You heard me right.
And I know I’ve talked about this before, but I feel pretty alone in my views of infertility and hope that there are others like me. If there are, perhaps they need some encouragement, too.
I’ve read a few blogs lately. They are from women who have also struggled with infertility and are encouraging to those who are struggling with frustration and mourning and heart-ache.
I appreciate that there are tender-hearted women out there, who are willing to share their stories and help others to work through the grief that often follows the countless months of emptiness.
My own journey to motherhood wasn’t without some tears, some feelings of insecurity, and some big fat question marks.
Leo and I had been married a little over four years when my cycle, always irregular, really went wacky. Up to that point we had not ever conceived, though we both dreamed of children someday. During that time, I would go through phases of longing for pregnancy. I would dream of somehow knowing that our lives had changed, and think of creative, funny, tender ways to surprise Leo and our families.
I wasn’t secretive about my desires and others began to join me in the hoping. I received lots of advice, most of it unwelcome. I was given permission to feel all sorts of feelings and told what kind of prayers to pray. I began to worry that not only was I not able to live up to my purpose as a woman, I was also failing in how I should feel about my struggles.
No one ever said, it’s OK to feel content with your limitations and ask God what else there may be.
I really wish someone had said that.
I would not have struggled so much with feeling that I was feeling inadequately. Because the truth is, I tried to be angry, but I wasn’t. I tried to be sad, and while I felt I was missing out on motherhood, I was mourning because I hadn’t yet felt I’d lost anything. I tried to feel purposeless, but somehow, I knew I wasn’t. I tried to wrap my heart around hopelessness because, well, that’s what I thought I was supposed to do.
But then I found myself, late one night, sitting outside trying to be angry at God. My heart wasn’t in it. I didn’t really feel it and suddenly the injustice I felt was not because I couldn’t (rather, most likely wouldn’t) carry a child. It was because I was being told by women everywhere that I should be feeling things I never did.
And in the end, that made me feel more inadequate than my empty womb.
My infertility did not make me less of a woman, mother, or child of God.
I am not being punished, or tested, or challenged.
My purpose does not end because my womb is empty.
I can be thankful for the things I do not have, because all of the room left can be filled with amazing gifts I never even knew I wanted.
Soon, my outlook changed. I can now celebrate every single life conceived. I can freely attend baby showers, births, and other celebrations for children. I can look at a glowing woman with swollen belly and sometimes feel a twinge of loss, but I can also freely touch her and feel genuinely glad for the good gifts God has given her.
What I find myself struggling with today, is encountering families so blinded with grief by their own infertility struggles, that they miss the joys of parenthood. Their finances drained, their emotions raw, their bodies wracked, their hearts broken… it’s all so sad.
I want so very much to be sensitive to those feelings, but in truth, I don’t really get it. And I think it’s because my home has been blessed with so many children, children I would never have gotten to love on my own, and I know that there are so many more children out there who need mother love like mine.
If Leo and I had spent these past few years pouring our energy, my health, our money, our time, our heart into something that may never be, then I would have missed the amazing adventures God has given me. And worst of all. The most fear inducing idea of all, I would never have had eleven children that I’ve rocked to sleep. And I would never be so madly in love with and blessed by Simeon or Cordelia.
And Simeon and Cordelia are proof that even if they doesn’t look like me. Even if I don’t nurse them at my breast, or if I didn’t hold them all red and slimy and covered in afterbirth, I can still get to know them and love them as intimately as if I had. These kids are proof that God will give us the desires of our hearts, then give us the desires of our hearts.
So, if you’re out there and you’re still reading all these words and you wonder what’s wrong with you because you don’t feel the way the world tells you you should feel, it’s OK. You’re not alone and you’re not wrong. You never know what incredible gifts God has for you.