I’m happy. I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time- even before we were matched. As I overheard my husband say when someone asked him how I was doing, “The old Jackie is back.” Our office has become a nursery, we’ve talked about baby names and I literally dream about baby slings.
But even though we are excitedly and anxiously awaiting our baby boy, there are some things about infertility that are so engrained I’ve recently realized they may be there forever. I don’t hide my eyes when I see a pregnant person on the street or get that feeling in the pit of my stomach and have to fight back tears as I walk by the baby aisle in Target. I actually had my first experience of someone telling me they were pregnant that I was genuinely, completely and only excited and joyful for them (something that grieved me to think every pregnancy announcement for the rest of my life would be a mix of happiness and sadness and jealously and pain.)
I thought I was fine and was actually shocked how quickly some of the “infertile” emotions went away.
But then a pregnant woman complains for a long time about her pregnancy symptoms. I was chatting and doing ok, but after a while my heart cries “I get that you’re uncomfortable…but I’ll never have a baby growing in my womb. And the three that were there died.” Or I’ll get invited to a baby shower and- even though it feels hypocritical since I had my own – it still brings up dread and fear… And loneliness at being the only person in the room who won’t experience pregnancy, labor and delivery in a physical way. Before we were matched it could be frustrating that pregnant people know the timeline their baby could come when we had no clue if ours was coming that day or a year away.
I feel it when I read blogs from infertile women… even great gospel centered advice. “Only God can end your infertility, only He can open your womb.” I think to myself- that was not the end of our infertility… He has not opened our womb and probably won’t. Now the good thing is, if you’re reading this and struggling through infertility or miscarriages, most women go on to have healthy babies. I can probably think of 20 women off the top of my head who have dealt with this to some degree and almost all of them are now pregnant or have had multiple beautiful babies.
But some of us are in the minority. There’s a few of us who will never get pregnant and walk away from treatment or trying, emotionally closing our own wombs forever.
But hear me- it gets better. I know some of you can’t imagine walking away with an empty womb and empty arms without a lifelong broken heart… but it really does get better. The sharpness of the pain dulls and you’re lifted out of the fog. I never get hit with overwhelming desires to weep or feel like an elephant is crushing my chest…now it’s more like a dull, intermittent sadness.
It is sad we’ll never get pregnant. It is sad we’ll never have a baby that has Bryan’s eyes or my smile. And that’s okay that it’s sad. I had a glimmer of hope that I only gleaned the good things like spiritual growth, knowledge of grieving, empathy and emotional maturity from infertility and left all the hard stuff behind. That is mostly true… But there are a few of those difficult realities that will stay with me for a long, long time. And that’s all right.
Feeling overwhelmingly joyful about our soon to be child and so confident this is the path God has to grow our family doesn’t immediately diminish some of the loss and grief. But He’s big enough for the seeming contradiction. He’s big enough to shout out my joys and quietly confess my sadness. His love is powerful enough to comfort me, encourage me and cause me to weep with joy. Jesus loves me. And He loves you. And whether you’re having a rough day experiencing another negative pregnancy test or have been through loss after loss after loss and are trying to navigate what is next- He is big enough for your pain, His love is deep enough to carry you through and He has gently formed the days of your life for your good and His glory. Cling to Him.