Revisiting Infertility… Finding Joy

I found myself sitting there, smiling , trying to hold back the old sobby, mixed up “happy for you, but sad for me” tears as I watched someone I’ve loved since the day I met her announce her pregnancy.  I love this moment for her, her hubby, for all of us.  Her announcement means new life in our family… a miracle, as every conceiving of new life is, and a new generation to bless all of us, an answer to prayer that there would be no struggle for this special one to realize her dream of pregnancy.

I sit there quietly holding my breath with a smile on my face, because yes, I am genuinely happy about this announcement while the room explodes in laughter and cheers. But I also want to just sink back in the woodwork, fade away so no one sees the tears ready to overflow down my cheeks.  Breathing in and out, staying silent, just smiling in the background I watch the happiness all around me, happiness I feel too, all mixed up with what’s inside ~ those dormant feelings I’ve worked so hard to manage, to deal with, to let go of… of grief that always gets pricked in this particular kind of moment.

I thought you were over this, Hope, plays in my mind.  Get yourself together. I thought this #infertility thing was behind you, or at least you’re walking with it and engaging life the best way you know how, all the while carrying this you don’t want to still exist, this scar that’s hidden.  You’re nearly 50 for goodness sake, how can this wound that has built your capacity to be compassionate, resilient and hopeful still prick your heart this way?  How is this even possible that once again, emotions pop up, feel out of my control, there they are, surfacing, not letting me forget that it’s still there, it’s still a part of me?

Infertility is like that, I guess.  I’ve spent the last few months running over all those feelings, feeling them and then once again, trusting God to help me let go to let true joy shine through.

I didn’t want to write about this because it seems oh so pitiful.  I have two great kids that call me Mom.  The privilege of that isn’t lost on me.  It is my calling to raise them, miracles that they are, to be a man and a woman who are all they were created to be.

But as I speak about in this post of long ago,  there’s  whole lot of loss attached to not ever bearing a child, much of which I don’t deal with anymore on a daily basis, and for that I am thankful.  A big part of that loss is wrapped up in this quote from that long ago post…

And the hardest part for me, harder than all of it, is the sheer loss I feel from not being able, even for a moment, know what it feels like to be a part of God’s plan for the world, to bring a child here, a child he decided needed to be created for a special purpose, that He decided would be my child to raise. That’s part of what I believe I was created to be. And I don’t get to be that. Ever. Never.

I never ever ever want my grief and loss to dampen another’s joy.  Ever.  In fact, there is joy for my in seeing that life goes on… watching my children bloom into young people, seeing my beloved nieces and nephews find love and start their families.  I’m already a Great-Auntie three times over, with two more coming this year!  This brings such joy, seeing God work in the lives of these people I love, to see beautiful babies come into this world, to make our lives more full, of all sorts of things, but really… of joy.

As I’ve worked through these feelings, I’ve realized another truth about how wonderfully and fearfully we are made.  Since life has moved forward from the days of trying for pregnancy and infant loss to be filled with the joys (and hardships) of raising two kids in their tweens/teens, I have to admit and accept that my heart still gets pricked from time to time.  It’s like my body knows even if my mind doesn’t dwell on these things every day now.

This Dear One’s announcement, you see, the timing, the due date and all that comes with it, parallels the pregnancy 16 years ago that was my Jamie-Noel.  I didn’t mean to cry.  Wasn’t even really thinking about it, or remembering.  Until the announcement, and a flood of memories, of how Hubs and I planned out how we would tell our parents and the rest of our family, at the same time of year, an experience we never got to do as Jamie-Noel was gone to us just a few days before.  And so much more, as you can imagine, and my body that’s carried around this thing that will not be cast aside, that has changed me, some for the better I hope, remembered too, and thus, tears.

And I have to be okay with that.  Grief is a powerful thing.  It can take us over, we can’t escape, we must walk with, walk through, embrace, no shoving down to dark places because the remnants of unexpressed grief will overpower and risk the joy possible when we live through, when we let the tears fall, when we say let grief and joy live together.

I’m 50.  I had to let go of the HOPE of pregnancy and giving birth awhile back  I had to for our future’s sake.  It doesn’t mean I don’t still dream (and I mean literally have dreams) of more children, though I’m pretty sure our family of four is enough joy and adventure for us.

So there it is, the JOY.  I am anticipating this new arrival, and the continued growing of my Great Aunthood, and embracing it, thankful…joyful.  And remembering I don’t have to cower in a corner when grief hits because joy can live there too.

Come, Little One.  This world needs more JOY.

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