I am acutely aware of this moment – suspended in time – as the month drags itself along. It surprises me that two years can have passed so quickly and yet every one of the seventeen-thousand-five-hundred-and-twenty hours we have lived through seem to have been weighted with slow-releasing pain. I hoped never to see the two year mark since we started trying for a baby, yet I know from talking to other women that there is a five year mark, a seven year mark, a nine year mark…… Don’t give up. Keep the faith. It can happen. The years plod on regardless. Still I pray our time comes way before these bigger milestones.
I don’t wrestle in quite the same way anymore. I have concluded that it is irrelevant to try and do this without God. If I turn my back on God, what power to overcome do I have in this? My safety friendship group has dwindled to a very select few that I can count on less than one hand – each one that remains an absolute gem of strength and faithfulness. Gone is the relief of sharing and being real with my wider circle of friends. I have learnt the hard way that being vulnerable and open isn’t wise with everyone. I wanted to include, to educate, to share – but actually the more time passes the harder it gets and the easier it seems to be offended by ignorance or awkwardness or misguided pity.
These last two years I have pondered my brokenness and my barrenness, my interaction with children, pregnant ladies and mothers. I have watched my marriage hunker down and weather the storms with as much mutual grace, compassion and love as possible. I have cried more tears than I can remember and have persevered in prayer. I have hoped against hope, seeing with the eyes of faith and I have wondered more times than I can remember whether dreaming is a useless past-time and whether I have bought into a Disney nonsense that only comes true for the favourites. Despair makes me forget momentarily that I am His favourite. We all are.
I have learnt that life is to be lived in the moment and gratitude is key to enjoying whatever the day holds. His presence is the only balm that soothes me for feelings are fickle friends especially on a rollercoaster with so many unpredictable twists and turns…..
One of the major battles from the last two years has been my struggle at fully enjoying any other woman’s pregnancy. It is an agony to be jealous and to know that it’s a natural human reaction even when you want to open yourself up and rip the offending feeling out of your own body. I have listened to sermons by amazing female leaders who struggled with infertility but can extol the virtues of blessing other women in their time of pregnancy and birth, of sowing in other couples’ lives what they looked forward to reaping in their own. I have listened to these talks and chastised myself for being a weak and feeble human being – a loveless creature that is too selfish to put someone else’s joy before my own desires. I have spent a lot of time asking God why I am so horrid and to bring me to a place where I could joyfully hold a baby shower for a friend without a hint of the green eye. And yet there is a whisper in me that says if the boot was on the other foot, would I want a grieving friend who longs for a child to find the inner strength to hold me a party?! Or would I say “Sod the baby shower – let’s go get cake and head to the cinema for a giggle?!” I seek counsel from other women and they all agree the latter is acceptable – but is it what God would want? Is it what I really want to say of myself?
This pondering drives me a little crazy and I see my husband watching the weight of this failure to find peace in it eating away at me. Then one day I see a flyer and in an instant I realise that God has given me the opportunity I was wrestling over – my personal answer to the baby shower conundrum. The flyer outlines ways that I can bless women in desperate need, those on the verge of labour and motherhood, in practical ways that will make a difference at the start of their child’s life through a local organisation called Early Essentials. Hoping to be in their position one day, I can give to them in the meantime, knowing that at this time they can be given treats and necessities that will bless them. They’ll never know me and I’ll never meet them but I am honoured to contribute to their lives and excited that I can fulfil that desire to sow into circumstances that I hope to experience myself in a purely one-sided, positive way. It’s a gift of an investment of my time and energy, and even as I feel apprehension at putting items in my shopping basket that I thought I’d be buying for my own new family, I am excited by the opportunity to bless in a way that was made for me. I look outwards and it feels good.
(To find out more about Early Essentials Manchester and how you can give to this amazing cause click here.)