The Grief of Infertility

What you're about to read are raw emotions from a night of pain, grief, tears, and heartache. These are some of the emotions that a woman struggling with infertility goes through. These are the thoughts she thinks. This is the grief she knows regularly. How do know? Because that woman, is me...

What you’re about to read are raw emotions from a night of pain, grief, tears, and heartache. These are some of the emotions that a woman struggling with infertility goes through. These are the thoughts she thinks. This is the grief she knows regularly. How do I know?

Because that woman, is me…

It’s  a constant grief. It doesn’t matter if it’s your first child, or your 5th child. It’s not something where you just wake up one morning and “get over it”. You have good days and bad days. And when the good days start outweighing the bad, someone suddenly announces a pregnancy, normally one they didn’t even want. Or a distant friend posts her new born baby photos on your Facebook newsfeed.

You get your hopes up when you’re certain you’re expecting. That rare time once or twice a year. You get to a point where you’re finally comfortable to share that hope with close friends and relatives…..three weeks late…five weeks late…and then, the very next day after you’ve told them,  you start your period, or worse, have a miscarriage.

You bare your soul and your hope to others, but they don’t get it. You bare your hope and soul, only to have it ripped to shreds in front of you and tossed in a coffin full of heartache and death. It will be buried in whispers of “let’s not say anything except ‘sorry'”, and the dirt shovels in…scoop by scoop. Good bye, hopes. Good bye, what could have been. Goodbye baby that I never got to meet. Good bye fingers that I never got to count, or see, or kiss.
You are raw. You become hardened. You become numb. And not a single person can or ever will understand it unless they’ve gone through it. Never.
It’s one of the loneliest feelings in the world. They will say “it’s just not God’s will”, and yet in the same breath they will quote  the scripture of the barren woman and the scripture where we are commanded to bare fruit and multiply. You think maybe God thinks you don’t deserve another child, or a child in general. You think that you’ve done something to get on His naughty list. You blame yourself, you blame your husband, you blame GMOs and the weather. You might even blame the President.
You attempt to be funny and joke, because you need something to hide the heartache and pain. If others are laughing, you can laugh too.
You make remarks like, “yeah I really don’t want anymore kids”, or, “well, God will give one at the right time.” But you know you don’t believe in either of those statements, and you question why you said them as they prance out of your mouth. But you just need something to hide the raw emotion that you know could wake up at any moment and have you in tears for absolutely no reason. Then you’d really look like a cooky crazy woman.
You’re trapped…
There is no getting away from it.
The only way to get away from it is to have a baby.
But you can’t have a baby.
…and reality sinks in once again.
After sitting in silence for awhile, you feel the big tears. The tears that mean the crying will be ending soon. You can read through them, write through them, but somehow you want them to linger a little longer. You feel the warmth, not the tears, as they trickle down your cheeks and rest in the crease of your mouth. Your rawness allows you to feel something…anything…
But then dishes need washing. Clothes need folding. Work needs to get done. Someone needs something. So you wipe your less than lady like snotty nose. You press firmly on your eyes with the tips of your fingers to stop the tears. You dab away the wetness on your face. And you stand up, take a deep breath, shake your hands, and you regress everything you just let out…and go about your day.
It gets easier. You’ll forget about it for a few months, a few weeks. Until you have a child dedication service at church, and you have to go to the bathroom because you can’t hold back tears. Or you’ll be singing worship songs one Sunday morning, and the baby in front of you leans over its mamas shoulder and smiles at you. Oh boy, here come the water works again.
There’s no notice. There’s no method to the madness. When it wants to take hold of you, it will. It won’t ask for permission. It won’t ask if you’re ready for another episode of “when me”. It won’t ask you how you want it—heartache, extra heartache, or burnt crispy like the crispy fried KFC Colonel sitting on the beach.

No one sees and hears heartache like the walls of your shower. You can ugly cry in there. You can cry and your husband won’t see. Your face will be wet and you can say “it’s just water” or “I got shampoo in my eyes”. He’ll go about his business and never know. You can whisper all of your hurt to those shower walls. All of your anger. All of your frustration. But you only have about 5-8 minutes to get it all out. Wipe that water off your face, girl, it’s time to put your pretty face on.

You fill time. You buy baby things for other people and wish you were buying it for your own new baby. You smile at baby showers and look for the soonest excuse to dart out of there. But it’s not because you’re not happy for the expecting mother. In fact, you’re so over joyed that you could burst. And that is exactly when the grief comes. And you know it’s coming. You’ll either block it out and lie to yourself, “I really don’t want kids/more kids”, or you’ll feel tears welling up while Aunt May is talking about how she used to use cloth diapers back in her day and how the new mother-to-be should be using cloth diapers, and all you can think of is how you want to use cloth diapers and wipe poo off of a baby’s butt….

And then your mouth starts curving, fighting back leaky eyes. You say excuse me, or try to laugh it off. But the reality is that when you sit back in your car, and you start driving home, you can barely see through the liquid that fills your eyes and streams down your face.

But it gets easier.

I promise it does.

After a few years, you learn to cope with it. You have less episodes of heartache. You come to terms with everything. It doesn’t mean you won’t cry about it every now and then. It doesn’t mean that sweet baby in church won’t smile at you and you have to excuse yourself to the bathroom again because “the Holy Spirit” just had His grasp on you!

But it does mean, that if you allow the sweet spirit of God to seep slowly into the cracks that are in your hardened heart, that in those moments you will find great joy. A joy unspeakable. A joy that, if not…if it doesn’t happen…then God is still good, and righteous, and holy, and to be praised. You find peace that surpasses all understanding.

You’ll still cry in the shower.

You’ll still have hard nights…the ones where you let yourself get hopeful when you know you shouldn’t have.

But they get easier if you let them.

It is only by the grace and mercy of God. Because brokenness can be so beautiful, if grace is the one singing the melody.

You’ll laugh again. You’ll smile again. And you’ll mean it.

Your friend will get pregnant, and you’ll be over joyed. You’ll have a new niece or nephew that you’ll get to spoil. And while it’s not the same—new life, no matter who’s life it is, is to be welcomed and celebrated with love and beauty, not heartache and despair.

And more than anything, you’ll love yourself again. You’ll love yourself when you’re ugly crying in the shower. You’ll love yourself when you are washing the dishes and it hits you out of no where. You’ll love yourself when the nights are long and you lie awake wondering, “if”…”when”…

And if it doesn’t happen, you’ll be ok. Because God has great plans for you, and His plans are always better and greater in the grand scheme of life. And if it does happen, then my goodness, what character and amazing love you’ve grown in. What a fabulous testimony He is using for His goodness and mercy to appear to those around you!

And one day, I pray, it will all make sense. The struggle. The heartache. The pain. The grief.…..

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