When You are Simply Trying to Survive Infertility, and it’s Mother’s Day…again

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Mother’s Day is right around the corner and while many will be enjoying breakfast in bed and crayon family portraits, many others will be slowly dying inside. For years, that was me. I dreaded Mother’s Day. My arms were empty. The most natural thing in the world, that thing I had desired most of my life…motherhood, was remaining just out of my grasp. It felt like all I ever did anymore was wait. I was angry, hurt and devastated, and those feelings were only magnified every time Mother’s Day rolled around.

I still remember the crushing defeat I felt the day we found out that not only was my Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome to blame, but that my husband also had contributing factors that were keeping us from conceiving that child we so desperately wanted. I didn’t know if the tears would ever stop. My world came crashing down. It was a defining moment for me. The road would be long. The dream might never become reality. This was 1996. We had been married for 3 years.

The details of our journey from that time on will be saved for another post. Today, my heart is heavy for you who are living this right now. You, who want nothing more than to hold your very own baby in your arms. You, the women who have to face, yet another childless Mother’s Day. It’s hard, extremely hard. And even as I write this I know my words will not change your situation, but I hope they will be like a salve on your open wound.

As I think back on all those Mother’s Days that I would have rather skipped altogether, those Sundays where my smile did not reach my eyes, and my heart felt like it was being ripped out of my chest, I wonder…how did I make it through? What words did someone say to bring me comfort? The more I look back and reflect on this, the more I see one constant that helped me through. I did not need someone to say something. No one’s words could change my situation. I needed someone to listen. I needed to know that someone cared about the stabbing pain in my heart as I watched another childless Mother’s Day pass me by. The difference was made by  the ones who took the time to notice, stopped to ask and stayed to listen. When you are in that place where the sight of a pregnant woman feels like salt on an open wound, it is hard to breath, let alone smile and make small talk at church. But when someone makes time for you, lets you sit and grieve through the feelings swirling around in your soul, while they listen and “be Jesus with skin on” for you, that makes room for God’s grace to wash over you and bring peace to your weary soul and your tired body. He sees you and knows about the ache that never goes away. I wish I could tell you that the ache goes away. Mine didn’t. But when I took it to God, he met me every single time. And when I was around someone who knew…really knew…how I was aching inside, somehow the ache was a little easier to bear.

Everyone has a different story but mine did not include a moment where I “arrived.” I did not all of a sudden learn what God wanted me to learn and then magically conceive. I wrestled with God all the time. I doubted. I trusted. I cried. I rejoiced. And a thousand other emotions, all while waiting on Him. It was a perfect mess, but God wove it into something beautiful.

And on July 22, 2000, when we received the phone call that would change our lives forever, the one where my husband and I, along with his parents, experienced a moment we will never forget, the one where my hand flew up to my mouth as I tried to contain the sobs of joy that wracked my body, the one where I stood there holding the phone in disbelief, while my husband, who was sitting next to me, flung his arms around my waist, laid the side of his head on my belly and cried, yes…the one where the nurse told us that after our second round of in-vitro we were finally pregnant, God graciously took my ache away.

My friend, I don’t know how your story will end but that’s the thing. It isn’t the end. In fact, as I look back it feels like that was just the tip of all that God had, and continues to have, in store for me. And today, as you navigate the unknown, and the waiting seems to be swallowing you up, know that God is weaving your story. Mother’s Day is hard and it hurts. There is no way around it. But that doesn’t mean you have to do “the hard” alone. Take the ache to God and watch how He cares for you. Watch how He will intimately meet your needs. And watch as his plan for you unfolds…trust in spite of the pain…It is worth it.

And if this story isn’t one that resonates with you. If infertility was never your battle. This Sunday, while smiles and greetings are being exchanged, look for the one whose smile doesn’t reach her eyes and ask her how she is. It is also worth it.

 

 

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