Have you ever wanted something? Like really wanted something? Maybe a car, or a new house?
For me, it was a baby. It has always been a baby. When I was growing up, we had a Career Night in our children's program at church. Some kids dressed as teachers or police officers. I went dressed as a Mom. To me, a Mom was the best “career” anyone could have. My Dad worked for his sister, and my Mom was “paid” to stay home with us. To me, that counts as a career.
When I got married, my husband and I decided we wanted to wait to have kids for the first year. After that year, we got very excited because we just knew we would get pregnant right away. After the first month, and being a few days late, I cried harder than I ever had before when Aunt Flo showed up. That same month, a newly wed couple announced they were expecting. I was so happy for them, but I was hurting so much inside… a pain the others around me couldn't understand. But, we thought, “Oh, well, next month is a new month.” We were told, “It takes a few months for your body to adjust after birth control.”
I love to work with children, and especially babies. But, because of our struggle to conceive, I struggled to work with children for several years. After about three years of not working in a nursery, I was asked to volunteer in the church nursery. I was so excited to hold a baby and play with the kids. Within minutes of taking in the first baby, someone walked by and, full of good intentions, said, “Are you practicing?” I wanted to crawl in a hole and hide. Other things were said as well, but most were along the same lines.
My first Mother's Day after we got married was no big deal. I was still on birth control, so I totally accepted that I wouldn't be pregnant. The next year, our church gave out flowers to all the mothers. I wasn't a mother, so I didn't expect a flower, but someone decided I needed to be told I wasn't a mother. I cried the rest of the day over a comment that didn't need to be made. The next year, someone sought me out to give me a flower – I still have it. And again, I cried the rest of the day.
Each year is different. Some years, I hide to avoid dealing with my situation. Other years I cry in front of everyone. This year, I had to leave church because I couldn't control my tears.
After several years had passed and still no baby, I began an internal struggle. I trust God has a plan, but I don't know what that plan is. People give me advice, but nothing changes. God is the only One that can change my situation.
I was a nanny for about 14 months. It was by far the best job I have ever had! But this experience taught both of us that we would not be able to foster. We have seriously considered adopting, but we would not be able to give a child back after caring for it and loving it as our own. I also will not nanny again. It has been an almost daily struggle to deal with this unusual loss. However, I would nanny for Baby Boy again in a heartbeat!!
Before I go on, I want to clarify a few things. My pain does not equal anger or bitterness. I may struggle to keep back my tears, but I am not angry at God or other women who can have children. Each time a friend or acquaintance announces a pregnancy, I do get excited for them, but also hurt on the inside. I had to block all the week-by-week pregnancy apps on Facebook because so many friends were expecting. In order to remain happy for them, I had to remove the constant reminder.
Also, my husband and I did not have insurance until just a few months ago, and did not have the finances to be tested. We do not know at this point why we cannot have children, or if we simply don't have children. I did have a medical procedure done a few months before our wedding, and the doctor said there was a 10% chance that I would not have children. Sometimes, that 10% looks really big!
Through my struggle to conceive, I have learned to trust God more. My husband can hold me and hurt with me, but he can't change it any more than I can. Only God can.
I began a study of barren women in the Bible. You may think of Sarah, Rachel, and Elisabeth, but there are so many more: Rebekah, Ruth, Samson's mother, and the Shunammite woman. God blessed each of these women with children that went on to do great things. There are many promises throughout the Bible specifically for the “barren woman.” God gave promises to the Israelites about their new land and His blessings on it (Exodus 23:26; Deuteronomy 7:14). I love what Hannah said after she gave birth to Samuel, “They that were full have hired out themselves for bread; and they that were hungry ceased: so that the barren hath born seven; and she that hath many children is waxed feeble” (I Samuel 2:5). God also gave promises to barren women in general. Psalm 113:9 says, “He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the LORD.”
I know that if it is God's will, I will someday have a child of my own. If it is not His will, then He has a better plan for me. I do believe God will give me children in His time, but I will trust Him and love Him even if I don't have children.