Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Family That Might Not Have Been: Part 1

I have to preface this post with the notion that I truly believe that Josh and I were a family even before the kids came along.  We had made promises and covenants and gave our lives to each other.  According to the laws of God and man, we were bound together as one unit.  A family.

But there was more I wanted for my family.  I wanted kids.  Oh, I wanted kids so bad.  People would tell me to wait and enjoy just being married.  I did enjoy the time of just the two of us.  We had lots of fun together going out to dinner or the arcades or Josh's softball games. 

But there was always a feeling of someone missing.  Lots of someones missing.  I just wanted to start meeting who they were and welcome them into our home.  I knew there would be a partnership not only between Josh and me but between God and me, as well as God and Josh.  I wanted to enjoy counting toes and giggles.  But mostly I wanted to know if I could even carry a child.

Two years before I met Josh, while he was off in South Africa serving a mission, I was at college and on my own for the first time.  I ended up having some intense pains and discovered that I displayed "endometriosis-like symptoms."  I didn't have endometriosis, and really I didn't know much about what it was.  All I knew was the few people I knew who had it had been unable to conceive children. 

And I was petrified.

I was even more petrified when the time came to tell Josh that I might not be able to give him the babies he and I both wanted.  I felt ashamed and unworthy to even be his wife.  How could we start a life together with me already being so far behind where I should be?  How could I be everything he needed if I couldn't be a fully functioning woman?

Now, here's the part where I need to thoroughly stress: These were my feelings of myself at that time.  I share them only to identify with anyone who has ever felt the same things.  Infertility is heartbreaking.  But there's nothing about it that lessens who a woman (or man) actually is.  Thankfully, Josh helped me to understand that early in our relationship.

This terror that I felt is a part of my journey.  And one reason why I feel the way I do about pregnancy, life, and loss. 

And it might help to clarify why this pregnancy that I'm experiencing now is so important to me.  Not only is this our seventh baby, the one we've been waiting the longest for, but it's my tenth pregnancy. 

Ten.

In an effort to not make this post too long, I'm going to break it down a bit. My point of this post is this: Infertility is scary.  And horrifying.  And torturous. And it makes you think stupid and untrue things about yourself.  It causes pain beyond what you ever comprehended before.  It makes you ask, "Why?" when all you want is something so righteous.  It brings doubt and fear into your life.  And all of these things are a normal part of the whole experience. 

My heart truly breaks for those who battle with this with no end in sight.  Thankfully, I also know families blessed by the power of adoption and the incredible insight of birth parents.  I'm sure that is a whole slew of other emotions and experiences, none of which I have any clue about so I'm just going to end there.

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