Tuesday, May 8, 2018

When Mother's Day is "Not This Year."

Mother’s Day can be hard for many reasons. Estrangement, abuse, death…there are many factors why thinking about your mom might be difficult. Or maybe you are a mom who lost a child. Or maybe you want to be a mother yourself, but for whatever reason, you are not.
I fall into the last category. This probably won’t come as a surprise to many of you. After all, chronic health in general, and endometriosis in particular, are significant barriers to parenthood. But Nathan and I have been married four years, and I am turning thirty very shortly. My biological clock is ticking away hard, and my heart is grieving.
This past year we have watched as post after post on Facebook, message after message, conversation after conversation, have turned into pregnancy announcements. And while we have deep joy for our friends and the new lives they are bringing into the world, each new pregnancy and birth feels like a death knell in my own heart. For not only is it a reminder of what we don’t have, but it is another set of friends moving on to another stage of life. And however much we might work to maintain the friendship, there is a drastic difference in having children and not having children, and how it affects everything. Getting married can change friendships, but I think the addition of children to one half of the equation but not the other has the potential to be even more so.
Both Nathan and I have felt a call to parenthood from a very young age. We both worked as nannies, and we both have always taken a great delight in connecting with our young relatives. We absolutely adore our nieces, nephew, and godson.
We also deeply trust in God’s timing. We both have family history that had long prepared us for the possibility of an infertility struggle, and for the same reason our families are deeply sympathetic, understanding, and supportive. And we can see in our own lives just how God’s timing for the birth of a child is perfect and out of man’s control.
I trust God. I trust him so much, that even when I am crying, and I want to be pleading for a child, I still find myself wanting his timing more than my immediate joy. If we are to be blessed with a baby, I want the best for that baby, and I want God’s perfect timing for my child in our lives. At this point, I don’t know whether it will be a biological child or an adoptive one. I don’t know if it will be soon or late. I don’t know if it will ever happen.
It’s a lonely struggle. People don’t talk about infertility. I know very few people of my own age who have openly shared with me that they are in the same boat. And even when you do find someone, chances are that at some point one of you is going to become pregnant and the other is not. And then you are so, so happy for them, but once again you are left behind. Or you worry about leaving your friend behind and hurting them.

And the rest of the world...well, there are so many kind, loving people in this world, who mean nothing but goodness, but still don't know what to say. Things hurt all the time, even when people are trying to be helpful and positive. Words, no matter how well-meaning, can cause so much pain. And so often I will just not talk about it, because I'm afraid of receiving more kind but upsetting platitudes.
I’m not hopeless. Indeed, at many times I am full of great hope. “Maybe this month…!!!” But I’m also really struggling. Many of the things one starts doing to try and achieve a pregnancy is adjust your hormones, so that an already emotional struggle becomes far, far more difficult to navigate. There’s a lot of crying. And there’s a lot of just walking around with a deep, deep sadness that you can’t talk about.
In part, this is a big reason of why I haven’t been blogging as much this year. It’s really hard when the biggest thing on my mind is so heavy. I don’t want to be a complainer. I don’t want to drag other people down into my depression and grief. But I also know how uplifting it has been whenever I do find another couple going through the same struggle. Whenever I feel less alone. Whenever I know that someone understands, someone else is also waiting on God. It helps so much. And so Nathan has encouraged me to write this post, in the hopes that it will do many good things, including some comfort of solidarity to anyone else going through this struggle.
It’s taken me five months to finally sit down and write this. I really didn’t want to do it. I really hoped that I’d have good news, not sad news to share. But I’d feel guilty every month I didn’t write it. I felt like I was missing an opportunity to be honest and shine a light on a very dark corner.
I don’t know if, or when, I will ever have happy news on this subject to share with you all. But if this journey continues to be a hard one, I may have further thoughts and reflections to share, as I feel they may be of use. I never, ever want this blog to become an outlet for complaining.
So. Mother’s Day. If you’re feeling apprehensive or sad about it, for whatever reason, know that you are not alone. And if you have any thoughts on how to navigate the day, please feel free to share.

No comments: