Friday, March 5, 2010

Motherhood & the sting of Infertility

I don't talk about infertility on my blog much. In fact, I'm not sure I have really spent much energy on addressing the issue at all... Maybe it is because it is a part of me that is not fun to talk about. Or at this point, what is there to say? But, I've had some thoughts over the last few days and just thought I'd share anyway.

I have had a lot of friends announce their pregnancies over the last several years. (And several just in the last couple of weeks). A lot of my friends have had 1, 2 or sometimes even 3 children in the amount of time we have spent just trying to have one child. It has been really hard on us... especially me. There is really no good way to explain what infertility feels like unless you have been there, but I'm going to try tell you what it is like from my perspective and maybe that will shed some light on why some of us (not all & I applaud my friends who handle it better than I) feel and act the way we do.

When I found out that we would be unable to have a baby it felt like someone had socked me so hard that my breath was sucked completely out of my body. In fact, it felt like it took me several years before I could take a deep breath again. (Weird I know.) My heart was filled with anguish. Maybe the kind that people feel when you lose a close loved one? I did after all, lose not only a loved one (my child)...in fact, several loved ones... The several children that James and I had dreamed of having when we married. My heart bleeds for those babies that we had envisioned, because I know now that they will never come to pass. It has been a terrible burden to bear...

It has been difficult to go to church on Sunday and see Moms and Dads with their row of 'stair-stepped' children. To hear them talk about how blessed they are to be 'trusted' by Heavenly Father to be able to 'bear & raise children'. To hear them discuss the role of motherhood as 'divine' because you 'are in a partnreship with God' when you have a baby.
But, it's ok...I know that Heavenly Father loves me too, even though I have been denied this special partnership with Him....

I think this is the point where you expect me to say something beautiful about how, through the miracle of adoption, I am no longer mourning the loss of my fertility....

But, I can't.

Because it's not true.

Yes. I am a blessed Mommy. As I am typing this blog, Kayley is chattering happily (and quite noisily) in the background and Maggie is sleeping peacefully in the bouncer at my feet. Adoption has changed my life profoundly-that's true. It blessed me with motherhood and I could not ask for more than what Heavenly Father and 2 selfless birthmothers have done for me. Which is why I no longer pray for the miracle of 'pregnancy.'

But - I'm willing to admit something that many other adoptive Moms will not.

Adoption & Parenthood - does NOT erase the pain of infertility.

Many of my fellow adoptive Mom's share that, now that they have children through adoption, they do not feel the sting of infertility any more. And maybe that is true for my friends.
But it is not true for me.

I am happy for my friends who are expecting. Of course I am. I do not begrudge others their joy because it is something that is denied me. I love all my friends dearly and I am grateful to a loving Father in Heaven who has blessed these women with a partnership with Him.

But, watching my friends have babies... so easily... Is challenging. I am hyper-acutely-aware of my girl friends...and unfortunately...their 'pregnancy' cycles. I know when their baby turns 18 months old that they are going to get pregnant again. So, when they announce their pregnancies it is not a shock to me. Thank goodness, because, I struggle with the 'shocking' announcements. Like the ones where they call on a holiday to tell you that their gift to me is the fact that they are expecting. Uhm...unless you are giving that baby to me as my gift, then you are, in fact ruining my holiday...not blessing it. Thanks anyway. Or the ones where they tell me, they are pregnant again...and how lucky I am that I 'just' adopted, because 'adoption is so much easier'. Excuse me? Or, one of my favorites about how lucky I am that I 'don't have to nurse' my baby. Are you kidding me? Isn't nursing one of the most amazing bonding opportunities a mother can have with her newborn?

Anyway, I think you get the point...its a challenge. Enough said.

So, what's my point?
I guess the point I want to get across is:

Infertility Stinks!
(and it ain't getting any easier.)

5 comments:

  1. Actually, for me, nursing is a nightmare, NOT a bonding experience! You know that you are still a mother in Zion and that makes you a partner with Heavenly Father in raising his cildren, right? Just because they didn't come out of you doesn't mean you're not in His favor. You are a strong, amazing woman, and I love you!!! -Heidi (signed in as Jason)

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  2. This has hit me as well as we settle in with our first son and get ready to move into a new home. I get angry sometimes that my friends have been able to carry multiple children while my wife and I have not. Glad I am not the only one and you have put words to internal thoughts

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  3. Stephanie,
    I love you so much! Thank you for sharing your heart, your thoughts. I wish I were as eloquent with words as you are! Even though we are now pregnant with our first after five years of trying, I often still feel myself struggling with infertility. I know that sounds strange, and hard to explain, but I find myself always in the back of my mind thinking this isn't real. I am making this all up in my head and I am going to wake up and realize it. I know it is not what you are feeling by any means and I would neve pretent to know how you a feeling.
    But what I do want to say, is having children is not based upon our spirituality or our worthiness. You are absolutely incredible and such an example to me. Not many people know this about us, but we had our adoption paperwork in after being married for about 2 years. Our heart ached several times as we got phone calls that told us we we needed to get everything prepared, only to be told the mother decided to pick someone else, or something fell through.
    So again, I don't pretend to know how you are feeling, but I want you to know that I have leaned so heavily on you so many times. You have unknowingly been a rock in times of hardship and struggle and trial for me! I love you and adore you. I look up to you and thank you! Kayley and Maggie are so eternally blessed to have you as their mother, and those yet to come to your home!

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  4. It's very ironic how I completely understand you on this one. My inability to successfully carry a child as of late has really allowed me the opportunity (even though it feels like a curse) to understand you and James better.
    I understand completely.
    And I wish you could have your 'own' child as well as mine. It would be a miracle beyond anything I could fathom.
    Rest assured that by following His plan, and remaining true and faithful to Him, you will be blessed in the hereafter to bear your own children. A blessing I feel you surely deserve more than I.

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  5. I admire your courageous heart. Writing these things must rend your heart on many, many levels.

    How difficult it must be to remain in some ways "apart" from your extended family & friends. Your hurt keeps you from fully joining in their joy and I think that might possibly hurt at least as much as everything else.

    I have similar feelings of separation. Church teaches that the greatest happiness comes from being "set into families" (Psalms68)yet here I am, alone.

    I'm spiritual, smart, pretty, talented, funny, outgoing, adventurous, thrifty, educated, and very, very single.

    Church isn't designed for singles. Most lessons revolve around the challenges and joys of marriage and family. Being single isn't the gospel plan. I know that and accept it. However, the truth of that distances me from the social structure which is fully intergrated into church membership. I find that in order to fulfill nearly every social need I have to step away from the very organization I love most.

    Somedays it's a struggle to be grateful for MY life. It's hard to reconcile that I am meant to face a different set of challenges than the people around me.

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