Thursday, February 9, 2012

Like a Child in the Womb

Long time no post. Or more appropriately, long time no time to post.

There are tons of updates, nothing earth-shattering, but stuff nonetheless. But since I post so rarely these days, it would seem, I want to devote this post to one of the blog posts I've had in my head for a couple weeks now. (Do other people do this? I am constantly coming up with ideas for blog posts and trying to remember them for later... I need a smartphone in my brain.)

I was talking to a good friend and fellow boocher* (hehe, such a fun word!) a while ago and the idea arose that infertility's sharpest pain is self-defined. Let me elaborate. For Mrs. A, infertility may hurt daily because she grieves the loss of bringing her husband's children into the world. For Mrs. B, infertility may pierce the heart as she is constantly reminded of the children she lacks, while watching all of the growing families around her. For Mrs. C, the most painful blow might be the fact that no matter how hard she tries, her body will not function as it should, and she cannot achieve her long-desired goal.

I think a certain amount of each of these aspects of infertility affects all women. And perhaps the one that most affects me is one that similarly affects many other Christian women.

For Mrs. TCIE, the most excruciating part of the cross of infertility is the idea that even in heaven, I may not be a mother.

It is an idea that I have discussed with my therapist, friends, and my husband. And despite the great advice and support I've received (reminders that there is no suffering in heaven, that heaven is not deduced to single families, that our desires to be in heaven are not, or should not be, self-seeking)... my human mind constantly goes back to this thought. And it haunts me.

As you've noticed, I have not been around the blogs for quite a while. I would post regularly, almost daily, when infertility was prominent in my life. The support I find here is invaluable, and has helped me over many a hump.

But now that I am not actively trying to conceive (and likewise not actively pursuing adoption or foster care)... I find myself in new territory. There is a separation that I've noticed now, while working with women and couples suffering from infertility. My heart still goes out to them, and I am still able to counsel them from a place of empathy... but... (and this may sound weird, just bear with me)... it's almost like an out-of-body experience. I see myself talking to these women, and hear my words assuring them and instilling hope... all the while feeling peaceful and knowing that even if they never have children, they will be ok. I know I cannot say this to many, if not all, of them, because if someone had told me these words while I was still gung-ho trying-to-conceive, I would have wanted to slap them. It sounds, to those not ready to hear it, like a loss of hope. When really - it's a true gain of hope and peace.

But still, that nagging thought creeps into my heart from time to time. I know it's not from God. I try to pray it away. But it lingers. And it is stirred up particularly when I am hormonal.

Think about women who have miscarried. What is the one source of comfort we can give them, hoping to bring them peace and resolve? "One day, you will be reunited in heaven." Of course we believe that, it's not just something we say.

But where does that leave the women who have never conceived? And those who have never adopted?

And then it dawned on me. Our lives here on earth are so fleeting. We cannot even try to comprehend how heaven "works" because it is beyond the furthest reaches of our imagination.

Much like a child in the womb not understanding anything of the outside world, we have such minimal experience and surroundings on which to base our perception of what heaven must be like.
When I compare myself to that child in the womb, suddenly that nagging feeling begins to subside.

Here I am, dwelling on what I cannot have, what I do not have, and what I want. When, in the blink of an eye, none of it will matter at all. I imagine a child in the womb, trying desperately to reach out and grab her umbilical cord - trying, and failing, over and over again. It's all she wants to do before her time in the womb is through.

Once she is born, will her failures in the womb still bother her? Will her desires as she grows outside the womb still be the same?

Now of course the analogy here is not cut and dry. A grown adult woman desiring children, an inherent good, is not exactly the same as a baby desiring to play with its umbilical cord. But at the heart of the matter is the Truth: we do not know all, we do not understand all. What may be of great importance to us here and now, and becoming a source of great daily suffering, will not be experienced the same way when we reach heaven. There will be no labels of "childless" or "infertile" in heaven. Our fears will be washed away.

To this Truth I cling, especially in those moments when infertility truly stings.

*boocher: One who brews their own kombucha ;) And might I add, I have quite the knack for it, and I LOVE it! Never been more regular in my life. You're welcome for sharing.

21 comments:

Being Refined said...

great post. My mind can not yet quite grasp that if we never have children life will be OK... we will survive. But the idea is encouraging, even if in an abstract way. I think I will have to re-read this post.

Blessings and prayer to you. You are very inspiring. I still pray you will be blessed with a true miracle someday.

Praying for you my friend.

Julie said...

You are a saint! Such wisdom you have been graced with. Thanks for sharing and helping me bring my thoughts back to heaven, which is what is really important anyway.

God Alone Suffices said...

This is so, so beautiful. Thank you for writing this. I'll be thinking about it all day.

allyouwhohope said...

I had that same fear - that I wouldn't be a mother in Heaven. I cried many tears over it. And then when starting the adoption process, I feared that I'd love a child his/her whole life, and then not have them in Heaven either, because I wasn't their biological mother. I still tear up thinking that I was afraid of that! It's so emotional. But I came to the same conclusion you have - that we just can't wrap our minds around Heaven. We are trying to put Heaven in an earthly box and that just doesn't work. So I guess we just need to chalk it up to one of those mysteries. But I do KNOW in my heart that God will not let you weep in Heaven for not being a mother. Not possible. You will spend eternity rejoicing.

Little JoAnn said...

Woooooohhhh...

Rebecca said...

This is amazing. Your faith and ability to reflect on it are so beautiful.

Yes, you will be rejoicing in heaven, of that I am sure.

Chasing said...

w.o.w.

Beth said...

Since you've written about being a godmother and an aunt, and knowing the relationship I have with my own godparents and aunts, I have no doubt you will have some very special relationships in heaven :)

Nicole said...

