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.