This post is for my sisters struggling with infertility.
There’s always been this little part of me that has been annoyed by people and bloggers who all they did was talk about their kids. Does that make me a terrible person? Don’t answer.
They blogged about their life with kids. They posted pictures of their kids. They told stories about their kids. Their whole life revolved around their kids. Kids. Kids. Kids. And while I enjoyed reading the genuine ones out there, I always wanted to ask them, “Isn’t there more to your life than just kids?” I’m not a mean, judging person – just thoughts and feelings from someone who didn’t have kids. It came from a place where my heart was a little icky.
And then we adopted two precious babies. And, even though I know my identity is in Christ and not motherhood and there’s more to me than being “mom,” I began to understand that consumption.
And all I’ve done since December 30th is write posts about my kids.
And with every post about my kids, I’ve told myself that “the next one will be *this* post.”
But I kept putting off this post because it’s hard to write.
But my sisters still waiting on motherhood, I want you to know that I think about you every time I post pictures of my kids. Honestly, I find myself carrying your grief, drowning in guilt. I was holding Grace one night while Aaron and I were talking about HOPE [infertility support group at Lakewood Church] and I just began sobbing. “What’s wrong?” he asked. As I looked down at my Grace, my heart ached so desperately for women – for dear friends and sweet strangers – whose babies aren’t home yet.
Because of that guilt, I had said that I wouldn’t be that blogger. I was intent on not posting about Cason and Grace too much because I know a lot of you come to this space because I write about encouragement through infertility. And now you’ve got me posting pictures of babies? The one thing you desire? I know that must sting on some level, some days, at some point. So I had resolved to keeping it to myself.
But my guilt was keeping me from sharing our story. That’s where I had to choose to let grace trump guilt. It isn’t my grief to carry, but I still want to be sensitive to the ache for motherhood. I realized that this is also my story and our testimony of God’s faithfulness to fulfill His promises. I’ve had to show myself grace. Oh, so much grace – to allow myself to be happy and not carry the grief of others.
By not sharing our story I could be withholding a divine appointment or connection for someone reading. Because if someone comes across my blog and sees pictures of my kids, I hope it peaks their curiosity to dig and read of how they’ve come into our family and I pray that they are encouraged by our story to seek God’s best for their lives. I hope it brings peace to their hearts for how they feel their family is supposed to come about. And I hope that it helps them find peace in the waiting so that they’ll have revelation that God’s plans are more than we could ever ask or imagine.
And what’s incredible is that the same joy can be had in the waiting as there is in the fulfillment of a promise. I’m a testimony to that. My joy was the same before and after my babies. That’s not because my children are less than I expected (on the contrary!) – it’s because, with the Lord’s help, I focused on making Him my source of joy in the waiting – not motherhood. And when we make Him our source of joy, we aren’t dependent on our circumstances to find fulfillment.
It hurts me to think that a picture or post could hurt someone; So every time I post a picture of C&G, I pray for everyone that is hurting who might see a picture of them and ache for their babies to be in their arms. I pray that the Lord answers the desires of their heart. That they find joy and peace in the waiting. That the Lord heals their grief. That they find the faith to believe God’s best for their story. That God will restore their loss. And that no matter what the outcome, God will bring beauty out of ashes.
But I’ve also been in this secret place. It’s a weird place that’s hard to articulate. This secret place that is in awe and over the moon about the incredible miracle God has done in our family, while whispering to myself, ashamed to say aloud, “I ache to carry a baby in my womb.” Because how selfish doesn’t that sound?
My waiting to be a mom has been fulfilled. But that doesn’t mean I’m not still waiting to experience pregnancy.
I feel like I must preface this by saying, I love my babies more than words can explain. I forget that I did not birth them, actually. Not that I’m in denial about adoption; I mean, like, I look at them and I have to consciously think “Oh yeah. There’s this whole other important element to your life I need to remember.” The emotions and love and feelings about them are no different than if they were my DNA.
But here’s the thing about adoption; It’s funny (not really funny, but that’s the word we use for these situations) how people feel that adoption is the answer to barrenness.
And I don’t know what kind of response this will warrant, but I don’t see how adoption can be seen that way. There are so many elements to adoption that are so much more than, “Since I can’t have my own kids, I’m going to adopt and act like that’s the answer to my dreams of having a family.” Adoption is a calling, something that goes beyond just a route to fulfilling one’s desires for a family. It’s attachment, and talking to your kids about the beauty of adoption, and educating the people around you about adoption, and figuring out your relationship with the birth family, and helping your child cope with feelings of rejection, and dealing with your own insecurities as their adoptive parent, and dealing with any social issues if those arise (i.e.: you’re white and they’re black), and the hard reality that the beauty of adoption comes from a deep loss from someone else, and the list goes on and on and on…
I’m not trying to be ignorant and say that this is the way all people think – that all people think that adoption is a last-resort answer, but it seems to be the impression I’ve received on occasion.
It’s like people think, “You have your babies, you’re good now.” Like, there’s no reason to grieve any more. I’ve actually been told that since we’ve adopted, we have no reason to grieve. Yes, Cason and Grace are an answer to prayer. But they’re an answer to a different prayer – A special prayer for a specific calling we knew we were supposed to pursue.
There’s still the prayer that asks God to please let me experience pregnancy.
Yes, I know I have two precious babies to fill my heart and longing for motherhood; but that Ache to carry a child is the same whether you’ve adopted, have one child already, or five. The ache to carry a baby hurts in any season.
And that prayer for pregnancy may change with time. That desire may change with life’s season. I’d like to think I have faith to accept that. Because that prayer also comes with the boldness to ask, “If I’m not supposed to carry a child, then God you’re going to need to settle that in my heart however You think it should be settled.” And if I’ve learned anything over the years of waiting on motherhood, is that God can change your heart, or he can bring peace to settle your spirit, or healing for your grief – whatever it is that He knows you need to equip you to live out the story He’s designed for you, He will be faithful to give to you at the time you’re supposed to receive it. We just need to trust that He knows what we need better than what we think we need.
My sweet sister who longs for motherhood; Oh how you are loved. Oh how you are not forgotten. I feel your struggle. I feel your ache. For am right there sitting next to you…in the doctor’s office, or waiting to see if that stick has two lines, or laying down in the shower crying because you just got your period, or the words from the doctor saying, “Your egg count is low” echoing in your thoughts, or being told IVF is the only option…
This post is to let you into my heart, to show you the vulnerable spot that still remains, and to know that with each photo and each post, you are in my heart as we sit on this bench together saying, “I’m waiting.”
If you’re new here or if you’re behind in what’s happened in my life – If you’d like an quick reference to “our story” I’m referring to in this post, please take a moment to read about our adoption.