Friday, November 26, 2010

In A Good Place

I've written a few posts on this blog about the cross of infertility. While I'm deliriously happy in my marriage, the fruitlessness of our union has been a very painful saga.

Recently, I was reflecting on why this is so. I've always been a rather happy person. Why was this one topic so different? It's not in my nature to be sad about my state in life; I've always been content, no matter where I was or what I was doing.

When I was a teenager, I was sheltered and didn't know I was supposed to be defiant, angsty, and rebellious. I never fought with or yelled at my mother, I appreciated our family's rules and limits, and I passed through puberty without too much of a "history" to show for it.

In college I wasn't aware that I was supposed to be miserable without a boyfriend. It wasn't until after I graduated that I found out that the worst day of a college girl's year is supposed to be Valentine's Day. Oops; I missed the memo and looked forward to the day for discounted candy.

But before I got married, I suspected that infertility would be an issue we'd be dealing with. And I started reading. And infertile women are angry. And depressed. And miserable. And shout at God. And scream in their beds with frazzled hair and tear-stained pillows.

Blog, after blog, after article, after book, after blog.


When it came time for it, I was blissfully happy with marriage, but realized two months later, "wait... we didn't have a honeymoon baby... I'm supposed to start screaming, 'WHY ME, Lord???' and turn on the waterworks now."

And I did it. I hyped myself up into a frenzy, and I felt happy being miserable. I was following the pattern that infertile women are supposed to follow.

Secretly, I wasn't actually crushed when the pregnancy tests came up negative. But I felt guilty for not being miserable. "Does it mean I hate children that I'm not depressed? Am I closed to new life? Do I harbor a contraceptive mentality?"

Those were actually the questions that made me fret. Not the childlessness, but the lack of true sorrow.

It came to a head a month ago when Miriam, my dear sister-in-law and one of my closest friends, called to tell me that she was expecting. And I didn't rejoice with her.

I was supposed to be sad, and jealous, and bitter. 

I was supposed to ask God why she, after two months of marriage, was having her first child when I've been married for years with no one to show for it.

She told me that she had called me last because she didn't know how I would react; that she felt miserable telling me she was pregnant. The happiest day of her life, and she felt miserable sharing it with me!!

That's when I started to take a step back. It didn't feel right. It didn't feel authentic. It didn't feel legitimate. I was putting up a mask of sorrow because I thought it was expected of me; and I was hurting my friendships, my relationship with God, and even my marriage.

I love being married! I am so content with my state in life! I'm not miserable! I'm not unhappy!

I'm not saying that I wasn't suffering real anguish here and here, or that the feelings then were manufactured. Women's emotions are impossible to explain. There is something very real to be mourned for here. I would love babies. Should we have children, I'll be happy then, too.

But I'm tired of being miserable that we don't have them now, because I'm too busy being happily married.

6 comments:

Nadja said...

Good for you. You know, that God gives us crosses is a matter beyond our control. But what they will weigh is often up to us. We were happily childless for the first twelve years of marriage. Switching to NFP after my conversion to the Church and hitting 35 are what made me decide to go for the family, but I was never unhappy before having kids.

Colleen said...

What a great message. On the flip side, I used to feel like my fertilty was a curse. How come my husband merely had to look at me and I would be pregnant and nauseaus...while other wives could perfectly space out each pregnancy? I have (thankfully) grown emotionally and spiritually enough to appreciate the gift of fertility, and God has allowed me to finally figure out NFP and my cycles so that I feel like I am working with Him and not against Him. We are all dealt different crosses in life, and while I think infertility is a BIG one, I really appreciate your thankfulness for the blessings you already have.

Jen & Eric said...

I'm so happy to read this. I read your blog so often and think," You know, here she is making all this yummy food and taking care of these cute animals and doing things with her spouse, and having just about the happiest marriage I've ever heard of anyone having!" So I am happy to hear you're content where you're at -- because it really *does* seem like you've been blessed a whole lot. This said, I do pray that God will send you two babies in His own good time......

Katherine said...

I'm very happy for you that you have embraced God's will for your life for right now. Embracing God's will can be a challenge no matter what it is. I am happy expecting baby #4 but when I was telling my mom a really miraculous adoption story of a friend who had just adopted her third child and had been unable to get pregnant for over a decade, my mom interjected, "And you can't stop (getting pregnant)." Every aspect of God's will for our lives can have it's challenges, even if it is embracing the happiness you really do feel when others tell you you should feel differently.

In fairness to Miriam, I've been there too. Very good friends of ours (and the godparents to 2 of our children) had 3 miscarriages before giving birth to their first baby. We'd prayed for them for years over this issue and I always dreaded telling them I was pregnant. While I could not know from personal experience, I knew from speaking to them that those miscarriages had been very painful for them and, as happy as I've always been to get pregnant, it is never something anyone wants to cause anyone else pain by rejoicing in.

I think it is only natural for any couple who is happily married to want to see the fruits of that love in the form of a child but I also think there is a special joy and peace in simply being happily married (and it sounds like your marriage is one of the ones many people dream about) and knowing that you are doing God's will, whatever He may decide that to be.

Mrs. Wieling said...

Thank you for your post. I have struggled with not having babies. We haven't been married to long and we are enjoying the freedom of being a couple! I never wanted to be one of those crazy women who NEEDED to have babies and here I find myself going half crazy, but as I talked with my husband that other day it saddened me as he expressed how he felt he wasn't enough for me and that was the reason I wanted children so badly. What had I been doing!? Praise God for wisdom and forgiveness!

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