Can I heal without having another child?


Hi Nancy,

I recently lost my son and the pain has been intense. I also have 4 other children. This season of my life has been the most challenging and yet the best with my relationship with the Lord.

My husband and I feel we are done having children and although I desire for more and also trust my husband and believe that is what is best. Did you struggle knowing you would not have any more children? Did it take a while to take a breath with what God was doing? I am surrounded by newborns at my church and so it's been hard to go...I do, and God has been good, but I am different.

Most losses are not singular, but are really a series of losses that all have to be grieved. For me, the loss of potential for more children was a profound loss to grieve and one that I had to let myself grieve. As my son gets ready to head to college next year, I'm feeling that grief again, wishing there were still younger children that would be at home after he leaves.

So much of life seems like a struggle for contentment, which I suppose is really a battle to trust God. God, can I be content with the children you have given me? Can I be content in you and trust that you will not withhold anything good from me? That is the struggle, and surrender is what brings peace and joy.

Regarding church. I know it is so hard. And know that it is also very hard for those friends of yours whose arms are full while yours are empty. They feel guilty and awkward about it. So you can avoid them, or you can help everyone overcome that awkwardness by approaching them and taking joy in their children, letting them know they don't have to walk on eggshells around you and your hurt forever. Let this struggle too make you into a compassionate person, looking for the woman who is hurting and lonely at your church to reach out to her. Ultimately I have found that applying my pain toward caring for someone else who is hurting is what soothes it and gives it meaning and purpose.

Sharing your sorrow—


Follow-up Question:
As I thought of what I asked in my last email, I wanted to add something. I hope I don't sound like a whiner. I have been told by many, "at least you have 4 children." I want to say I agree although not with the "at least" part. The hardest part is resting in Gods plan and not needing to know what's next. Of course my world was rocked when we lost a child...but so much good has come from it. Many have told me that having another child will help heal me and I disagree, but it makes me wonder if I will heal without having another. I don't want to hang onto something tangible. I really want Christ to be my all. Did it take awhile to rest in what His story is? Hope this is not rambling...probably is. Your books have been amazing and you have such wisdom. So scriptural and Christ centered.

I think people tell us that having another child will help us heal because they really do want us to feel better. They think it will be a distraction, and it probably would be. But what those who have not been there don't understand is that it does not fill the empty place left by the child you have lost.

You are going to have to decide now to forgive those who say, "at least you have 4 children" and that having another will help you heal. Don't try to correct them. Just understand that they can't understand unless they've been there.

And of course you can heal without having another child. Absolutely. We never want to say to God that there is something we must have to be happy. We want to say to him—I take you at your Word when you say that your grace is sufficient, that it will be enough for me. I take you at your name, Jehovah Raphi, that you are the healer, and I invite your healing work in my life in and through my sorrow as you use it to refine me and refocus me on finding my satisfaction in you and your plan for me.