I am not pregnant. Never have been. And it looks like I might never be. We have tried for a long time. Several months ago, we starting going to doctors’ appointments to see if there were any hiccups. There were. And those are proving to be definitive.
In the meantime, everyone I know is pregnant. Okay. Not everyone, but it seems that my world is really good at procreating. It is just the stage of life I am in. And with every person I love who gets to exclaim, “I’m pregnant!” I have two thoughts that seem to flow simultaneously. The first is a pang of envy, strong desire, and sadness in my gut that is wordless and more of a grunt. The second is sincere joy that someone I love has something good happening in her life. Yes, I want that goodness, but it doesn’t mean I can’t be sincerely delighted for them.
If you are reading this and need to tell me you are pregnant, don’t worry. I don’t crumble. I will be absolutely delighted for you. I may want to help plan your shower. I like parties.
On most days this struggle is a quite little part of life. Other days it is bigger. When our minister, Eddie, at church looked at me and said, “I know you want a baby,” I just leaned into him and cried. I don’t know how he knew it. I have gone on a few runs with friends, and as we talk about it, the grief makes it hard for me to breath. The other day I went on a run alone and a Matt Maher’s, Lord I Need You, came on my shuffle. I just cried. I do need God to walk me through this, in a way I have never needed God.
Our story is as unique as any other. We started trying after lots of discussion about whether we wanted kids. I do. I think I was created to be a mom. I know I would be good at it. I dream of it. I have wavered on the perfect timing of it all but I have always wanted to be a mother.
Scott would be an incredible father. I think he was made for it. It is one of my dreams to watch him become one. I can picture him working on his bike in our yard with little people at his feet.
We talked about family when we were preparing to get married. We would have two kids, we said. But when it came down to beginning to try, he was petrified (me too!). Turns out he isn’t sure he wants them. We still tried, and went to some counseling, because seemingly, one of us would lose—I win and we have a kid; He wins and we don’t. I didn’t like that and so we got some coaching on how to navigate. We still tried for kids. During that counseling, our counselor told us we were on different pages. But ultimately we decided we would try for a time and if it didn’t happen in time, then we would just stop. So then we asked ourselves what it meant to try. And that led us to the doctors’ offices to “get checked out.” Which gave us some answers that we don’t like. So we tried. Is that it? I don’t know. I don’t want it to be it. But it might just be. There are still a few unanswered questions in the science department that through God’s grace may make it possible. I pray for that and am trying to be patient with those answers. I am not in control of the answers or the timing of the answers.
I went through a time when I did not buy clothes, thinking that any month now I would need to start buying maternity clothes. It seems fun to me. But after awhile I stopped. It made me crazy. And now I probably buy more clothes than ever, as a little reward for being okay about not being pregnant. I am weird.
There are a lot of different ways to become parents. Fostering. Adopting in the US. Adopting outside the US. Engaging science. Sperm donors. IUI. IVF. Scott and I have an agreement that we would try for a time and then be done and we don’t yet know how far “trying” will take us. But it leads to lots of discussions about what life is like without kids.
I find myself wanting to ask my 7-year-old niece, Jane, if she will take care of me when I am old. I haven’t actually asked because what is the commitment of a seven year old anyway? She would just look at me like I am nuts. Plus, I am certain her tender heart will be soft towards her pathetic old aunt and she will—in fact—take care of me. I shouldn’t worry her now.
Scott is certain he will die in his 60s, so that leaves a lot of life left for me. By the way, I think differently. My plan is for him to live a lot longer. But beyond the “need kids so that someone will take care of us when we are old” argument, there is the feeling that we are being left behind. We don’t eat out with our friends with kids very often, likely because they think we don’t want to hang out with their kids. That is rarely the case. And our friends with kids are making friends with their kids’ friends. We don’t have that avenue and it gets a little lonely. I think more in my head than in reality, because we have dear friends…but it is the same as when all my friends started getting married. You just feel a little left behind.
God seems to be revealing to me a lot of sweet people who have simply chosen not to have kids. This has been helpful to see how life could be…it looks happy.
I tend to have the idea that if I don’t have kids I am selfish. Which could be true. But it could also free me up for more giving. I am trying to think about what that looks like for us. We can travel more and spend money how we want. We won’t have to save for a college fund. But how can we really give of ourselves the way we would give to children without them? Host a college group at our house? Be a room mom to a kindergarten class in a less fortunate part of town? Actually save a college fund and then give it to a kid in need? Babysit regularly for a couple that needs to go out? Host people more often? Take our nieces and nephews on trips?
We borrow children, and enjoy doing that, but I am keenly aware of the connection between children and parents—I belong to that relationship with my own parents. I go to them with troubles. I crave their advice. I need their approval. I thrive on their praise and confidence in me. I am so confident that Scott and I could be good at developing little people with that sweet connection. I want it.
But more than anything, I want what God wants for me. I just don’t know what that is yet. And I want my heart to be knit to my husband’s so that we work towards the desires of our heart in a path that overlaps entirely. God is working on us. As hard as this time is, it may just be God’s way of revealing an entirely different plan for us. I have honestly never loved my Scott more. I appreciate his honestly, and his tenderness towards me. I do not want to suck the life out of us, at the expense of wanting children so bad that there is nothing left for us. I want us more than I have to have kids. And Scott is making strides that surprise me and humble me. I know it is because of my prayer—and that of dear friends—for our hearts to be knit together. I see God’s provision in that.
I have no answers, but I know God has them and will reveal them in time. Lately, we wonder whether there are some children near by that were meant for us. Scott asked if we could just go to an orphanage and pick some out. I know it isn’t like that, but I do wonder who is out there that may need us. I don’t even know how to go about that. Scott’s order is for some who are beyond diapers. Mine is for kids that have not been hurt so bad that they can’t trust us to love them. How do I find them?