We shared the hard news with church, family, and close friends from the very beginning. At church, our news was shared on the prayer chain and from the pulpit, so everybody knew, which made it easy and wonderful to be there every Sunday. With extended family, I had sent out an email, asking for prayer after that first bad news. But is was much harder to share the news of fatal polycystic kidney disease, so after that diagnosis, I asked my sister and my dad to please update them. Close friends are close friends and they know everything, so it was easy to share with them.
Church, Family, and Close Friends were covered, and life felt normal in these spheres. But there were so many people that I saw on a regular basis, mostly through homeschooling activities, that didn't fall into any of those 3 categories, and they had absolutely no idea what was going on. So I deliberately went into hiding. The kids and I were suddenly more prone to skipping classes and avoiding social activities. I wore my coat (buttoned at the belly) whenever the temperature dipped below 70. I didn't want people to know I was pregnant. I didn't want people congratulating me. I didn't want to break the hard news to them. I didn't want to see their faces fall and their eyes well up with tears when I would have to tell them.
I didn't actually realize the extent of what I was doing, though, until one day when one of my gardeners rang the doorbell & I literally told the kids to go upstairs and do something quiet so that we could pretend we weren't home. This gardener has been doing our yard for years. He's friendly, and he would definitely notice my growing belly and congratulate me, and I just did not want to break the news to him. I didn't want to live in hiding like that, anymore. That's when I realized I needed help in sharing the hard news.
I decided to reach out to a few other moms and ask them to help spread the news for me. Emails and texts were sent out, and it was such a huge relief to be able to return to our routine social activities again.
In all of this, I also realized that there were some people I simply did not want to share my news with. It's a very vulnerable thing to open up and share your burdens with others and invite them in to share your pain with you. There were a few people that, for whatever reason, I wanted to close my heart toward and not allow them in to minister to me in my time of need. Sin in my heart, I'm no saint...I should be among the most humble of all women on the earth right now, but even in such a trying and vulnerable time, here I am sinning. The Lord was gracious and helped me to overcome and to open my heart to even these people, though.
I am very obviously pregnant now, and when I am out and about, I will still get asked by strangers about my due date, baby's gender, how many kids, etc. For a while, I didn't know how exactly to answer. I wanted to just smile, say "due this summer", and be done with it, but then I also felt like I was being dishonest if I left it at that. An older, wiser sister in Christ counseled me briefly on handling grief-related news. She recommended I have the 30-second version, the 2-minute version, and the 30-minute version. Another friend, who also knew her baby was not expected to survive, would tell people she was "pregnant but not expecting."
It's hard to share hard news, but it's good to finally get it out, because it's heavy and burdensome, and we are not meant to bear it alone. In my strong moments, I have only been strong with the help of the Lord & the support of the body of Christ. It is truly a delight to be a part of the body of Christ and to be ministered to. I have never delighted more in the saints, like Psalm 16:3 speaks of, than I do now. There have been times when all I could do was stare at the wall. I didn't even know what to pray or say or how to function with the weight of such heavy news. I'm tangibly comforted by all those praying for us. I can feel that I'm not bearing the burden alone, and I am thankful.
I now have more of a sense of normalcy in life again. I am able to talk about my pregnancy. I am able to show my face places. I am able to smile and enjoy life and enjoy however much I get of this baby.