refused to bow down and worship the king’s gods and statue. They were given a second opportunity to do this when the king delivered an ultimatum that they be thrown in a fiery furnace if they didn’t do as he said… Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” (Daniel 3:16-18).
The same God those men put their trust in was the very same God I was trusting as well. The King of Kings, the one true God. The three men were thrown in the fire, but they were not burned.” Joy In Suffering
Over the next several weeks, I continued to carry my baby girl and pray for a miracle.
At 31 weeks, my body naturally went into labor and sweet Mary Alice was born. She lived for five and half hours. She wasn’t healed the way I wanted her to be, but the day she was born is one of my most cherished days on Earth.
A new outlook.
It was during my pregnancy with Mary Alice and spending time with her in the hospital that I was completely transformed. I am a planner at heart, but there are times when I simply cannot control every outcome. Mary Alice’s life forced me to put action in surrendering to the will of Jesus Christ and let Him be in control.
The truth is, He’s always in control though. So rather, it was not so much ‘letting Him be in control” as much as it was accepting His will.
Adjusting according to HIS plan.
Things haven’t necessarily been smooth-sailing since Mary Alice’s life, but accepting God’s will has lifted the burden off of me, which in a way has made life easier.
If you’re in the thick of the fire, it can be hard to accept or ‘adjust’ to God’s plan. I want to encourage you to try. God loves you. You may not see it now and it may not be quite what you expected, but He has something amazing for you.
“We learned early on that life isn’t always easy. It isn’t always going to transpire as we hope. But childlike faith was instilled in Bobby and me when we were in our youth. Once our faith was rocked, we questioned, but to believe God had something remarkable for us, we had to put action to our belief, even when it hurt…
We have learned that no matter the circumstances, we can always hold to His promises . . . and choose joy.” Joy In Suffering