Fruit of My Womb Series: Choosing My Focus
Imagine being in a raft in the middle of the ocean. The ocean is turbulent and you are very afraid. Most people would be afraid in this situation and most of us would panic. Picture yourself on this raft and in the treacherous water. The waves are crashing and it looks like there is no way out but you are still on the raft. Because you are panicking, you are creating movement within the raft – movement that creates unnecessary roughness to an already bad situation. You keep moving around in fear and your focus is on the crashing waves and not on the fact that you are still on the raft. You start thinking about worst case scenarios like what if the raft flips over or sinks? These thoughts are moving through your mind faster than you can articulate them. With each hit of the wave you become more and more disheartened and forget that you are still on this raft. Because you are so focused on the waves, you fall out of the raft at times and that is the only time you focus on the raft. After you get to shore, you are relieved that you made it through the storm safely but throughout the journey you forgot that you were still in the raft the whole time.
I was listening to “Peace Be Still” by Lauren Daigle when the illustration about the raft came to me. It felt like God wanted to tell me something through this song. I want you to think of the raft as the Prince of Peace (Jesus), who freely gives the kind of peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7). The rocky waves represents the storms of life – I know, cliche.
Many times I go through difficult times and forget about the Prince of Peace and the kind of peace that He freely gives. I am in this “life storm” where it seems like I get one hit after the other. I am so focused on each problem as it arises that I forget about peace. I forget that it is available to me. Although, I may be in harsh times right now and it feels like I can’t catch a break, I am still in the raft and it is available to me. Peace is available for me to take. I feel like I innately believe that peace should come effortlessly like a leaf falling from a tree but sometimes I have to take it with purpose. In the illustration, the focus is on the waves and not so much on trying to stay in the raft. What I focus on is what I hold onto. I have a choice – I can focus on the problem or holding onto my peace. No one can control the ocean just like no one can control some of our life issues but I focus on the problems like that will resolve them.
If you are reading this then you may already know that I am going through infertility struggles (if not, please read the blog post here: https://naturalbeauty-for-ashes.com/family-life/). A couple of weeks ago, I discovered my period was late. I was 5 days late and took a pregnancy test because being that late is very unusual for me. The test was negative. After some prompting from my husband, I called my doctor to ask questions about what was happening. (I had a myomectomy a few years ago and he wanted to be sure everything was okay). The nurse told me to take another test the next morning and call back with the results. The test was negative again. At this point I did not get my hopes up as I have been down that road of disappointment before. The doctor then scheduled a blood test which also came back negative.
Time went by and I still did not get a visit from Aunt Flo. Day 10, 11 and 12 came and went and still no visitation but on day 14 that all changed. As time lapsed and my period did not come, I allowed myself to believe that I was pregnant and got excited about a child that was never conceived. This one hit me harder than expected. I grieved the non-existent baby and walked around with a ball of anger inside – it felt like a physical ball. As soon as I got home I would do a mixture of cry and scream. Nothing soothed me and at this point I was yelling at God. I didn’t know how else to talk to Him. While all of this was happening, life and obligations still needed to happen. I forced laughs and smiles as I went to work, church and completed daily tasks. I felt stupid for grieving someone who was never alive but I was actually grieving the family moments that I had already concocted in my head. I was angry at me for putting myself on the road to disappointment again. I was angry at God for allowing my period to be so late and raising my hopes only to be let down again (although I knew that this was not His fault). I was angry with Him but I didn’t want to be. I wanted answers. I still want answers that I still don’t have but I am still in the raft.
To Be Continued…
Fruit of My Womb Series
Eddy and Ashley sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G, first comes love then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage.
That is supposed to be the plan from the time we were kids. That is the plan that society has laid out for most of us. But what if we get stuck on the baby making part? What happens then?
I am now looking to have the children – and guess what – I have not been successful in this quest. My husband and I have been trying for several years now and still have not become parents. For those of you in the struggle with us, I know. I know that it is a pain that nobody would understand unless they have been through it and one that I would not wish on my own worst enemy. Many of us suffer in silence and do our best to live life without looking as if we carry this huge burden.
I finally decided I wanted to have kids – my husband was on board with the idea from the moment we said, “I do”. Five years after we got married I decided that I was ready for a bundle of joy. So, with great excitement and enthusiasm, we started the process. In the back of my mind I thought, “This will be easy. It will happen very soon.” Each month I would buy a pregnancy test because every little thing that I felt in my body was a “pregnancy symptom”. Each month the test came back negative and I thought, “Am I one of those women that will not have kids? Am I barren? Am I the person that will have children but struggle to have them?” As time passed by my excitement turned into discouragement and my enthusiasm turned into frustration.
