Hannah Bunker »

For my sisters still waiting for motherhood…

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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.

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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.”

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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.

 

  • Julianna Morlet - Mmmmm I love everything about this post. !!ReplyCancel

  • Tracie - Oh your words hit home but different for me. Let me explain, and I’ve never written this ever. I was dating my daughters dad for 4.5 years before it got physical. Later he rapped me, I struggled to keep this baby, wondering what kind of love could I have with a child who was from rape, would I have regret. After considering adopting I kept her. She’s my life. I then had a major car wreck, which messed me up so bad, enough that a few years later I had it all removed. I ache for a normal pregnancy every day, I ache to have that normal family. I’m now considering adopting, but am struggling with almost the same issue I had being pregnant with her. My heart aches, not only for myself but the struggles of others on wanting a baby.
    I’m so happy you got your twins, but at the same time I understand, although maybe in a different way.ReplyCancel

  • Amber - I loved this post!!! You articulated exactly how I felt when I became a mother. And the way I felt about adoption not being the solution for infertility.ReplyCancel

  • Rae - Thank you for posting this.ReplyCancel

  • elizabrtb - Wow! This post puts EVERYTHING I think about and feel into words. Each word is so good and so true. I also think about those waiting every Single Time I post a picture. And yes! on adoption not curing that infertility ache. Thank you SO much for writing this!ReplyCancel

  • Johanna - This is powerful and true, and remarkable that you were able to arrive at such a place of clarity only 2 months into motherhood. I find I have to struggle anew with the pains of IF as I enter into a season of wanting to expand our family. This time it's as I struggle with the reality that we are likely "done," amd I have to grieve AGAIN over what IF stole from us. But I will say it gets easier and less intense each season. Now it's often no more than a dull ache, a whisper of a dream I once had. Adoption is not a cure, but it is a gift. A messy, beautiful, God-revealing gift. Blessings to you and your precious family.ReplyCancel

  • Kyla - Every part of your story is so beautiful and powerful, Hannah! It has His fingerprints all over it. I love the way He uses even the very tough stuff for good. Thanks for always sharing so openly, not just for those who relate but for everyone. It is always a gift to watch Him work.ReplyCancel

  • Hannah C. - There’s so much I feel like I should say in response to your post, but I’ll just simply leave it at Thank You 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Rachel Womack - Hannah this is a BEAUTIFUL post. Thank you for writing it! I particularly appreciate you speaking into the need for a "calling" to adopt. My husband and I have dealt with infertility and pregnancy loss for 5 years now and are finally able to plan a round of IVF in the coming months. We have talked and prayed about adoption and God has given us a shut door on that front. But we get that questions a lot…why IVF and not adoption?? You so eloquently laid it out! And I want you to know that with every post that I see on my timeline from Aaron of your beautiful twins, even though I'm "still on the bench", it makes my heart swell with joy for you guys and hope for me!ReplyCancel

  • Hannah - Hey Hannah! My name is Hannah also, and I think it’s funny that God led me to this post written by someone of the same name. I have only been married since may, but before then we discussed that we would immediately start trying for a baby and forgo the traditional birth control methods. We are 22 and 21 (gasp I know:) but it was something that God placed on our hearts and called us to loud and clear. I have not been able to get pregnant, and while it hasn’t been a full year I am aching so much. It seems there are babies and pregnancies all around me, and we are praying about adoption but are too young to be chosen for at least a few years. I can’t even pass the baby section in target without breaking down! I have yet to meet anyone who shares this struggle with me but I did find comfort in this post. If you have any direction or advice on next steps to take, I would love to hear them. Thank you, sister.

    In Christ,
    The other Hannah 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Erica - Thank you so much for this beautifully written post. It speaks to so many things that are going on inside of my heart. It is so true, adoption is not the cure for infertility…but so many people (who have not battled with IF) do not/cannot understand that. Thank you for remembering those of us who still have empty arms.ReplyCancel

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