We left off last week standing ankle-deep in confusion and uncertainty. For four years, I had desired a single thing: to be a mom. To be now standing in the midst of a childless life and imagining a future without children was a crushing blow. The very notion of accepting this life knifed through me like betrayal: to my desire for children, for the children I had spent hours praying for, for my friends who were talking this road with me.
To say that I was confused is an understatement. There is no manual for embracing a life without children. There are books and blogs about how to get and stay pregnant. There are support websites for miscarriage and adoption and foster parenting. There is very little out there on how to find joy in embracing the life given. I was confused and alone. And so I withdrew… disappeared until I could make sense of it all.
A myriad questions tore through my heart:
If I choose to love this life, does it mean I never desired children in the first place?
Was I just giving up? This didn’t feel like the easier route, but maybe it was?
What would my infertile friends think? Would they consider me on the ‘other side’ of infertility?
How do you live this life?
Does this mean I will always be ‘less’ of a woman?
What is my role in life if I am not a mom?
What is my identity?
Will this always hurt this much?
Has God forgotten me?
Will I ever be able to be around kids never my own?
The questions were deep and challenging. As I wrestled with each one I began to realize what I was truly doing. I was choosing this life. I was choosing to push out against the edges of the Waiting Until Life, cracking and bending the limits of a dream I didn’t want to change.
It hurt. Oh, it hurt. There is grief and pain in pushing towards a dream that never seems to get closer, but there is deep, crushing sorrow in realizing the dream was never yours to begin with. Even as I began to realize that it was possible to live this life, and live it fully, the pain was raw and unrelenting. Even as peace seeped in, smoothing the edges with a growing understanding of where God had placed us, the grief of these days was deeper than when we were first diagnosed.
See, I wanted those babies. I dreamed of those babies. I missed those babies with the longing only an infertile woman whose arms are painfully empty will understand. They were children loved and longed for, and they were slipping away from me.
As much as I was learning that God was asking us to stand quietly in the life He had given and embrace it with humble gratitude, I didn’t understand why I was the one being asked to make this choice. Why us? I cried, why not the other couples who have moved on with arms filled one, maybe twice or three times?
Of all the questions I discovered answers to, that last remains unanswered. The Len and I have an inkling, perhaps seeing in a mirror though darkly. And perhaps we’ll never know. Perhaps one day the Lord will show us, perhaps not. In the end, it doesn’t matter. I am simply grateful that the sorrow in the question has been erased.
And questions answered, we were left with a quiet, niggling guilt…
Please tune in next week as we explore the many other emotions that came with this adjustment.
If you have specific questions as we go along, please leave a question in the comments and I would be happy to address them.