Why don’t you have another child? Give your daughter a playmate, otherwise she’ll be so lonely!”
I’ve heard this countless times from well-meaning family and friends on various occasions. I usually reply, “Aunty, we’ve been trying. If it’s God’s will, we will have another child.”
It was so easy to conceive our first child, Claire. We wanted a girl for our first child so we used Natural Family Planning (NFP) to locate the precise day we should try to conceive her. Three months later, Claire was conceived and I gave birth to her in April 2009.
So, we thought, no big deal. We could wait till Claire was 2 years old to try for another child, to add to our budding family.
But try as we might, baby #2 just did not come. We tried all our NFP tricks, but month after month, my period would show up, and our hopes would be dashed.
Finally, in November 2014, around Thanksgiving, we conceived. I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw a ‘pregnant’ sign flashing on my test stick. We told Claire that same day and she was so excited to finally be a big sister. We even took a we-fie with the pregnancy stick and Kavin quipped that from now on, it would be the four of us.
Alas, within a week of the discovery, I started bleeding and baby number 2 was gone. Our hearts broke. Claire wailed when she found out that she was not going to have the younger sibling that she had been yearning for. Our hearts broke even more.
I felt like Job. His anguished prayer became my prayer too. ‘God gave and God took away, and blessed be God.’
Not long after the miscarriage, Kavin dreamt of a little boy, a toddler, sleeping with Claire on a mattress in the room. As the little boy rolled into Kavin’s arms, he told Kavin that he was being looked after by ‘San Yee’, Kavin’s deceased third aunt. I too had an intuition that the baby we lost was a boy, so we named baby number 2 Francis.
Claire and Francis, just like the two saints.
Till this day we would pray every night for our little boy, taken from us before we could even see his face or have any part of his body to remember him by. He was barely 5 or 6 weeks in utero – our tiny little baby.
Claire loves drawing pictures of her baby brother. She often asks me how old Francis would be if he had lived. I tell her, ‘he would have been about 2 years old now’, and she draws him as a toddler, sleeping peacefully in his crib, with angel wings and a halo. Claire prays for Baby Francis whenever we go for Mass and whenever someone asks me how many kids I have, she reminds me that I have two. One here on earth, and one in heaven.
Claire loves drawing pictures of her baby brother Francis.
The cross of secondary infertility is a hard one to bear. I often look longingly at those little babies nursing in their mother’s arms and wish I had another child to love and to hold.
But God’s ways and plans are so high above ours that we cannot know, in this life, why He chose those crosses for us to bear. But I trust and know that He allows us the grace of suffering, so as to bring about a greater good.
Someday, we will know the answers to all our questions and yearnings. In the meantime, I take heart in knowing that Baby Francis now sees the face of God. It gives me comfort to know that a part of our little family is already seeing God face to face and that Francis is now enjoying his eternal home.
We miss you Francis and look forward to seeing you soon and giving you the embrace that we couldn’t give you here on Earth. Love, Mummy, Papa and Claire.
Catholic singer-songwriter Corrinne May shares her thoughts on the various family moments and matters being a daughter, sister, wife and mother in Singapore and Los Angeles.
This story was first published in the Catholic News.