Babies, Prayer, and Just Why

I prayed for Chrissy Teigen last night. And then I felt silly.

If you aren’t aware, she and her husband John Legend recently lost their third baby due to pregnancy complications. Chrissy has been vocal about infertility in the past, and I count myself as one of many women who appreciate the way she’s normalized conversations around babies and how hard they can be.

My prayer was the addendum type,  where I’d already gotten up off my knees and climbed into bed when I remembered her Instagram post and I felt newly heartsick.

I added, “oh – and please bless Chrissy and John.” And then I felt silly because a little voice said, You don’t even know these famous people! You don’t even follow them on Twitter! Surely they have plenty of others thinking of them anyway – they are CELEBRITIES.

(Maybe I felt silly because, you try saying the words, “please bless John Legend.”)

I think the real reason I feel so deeply for Chrissy is because babies are in most of my prayers these days. Five of the women I cherish most in the world are currently pregnant or have new babies. Some of them have had heartbreaking issues with pregnancy in the past, and some are facing them now.

Over the last few months, our interactions have essentially turned into long, drawn out prayers with and for each other. Sometimes it’s more formal, where we send around a group text asking for prayers for so-and-so who needs us. Other times it’s asking what can I DoorDash you tonight or are you still throwing up — each a type of prayer in its own way. 

I have seen the power of communal prayer. My sister told me about a tradition in her ward, where, when a woman goes into labor she tells one friend, who tells all the others. Each woman lights a candle and keeps it burning until the baby is born.

I have seen the answered prayer. The miracle recovery. The friend who heard about my friend in the NICU and drops off dinner since she lives nearby (the two women have never met). 

But what about when prayer doesn’t “work?”

I’ve been reading our dearly departed Rachel Held Evans’ Searching For Sunday, where she wrestles with what I’ll call ‘results-based’ prayer. She talks of a pastor claiming a miracle when his church is spared by a hurricane, but she finds herself wondering why God would spare the church but not an apartment complex down the road. She extends the metaphor to a mother, asking what kind of mother would it be who, if her arms can reach the whole universe, would only gather in a few?

I’m past the point of seeing prayer as a means of bending God to my will, honestly mostly because of my experiences with babies: my own infertility, my two sisters’ infant loss, a former employer’s long struggle with an angel baby born with a rare genetic disorder.

It is hard for me to understand why babies, or the vessels who carry them, should have to go through anything more difficult than pregnancy, labor, and child rearing already are. It’s hard to believe God will intervene when a mother/child are in jeopardy, because how do I reconcile the times he doesn’t?

Rachel points out that even though she no longer believes enough prayers will save the dying pet or the failing business, when these struggles arise she still finds herself praying. As do I.

I don’t know Chrissy Teigen or John Legend. But I do know that the heaviest casket is a tiny one.

I don’t think it matters they are celebrities with every worldly thing a person could want. I felt like praying for them last night, and no prayer is silly.

Today I’m lighting a candle for their lost little one, in hopes that a woman I’ll never meet might feel an ounce of Godly comfort.

Comments

  1. This is so beautiful and so sad. Thank you.

  2. I felt charity in every word while reading this post. Loved it.

  3. Kristine N says:

    Such beautiful words, and a beautiful sentiment.

    I don’t know Chrissy Teigen (or her husband) either, yet I was overjoyed when she announced her pregnancy, and am now heartbroken at her loss.

  4. Perhaps Zion will come when we all mourn with those who mourn.

  5. cynthiasillitoe says:

    I understand. I admire John and Chrissy and one of my happiest moments of 2020 was when she posted the photo of her baby bump. When I heard about their loss, I burst into tears. I wanted children, but a chronic illness that started in my teens means not only am I able to go through a pregnancy, I don’t have the energy to parent. It took me years to realize that. I’ve tried to make my peace with it. I long ago gave away the beginnings of a layette. I’m overjoyed when people I love become parents, but struggle with my own grief and loss. I think I always will,

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