Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Remembering Infertility: Honoring the Child of Your Heart

I'm not sure there is anything more frustrating than trying for a baby. . . especially in a culture that treats the decision to have a baby as some sort of given.  We are encouraged to "plan" our babies and to "try" when our lives are stable and all circumstances are perfectly ready.  So, we wait and we plan that pregnancy for the perfect time .  . . and then we learn that babies, even when planned, come in their own time (and sometimes not at all).  To have all our illusions of control over conception stripped away so thoroughly may be an excellent precursor of what motherhood is like at every stage, but that knowledge is little comfort when you are still trying to make the child of your heart and your dreams incarnate.   I have read about the Himba tribe in Namibia where a child's age is not counted from when the child is born, but from when his or her parents first decided they wanted a child.  So, a child who is ten years in the making is considered ten from the very day s/he was born.  Imagine going through your life knowing not just how long you've been on this earth, but also how much you are wanted and knowing what a struggle your parents had in conceiving you and how dedicated they were to you before you even officially existed.  Imagine those children who were hardest to conceive being the most recognized and celebrated in the community.  Imagine if our culture recognized that we do not all have such easy control of our fertility and we should celebrate those who labored the longest to have their children (however those children end up coming whether through biological, natural conception, fertility treatments, or adoption) by recognizing not only their achievement in getting a child but also their journey to getting that child (whether that child is their first, second, or even third or fifth).

Last month was Pregnancy/Infant Loss month and I saw many beautiful links going across my facebook feed and I am thrilled that a topic that was so taboo that it seemed like no one ever talked about it as recently as ten years ago, is suddenly getting the attention it deserves.  Yet, October was also Infertility Awareness Month and I saw very little about this topic and I've seen very little during its awareness week in April .  I get it; it's a little awkward to talk about it.  Unlike a lost pregnancy or an infant loss where the pain of the loss is easier for everyone to recognize (if not easier for people to talk about), the pain of the loss of the opportunity for life is a lot harder for people to grasp perhaps especially for those who have always gotten pregnant when they wanted to or even without wanting to.  So, I want to take a moment to recognize that the loss of the opportunity to have a baby cuts deeply every single month it happens and even if you aren't being public about your efforts to get pregnant, I want to take this moment to recognize you and to tell you that your journey is just as important as the journey of those who have gotten pregnant while you've been trying.  It seems like only yesterday it was me waiting for my period to restart (for over two years after having my first baby) and then crying in frustration every month there after as I waited for it to stop again proving that I was once again pregnant.  It did not take me as long to get pregnant as it does many other people, but it was long enough for me to fully appreciate and recognize the miracle that my second child is.  While many out there are still trying for their first child or their second child, I now have my youngest son in my arms.  I am forever grateful for that, but my good fortune does not blind me to the painful journey you are still on.  I want you to know that I see you, I recognize you, and I care about you and your journey.  It is my wish that every woman who currently has a child of her heart will also have a child in her arms one day and that child will understand exactly how wanted and blessed s/he is to have been wanted for so long before he/she was in your arms.

I just wanted to take this moment to let you know this.  So, if this is not the month, may it be next month and know that you are not alone.  There are thousands of women out there who struggle along with you.  Some of those women have talked very openly about their own struggles with infertility on this very blog (Kayce has written about this topic often in the past and Amy has written about her very painful journey).  Know that you ARE seen.  You ARE loved.  You ARE NOT failing. And you ARE a mother to a beautiful child of your heart.  I want to honor that and honor you.  May your journey end soon with a child in your arms.

Thanks for reading, 


Kayce Pearson said... [Reply to comment]

I'm just getting on and seeing this, this post is amazing! Thank you so much.

Katie Conner Cauley said... [Reply to comment]

This is a beautifully written article. I'm in the planning stages, and say I am "not trying but not preventing," just to try to avoid being heart broken every month. Thank you for publishing this & for acknowledging my current situation. This article really helped my heart. <3

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