Over the past 30 years the decision to maintain a second pregnancy has come with heavy consequences both at birth and throughout the life of that child. Social insurance fees, education fees, and potential loss of position at work—no person makes this decision lightly. For some, the weight of these penalties can put them in what seems to be an impossible place financially.
Many have ultimately decided they lack resources to care for this second child and, in spite of their faith, chosen abortion.
In 2015 China announced the official end of its 30-year long One-Child Policy. This loosening of grip on family planning brings with it a sigh of relief for many.
However, some in the nation found themselves in a state of limbo: pregnant, with no guarantee that their child would be born after policy implementation.
Xiaolin, a believer in Jesus, found herself in just such a position. The following article, published in the online journal Territory, chronicles her journey of doubt and faith through this process. She shares how the unexpected and life-threatening complications she faced through the journey opened her eyes to deeper levels of her own sin and brokenness, bringing her to an ultimate place of surrender.
From Death to Life: Follow Up to "The Journey of My Second Pregnancy
On November 20, 2015, Territory published the article “From Death to Life—The Journey of My Second Pregnancy,” written by Sister Xiaolin. The article moved readers to tears, ultimately leaving them in a state of suspense as Xiaolin’s approaching due date paralleled the roll-out of the new Two-Child Policy, both set for January 1, 2016. Territory received inquiries from many readers. “Has the child been born?” they asked, “was it legal?” On January 1st we received her response.
Xiaolin’s November article laid out her heartbreaking four-year journey with great candor. Pregnant a second time her faith wavered and Xiaolin chose to have an abortion—a decision she ultimately grieved deeply over. Right on the heels of this decision she faced the brokenness of human nature during a property dispute that pulled in both sides of her family.
Just as things were moving forward she again became pregnant, but this time she was rushed to the hospital when she miscarried with heavy bleeding. It was through these trials that God opened her eyes to see clearly her own sinful nature.
In April of last year Xiaolin became pregnant once again, and despite the loss of a high-paying state job she determined not to have another abortion, but to accept the refining fire of the trials that would come. But this decision came with heavy consequences, and at times it wasn't clear how she should move forward.
Then came the evening of October 29th, when Xiaolin and her husband listened in amazement to news of the coming nation-wide Two-Child Policy. The announcement thrust them into a state of suspense. If the birth came after the implementation of the policy, Xiaolin would avoid discipline and she might even be restored to her former position at work. An early birth would subject her to current legal regulations and penalties.
In late November the relevant department informed Xiaolin that the Two-Child Policy would be put into effect at the end of 2015. With a January 1 due date, Xiaolin found herself with only one or two days of buffer time.
Sister Xiaolin’s article concluded with an appeal to the Territory family to pray for her.
Moved by Xiaolin’s story, many members of this family responded with messages of encouragement and support. [Following are just a sampling of those who replied.]
Because He Lives: I pray that on the day of your child’s birth God will demonstrate his power and glory, so to that your family and loved ones may turn to him! In the overcoming name of Jesus Christ we pray.
Dan: The Lord is faithful, and his thoughts are higher than our thoughts; I believe that what the Lord Jesus gives us is more than we could imagine for ourselves. Seeing the story of your walk with the Lord is just like seeing my own walk with him.
Wang Li: Dear Xiaolin, I am praying for you.
MoMo: I believe that we will see God’s will accomplished in this situation; regardless of the outcome, you will have the ability to bear it, as the Father’s love is sufficient strength for you.
I am also like you, with the idols of my life constantly being broken along this journey; even though this process is truly painful I see God’s blessing is evident in it all.
Xing Ru Yu: After reading this I couldn’t stop crying because I could completely relate to your story, having myself gone through a similar journey from death to life.
I am also an only child, and have perpetuated the sin of the generation before me; in 2010 due to my own weakness I had an abortion, not seeing it as sin. In 2013 I recognized my sin and repented. My husband and I had faith and didn’t wait for the policy change before we became pregnant again.
However sin has consequences and my former wrong resulted in my inability to bring this child to term. I bled profusely and the doctor couldn’t do anything to help me—he even suggested surgical removal of my uterus. In the middle of the night as I was losing blood and weeping in despair I came to understand that the only thing left to do in the place of adversity was to look up and praise God.
After many months, God comforted my heart and healed my body. His words to me were: “Do not set your mind on earthly things, but on those above.” May God watch over this pure hearted sister who loves Him, and bless her every step of the way.
December came to a close with Sister Xiaolin’s due date rapidly approaching and still Territory continued to receive new hits on this article. Many from the Territory family left messages of blessing for Xiaolin while others inquired as to her current status, wondering if the child had been born yet, and if so, when?
On January 2nd we received the following letter from Sister Xiaolin:
After the article was published and so many of our Territory family responded I wanted to thank the brothers and sisters who offered such care and intercession. On the afternoon of December 23rd I had a C-section and gave birth to a son. At the same time the doctors removed an ovarian cyst weighing approximately 10 jin [5000 gram, about 11 pounds]. The left ovary and the other adjoining parts were removed. Mother and child are well.
At this time I will not be able to recover my previous job, but I am on the State waiting list, and my position will be determined in about a year’s time.
In my previous article, there was more to say than I had space to write. Looking back I feel it necessary to share some things that I omitted; at the time these aspects didn't seem as pertinent as others, but I share them now to bring clarity to a situation for which so many people interceded. I hope that this may help all to better understand why things developed in what may appear to be a less than satisfactory direction. God’s thoughts are higher than those of men, and his perfect will is immeasurable. While my current situation appears relatively difficult, I do believe that one day I will look back on all of this and give thanks and praise because of the road God prepared for me. I believe he chose what is best for myself and my family.
