There’s still a part of me that aches each Mother’s Day. This year, 2018, will mark the second one I get to spend with Jonathan as a real, actual mom, but it still doesn’t feel all the way real. Like some part of my soul still gets apprehensive and anxious, thinking that I’ll still need to avoid church and restaurants and all the happy, whole women that have children and bodies that haven’t revolted against them.
For many years, motherhood was a big question mark for me. And when I say many, I mean more than 20. While I now have the most wonderful little boy in the world, the years of pain, anger, disappointment, and at times just plain despair weren’t easy, and they’ve left their scars. I fought with my body, I railed against God, I swore off kids and then begged for them while sobbing helplessly on the floor, holding yet another negative test. To call it a rollercoaster would be the understatement of the year.
I remember one year I went with my mom and step-dad to church on Mother’s Day, and planned to eat lunch with them after. They invited all the moms to come up one by one to receive a carnation and a blessing, and my own mom, trying to be sweet, encouraged me to get up and get one. “I’m not a mom,” I hissed. “But you will be,” she answered. I shook my head and sat while the angry tears flowed down my cheeks. I wasn’t angry with her, I was furious with God and my body.
Your time will come… You just need to pray... You’re meant to be a mom… Try not to stress... Just have faith…
If I heard that one more time I was going to punch something.
For years, people had tried to help me with my PCOS/infertility by giving me a LOT of well-intended, but ultimately unhelpful advice, including ridding my house of all plastic food containers, drinking raw milk, consuming assorted essential oils, exercise, vegan/vegetarian/Atkins diets, a variety of, ummm, positions to aid in conception, temperature tracking, vitamins, and more. One very sweet person told me that I needed to “make space in my life” for a child, to signal the universe that I was ready to be a mother, and advised that I should go ahead and set up a room in my house for the baby that I knew deep down would most likely never come.
And I prayed. I prayed so long and so hard that sometimes I literally went hoarse. I begged for healing, for a child, for a body that didn’t rebel against my deepest wish. Friends and family prayed for me and with me. I had a good marriage and a safe home and a steady job and a house full of vitamins and free of plastic and still, God denied my cries to get pregnant. I saw people I knew that didn’t believe in any god at all have multiple children, and knew countless girls from high school that only needed a good time in the backseat of a car to have kids, instead of endless hours of infertility research or medications that made them horribly sick and injections that burned. After one phone call from an excited friend announcing she was pregnant again, I broke. Rage and jealousy and pain overwhelmed me, and I lay down on the floor sobbing so hard I could hardly breathe, but still yelling out the question “WHY?”
Why do you think I’m unfit to be a mother? Why did my body start to change when I was only nine years old? Why does this hurt so much, both mentally and physically? Why do I have to be different from so many other women in yet another way that keeps me isolated and alone? Why did you make me this way? Why do You hate me?
But He didn’t hate me. He loved me enough to say no.
He loved me so much, that He saved my life and spared the life of any child I could have conceived if we had kept trying. The endometriosis and cysts that unbeknownst to me or my doctors had formed in and around my uterus and tubes would have caused any pregnancy that might have come about to almost certainly be ectopic, resulting in miscarriage and/or possibly the loss of my own life. HE knew what was really hurting me, even when the doctors didn’t. He gave me surgeons that would stop the physical pain and a concrete end to the banging of my head against the wall every month.
He loved another woman so much, that despite all her problems, and despite her many mistakes, He kept her safe enough to give birth to a healthy, amazing little baby that would someday become my own.
He loved Jonathan, and knew he and I desperately needed each other, and set things in place years before Jonathan was ever even conceived so that we would be together forever.
Infertility has no neat answers, and sometimes there aren’t happy endings. Even the beauty of adoption is brought about by the ugliness of someone else’s loss. I’m probably still going to be trying to fight back the ghosts of the bitterness and jealousy I felt for so many years in the past with the joy I have now for the future. They may never completely go away. I’m ok with that, because when I see another woman crying at church on Mother’s Day, I can honestly say to her that I’ve been there and understand.
God didn’t heal my body, but He’s continuing to heal my heart and my soul.
Maybe you can see yourself in parts of my story. If you do, please let me know. I’d love to talk with you. Email is totally ok – I’m an introvert too, so I get it: peopling can be scary. But no matter what, I don’t want you to feel alone. I’m here, and I get it.
Maybe you see a friend or a sister in parts of my story. Or you see the woman crying at church. You can be there for her too. Pray for her, be there when she needs to cry or to rage or needs someone to sit with her at a baby shower for someone else.
There is hope.