The Journey to Motherhood
“It’s pretty typical for girls to stuff toys under their shirts and pretend to give birth.”
Naomi tosses out the words nonchalantly, before deadpanning, “I gave birth to many bunnies. A cow or two. A daisy…”
I burst out laughing at the mental image her claim conjures before immediately clamping my mouth shut. Baby Asher is asleep on his mother’s lap, but thankfully, the sound doesn’t wake him. I let out the breath I’d been holding, and we resume our talk.
All animal births aside, Naomi is clearly passionate about her vocation to motherhood, a fact driven home by the love and attention that she consistently showers on her firstborn son. This passion reaches back much farther than Asher’s birth, however, finding its roots in Naomi’s childhood.
“When people asked me, ‘What do you want to be?’ I’d say, ‘A mom.’ My parents, probably rightly so, said that I should have a backup plan. But the things that I tried to do to be practical, like nursing or teaching… they were just because I wanted to be a mom.”
After marrying last February, it seemed like that dream was finally going to be realized.
“Ever since I got married, I was checking if I was pregnant,” Naomi beams. Then, about a month later, “There was a very, very, very faint second line.”
In their excitement, Naomi and her husband Roman rushed to share the news with family and friends.
“We were not thinking cautiously,” she admits, able to draw such a conclusion in hindsight.
“We were so excited. I literally went out the next day and bought baby clothes.”
Unfortunately, that excitement wouldn’t last for very long. Soon after they announced that they were expecting, Naomi was plagued with the onset of strange pains.
“I read everything, and the result was always miscarriage.” But Naomi wasn’t prepared to entertain such a possibility. “I thought, no, this can’t be happening to me, I’m fine.”
Then, on a trip to B.C. to visit her family, Naomi’s pains grew worse.
“Roman and I were on our knees, and our families too, just praying. But a couple of nights later, I woke up and I was in agony.”
Roman and Naomi rushed to a nearby hospital, but there was nothing that could be done at that point.
After a difficult night, doctors confirmed what the couple most feared – they had lost the baby.
“It was just so surreal.” Naomi speaks the words as if lost in a distant fog. “To go from perfect happiness to complete shock. Your body is not meant to lose a child. Boy does your heart feel that.”
After receiving such terrible news, Roman and Naomi walked to their car in a daze. They got in, and then everything stopped.
“We literally sat there and did nothing. I can’t even tell you how long it was,” she ponders. “The sun had come up and we were looking out right next to the hospital at this huge field of daisies.”
The scene reminded Roman of a watercolor he had painted earlier on in the pregnancy, of a couple holding the hands of a small child and looking out at a sunrise.
“He got out of the car, picked three daisies and handed them to me,” Naomi says quietly. “And I started bawling. I was really angry at God. This was something I had always wanted and suddenly I had this fear that maybe there was something wrong with me, and I couldn’t have babies.”
In the grief and confusion that settled over her in the aftermath of the miscarriage, Naomi pleaded for a sign – not as some future occurrence, but right then and there. She didn’t receive anything at first, but when the couple retired for the night, Naomi felt the pains start up again. This time, however, they led to a miracle – Naomi and Roman seeing their baby with their own eyes.
“The doctor had taken an ultrasound and confirmed there was nothing left when he sent us home,” Naomi relays. But now, “I had a little body to actually hold and bury.”
Roman and Naomi went out that same night. Roman looked up the text for a burial ceremony and read it aloud, and together, they said goodbye to their baby, who they had affectionately come to refer to as Ziggy.
“I know that seems like a strange sign,” Naomi begins. “I didn’t get my baby back, but it was a little miracle to me. It was more than I could have ever asked for.”
This consolation, however, couldn’t completely ease the pain of having lost a child. For the next few months, Naomi struggled with processing all that had happened.
“Your mind is something else,” she marvels. “I wasn’t trying to replace the baby I lost, obviously, but I felt guilty for trying again.”
As time went on, however, that guilt began to ebb, a movement that Naomi credits to her ability to meet Ziggy.
