I took four tests. Four. I couldn’t believe it. Yet, two weeks later I saw a tiny heartbeat, keeping rhythm with the blood already flowing through his or her teeny tiny blueberry-sized body. The sonographer printed out three pictures for me to take home. I tucked them away in my purse and pulled them back out to look at when I got to my car. I whispered in my best mama voice, “You are already so loved, little one.”

This little life comes to us in a way that feels like an answer to a walk in faithfulness that we have been trying to make. There has been so much darkness in our lives over the past few years. My dad’s death, loads of disappointments, living in what feels like a cloud of grief, mental illness in the family, and then the death of Tyson’s beloved grandfather this fall.

I found myself falling into a rhythm of cynicism, one that questioned even the simplest of joys.

I found myself thinking that for every joyful thing present in the world there was also something to grieve. Even though I was acquainted with the experience of loss and finding gifts even in the darkness, I doubted the actual, honest-to-goodness light that came in these moments, and I pushed it away by my ever-present cynicism.

When a friend asked how I was doing, I doubted that she actually cared. I pushed away feelings of romance for Tyson because it felt like those feelings wouldn’t help me get through my grief. And I only allowed laughter in small doses because I didn’t feel like laughter kept me honest when I felt so bummed inside.

Nevertheless, we decided together to start trying for a baby because we felt we were ready to pour our lives out to care for something more worthy of love than anything else we could imagine. We wanted to choose something joyful to lean into, even if it felt unnatural to me .

Needless to say, we did not expect our attempts to be honored so soon.

As I write this, I am well aware of the years of pain many people go through in trying to conceive and the tragedies that prevent many from carrying to full term. I have fought hard to not give in to this pattern of thinking. Even now, something tells me this pregnancy won’t last, that I won’t get to hold a sweet baby in my arms at the end of this. The tension’s there, but I’m choosing to lean into the hope of new life.

And of course, with this global pandemic, where health and safety are even more of concern for people, claiming this beloved little life I’m growing in my body as a source of goodness and joy feels even harder, and I’m having to work against the cynicism to which I’ve become so acquainted.

But more and more, by the grace of many in my community and the voice of the Spirit, I feel able to claim this pregnancy, this sweet babe, as a reminder of a holy and wholly joyful encounter with the living God. Because there is so much pain, this is a reason to receive this holy joy whenever it comes.

There is a journey that remains until I will hold a baby in my arms come September. But along the way, I’ll do as my mom encourages and eat what my body can handle. I’ll welcome the brain fog, which my co-workers tell me is natural. When Tyson offers to rub my feet, I will say yes. When my doctor starts talking to my belly when the lub-dub of the baby’s heartbeat is heard, I will remember that in times when signs of the Lord’s goodness feels sparse within my body there seems to be something of holy ground. I’m trying to claim that joy, even in the midst of so much uncertainty.

All I can do right now to mind the gap between my reality and this little babe that is to come is to thank the Lord for new life amid so much darkness.

Haley Wiggers is a native of South Dakota but currently lives in Holland, Michigan with her husband, Tyson and new golden doodle puppy, Winifred Belle. She believes that experiencing and sharing all the realities of life alongside her people is what makes life so beautiful and sweet. Her love for people and her heart for hospitality drives her to invite others into her spaces. You can follow her writing here.