Several months ago I mentioned my desire to start a new series. At that time, I said ‘over the next few weeks’ and then took those words, stretching them as far as they would go… into a new year, even. I am not sure whether this stretching of time counts as literary license but I shall pretend that it does.
At any rate, my hope was to bridge the gap between my (then frequent) posts about infertility and my current posts about embracing the joy of the life given.
It is important to remember that infertility is as much about desiring to have children as it is a sort of continual loss. When we marry with the desire to grow our family dreams and expectations arise, naturally for some though not for all. Realizing that infertility will take up a larger part of your life than you ever dreamed is a different facet of the same grief; lost time and lives placed on hold is another. Infertility becomes the medical block standing between us and our children and there is deep grief in a dream shattered monthly.
I remember well uttering the words, ‘This isn’t my life. This won’t be my life. It just can’t be…’ I am sure I am not the only one who decided that life without children was the worst case scenario… the only unacceptable option.
When we decided to put our adoption plans on hold, in my mind it was never intended to be permanent. My heart and mind relished the chance for a break from the relentless pursuit of parenthood, but I knew at the right time I would head down that road again with determination and persistence. I had a looming object of horror to move swiftly away from. I would not be childless. That was my plan. And I don’t mean to sound tongue in cheek about the whole thing but if I am honest I was more earnestly moving away from a childless life than I was moving with joy towards meeting my children.
The question then, is obvious: how does the worst case scenario become the life embraced? How does the source of a deep and shattering grief become the overflow of joy?
There’s a reason I call this our miracle… only grace can claim beauty from ashes. Only grace can anchor peace in a tempestuous heart. Only grace…
A few months ago a friend said to me: ‘I thought you had just given up. I realize now that you haven’t, that this has taken more effort than quitting ever could but I really thought at first that you had just thrown in the towel.’
With our adoption on hold, we allowed our life to be what it was: the life we were choosing to live right now. There was joy here. Contentment. Enjoyment. Peace. Infrequently, I would dip a hesitant toe into the waters of Lake This Could Be My Life, only to gasp and leap back at the chill that tore through me.
And then one day I realized that somehow I was standing ankle deep in that lake, my socks and shoes set neatly on the shore. The fear was still there, quiet and insistent, though not as strong. The grief was intense, confusion and guilt not far behind. I was no longer running to avoid the Life That Couldn’t Be… I was standing in the midst of it, having a careful look around.
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.