Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Baby, Maybe?

Today, I have two beautiful babies, but for five years I was unsure I'd ever get to this place. Since this is "National Infertility Awareness Week," I thought I'd share my story.  

My husband and I married ten years ago and I had an instant family with his two girls. I love my role as stepmom, but felt like an outsider looking in at times as my husband and his girls had traditions and memories that didn't include me.  I was coming in late in the game and didn't know what my stepdaughters had been like as babies.  I missed out on the process and it was a challenging reality.  I hoped adding our kids to the mix would give us a better sense of family. I've dreamed of having kids since girlhood, and I was devastated when we weren't getting pregnant.

People tell you if you, "relax and don't think about it, you will get pregnant." 
First of all, that's just not true! Yes, stress can be a negative factor in conceiving and there are things you can try to help your chances (and I did most of them), but it isn't simple enough to just say, "relax." There are a lot of factors as to why someone isn't getting pregnant and pinpointing one element as the easy fix isn't fair or accurate.

Second, "just relax" is impossible! Each month you get this reminder that there is no baby when you get your period. Periods aren't fun to begin with, but when it mocks you in your desire to have children, it's even less fun!

I'm a Christian, raised in church and Christian school and I know the passages in the Bible that speak of children being a blessing and it was a blessing I deeply desired.  I struggled with how God could keep me barren and what that meant about me and my value to him. I began to feel less of a woman because I didn't have my own kids. 

The reality was, I may never have a child of my own. That gut wrenching truth plagued me and forced me to face my God to get answers. Instead of asking,"Will I have a baby?" I went to God wanting to know, "who am I if I never do?"

When life turns upside down, the best course of action isn't to run from God or lean in, in hopes of getting what you want, but instead lean in to discover Him in a new way.  Trust me when I say this is easier said than done, but it's what we were created for, a relationship with our Creator! 

I cried out to God and bawled my eyes out and finally came to a place where I accepted that I may never be called "mom" from my own flesh and blood. I was able to meet God there and tell him, I would trust him, follow him and love him, even if I never had a baby (usually said in tears).  This was an amazing crossroads, not because I could now get the magic key to have a baby but because I saw God beyond a baby. I trusted God to fulfill my purpose, even if that meant biological motherlessness. 

My day did come. I was elated when I found out I was having a baby, I called everyone I knew before the pee on the stick could dry.  I posted on Facebook and shouted from every mountain that I was having a baby. I started my doctor visits and readied for my new reality. 

Then one day, the doctor had a concern about the heart beat and ordered another ultrasound. I went in to discover the baby wasn't going to make it and I was going to have a miscarriage. That night I woke up in excruciating pain and after several hours of contractions, I miscarried my baby. 

The horror of having to wait years again and losing this baby, whom I already loved, seemed unbearable! Suddenly, as if on cue, everyone I knew seemed to be getting pregnant and it was hard not to be jealous of the babies they had in their bellies. I wasn't sure I could go on, but I chose to praise God for being all-knowing and all-powerful and all-loving in the midst of my deepened pain. I again told him, I trusted.

Six months later, I was pregnant again.  This time I waited to tell people to make sure I would sustain this baby.  I was nervous the whole time waiting, hoping this time would be different. Then four months early I ended up in the hospital with early contractions nervous of what would happen.  They were able to give me a shot and help me make it until delivery day.  Four years later without any plans to have another, we were blessed with a second baby! 

Hindsight truly is amazing because now I look back and am grateful that I was able to give my attention to my stepdaughters and now, that they are grown, can give attention to my little ones as they need it. I don't think I would have been capable of that juggle and I see God had a plan.

 I know not every story ends like mine. Some who seek motherhood, never find it, at least not in the traditional sense. But God wasn't silent on this matter.  Many nights I was comforted by scriptures like Isaiah 54:1 that reminded me how many children I've mothered who never came from my womb but needed me all the same and I consider that role a great honor. 

““Sing, barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband,” says the Lord.”
Isaiah 54:1 NIV

My heart will always grieve with the woman who longs for a baby, maybe even going to great financial lengths only to find themselves without that desire met. There are no words to ease your pain, but I wish a life of joy for you in your journey, may your life birth a purpose that encourages you through the heartache. For truth is despite the pain, your value is not based on the number of children you have. You are a beauty of great worth on your own.