“Crying out and having God answer you is a pretty huge step forward,” she says. “I needed that to happen and for my anger to dissolve in order to recover from any type of guilt or even to mourn Ziggy.”
“It’s okay to get angry at God sometimes,” she admits. “But only if it helps you to learn that all good things come from above. God redeems all things.”
“I couldn’t talk about Ziggy for a long time, and it still makes me really sad, and it’s always going to,” she goes on, speaking slowly. “Because of how deeply I believe that her little life was just as important as any life lived to a hundred. And that’s the glory of our God.”
“We’re not the ones that make the meaning out of our lives. I know Ziggy’s life was there to glorify God, as it is in heaven now.”
Time passed, and Naomi did indeed make peace with the loss, comforted by her conviction, paired with the anticipation of one day meeting Ziggy in heaven. At that point, she and Roman made the decision to try for another child.
“This time, when I found out I was pregnant, I was able to surprise Roman with it,” Naomi smiles.
They visited a nearby mall, and she steered him toward the exact photo booth where they had taken pictures together on their first date, suggesting they step inside. Then, once the camera was rolling, she used a homemade sign to break the news.
“He was very excited, and again, we fell on our knees right away.”
But after the trauma of losing their first child, both Naomi and Roman found it more difficult to connect with their second, neither wanting to get too attached in case history repeated itself. As time passed, though, the child began to feel more and more real to the couple.
“I can’t put my finger on a single day,” Naomi says. “He just felt so real to me and I felt so, so protective. It’s not just something inside you, it’s an actual person that you’re getting to know. And they’re getting to know you, too.”
Once that realization came,
“I felt so much love.”
“He loved waking me up at night,” Naomi says of baby Asher. “And I loved feeling that. I would feel him inside me and it was like he was in my arms already.”
But as incredible as that feeling and connection was, it couldn’t compare with the first time Naomi laid eyes on her baby boy.
“It was the craziest thing. From the first day in the hospital, I was so amazed because I recognized his face. It was so familiar to me. And as it grows and changes, it is consistently familiar to me.”
“I hold him and I just, I know him.”
This instinctive knowledge has left both Naomi and Roman in awe of their precious newborn. It’s also inspired them to strive to be their best for his sake.
“Being Asher’s mom brings out, or at least challenges me to bring out, all the things God has made me to be,” Naomi explains. “It’s go time now. I have to be everything I can be for him.”
In addition to this resolve, Asher is also providing both Roman and Naomi with fresh insight into their relationship with God.
“One thing we talk about a lot is Asher’s complete and utter trust of us,” Naomi reveals. “To have faith like a child, it’s not just something pretty to say. He trusts us and loves us unconditionally at this age. He knows where to turn to get comfort, even if that hurt has seemed to come from that person he’s turning to.”
Naomi is also noticing that the love she bears for Asher bears a striking resemblance to the love she has for Roman.
“It’s funny, you wouldn’t think there would be so many similarities, but there are. With Asher, it’s this awe about who he is and love of discovering his personality, but it’s the same way with Roman. I don’t want to sound like a Hallmark card, but with Roman, it’s like a best friend that you’re in love with. And with Asher, I see both Roman and myself in him. There’s the wonder of this tiny human being that’s a product of the person you love most in the world. Both loves complement each other.”
The same holds true for Ziggy, who will always have a special place in Naomi’s heart.
“My love for Asher is very different because I know him better, but I’ve loved Ziggy so much that it’s okay that I’m ready to love another life. My mom told me, ‘When you have another child, your love doesn’t just double, it expands.’ And that’s so true.”
As she speaks, Asher stirs, and Naomi’s attention is diverted. She greets him as she always does – with a bright smile and the kind of joyful exuberance that can only come from loving him as deeply as she does.
“Hey, sweet boy!”
He squirms and coos, and Naomi gathers him into her arms, holding him close.
“It’s such an absolute privilege,” she marvels, enraptured. “I don’t know how I deserve to be his mom!”
But that, in her own words, is the greatness of our God.
Want more? Read about Roman and Naomi's love story here