I’ll be honest, this past month was particularly hard emotionally for me in this waiting journey. I went from September to February not crying once over our journey and even found myself thankful for where we are. February came around and all of a sudden I find myself in this valley looking up, trying to claw my way out, but being unsuccessful, all while watching these other people stand at the top of it, looking down at me, getting what I so desperately want. My heart HURTS. Like physically hurts.
I have poured my heart out to God so much this past month and have asked Him “when” and “why” and “how long” it will be until we have another child. I want to hear an audible voice that tells me these answers; but that does not happen, I just HAVE to trust that He has a plan that is much greater and bigger than mine. And I know these things, but sometimes my heart just hurts in spite of trusting the Lord.
Seeing and hearing more people announce they were pregnant with second babies and accidental oops #3’s made it hard for my desiring heart. Plus it didn’t help my hormones that I was trying another round of clomid to see if we could get pregnant last month. There are currently 7 women in my Sunday school class that are pregnant; and with every new pregnancy announcement, it’s a reminder to me that I’m still not pregnant and will have to watch more women around me have growing bellies when my womb remains empty. My best friend is also pregnant with her second. Our two boys are the same age and my heart longs to have another baby with her so that our second children can grow up together like our boys have so far.
I told my husband last week that I feel like it’s sometimes harder for me as a woman in this infertility journey 1) b/c I carry the baby and have the monthly reminder and hormones dealing with it all but also 2) I’m at home with Levi, so that means I am doing playdates, music class, playground trips, etc and see all of these mothers with kids Levi’s age (and younger) with young babies or big bellies. It’s always in my face. I see the reminder everywhere. And please hear me when I say that while my heart hurts when I see more and more pregnancy announcements, my heart also rejoices and cheers for these Mama’s as they get to have their second, third, and fourth children. I do not begrudge them in any way. It’s just that my heart hurts because it’s another reminder that I can’t have what they have.
Jane Johnson, an acquaintance of mine through the Pursuit Community and photography industry, has an amazing story of trusting the Lord for 10 years (yes, 10 years) while she waited for her baby. She and her husband heard very clearly from the Lord that they were to wait on their child, do no interventions, and not to adopt. God used her story in amazing ways during that time. She explains my feelings perfectly as she described sharing her pregnancy news with a friend dealing with infertility:
I spilled the beans about my little bean. With my hands over my face because I couldn’t believe I was even saying it out loud, I said the two words I had dreamed of for years.
And I quickly caught the eye of the girl across the table. The one who was two years into her own wait. The one who was truly, genuinely rejoicing with me. And quietly excused herself from the table a handful of minutes later. I knew what was happening. I had been there so many times before: she found a private area to stifle out a sob. And take a deep breath. And collect herself. Before returning to the table to celebrate. Weeping within. And rejoicing without.
Can I explain something here for a minute? When a woman who is craving a babe of her own hears the news of another woman discovering a babe of her own, something happens kinetically within her. Her heart breaks and celebrates all at once in the beautifully complicated and sometimes messy way that infertility and delayed-fertility-roads require.
And I think maybe the verse that imperatively urges us to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice was written with those very moments in mind. Because it’s the only occasion I can think of where someone is simultaneously doing both.
And I told them last night as we sat at dinner and I snuggled our over-tired babe that they would be back soon. To celebrate their someday-babymoon. And when that time comes, soon enough, I will rejoice with her the same way she rejoiced with me. Because there is a time to do both – weep and rejoice. And we were designed to weep with the weeping AND rejoice with the rejoicing. Even if, sometimes, those two things are happening simultaneously.
I also recently received an email forwarded from a friend. This was a newsletter email explaining to people who are pregnant how to tell their friend dealing with infertility that they are pregnant. I will probably share the whole thing sometime soon with my thoughts on it, but this one point really hits on what I’m talking about today:
Let her know it’s ok to cry
There’s about a 95% chance she will cry when you tell her, either in the moment or later, and that’s perfectly ok. Just because someone cries doesn’t mean she isn’t happy for you. Moments like this are bittersweet. They cause deep pain but also deep joy. Creating a space in the friendship for open emotions and no judgement is very important.
I love this reminder. Unless you’ve walked this journey, you have no idea the weird happy and sad emotions that flood a woman’s heart when she hears the pregnancy announcement from her best friend (or really any pregnancy announcement they see). I didn’t get it until I walked this journey myself. I didn’t understand why my other best friend withdrew some from me when I got pregnant while she had been trying for a year already. I didn’t understand that me showing her my pregnancy test a week after finding out was probably not the best way or most sensitive way for me to share my news with her. I didn’t know that she probably cried later after me sharing my news. I had no idea. Now I do. I get it 100% and 1000 times over. I’m not unhappy for my pregnant friends. I am thrilled for them. I weep for what I still don’t have, but rejoice for them that they have been blessed with another amazing gift. I’m very thrilled for them, but I weep while I rejoice.