How Fear Scares Away Hope

How Fear Scares Away Hope August 13, 2018

We have been trying to get pregnant for the better part of eighteen months. To say it has been frustrating is an understatement. The process has been full of pain. We lost a baby eight months ago in the early weeks of a pregnancy. And that’s just the worst of it. Every month, we go through the cycle. Hope and anticipation… uncertainty, disappointment. And then it all starts over again.

We are both learning a lot through this process. The power of hope. The weight of disappointment. The anger of unmet expectations. Through it all we are discovering that there are some important choices for us to make.

 

Teeter-Totter

Each month, we are navigating a complicated mix of hope and fear. And they don’t always mix well.

Fear is a terrible thing. It’s a death of sorts. And death can kill in more ways than one. When we get a negative pregnancy test, it feels like a kind of death. A loss. An ending. This is what we are afraid of. Not getting what we hope for.

On the other hand, there is hope. And it is hard for it not to outweigh the fear. It certainly has more mass. The hope of having a healthy baby and the light it might bring into this world. Is there anything more magical? Anything more miraculous? It’s the only reason we dare face down fear. Because there is hope.

 

Tempted to Squelch

As the months of disappointment pile onto one another, there is a very real danger. Each month, I try to protect myself from the hurt. I try to insulate myself from the pain. I don’t want to be disappointed again. And if I can’t squelch that disappointment with the result I want, my mind tries to figure out other ways to prevent it.

There have been a couple months where I’ve tried to just give up on hope. If I don’t get my hopes up, I reason, it won’t hurt so badly to be disappointed. I try to tell myself to forget about it. To expect to be disappointed.

It sounds reasonable but it doesn’t work. It actually compounds the fear.

Because the only way fear wins is through forfeit. Fear steals the hope of life. It tempts us to toss away anticipation, passion, and excitement. It invites us to stop living so that we won’t have to die

 

The Weight of Hope

This month, I’ve made a resolution. I’m going to give in: not to fear… but to hope!

As I said already, the weight of hope is too grand, too magnificent, too incredible. I can choose to adopt a perspective that allows for hope yet prepares for disappointment. The one thing I don’t want to do is let fear have its way. To let the fear of what might hurt cause me to opt out altogether.

Hope is a beautiful thing. Perhaps the most beautiful thing. Opting out of it does not save us from hurt, it just invites it in sooner. We can reshape it, dress it up in other clothes, or call it something else. But it is giving up – it is hurt through apathy. A numbing agent dulls pain but doesn’t kill it.

So, I am giving myself the permission to hope. To not apologize for it and not be afraid of it being wrong. Because even if we never get pregnant, hope is a valuable thing and an important virtue. I’m tired of allowing fear to scare it away.


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