I have struggled in my heart writing this post. I have written and re-written it a million times. I also have dreaded writing it. I even contemplated not posting it. But I know I have to. If this post will help just one person who is struggling right now, it will be worth it.
Writing is therapeutic for me. It is how I express myself and I am much more capable of writing my feelings than I am with the spoken word. I guess it goes back to my days as a young girl and religiously writing in my journals every single night. Oh to read those now. I would tell myself: “Hey! Guess what? Just because your friend totally is dating the boy you like, things could be SO MUCH WORSE! Chill. For reals.” or “Oh, you were the last of your friends to get asked to Homecoming? My hell, child! Get a freaking grip!!” And then I would give myself a hug. And compliment myself on my amazing booty. And move on.
To understand the premise and my current emotional state, I need to give some short background: We (as in my husband and I) have had a really rough year. There has been a LOT of growing and stretching. It is safe to say that this has been the hardest year of our married life. By far. Nothing that we thought we would experience this year has happened.
We both got to a point this year where we felt like we couldn’t do anything right. No matter what we did, we were hurting and struggling with one thing or another. Then, something amazing happened. I found out I was pregnant! This is a big deal. I have rough pregnancies when it comes to my health. They take a serious toll on me. So it took me a while to actually be not only ready to get pregnant again but also willing. I feel like my pregnancies take a serious toll on me emotionally and physically so I have to really prepare myself for it. I have friends that are popping out their 4th or 5th child like it is nothing and I am still usually mentally preparing for even the thought of getting pregnant again. To top it off, it isn’t always easy for me to get pregnant. Some women are blessed with being able to time their pregnancies perfectly. I am not one of those women.
The thing that is even harder is that my soul longs for children. I have a longing to have a house full of our babies. People say, “you have 2 beautiful children, you are so lucky.” “You have one of each, a boy and a girl. So even if you don’t have more at least you have that.” And I am. I am so lucky. I have friends that can’t even have children. I get it. I have wept with them and struggled with them. Infertility is something that I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy. I really truly wouldn’t. That also doesn’t diminish my struggle or the hurt I feel, because the hurt I feel is real. It is real to me.
I have so long not wanted to talk about this because I know people who have it so much worse than me. But I have come to the conclusion that if we are to have a true bond and community when it comes to Sisterhood, we shouldn’t be afraid to express our pain, even if it may seem like it is less than the pain our sister is feeling. Every women should validate their feelings. It isn’t a competition for who is struggling the most or having the worst trial. What we feel is real to US and we should share it without feeling as if we are going to step on others toes. We, as a culture, need to get over that and embrace each others heartache, even if it is different from ours. That is how we become Christ-like. That is how we mourn with those who mourn. That is how we become humble and empathetic.
So here is my heartache.
I always say I want 4 children (which to people outside of Mormon-dom sounds like a full brood). But the truth is, I only say that because I am terrified that I won’t even get the privilege of having that many. I honestly would have as many as I could if it was a possibility. Jeff comes from a family of 6 children, I am from a family of 7. My siblings are my best friends, my confidants, and my heroes. I want my children to experience the joy from their siblings that I experience from mine. They can do this with a small family, no doubt, but the joys and chaos of a larger family are something that can’t be explained unless experienced. Not only do I want my children to experience that, I feel as if I have other children waiting for me. My efforts to get them here just aren’t really working. I long to hold sweet newborns in my arms for hours on end and smell their perfect puppy dog smell and pet their fuzzy little heads and necks. Jeff doesn’t really get to know our children until they are about 6 months old because I just don’t let them go. I breath in my newborns like there is nothing else in the world that will sustain me but their little snuggles, mews, and sweet breath. For both of my babies, there are countless nights that I have stayed up well past the time they have fallen asleep in my arms, willing myself to drink them in and remember them always as the innocent and perfect beings that they are. I even tell them over and over and over again how much they are loved, wanted, and needed in our family. Our souls connect and I just know that I was meant to be their mom and they were meant to be my baby and there is nothing in this world that I will not do for them. Nothing. They were sent to me. A gift from God. And I will fight fiercely for their soul.
So, when we found out we were pregnant, we were overjoyed. This was going to finally be the bright spot in our year full of sadness and let-downs. I felt as if this was God throwing me a bone and telling me: “Hey, guess what! Not everything sucks right now. I love you and I am giving you this amazing gift.” I was so excited. Jeff was so excited. I knew our kids would be over the moon. I was scheming in my mind how I would tell them about their new sibling. I was planning on right before Halloween. I couldn’t wait. We were maybe even going to announce with Halloween costumes that we were expecting. Oh, the joy that filled my heart was so palpable.
