I’ve never talked to anyone this but I was reminded of it today as I reflected on being a mother.
My husband and I had always talked about how we’d like to adopt and/or foster as well as have our own birth kids. So, when we first decided to think about starting a family we we did a sort of pros and cons exercise around fostering, adoption and having a birth kid.
At the time I was working as a Children and Families Pastor in a church so I knew masses of families and we had lots of friends at a similar stage of life. Miscarriage and infertility is not something openly talked about but at that point I was aware of a staggering number of couples who were unable to conceive or who were having multiple miscarriages. On Mother’s Day that year I stood at the front of church looking out at people for whom I know the day would bring great pain desperately trying to find the right words to celebrate and love everyone in the room.
So, when we decided on trying for a baby I could not have been more aware of how hard the process could be. The year before I’d had surgery to treat endometriosis so although at that point it was gone I knew that was something that could come back so I had begun preparing myself that it might take some time.
When we got pregnant almost immediately I was really shocked. With all the people struggling around me and what I thought might be going on in my body I had prepared myself for a much longer journey to conception.
Now, this is the stuff I haven’t told anyone, from that moment through to our 12 week scan to see how our little one was doing I felt joy and I felt excitement. But, perhaps equally if not more, I felt incredible sadness and apprehension. I would imagine over and over how I would ever manage to tell my friends who had suffered through multiple miscarriages or just weren’t conceiving that we were having a baby.
When we went for our 12 week scan I was excited to see our kid but I was also fearful that we might not see a living baby because I knew so many who had experienced that loss. Even on that journey to the hospital I found myself thinking, “at least if I don’t have a baby then I won’t have to tell those people that I do”.
When we saw our little guy and we knew that he was healthy, we were overjoyed. But, to be totally honest, my heart sunk. My heart broke. My heart was heavy knowing that I would have to tell others that for us, it had worked. That I would have to tell others I was having a baby when I was incredibly aware that they were not.
I remember standing at the side of church sharing the news with a friend who had miscarried multiple times. She handled it with such incredible grace and love as I shared my news with tears in my eyes.
When I look at my kid I am deeply grateful for him. I praise God that we were able to conceive him and he was born healthy. But, I also look at him and I know how incredibly precious he is.
When I speak to friends who have struggled or are struggling to conceive, or carry babies to term, I am fearful that seeing my kid will cause them pain. I am fearful that I won’t say the right words or they won’t think I understand how incredibly painful it is for them.
I am so grateful that we have our little guy. We don’t know what will happen when we try for another, if we do. Fertility and conception are so incredibly fragile and life is so precious. The journey to motherhood is not simple and it looks so different for everyone.
My friend, if you are desperate to be a mother and it’s not happening, I cannot even begin to describe how much my heart breaks for you. Even when I cannot find the words to say, or the existence of my kid is like a smack in the face for you, please know that I am always here for you. I pray for you on this incredibly painful journey and I hope daily for you to experience the joy of motherhood for which your heart yearns.
With all my love x