I used to cry all the way to work.
It’s a 45-minute drive or more with the traffic. It’s a long, obscene amount of time for your mind to wander through grief, sadness, loss. I would show up to the door with my badge in hand and quickly swipe the card keeping my head down until I reached my office. I could close the door, log into my computer, and dial into my next meeting and pretend that my face wasn’t red, that I wasn’t hurting, that I wasn’t so completely lost.
When you work at a desk managing a global team with not one person on site, you can seamlessly grieve without missing a beat. I never understood why I even had to drive into an office. Something about productivity. If only they knew how much more productive I would have been without wasting 45 minutes on a drive to the office and then again back home. How productive I would have been if there wasn’t that time to just sit and stir the ache around my heart, the grief, the pain, the hurt.
The other part of me I guess felt blessed to have that time.
I mean you’re not supposed to talk about how you grieve for a baby that doesn’t exist. You’re not supposed to be sad about not having a child if you already have one. That is crazy. Society does not accept that.
You are selfish.
Five years later.
Funny, it’s almost like SpongeBob’s time lapse.
But it isn’t funny. It was five years.
Five years without fail, every evening as I tucked in my daughter we would pray and she finished every prayer with “... and help mom have a baby.” In the beginning it was sweet and I was proud.
We had talked about how she wanted a sister or brother. At the time she was four. At four you don’t respond with, “your dad and I are already trying, really trying.” You don’t tell your daughter that you are afraid it won’t ever happen. You smile and you say exactly what your heart is whispering even while you are crying inside. “Well, you’ll just have to pray about it sweetie.” I think after a year we talked more about God’s timing, although I can’t remember what I said exactly.
Here was a little girl who wanted a sister or brother to play with, who saw her cousins multiply within a few years from one another, saw her friends become big sisters or big brothers and here she was still a single child.
I remember thinking what have I done. What if she doesn’t understand what praying is and she loses her faith in God when she doesn’t get a sibling. But I tried to explain to her that just because we ask God, it doesn’t mean it will happen. And even as I said it, I heard it.
At the same time that I was encouraging her to have faith in God for the desires of her heart, I was showing her mine was missing.
You can’t put a disclaimer on your faith.
You are a fraud.
Faith like a child.
She was my example.
The entire time I was breaking down, my daughter’s faith was stronger than my own.
How could I expect my daughter at four years old, at five years old, at six years old, at seven years old to continue her faith, when I was struggling so deeply to hang onto my own.
Every announcement, every shower invitation, every photo session on Facebook. I cried.
My heart felt beaten.
I loved my family. I loved my friends. I was happy for them. I was. I even threw baby showers for them. I threw four baby showers. Somewhere inside my head, I thought if I could show God I still have joy for others, maybe I will earn the right. I was sad still, I was empty, I felt unworthy.
Every article about child abuse or abortion. I couldn’t handle it. The baby box. I couldn’t even absorb it. I stopped reading the news. How, Lord, how is it possible in a world where life is so conveniently thrown away? How is it so hard for me to bear a child?
I looked up adoption.
A thousand times. I looked at the cost. But if you can’t afford to adopt a baby, why should you be able to bring one into this world? That ran through my mind. So many times.
You are unworthy.
You can’t hate a baby.
And when you’re around people you love that have babies, they ask you. They ask “when are you guys having another? When’s your next one? Your daughter needs a sister or brother! Come on, have a baby!” And when you can’t respond, when you can’t even form any words you think would be acceptable. And there’s that pregnant pause. (Even the pause is pregnant.) You may even hear them ask a conclusion, “Oh, are you done?”
And that just rings in your head. Fear travels thru you in waves. “Am I done? God, am I done?”
Those questions. They sting, but it’s just another person’s joy, the joy that they want you to share and that is why they ask. But when they ask those questions. It is like a cheerleader for your deepest darkest pain.
And you CAN’T be angry.
How are they supposed to know? You can’t go around sad even though you are. You definitely don’t casually talk about it.
“How are you and your family?”
“Well I’ve been charting every day of mucus for the past 1,2,3,4,5 years and still haven’t been able to have a baby. I cry at night, my husband and I cry at night. Oh, how are you and your family?”
It’s not exactly acceptable conversation.
You can’t wear a label – WARNING: I AM CURRENTLY AND MAY FOREVER BE INFERTILE. I MAY NOT EVER BE ABLE TO HAVE MORE CHILDREN. PLEASE DO NOT ASK, TEASE OR QUESTION WHETHER I WILL BARE ANY MORE CHILDREN.
So you smile. Enduring the feeling of air being sucked from your lungs.
You smile and you finally find the words that end up becoming your go-to statement. “Whenever God provides.”
But every time you say it, your heart breaks a little more.
Because you’ve said it to 96 people.
Because you may have repeated it to people that forgot they already asked you two years ago.
Because that much time has passed and so you are almost unable to use it as a go-to statement without leaking streams of tears.
It’s just unbearable. But then so are you.
You are unbearable.
A miracle is defined as a highly improbable event or development that brings very welcome consequences.
A miracle comes.
When you stopped charting.
When you stopped trying.
When you just want a change, any change that feels like you have some control over your own happiness. So you look for a new job out of state, far away.
When you started to try to start a new life, in a new place, where people wouldn’t know why you are so sad.
Because it has been five years. And because your mother, your kind, caring mother has told everyone she knows to pray for you. Because you’re her daughter, the one that hasn’t been able to have another baby. And she might share how sad you are or she might share everything she has witnessed on her own and fill in the things she doesn’t really know. Because she wants people to pray, she has faith in prayer and she asks everyone for it.
A miracle comes.
And it has been so long that you almost don’t know how to be bearable, how to be faithful, how to be worthy, how to be benevolent.
So you pray.
You look at two little girls now, instead of one.
And you pray.
You thank God every day. You pray for all those grieving, you owe it to them now more than ever. You pray for all those who prayed for you. You never lose sight of those years. You vow to forever cherish this miracle.
You never stop praying.
You are faithful.
You are worthy.
You are bearable.
You are benevolent.