I woke up one morning at 8 weeks along and felt slight cramping. I googled like crazy to make sure things would be ok. It had been almost 3 years since my last pregnancy and I wasn’t sure what was common. I chalked it up to nothing and then saw light spotting. Once again I chalked it up to nothing. These things happen. Google told me. I was fine. But I was also praying. Pleading on my knees by the side of my bed. Fear consumed me. God wouldn’t take this baby from me. It was timed perfectly. This baby would come at the beginning of May and I would be able to take this sweet babe with me to all of our summer adventures. He wouldn’t. He knew the year I was having. He knew that I couldn’t handle this. He knew that this is the one thing I just couldn’t deal with right now. I said nothing to Jeff and continued throughout the day. The next morning I woke up, went to the bathroom, and knew the inevitable.
I was crushed. Heartbroken. Destroyed. This was my hope. My joy. The one thing that I could grab onto and look forward to. We cried. If there is one thing I know, it is that I was lead to Jeff for a reason. He has a good soul and he is a good person. He comforted me when I knew he was crushed as well. He took care of the kids, and I sobbed. I sobbed myself to sleep. Multiple times. Those next couple days are a kind of blur. They were full of me in deep emotional anguish as well as physical pain. I checked social media to get my mind off things. 3 friends announced their pregnancies, 2 had their babies. ALL on the same day. Don’t ever check social media. Ever. It wasn’t that I wasn’t happy for these friends, I truly was, but it was just a slap in the face to remind me that my womb was currently emptying out instead of growing a sweet new babe. I had friends and family that came to comfort me but I mostly just remember the heartache. I remember it because it is still there. It is so raw and so real. This wasn’t the first miscarriage I have had. I had one right before I had our sweet Warren. Why was this so hard for me? Why was it so hard to get my babies here?
This is the part I am struggling with. Still. Things are a bit better but the anger is still there. The anger at God. I feel bad saying that but in order to be truly authentic, I have to admit to myself that it is there and it is real. Why was He taking this child away from me? Why couldn’t I have this ONE thing? ONE thing to brighten up a dark year. Why couldn’t I have this?
So why am I even talking about this? Because I think it is important that we talk about infertility and pregnancy loss. We shouldn’t sweep it under the rug. I will always remember that on May 6th, 2016 I would be holding a baby in my arms. My own sweet baby. Others will forget. But I won’t. That child was real to me and that bond was already there. Every single pregnancy after this one is even more terrifying. My odds, according to my pregnancies, are currently 50/50 of carrying a baby without miscarriage. Those aren’t odds I really feel comfortable with. You try to not bond with the baby until at least 12 weeks (which is impossible). You lie to yourself daily and tell yourself that its fine, if this pregnancy doesn’t work out you will just try again. It isn’t that easy. It is hard. It is a leap of faith. A huge jump into the unknown. And you still take it because that is what we do. To quote my favorite show “Women are as strong as hell.” And it’s true. We do it it because we are either crazy, or as strong as hell.
Now, as for me being mad at God. Yes the anger is there. But right now it is also forging a new relationship with Him. I am understanding my current relationship with Him and what I want it to become. I have these scriptures on my lockscreen on my phone right now. I read them multiple times a day.
37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.
38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?
39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?
41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?
I have felt like the ship. I still feel like the ship. I feel like I am being tossed, waves beating me down, and I am full of fear. But I also am trying to seek my faith. I am trying to be full of faith because I know that eventually peace will come. It will. I know it will. Maybe not yet, maybe not for a long while, but I know that it will come. Because I know that He loves me. I know because I know the way I feel for my own children. I know that just in the same way that I would never leave my children in anguish and suffering, neither will He. This is a refiner’s fire. It is hell and it is awful. It isn’t fun. It isn’t fair. But life isn’t always fun or fair. But I have grown, and stretched, and questioned, as well as used my faith in ways that I didn’t even know I could or had.
As cliche as it sounds, I truly believe that our struggles help us to become the beings that allow us to forge a relationship with our Father in Heaven. They allow us to seek humility, and find strength in it. They allow us to look for the good in others even when we can’t seem to find the good in ourselves. They allow us to serve others even when we feel as if we are going to crumble. They help us to become unselfish. Giving. Loving. Inclusive. More Christ-like. Because in reality, we don’t completely crumble, we are built back up. Stone by stone and brick by brick until we are stronger than we were before. Does that mean we won’t get knocked down again? No. We will. It is almost guaranteed. But through our struggles we have forged this bond, this relationship with our Father in Heaven. He is the one that created us and He is the perfect craftsman. He knows exactly how to build us back up again but this time, with stronger materials, because we let Him.
Right now I am still shattered. I am still not built up. But I am in the process. And I may fall a few times before I am made whole again. But I have come to understand that the process is just as important, maybe even more important, as the endgame.