To my fellow Type A comrades,
I am a planner.
I always wanted to be a teacher. I wanted to finish college in four years and be part of the honors college. So, I made lists, wrote bullet pointed to-dos on multiple whiteboards in my room so that I wouldn’t forget to do anything. Post it notes stuck to the window ledge above my desk read encouraging or funny quotes to inspire me or help me relax when it all got to be too much. I played hard; I worked hard; I accomplished what I set out to do.
When I graduated, Michigan was in a recession, and there were no (desirable/stable) jobs to be found. My boyfriend lived in Indiana, where there were plenty of jobs waiting for me. So, I made lists, mapped driving distances, emailed and submitted over 77 applications and cover letters and copies of my freshly printed teaching certificate with copious amounts of enthusiasm and dedication. I went to three job interviews and received one job offer. The job was in the town where my boyfriend lived. I took it. It was a sign.
A year later, my temporary teaching position was up; the other teacher was returning to work. I repeated the process and found another job not too far away. We rented a house and got a dog.
We got married.
We bought a house.
We got pregnant.
We had a baby.
Check. Check. Check.
We’d always talked about having a big family. We both come from big families. My mom has 10 siblings; my husband’s parents both come from a family with 4 or more kids. We decided 3 or 4 children would be a great fit for our family. So, after a year, we wanted to start trying for another baby. So, we did…for over a year…
…but nothing happened.
I called my doctor. I researched. I made lists. I wrote bullet pointed to-dos on supplements I needed to take and things I needed to try and tests I needed to have done. I was diligent and got my tests done; we both did, and I even went through a sucky, painful, embarrassing HSG just to make sure everything was okay.
Except, it wasn’t…
…because I still wasn’t pregnant.
“Keep trying and we’ll talk in six months.”
Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.
Test. Fail. Test. Fail. Positive…Negative. Positive…Negative.
Month after month I am disappointed.
“It will happen.”
“It happened before!”
“Just stop trying!”
“It’s all in your head.”
Month after month I am angry. I am hurt. I am in anguish, wanting so badly what I can do very little to nothing about, wanting so badly what everyone around me seems to so easily receive.
“When God leads you to it, He will bring you through it.”
“It’s all in God’s timing, not yours.”
“When God makes us wait, He’s trying to teach us something in the interim.”
Am I not a good enough mother? Have I not proven myself capable? Is my heart full and there’s no room for a second baby? Maybe I’m neglecting my husband?
What is it, God? What is it I’m supposed to be learning? That I’m not in control? That I have no say? That I cannot plan this? That my lists and bullet pointed to-dos are frivolous? That it’s just not time?
But when? Ever? I don’t have time for this! I’m almost 30! At this rate there’s no way we can achieve the large family we dreamed of! I’m crushing our dreams!
What do I need to be better at? What do I need to achieve? What lesson am I not learning? WHAT CAN I DO?
Hope. Pray. Trust.
More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5
Confide. Stay busy. Never give up.
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12
Know God is there, and He feels what you feel, and He cares.
For He does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men. Lamentations 3:33
Those are the only answers I’ve been able to find.
I love the baby world. I love cloth diapering, baby wearing, and breastfeeding. I love teaching other moms, attachment parenting, and being involved with labor and birth. I love photographing life and supporting moms in the healthy choices they make for themselves and their families. It’s not just a phase for me; it’s what I want to build my life around. It’s my passion; one I hadn’t found until I had my son. Now, it feels like it’s slipping away. We’ve weaned. He’s starting to show interest in potty training, and there’s no new little squish on the horizon for me…yet.
But I have hope, still, for now…
…and at any rate, I know that my love and passion for helping babies and their families will not dwindle just because I do not have another baby of my own. I know babies will continue to be born. Families will continue to grow, even if mine does not. There will always be others to help, to love, to support, and that makes me feel better, not bitter. Because even if I’m only ever meant to be a mom of one, it was becoming a mother that led me to what I hope will be my life’s work with others, and for that, I am grateful.
It was becoming a mother that led me to finally have confidence in who I am and who I want to be. It was becoming a mother that made me finally feel true self-love for my body. And I know I am lucky to have the privilege of being a mother, especially to my sweet, little boy, but I just feel like our family isn’t complete, and that gaping hole is eating away at me. Some days I feel like it might swallow me whole; others, I barely notice it.
It’s not a humorous topic. It’s not something everyone faces, but it’s something I (and 1 in 8 others) face, whether they let those words cross their lips or not. Because “infertility” is such a dirty word: it’s full of shame and anger and longing. But I’m not afraid to say it or admit I’m battling it because I know that sometimes what you need most is someone to stand by you and say, “Me too,” so that you don’t feel so alone, so that you don’t feel like such a freak.
So, for those of you who have or are struggling with infertility, whether it be primary or secondary, I’m right here with you and right here for you. You are not alone. ❤
All my love,
8 thoughts on “When Plans Break”
Kristen – Thank you for sharing your story; I’m sure it wasn’t easy to tell. It is very touching and will likely be helpful to others who are struggling with infertility.