I started having some pain in my lower abdomen and lower back. I went to the doctor who ran tests and sent me to get an ultrasound. She saw fibroids and thought I may have had endometriosis. Surgery was recommended. My thoughts were, “This is it! This is the ticket to having the children I desire!” I went through the surgery and everything went great. She said that she wouldn’t be surprised if I got pregnant right away. That was music to my ears. We had found the problem and now it was fixed – or so I thought. When I received the go ahead to commence physical activities, my husband and I tried again. The same enthusiasm that I had when we first started this journey was back. I just knew I would be pregnant very soon. Once again, I was wrong. Month after month we were faced with the same disappointment. I asked God to take this desire away if He was not going to give us a child. This has been a repeated prayer throughout this journey. He has always answered me in different ways, letting me know that will happen and my desire is still there. While I am going through this, friends, family and even co-workers are getting pregnant all around me. Women who are older than me and women who did not even want kids were getting pregnant. Although I was genuinely happy for them I was so heartbroken over my own situation. My husband and I decided that we would investigate his health and if there were any issues we needed to know about we would take care of them. After some tests, his results were a little abnormal. We are now researching how to overcome some of these obstacles. This brings us to this present moment. I am not sharing this with you because I have been through the trenches and now I have overcome this. I am still in the struggle. There are days that I feel confident that God will bless us with children because He promised me He would; then there are days when I feel like I am grieving the loss of someone whom I have never met. I question God and the promise. I become angry at my situation. With all that being said, there are a couple of things that I have learned in this process.
- I do not have complete control.
I was raised by type A, educated, take the bull by the horns parents. They taught us that if you want something you work hard for it and you can obtain anything. There is an exception to every rule and this is definitely one. We can take doctor’s advice, clean up our diets, exercise, and even try medical intervention to conceive but ultimately it is God’s decision on when we will have a baby. This is not something I can get on the phone and rush someone to do. I can’t pay any money to have it done now. This is completely God’s timing. Sometimes it is terrifying and other times it is beautiful – it depends on how you look at it. Will He give me the baby later than I wanted to have my first kid or will He give me a baby when He knows that we are ready for it?
- I can’t blame my husband for this.
I had to remember that my husband does not have anymore control over this than I do, and he wants a baby just as much as I do. I should not blame him when we get bad news. Whether there were health issues on my side or his; the blame game would never make this situation better. I had to take myself back to the wedding day where we had all the hopes and magical belief built up in our minds, before the ups and downs of life chipped at it a little. We were excited about life together and kids together. Yes, I want children, but I want children with him because I believed then he would make a good father just like I believe that today. I also had to stop myself from carrying old resentments into this. Deal with those and move on. There were extra power behind my angry words because of those unresolved feelings about whatever happened years ago. I had to let that go for the sake of my marriage and myself.
- If God said that He will do something, He will do it.
It is so easy for me to play worst case scenario in my head as a defense mechanism to the disappointment. I am so tired of one disappointment after the other that I try not to get too excited over times that I think I may be pregnant. There are times that I think that God is making jokes at my expense. I may be 4 days late (almost never happens) and think that I may be with child and then Aunt Flo comes to the party and my hope for this month is shattered. When I stop and think about it, it is crazy to think that God would play those jokes on me. He hurts when we hurt. He would never want to inflict pain on us. Pain comes because of the broken world we live in but not because my Heavenly Father wants a good laugh.
This issue was the motivation for this entire blog. Many of us go through this silently hoping nobody will notice our broken hearts through our smiling faces. We constantly get asked, “So when are the kids coming” or “Do you want kids”? Many people believe these questions are inappropriate and intrusive but having been on this side of the spectrum I have to say that I don’t believe that to be the case. People in your life want to share beautiful milestones with you and having a baby is one of them. I believe that many of us going through this are in pain, we dread these questions, and when they come they are triggers for our pain to well up inside of us. There is no way for you to stop these questions from coming your way. My family asks me, my friends asks me, and even my co-workers asks me about the inevitable next steps in my journey with my husband. I know that it is going to happen, so I prepare myself for it. I know that it is coming from a loving and genuine place. If you are going through this, I am so sorry – it hurts, and I know the depth in which it hurts. I do not expect for you to read this and all will be well with your life.
Last week I was having a very hard time. I could not put the smile on at work and I know that I was not completed myself at home. I was so angry and frustrated and I sat in those feelings until I was able to feel better. I felt better after days and night of crying, moping, and praying about exactly how I felt. As horrible as I felt, I still expressed it to God and He heard me. Sometimes when we have the negative emotions we don’t want to bring our baggage to Him, but He wants us to do that. He wants us to cry on His shoulder and let it out. He already knows what we are feeling before we even tell Him.
I wish that I could say that you will feel better if you accept what is happening but in my experience that is not the case. One day you are up and the next you’re down. I can tell you I am someone who knows what this is like and that if you can’t speak about it, I can. I will keep sharing my experiences on this journey so that women like me know that there are women like them who feel the devastation of not having children of your own. I will make this into a series so please stay tuned.