Several years ago, I found myself commiserating with a friend over his struggles to have children. For years, it seemed, he and his wife were able to conceive, but incapable of sustaining a pregnancy. Notwithstanding extensive examinations, lab work, and imaging studies to identify a treatable source for their difficulties, they suffered one miscarriage after another. Meanwhile, with each pregnancy came a familiar, grueling emotional cycle. It began with great joy, evolved into profound anxiety, and ultimately, concluded with withering sadness. With each miscarriage, their hopes dimmed that they would ever experience of joy of childbirth. It was a terrible story. As I looked at him with his furrowed brow and his unconsciously shaking head, it had been eighteen months since their last jeopardized pregnancy. It had been a harrowing road.
Only now, they had a baby.
My friend’s little boy was a miracle, he told me. “Somehow, when all seemed headed down that familiar, tragic path,” his eyes lit up and he flashed his winsome grin, “something worked.” At this time, I was not yet father to my two beautiful daughters. I smiled and earnestly asked him, “What is it like? How would you describe the feeling of simply holding this little one in your arms after all you have been through?”