I am not Catholic. I am a member of a different faith. We believe that those who do not marry here on earth (either because they die young, or just don't have the opportunity) will have the chance to marry in Heaven. We will also have the opportunity to bear children in Heaven. God is the Father of our Spirits. He (and our Heavenly Mother) had concourses of children in Heaven. We were sent here to experience life on Earth. This life is simply a testing period, a time to prove ourselves. And it is only a blink of time compared to the eternities we will spend in Heaven, with our Families, continuing to progress. Not having children in this life is just that, only for this life. If we live worthy, there is no blessing that be withheld from us. Children who die will be resurrected as adults and given the opportunity to marry and have children. People with mental and physical disabilities will be made whole and given the opportunity to marry and have children. People who live their whole life without a spouse or children will be given those blessings in Heaven. Even individuals who suffer will same-sex attractions will have that trial lifted and will enjoy marriage and families in the eternities. These things are just our crosses to bear in this life. They do not define us in Heaven. God is a loving and just Father.

E said...

so so so so so beautiful, A. This time of surrendering is very wonderful for you. God's Grace is abundant. Yes, I agree we should always have our eyes on Heaven and be comforted knowing that if we get there, our suffering will end.

the misfit said...

This raises an excellent point. I become angry - enraged - now, at people who tell me that "in God's time" I'll conceive, or "you're still so young," or "it will happen, I just know it." No, they don't, and it won't. And suggesting that THAT is the best thing they can say implies that there CAN BE NO GOOD in my life if I don't get pregnant. That's a fair thing to resent, IMHO, because it's an evil thought - one I've certainly entertained myself.

Of course, there was a time when I'd have been offended by someone saying, "You know, not everyone is called to be a mother," "God's plans for you might not include children," or "even without motherhood, you'll have a beautiful life." I hadn't AT ALL prepared myself to entertain the possibility of a childless future. I claimed I had - but I hadn't.

The tricky bit is, people I've just met (and some I know well, who manage never to discuss this subject with me) don't know which side of this divide I'm on. And while I know I'm on side #2, I don't necessarily know where OTHER people are. (I try to guage how long they've been ttc and figure it out that way, which is fairly reliable, but you can still be wrong.) So part of actually giving hope to others in this area is listening hard first. And I do try to come up with things that (I think) will be universally well-received - "I know God has wonderful plans for your life." That addresses the unwanted waiting they've already done, the further waiting they may do, and the "never" they may not even have contemplated. And it has the benefit of being true.

As to the being reunited in heaven - you're right, this particular form of suffering is somewhat unique to you; it doesn't really enter my head, anyway. But just as a mother who never even saw the child she miscarried can anticipate a reunion in heaven, so could a biological mother who made the most loving decision she could for her child, and offered him for adoption. Ditto an aunt or grandmother who really filled the role of a mother. What about St. Therese and the death row inmate for whose conversion she prayed? My thinking is that all the relationships we understand on earth will be different in heaven - not because the near ones will be further, but the far ones nearer. "In heaven they neither marry nor are given in marriage" because on earth, our frailty doesn't allow us to have a conjugal type of closeness to more than one other person and pull it off; in heaven, we'll all be "one flesh." Every child you loved and every mother's child (even if born before you) for whom you prayed will be close to you; and everyone you never met or heard of will be united to you by your common love for Jesus.

I have no idea whether that helps, of course - because, as I said, that particular concern isn't one of mine. (I have my own issues...)

Sorry I always write a novella on your blog :/.

Ania said...

As always very insightful, TCIE. I have no idea what the future holds for me. It may be motherhood, it may not (although right now I shudder at that thought). Your post gives me hope if motherhood isn't in the cards for me. Even though I can't imagine life without being a mother, I know it will still be good and I'll still be ok. Thank you, thank you for sharing.

Sew said...

Did you just call me a boocher? In public??? Gasp!

Boochers unite! LOL

Seriously, you must be drinking mucho booch with wisdom like this.... :)

Hebrews 11:1 said...

WOW...that is an incredible analogy. I have never thought of it that way, but it is really very, very true! You are one of the most amazing people I "know."

silverbeetle said...

"There will be no labels of "childless" or "infertile" in heaven." Wow. WOW. Now... to get to heaven....

Anonymous said...

I am childless. I figure by the time I get to Heaven, I won't care that I am childless because I will be in Heaven. Looking forward to seeing my mother, grandparents and a few other beloved people when I get there.

Lena

Patiently Waiting...... said...

You are one inspirational lady, TCIE. I read this post twice today. I often think of the happiness of heaven (not in a depressed way...so don't worry about that) but in a way that brings me such comfort. Our minds cannot fathom the happiness of heaven and for that I am forever grateful. Infertility is just a bump in the road when we look at the big picture. Thank you for giving me the strength to think about all of this some more. I discovered your blog many, many months ago and I am so glad I did. God Bless, TCIE.

Be Not Afraid said...

This was a really great post. Thanks.

JellyBelly said...

What an amazing post! You blow me away!

Lavished with Lemons said...

Thank you for this. Lately, I've found myself treading lightly in new territory -- accepting that maybe God's plan doesn't include children. It's a painful place to be, but I definitely appreciate your out of body/"it's going to be ok" experience. I am definitely not at peace with the thought of a life without children on earth, but posts like these remind me that I'll get there, eventually. Also, knowing I'll be reunited with a child in heaven is comforting (sometimes...at least in my "good" moments) but it's also painful to think that may have been my only pregnancy experience. God willing, I have a lot of time left on earth, and it will be a heavy cross to carry. Although you may not have a baby waiting for you I heaven right now, I'm certain your nurturing demeanor will not go to waste once you are there.

All in His Perfect Timing said...

Such a deep post! I pray Heaven is more mind-blowing than we can imagine! As always, thinking of and praying for you.