Let me start this post out by acknowledging that I am so thankful and blessed to have experienced a miracle pregnancy. Our daughter is 15 months old as of this writing and she is a JOY.
But experiencing the fulfillment of something (be it marriage, parenthood, or anything else you’ve spent years waiting for) doesn’t mean the past disappears.
In many ways, I am SO content and thankful at this stage of my life.
In many other ways, I am still the girl who spent more than a decade going through the cycle of grief every single month.
Now that our miracle-baby is 15 months old, the pregnancy announcements are trickling in. There have been a lot of pregnancy announcements over the past two years, of course, but these one’s are different.
These are the announcements from women who were pregnant with me–and are now pregnant again.
And I’m not, even though I would love to be.
Just that quick and suddenly, I can feel the rawness, the fear, the sadness of all those years crawling after me again. Another month comes and it’s just like it was before–where hopes rise and crash and leave havoc in their wake.
But there is good news.
I’ve been here before. I know this story. I know how God’s faithfulness met me through every single cycle of grief I faced for all those months and years.
So I went digging through my old journals. My old letters. My old stories. I went looking for the reminders I needed to keep my face turned toward the light.
It is never helpful to try and disregard our feelings and emotions (“I HAVE a baby, I should just be thankful.” or “There are people who have it way worse than me–so I have no right to be sad.”) but instead, we should face them and identify them and allow the Lord to heal the places that are hurting.
I found a letter I wrote– so many years ago when I was smack dab in the middle of infertility. Before adoption. Before a miracle pregnancy had any part of my story.
It was a letter in response to someone also facing infertility, who was feeling overwhelmed by the fact that everyone seemed to be pregnant in her circles. (Sure, that might not have been accurate, but it’s still how it feels when you’re in the middle of something difficult.) And she happened to write to me right when I was walking through something very similar.
I’m going to share that letter with you because it was healing for me to read it again and I hope it’ll be helpful to you as well.
The other night I sat in bed and listed to my husband all the pregnancies I know of right now. There were TEN in my immediate group of friends who all announced their babies within the past 3 weeks, and about that many more in my wider group of acquaintances.
It’s like a landslide of pregnancies– and I feel overwhelmed by it right now.
I’m not angry, per say, though perhaps there are moments of anger—but mostly I just feel sad.
Sad that I’m hurting. Sad that I’m not rejoicing with them the way I want to. Sad that I don’t get to announce my own.
But I think I’m especially sad because there are a couple of those pregnancies that were “unintentional” and frankly, unwanted. I don’t mean the babies themselves are unwanted, but that the mothers have been clear that this was not their plan. One because she is single and another because it’s not the best timing for her family.
I know God is working in their lives, just like He is in mine–and He knows the best way to draw each of us to Himself. But I’m still feeling empty and quiet all at the same time.
Empty of joy and quiet because I don’t want to say or do things that will cause others pain–but to be honest? I hurt.
I don’t want to hurt this way, but I do.
The main thing that I’ve been realizing is, like so many things in the Christian faith, surrendering this area is not about feelings. What I mean, is that when I experience those feelings of sadness (or even anger) it doesn’t mean I’ve stopped surrendering. I only stop surrendering when I allow the feelings to control me. When I allow my hurt or sadness to dictate how I respond to others instead of listening to what God requires of me.
So I’m working at asking the Lord how to counter these emotions with healthy responses that glorify Him.
So far, I’ve felt the Lord press on me to join in the conversations with my friends when they talk about pregnancy and childcare– listening and caring because this is their life and loving them means participating in the things that matter to them.
I have also determined to stop and pray for the single girl I know every time I think of her. To pray deep blessings on her and that baby. To repent of any feelings of envy or pride (in thinking that I should have been the one pregnant, not her) and to counter those feelings with love.
I do these things because God is the one who controls me; God is the one I serve. I don’t serve myself–even when it would be easier to.
And can I testify right here and now to God’s faithfulness?
He has walked so faithfully beside me. Right with me. Through every single piece of hard and sad and anger and pride and loss. He’s been faithful to correct me and lead me and teach me to love from this place today.
No matter how many of my friends get pregnant while I only long to–God’s position and presence in my life does not change.
Yes, it’s still hard.
I hope I don’t come across as having it all together… because I don’t. I still cry and scribble crazy things into journals. I still hear about certain pregnancies and spin around quick to take deep breaths before I respond. I still have to battle my pride and my sinful tendencies. But that doesn’t mean that I haven’t overcome.
This is the wonderful thing about serving a God who has won the battle, even though we’re still in the middle: We can overcome even while we still struggle.
So don’t feel defeated by your emotions. Don’t think that your anger or sadness or sorrow means you aren’t doing well. While we may experience those things– we are not slaves to them.
Instead, we serve the One-Who-Never-Leaves us. And He is forever victorious.