Over the weekend, I spent some time with some friends I haven't seen for years, since I moved out of London, actually. It was really good to catch up with them, and we had plenty of time to really share what was happening in our lives, and what God was doing! You know, them late night chats over a glass of wine and a few bars of chocolate!!
At one point during the weekend, someone asked me, "How do you handle not being able to handle a baby? Is it a bit like, you know when you're single and you're longing to be married, and you're crying out to God to bring you a husband... that kind of thing?"
I loved this question! It meant my friends were genuinely trying to understand what it is like to live with infertility.
And so it opened up an opportunity to share with them the reality of what it's like.
It's not really like the "singleness issue", because when you're trying for a baby and not able to have one, your body is not behaving in the way it naturally should be as a woman, that it creates a huge empty ache within your heart which matches the emptiness of the arms which so want to hold a baby of your own. It's something which underpins every aspect of your life, challenging your very faith in God and in the plans He has for your life. Whenever you see a pregnant woman, a newborn, a family, even if they are close friends or family you love, it smacks you in the face with the reminder of what you don't have. Hanging out with friends can be incredibly lonely, especially if you are the only one who doesn't have children, because it is so natural for women to discuss their families and challenges of being a mother. No matter how much you try to not think about what your body is failing to do, every single month you are reminded of what you're failing at, because you are so aware of your body's cycle, you know when you might have caught it in any given month, and a quiet hope slowly builds within you each and every month that happens, thinking, hoping, praying, believing, trusting that THIS MONTH might be the one you have conceived... and as the day of your period draws closer, you become more stressed, more anxious, more watchful for any sign you might be pregnant, and when your period starts, your hope comes crashing to the floor, and you literally don't feel as though you can face that day, don't feel that you can face the next cycle, don't feel that you will ever have your own baby, that you begin to question whether God really does have a plan for your life, or if He has forgotten where you live - because it seems that even that girl down the road who isn't married and doesn't have a partner can manage to get pregnant. And yet, the cycle has already started again, and takes you on another roller-coaster journey, whether you are ready for the ride or not.
Then there are the emotions... The guilt that you can't give your husband what you both want, the guilt that you maybe don't have enough faith, the guilt that you're doubting God even cares about you or your future, the fear of the future, the fear of never having your own child, the fear that you'll die a lonely old woman without family, the anxiety, the stress, the heartache, the isolation, the emptiness, the frustration, the anger, the torment, the hurting, the longing, the deep overwhelming sadness, the grief at another egg wasted - another potential life that could have been a beautiful son or daughter, and with it the hope for the future... and soooo much more!
And the spiritual impact as a Christian woman who has been in the Church since the day I was born... how much this has affected my relationship with God, and the foundation I had built upon Him: About how you can read passages from the Bible and it hits you about what you are missing, that if God blesses people through children, why is He not blessing me, why does He bless someone who is preparing to abort their baby, but withholding the blessing from people like me who desperately want our own child, that maybe I have done something wrong, and this is His punishment, that if God blesses to the generations beyond... does that mean His plans and blessings for my family stops with me because there will be no generations to come??
And then there's the stuff people say!!! Oh those wonderful, well-meaning Christians who glibly proclaim to have all the answers... Just relax it'll happen, God will bring you a huuuuge family in one go when the time is right, God is building your character, you could adopt, at least you have your nephews close-by, at least you are a step-mum, you could get a pet, go on holiday together and let God make it happen in His timing...! And sooooo much more!!
So yes, I really did appreciate these friends actually stepping into my world, in an attempt to understand what it is like. And I hope that God opens the dialogue more and more for those of us walking the infertility journey, that more people will take the time to step onto the path with us, because there are times when it is so overwhelming, to know someone is silently walking beside you, supporting you, without pretending they have the answers, without being so super-spiritual they miss your pain, is a comfort.
Father God, Your word says, "When one part suffers, we all suffer" as well as "when one part rejoices, we all rejoice". I pray that we would take the time to really step into each others worlds, so that when someone you have placed in our life is suffering, we can walk alongside them, as well as allow others to walk alongside us. I pray that somehow, we would learn to be more authentic, and take the time to really understand what people are going through, instead of glibly giving them our understanding of their problem. In Jesus name.
- Bubba's Hopeful Mumma
- Hi. Welcome to my "taboo" blog. My name is Steph, and when I first started this, I was still in my thirties. In 2017, I switch decades! I am a Christian, so underlying everything I do and say is the Word of God, and the foundational truths I have learnt over the years. This doesn't mean I'm perfect - I am human. It just means I recognise I need God's help to live this life and try to live out His way, as best I can. So that's me in a nutshell. Thanks for taking the time to read through my blog, I hope you draw strength, hope or encouragement from what you read.