I remember the days well. The days when the Mom’s Blog was a community I desperately wanted to be a part of but wasn’t. I couldn’t. I didn’t have kids yet…at least here on earth.
I remember the days like they were yesterday. The explicit reminders everywhere: negative pregnancy tests, medical bills for my D&C surgeries, PREGNANT BELLIES EVERYWHERE I LOOKED, babies getting cooed over in every store, restaurant and vacation spot we visited, mommy & me classes at the yoga studio, moms groups that I wasn’t invited to, and as you may well know, the list could go on.
Infertility felt like a prison that I had no control over when I would get out. I felt trapped, alone, and so very frustrated. Never before in my life had there been something I wanted that I couldn’t get by simply working harder.
Maybe that’s where you’re at today, or you know someone who is trying for a baby and isn’t having success. Maybe it’s secondary infertility: trying for baby #2 or #3 and you’re incredibly sad that it isn’t happening in your timing-or maybe you’re becoming fearful that as you get older it won’t happen at all.
Infertility is a painful and isolating place.
Sister, you are not alone. You do NOT need to feel guilty for being sad about your “family planning” not panning out the way you envisioned.
Three years ago, I was in an incredibly dark place. We had lost our first child to miscarriage at 11 weeks and had been trying for months to get pregnant again.
There is a part of every woman that longs to be called “mom.” A part of us that longs to cuddle up with a little munchkin and call him or her “ours,” and I was unsure after years of longing for that, if it would ever be my reality. Even considering adoption was a scary thing because I had heard the awful stories of failed adoptions and years of waiting.
I just want to encourage you – wherever you are today – to do 3 things.
1) Tell your story.
2) Don’t give up.
3) Live Joyfully.
1. You need to tell your story. Millions of women are in your shoes and feeling alone too. You need community just like the frazzled mommies of “terrible twos and threes” who are invading Chick-Fil-A on a weekly basis.
You need friends to cry with when you get bad news from the doctor or feel so depressed–yet again–after you get a negative pregnancy test for the hundredth time.
You need to be loved, encouraged and reminded that God has a plan for YOU and YOUR FAMILY (which by the way already exists in the form of you + your hubby.) Don’t be afraid of talking to people about what’s going on.
Writing is also therapeutic. Journal it out, girl. Let the tears hit the paper and smear the ink. This is a part of your life story. It’s a season and you WILL SURVIVE. But seriously, it’s so much worse when you try to shoulder it alone.
When I was going through my miscarriages, I blogged pretty openly and I received SO MUCH encouragement from others who had been there or who were right there with me.
2. DO. NOT. GIVE. UP.
We adopted our beautiful son 1.5 years ago. Yes–after 1 failed adoption and 4 miscarriages–but he is 100% our son. He is loved and treasured as dearly as a child can be. He is our miracle boy.
I birthed our beautiful girl 13 months after C bear’s adoption–yes, after 2 more heartbreaking miscarriages and in spite of a deep seated fear that I would probably never be able to have biological children. She is our miracle girl.
You have heard the miracle stories too. It can annoy the pants off of you at times because you AREN’T PREGNANT YET! I used to cringe beyond cringe inside about those “relax and then it’ll happen” comments. Of course you have gotten the unsolicited fertility advice, or perhaps the most common if you’ve considered adoption, “my friend adopted and then she got pregnant.” Regardless of what people say or how well intentioned they are, it is so hard to hear. Try to take these stories with a grain of salt, trusting that you will have your own story someday about how your “miracle babies” came into your life.
*It’s hard to know what to say to someone struggling with infertility, miscarriage, or child loss. If you know someone who has gone through a miscarriage and are looking for ways to come alongside her, check out a blog I co-wrote with my good friend after we had both gone through a miscarriage. It’s called “To the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world.”
The adoption process is not as scary and complex as it sounds, and oh my stars, if we were to have adopted ALL of our kids, I would be 1000% satisfied. An adopted child becomes YOURS just as if he or she had popped out of your, er–you-know-what. (Check out Lynn’s post on how they decided to adopt.)
If your heart’s desire is to be a mommy, you will be a mommy someday. Keep praying, hold TIGHTLY to hope, and have faith.
3. Live joyfully. In the meantime, try (and it won’t be possible all the time) to live your pre-kids life to the fullest. Even if you “already did that” before pulling the goalie, you need to get back into that mentality. It brings freedom.
You could become an amazing mentor through the Big Brothers Big Sisters. You can serve in your church nursery. You can go skydiving. You can road trip. You can travel abroad. You can craft. You can stay out late. You can go on a mission trip. You can do things so much more easily than you will be able to when you have a baby to call your own.
I know you would RATHER have a baby and totally skip all of that in a heartbeat. But that’s not today, according to a plan bigger than your own. That time will come. Try to let go of bitterness and choose joy instead. Being a yoga instructor, I like to phrase it this way: “Inhale joy. Exhale bitterness. Inhale joy. Exhale discontentment. Inhale peace. Exhale fear.” (This is my favorite breathing exercise.)
And when you can’t let go of the pain? Let yourself feel it for a period (30 min for example) and then choose to step out of that dark place. Sometimes it seriously helps to buy yourself that venti mocha frappucino and go tanning or hit up a hot yoga class. Have a glass of wine at a local vineyard with your main squeeze, knowing you can’t do those things while you’re pregnant. (minus the frap. You can totally still have a frap. Let’s not judge.)
You have been given a precious gift—LIFE—and infertility can give a heck of an effort at robbing you of that. Your wait won’t be nearly as bad if you choose to live it with joy.
Maybe this hits you right where you are today. Remember girl, you are not alone. And someday, you will long for a moment to read a blog because you’ll have a little one tugging at your shirt with peanut butter all over his hands saying, “mommy, mommy, MOMMY!!” Incessantly. I can’t wait to read your story.
You will be a mommy.
Hold fast, and don’t lose heart.