Spring Break was wonderful, and all too short. Our house always seems unbelievably empty after company leaves! Miss you, Mom and Dad! Miss you, Becky and Smoothie! Miss you, Jofus! We managed to work in trips to Petit Jean State Park, Museum of Discovery, Hendrix cafeteria (quite possibly my personal favorite! :), and spent time at home making way too many addicting cookies, and experimenting with Mom's Cricut and watching movies. In short, it was heaven.
I have several posts rolling around in my head right now, waiting to be written, but this is the one that wants to be written today. :)
My sweet friend Kara, who is undergoing severe challenges to her desire to be a mother, recently invited me to be part of this "common thread" and asked me to add the button to my sidebar with a link to my story. She says on her blog "My Road to Motherhood":
If there is one thing I have learned from all of this, it is that I am not alone. My situation may be unique... but the outcome of infertility is not. The more I open my mouth and let others in, the more I realize just how many are struggling with infertility as well. I have found hope and peace, strength and courage from those with whom I share this one common thread. Having a network of friends that I can lean on for understanding or a listening ear has meant so much to me over the past few months. Often times it is with people with whom I have never even met or barely even know. That thread is what links each one of us together, and it is often times, what holds each one of us together through such a trial.
Yes, I know I'm not exactly infertile. I never dreamed I would be included in a group like this. The fact that Kara wants me to be is evidence of the pure love and spiritual strength she has. Instead of looking at me as someone who has had four babies and wouldn't understand, she sees me as someone who has lost a baby and has yet been unable to have another. We share the pain of an unfulfilled righteous desire.
It has been over 5 years since I brought a baby home from the hospital with me. I am starting to understand what it feels like to see time pass and other children grow and still have empty arms.
When I married my Darling Cutie I was 19 years old. I was completely committed to Heavenly Father's plan for me, and knew I was doing the right thing. Yet I had the naive worry that my main concern in childbearing would be that I could reasonably expect to have 15 children by the time I finally hit menopause! This was a matter of months of prayer for us, and the decisions we made are too personal to share.
I had Exacto at the tender age of 20. (Only last week, Hummer commented, "That's REALLY young for an a-DULT!" :). Both DC and I were still full-time students, and DC was planning on at least 5 more years of graduate school. We moved to Tallahassee when Exacto was 8 weeks old, and proceeded to be poor as church mice and happy as clams for the next six years. During that time Fluffy and Hummer joined our family.
All three were C-sections, much to my dismay. With the first two I had taken Bradley courses, hired a doula, tried so hard to do a pioneer-style birth, but my body didn't co-operate. Those are stories for another post. With the third, we just scheduled the "section."
A few months after having Hummer, we moved to Arkansas for DC's first real job, although he was still working on his dissertation. I was hit with my first case of real post-partum depression, and ended up needing medication for it.
So by then I thought I had figured out by now what my life's struggles were going to be:
a) I had to have C-sections (this seemed like a cruel joke to me for a long time, as I was one of the most needle-phobic people I knew)
b) we were always going to have money problems (first 8 years of marriage were student poverty, followed by an uncertain future with music as a profession)
c) we would likely always live far from family
d) I appeared to be pre-disposed to chemical / hormonal imbalance that required intervention
This seemed plenty hard enough to me. In fact, I had pretty much reconciled myself to all of the above, and was trudging my way through, thinking how well I was enduring to the end! :)
Solution to a) : faith and Priesthood blessings would get me through the scary deliveries.
Solution to b) : Oh, well. As long as we pay our tithing, we'll have what we need, and I'm okay with that.
Solution to c) : webcamming, frequent visits, frequent phonecalls, family blogs, etc. Sometimes I think we get along better because we don't live nearby and so we really, really enjoy the time we do get together! :)
Solution to d) : ahem, lexapro. (SO GRATEFUL that such a thing exists so that people with emotional illness can lead a normal life!)
Then came the events of 2007. ( To read the whole story of our sweet Benjamin and his short stay on earth, go here. )
My naiveté regarding childbearing was totally blown out of the water. I honestly had no idea that still today in our time of medical miracles, babies sometimes die. Even before they are born.
This is still so hard for me. I have a hard time reading stories of babies who received miraculous healings after prayer. I never even had the chance to pray for Benjamin--he was already gone. I even have a hard time reading about babies who lived a short time, then died. I would have given anything to see his eyes open even for a few minutes, anything to hold him in my arms with his spirit still intact.
And as 2008 dragged by, with my desperately wishing for a baby the entire time, and not receiving one, I started to realize that this is just one more part of life that we can't necessarily control. Sometimes babies die, and sometimes babies don't come.
As my mom has said to me several times, "It takes three." Or rather, "Three", since Heavenly Father is the third part of the equation.
I don't understand why He hasn't sent us another baby any more than I understand why He took Benjamin back. I don't understand why Dave and Kara--who could be the poster-children for the ideal parents and who would be so diligent raising a child in the gospel--haven't been able to have a baby. I find great inspiration in Nephi's words: "I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things."
I know He loves me, and so even though I don't understand everything right now, I will continue to trust Him. Someday all will be well. I know it.
And I will continue to write my Gratitude posts. :)