There’s a bubbling going on in my soul again lately. It tingles of that central, urgent need I’m carrying to keep on giving a voice to the voiceless. To give in to that indignation that rises up within me against the hidden and the shadowy side of infertility. To put it back in its place rather than have it creeping around after me and other women similar to me, like a looming dark elephant in the room.
I need to shine a light on the shame and the guilt that keep couples who are going through infertility silent and locked in a false, fearful sense of who they think they are in the eyes of others. Shame and guilt are not entitled to a place here.
My veins pulse with a passion to see women on emotional and spiritual lockdown freed from their pain and soaring on the currents of what they’re living through not knocked to the ground again.
I know that for some women infertility is simply too raw to talk about beyond a very, very tiny circle. Friends don’t understand. Family try and say the right thing but usually say the wrong thing. There’s no room in the busyness of life to unpack this stuff. Everyone else is struggling with their own problems. The thought of admitting to anyone of having help to fulfill such a natural, hard-wired female function is humiliating, pride-bashing, identity-wrecking kind of stuff. The emotional journey to just be ok and in this is exhausting. It can be a battle to admit to oneself, share with one’s partner and pray about, let alone release to the outside world.
I understand that for women who experience infertility there is a yearning to be “normal”, to just be like any other woman on the quest to getting pregnant. To not be categorised by the NHS as a certain someone who needs special attention or help. To not be put through medical intervention and hospital visits. To not have a different kind of fertility experience. To not have to walk past the ultrasound rooms and the maternity suites towards the Reproductive Medicine department and a different set of ultrasound rooms and tests and letters. To just be the same as everyone else. I get it. I’m in it.
And yet – I find myself here wanting to call out to women like me who are still in this and those who are out the other side of this, that you are unique and beautiful in the midst of the silent struggle. You are strong and courageous in the face of sorrow and uncertainty. You are, in fact, normal to those of us who understand what it is like to go through this. And you’re totally unique – because that is how God made you and me and everyone else. Comparison tries to take away all the wonderful things that we have each been given by telling us that it’s not enough or not good enough. The truth is that you can come just as you are and find you are absolutely enough, loved completely and totally uncommon in the eyes of the One who made you and that His designs on you are to richly bless you even in the midst of suffering and despair.
I understand the call of our own self-preservation which encourages the need to share sparingly. I have experienced many times the offended feelings that clueless people have cultivated in me when they say dumb things. Choose to shrug it off and love them anyway (and maybe avoid spending too much time with them for a little while if it helps. Yes, that’s allowed!).
I understand the desperate desire for infertility not to be the reality you’re in. The deep-rooted longing each morning as you wake which pleads that it is all a big mistake. For the Groundhog Day effect to be broken for good. For the cyclical nature of this wretched and continual hope and disappointment rollercoaster to be shattered with a glorious ending NOW.
But while you are waiting for this time to shift into new can I encourage you to choose to speak rather than stay silent. Can I share with you that I have found that there is freedom in naming things for what they are and putting an end to negative thoughts which have been allowed to whirl and twirl in my mind for far too long. As I hear my voice say aloud (in private or in company) what my heart is thinking, the rubbish I have been believing about myself and my situation is somehow magnified. My ears hear what my heart has been basing its day-to-day life upon and sometimes those ears are incredulous.
When silence is broken, there is power. When silence is broken, the world around you shifts. When silence is broken, blessings pour forth. When silence is broken, situations change. When silence is broken, truth is invited in.
For those too frightened of the reactions of others or too lost in the hurting today I want to speak over you a better word so that you know that there is no condemnation of any kind on you in this journey. There never has been and there never will be. There is no shame. There is no guilt. I would like to gently remind you that you are fearfully and wonderfully made regardless of how your body and your emotions are performing today. And I absolutely believe and want you to know that you have purpose, gifts and so much to offer especially in the midst of this time in your life not in spite of what you’re walking through.