High Risk Pregnancy, Mother and Child are Well
During a medical checkup in August we discovered a 127mm cyst growing near my left ovary. With much gravity the doctor informed me that this cyst was already bigger than my child’s head, and moving forward it presented a very real risk to the pregnancy, including the risk of ovarian rupture. He advised me to undergo surgery.
After considering the potential impact of anesthesia on my child I refused the surgery, believing that God would continue to protect me and the child right up to the time of birth.
Before discovering the cyst, I often experienced abdominal pain when I rolled over in the night. However, beginning from the time it was discovered it never once caused me pain. I prayed, entrusting myself to God, and I also took great care in daily life to avoid any bumps or hits to the abdomen.
A routine checkup in early December revealed that the cyst now measured 220mm. The doctor believed I was at considerable risk and prepared an advance hospital stay order. He urged me to have the operation as soon as possible, warning that any kind of accident could result in very serious consequences.
I still wanted to wait until January 1st and bring the baby to full term, because I believed that this would give me a testimony to bring glory to God’s name. During this time a doctor from our church reminded me that giving glory to God might not look exactly like I imagined it, and that fulfilling God’s will is most important; in her opinion, both mother and child coming through peacefully would bring the greater glory to God. She urged me to listen to my doctor’s advice and not insist on my own way.
After hearing this, I prayerfully made the decision to obey God’s will, and to allow the child to be born in his timing.
At my final checkup the cyst measured 260mm, and during the operation the doctor extracted 5000 milliliters of fluid (about 1.3 gallons). The cyst itself was like a balloon just about to burst, threatening the safety of myself and my child.
Human’s Disobedience and God’s Mercy
In my previous article I did not mention the matter of a birth certificate. After the announcement of the Two-Child Policy we received a call from my husband’s hometown. They offered to let us pay to have our child’s birth certificate handled there, an option which I strongly opposed. However, my husband insisted on this method.
He truly couldn’t afford any more setbacks in this matter, he told me, and even though I believed the child would be born on January 1st, if for some reason it did not happen this way he felt he might have a breakdown.
We discussed it several times, but there was no changing his mind.
Through prayer, God reminded me that I need to put my husband in God’s hands. God is the head of man and I need to stop pushing my husband to see and do things my way. At the same time, the Holy Spirit reminded me that I tend to have a sense of “spiritual superiority” in regards to my husband, seeing myself as the one always willing to follow God’s will and always correct in the ”Three Truths”. [The three truths, in Chinese thinking are worldview, outlook on life, and values.]
I realized that when I see my husband’s tendency to solve problems using worldly methods my natural response is to attempt to push or persuade him to do things in the way I think is best. Reacting this way really doesn’t please the Lord.
So I decided to submit to my husband’s decision. For myself, I would walk in accordance with my faith but in regards to my husband, I would give room for him to do what he wants to do in his own way.
God’s Knows Everything, Our Weakness and Our Disobedience
My department at work made it clear that I shouldn’t expect to recover my former position within the year. Instead, they put me on a waiting list [for future positions]. Stuck with no income, I still owed about 20,000 yuan in social insurance [as a penalty for this second child]. These realities discouraged my husband. Although early on he had been impressed with and convinced of God’s great power, now doubt set in, and he complained and grumbled against God.
The way he saw it, if God really loved us, he shouldn’t make us go through this. Why couldn’t we be like others—free from the second child penalty? In the future the new Two-Child Policy will be open to everyone. This has nothing to do with waiting for God to work, he insisted, we should just go with the flow and do what we need to, and things will fall into place.
The loss of income meant that our standard of living would drop dramatically as well, which my husband found very difficult to accept. His bad mood affected my own, and on December 22nd the dam burst and we fought. At that time, my water broke.
I can’t say for sure that my child came 10 days early because of this fight, but looking back I do see God’s mercy and protection in the midst of human’s disobedience.
During the three hour-long surgery that followed, my husband prayed without letting up. He said that during that time he repented for all his wrongs, and was willing to give up his own life for mine. Nothing else was important, just that our child and I would be safe and sound. After a successful operation the doctors transferred me to a hospital room for recovery and it was then that my husband received a call from his hometown—the birth certificate he applied for had been approved.
I Work Hard to Learn Humility and Obedience
From a human point of view the loss of my job, position, and maternity leave are huge losses. However, I believe God allowed this to happen and that somehow he is working out his good will for my family.
I have consistently brought in a higher income than my husband, resulting in a skewed family hierarchy where I tend not to respect him and he tends not to take responsibility or leadership in the family, a constant sticking point in our marriage.
In reality, it is only by the grace of God that my husband and I have made it this far together.
Over the years I implored God to bring my husband into fellowship with him, also asking him to change my husband. In life, though, only the painful process of brokenness will ever bring about true change, and as his wife I must journey along with my husband through the ache and struggle of this process.
This past year was both very long and yet it passed so quickly. Every member in the family now faces life completely different from what it was in the past.
Now, instead of living work-centered and driven I am moving towards a life that is family-centered, and in this time my husband will bear the heavier responsibility of providing for our family alone. I trust that what God has prepared for us on this journey will ultimately be what is best.
Looking back on 2015, there were failures and times of weakness, however God’s protection and mercy surrounded us at each step, and so all the glory goes to the Father forever, amen!
Original article: 出死入生，我的二胎之旅后续 | 众包写作：2015我的挣扎和改变 (Territory)
Note: some portions of the article were condensed by the translator due to repetition or extraneous information.
Image credit: IISG, via Flickr
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