I was working in the nursery at church a few weeks ago. There were 5 of us in the room total. Three toddlers and two workers. One of our ushers came down to count how many were in the room and I told him, "There's five of us in here. " He smiled and said, "Well. Five and a half." And I looked again (as if I was going to see half a person?) and said, "No, there's only 5 in here." And he said, "So five and a half?" I laughed and said, "Nope just five." He laughed and as he was walking away I was like, "OH LORD!! He thinks I'm pregnant!!" This is seriously the fourth or fifth time this has happened in the last couple months. There are several pregnant girls in our church right now and even more in my immediate circle of friends, so I can understand why people would think I'm pregnant. But I'm not. Please stop congratulating me you well meaning people!! To be honest, it kind of hurts. Not because I think you're calling me fat, but because I really really wish I was pregnant!
I'm ready for another baby. Since Jonah was 5 months old, I've been secretly hoping and wishing that I would be pregnant. That's over a year now and it still hasn't happened. But it's ok. I'm content. I'm happy. I allowed myself one really extremely selfish day of pity and mourning and then I was done. I won't allow myself to get to that place I was before I got pregnant with Jonah where I envied every girl that got pregnant and thought awful thoughts about them because I deserved it more than they did. I love my little family and would be completely satisfied if it was just the three of us for the rest of our lives. I'm good. So don't think you have to send me messages of encouragement or feel guilty if you're expecting. I just get sad when people think I'm pregnant when I'm not because it's a reminder that I'm not and that I would really like to be.
Zach's rule of thumb is this : You never assume a woman is pregnant unless the baby is crowning and even THEN you tip toe around the subject. That's a little extreme, but really. Pregnancy is a very intimate and emotional thing for women and although some people can sneeze and get pregnant (my mom, my aunts, my cousins, my sisters in law, my best friends, etc.) there are some of us whose bodies work a little bit differently and who may or may not be ready for or not capable of making a baby yet. It can be very painful for a woman who has no children to be asked something like, "when are you guys gonna start having babies!?" It might seem like a casual topic, but for women who have had miscarriages or infertility issues it's the equivalent of saying something like, "So I heard you have terminal cancer. That sucks you're gonna die and stuff...." It's a reminder of the lack of control we have over our lives and that the things we so desperately want are so far out of our reach that somedays it's a miracle we get up in the morning.
Let me just try to explain the heart of a woman who wants a baby but does not have one and is struggling to or does not have the ability to make one :
She walks around with a weight in her heart. A weight that no one (except other women going through the same thing) can understand. Not even her husband, as kind and understanding as he might be, this is a struggle that she mostly bears alone. It's there all the time, every day, no matter what. Even when she's happy, it's there.
Her friends get pregnant and she is genuinely 100% thrilled for them. But she is also genuinely 100% devastated and fights off envious thoughts every day.
She will see her pregnant friends and be have such conflicting feelings about their growing bellies that she might not know how to act around them. Not because she's mad at them for being pregnant but because she hates herself for being jealous of someone she loves so much.
She will try as hard as she can to respond with grace when someone tells her it's time to have a baby, or another baby, but sometimes she might be having a really rough day and make a quick, thoughtless remark. She might even cry right there in front of you. Give her grace. She needs it.
She prays desperately every day for God to give her the one thing her heart most desires and struggles to understand his faithfulness, his goodness and his plans.
It hurts when people ask her if she's pregnant or congratulate her because someone told them she was expecting. It literally causes pain and she will probably cry about it later when she's alone. She doesn't want to hurt feelings or embarrass anyone so she will try her best to be kind and not show how much it's affected her.
Pray for her. Love her. Allow her to experience her pain and don't say things like, "God has plan." or "You can just adopt!" or "You can take my kids anytime you want!" Don't make light of her struggle because it's closer to her heart than anything else in her life and those kind of comments just make it worse, no matter how innocent they may be.
To any women who may be reading this who can identify with anything I've written here, please be encouraged. You're not alone and it's not as hopeless as you may think. I know the pressure to have a baby starts as soon as you get married and just intensifies as your friends and family members start getting pregnant. The one thing I had to grasp when I was struggling the first time around is that it's not a competition. You don't want to have a baby just because everyone else is having a baby. It's not a race. When my friends would get pregnant I would freak out and think, "I have to get pregnant RIGHT. NOW." It's just ridiculous. When you do get pregnant, you really won't care who got pregnant first or if anybody else is pregnant at all. You'll just be so thrilled that you're going to have a baby and then once the baby gets here, you'll start to forget why you were so stressed out in the first place. Relax. Throw away your ovulation calendars and prediction kits. Wait and trust and hope. Give people who have no idea what you're going through grace when they make a comment that stings deep. Enjoy the fact that people close to you are having babies and you can see them anytime you want. (I know it's not the same and not much comfort, but it's something.)
You might be thinking that this is all easy for me to say because I already HAVE a little boy, but rest assured this is NOT easy for me to say. It's actually quite emotional and difficult for me to type. And remember that I've been through every step of the struggle that you're going through, I've come out of it and now I'm back in it. There are so many things I can tell you about my struggle. How I would sometimes run into the woods behind my house after another negative pregnancy test or another Facebook pregnancy announcement and scream and cry. Of how I would be disgusted at myself for the awfulthoughts I had about people I loved who got pregnant before me. About how I judged women in Walmart who had 5 kids and were buying Twinkies and soda with food stamps. I get it. I understand. I was at the lowest of the lowest lows. So trust me when I say you can be content. You can have joy and you have peace knowing that really, it's out of your hands. Don't live your life in desperation and jealousy. It will eat your soul. It will kill your marriage and it will destroy your friendships. Love the life that you have now regardless of whether or not it's exactly what you imagined it would be. Sometimes life works out the way you want it to and something is doesn't. It's sucks. It's lame and it's painful but you have a choice. You can allow yourself to be sucked into self pity and depression or you can be content always. No matter what. And be filled with joy and excitement about your life.
The other night, we were watching a movie and at the end this little boy said, "Bad things happen! I know! But you can still live. You can still live!" I was like, "Preach it, brother!!" It's so true. Your life is not defined by your circumstances. It's defined by who you are and who you choose to be.
So hurting, desperate friends, bad things happen. But you can still live. I promise.