The Relationship of Honesty & Hope…Part I
I want this blog to be a hopeful place, but I also want it to be an honest place. And IF I am being honest, sometimes the two don’t always get a long. As a Christian, I sometimes feel this pressure to end every journal entry or every post with an uplifting comment, as if to remind myself that I’m not allowed to be anything but hopeful, thankful, and perfect.
The thing is, I really do believe that Christ is my Hope. I really do believe He is bigger than my circumstances. I really do believe I am to be grateful, selfless, and joyous. I want that to be a natural outpouring of my heart. And there are days where that certainly occurs.
But there are certainly days where it doesn’t.
So many thing about infertility have surprised me. First of all, I am so surprised that I’m even struggling with it. I’m healthy. I don’t smoke, I’ve never done drugs. I exercise. I eat organic and local food, heavy on the greens, sweet potatoes, whole milk from grass-fed cows, and salmon, and abstain from anything that contains HFCS and MSG. Biologically, everything SEEMS fine for the most part. I have known lots of women who struggled to conceive. Never in one million years did I think I would be one of them. While I knew I always wanted kids, I wasn’t ever obsessed with the idea. I looked forward to the future but I never allowed myself to get worked up over daydreams or map out plans in my head, because, you know…you don’t want to jinx it.
And now two years into my present reality, that seems to be ALL I think about sometimes.
(and ahem, if you tell me “I just need to stop thinking about it and it will happen,” I might just want to shake you for a good bit).
But the isolation is what has surprised me the most.
And if I am being honest that is the worst part. I wasn’t prepared for any of that. I just happen to be in the age bracket where the majority of my friends and family have children and now I find myself the outsider looking in a life that I would so like to be a part of. You find that many times, you can no longer join in conversations. So you sit quietly and try to pretend that all the baby talk doesn’t hurt. You are happy for your friends, SO, SO happy. And you want to be there for them as they move into this all-encompassing, new chapter of life. I just wasn’t prepared for the way it would make me feel invisible. Conversations go on around you, not with you. There have been times when I felt like I could honestly leave a room and no one would notice.
It all sounds so melodramatic. But I think anyone that has experienced remaining in a stage of life when the people around them move on, understand. Regardless of the circumstance, whether it be a dream job, marriage,or some grand adventure, you don’t resent them for their happiness. You just wish for your own as well.
And with every new “we’re pregnant” announcement, I feel a rush of genuine happiness for them and stifle my own tears of hurt and longing. Because those moments are when the emptiness sits like lead in my womb.
Over two years ago, I was in a Bible study with three of my closest girlfriends and two of them found out they were pregnant on the exact same day. I remember I prayed to God that maybe this would be the month I would be pregnant as well. I started my . the next day.
Christmas of last year, I was absolutely sure I was pregnant. According to my calendar we should have conceived. I felt twinges of the early signs of pregnancy, so convinced that THIS month was different. And when my . didn’t come, I bought the cutest pair of baby booties to wrap and give to J for him to open. I waited to take a pregnancy test until that Christmas morning, so convinced that I was pregnant that I wanted the morning it was confirmed to be the best Christmas morning ever. I woke up at 3 am, unable to sleep anymore out of excitement and anticipation, and I snuck in the bathroom to take the test.
It was negative. Four hours later I started my .
The baby booties are still tucked away in the back of my sock drawer, a painful and embarrassing reminder of “that one time I thought I was pregnant.”
I barely held myself together as my family opened up gifts downstairs that morning and then I escaped to my bedroom and bawled my eyes out. The kind of tears where the sobs cascade one on top of the other, to the point where no sound escapes. Your body just shakes, nearly suffocating as your lungs gasp for breath and your stomach is one big knot. I had never before experienced that kind of hurt–it literally brought physical pain. Like a part of me was dying. (I can’t even begin to imagine the loss of a child through accident, sickness, or miscarriage. For those of you who have experienced that, my heart goes out to you in a way words can’t express.)
I have a hard time during family photos because J and I are the only ones that don’t have kids on his side. And I love those pics. They decorate my fridge. I’m so proud of those kiddos. I show them off to everyone that comes to the house. I just hope that one day we’ll have kids to add to that photo. It’s the same with my friends’ kids. I love those kids. I want to be in their lives. I don’t want to miss out just because it hurts to hold them sometimes. God has given me a heart to love and I refuse to let infertility destroy that.
I also wasn’t prepared for the mind games of infertility. How your body and brain betray you. The dream beckons like a lullaby and you interpret signs for things that really aren’t there. And you swear you aren’t going to fall for that again. And then you do. Time and time again. And you get angry at yourself. You feel stupid.
Heavy stuff, and I hope I haven’t made you feel uncomfortable as you’ve read this. I write these words because I think honesty is so important. I know so many others must have experienced this in their own stories and yet, we don’t talk about it. So we bury it deep, ashamed for the way we feel sometimes.
But you know what that does? When we continually bury the pain out of fear? We end up just presenting a polished, “churched up” version of ourselves, and we bleed from the inside out, in solitude, away from others. I don’t want that. And I really don’t think God wants that either.
So for honesty’s sake, here it goes:
Sometimes life is cruel. And sometimes it sucks. And it makes me mad. And sad. And frustrated. And hopeless. Sometimes I want to shut out the world, throw a blanket over my head, and lick my wounds. Sometimes I want to shout, rebel, and throw a fit. Sometimes I want my space. Sometimes I just want to hold my friends’ babies and rock them to sleep in my arms.
I’m not scared that God will reject me for these emotions. I’m not scared that He will leave me once I reveal to Him the “unpretty” side that secretly lurks underneath all of this. I think instead Jesus wants to pull me in tight so I can bang my fists against HIS chest and cry those heavy sobs that I don’t reveal to anyone else. He doesn’t chide me, or lecture me. He just lets me cry and when I am done, He whispers that He understands and He loves me.
And I believe Him.