Monday, February 25, 2013

Infertility Labor

Between Ash Wednesday and the First Sunday of Lent, I remember praying and telling God that I felt like I wasn't offering enough. The sufferings that are ongoing in our lives, and even the unexpected sufferings, were all quite easy to handle, and I just didn't feel very connected.

And, as if in response to that prayer, Lent just kicked it up a notch.

After a super exhausting and longer-than-anticipated shift at work on Friday, I got pulled over and given a ticket on the way home, then had to rush to get dinner together before Stations (with an additional dose of guilt and reeming from the in-laws for not attending a 9th birthday dinner party for my niece), followed by waking up Saturday at 5:00am to drive 2 hours both ways to an all-day workshop, catching up on phone calls and emails on Sunday and receiving the birth announcement of married-same-time-as-me ex-best friend's 4th baby (yes, fourth... and there are more than 18 months between all of her kids, so this isn't a "pregnancy every year" situation, I've just been infertile that long), I then proceed to wake up this morning to start the work week, shower, go downstairs, all the while bemoaning how exhausted I feel and how dark it is outside (must be raining??)... and while preparing breakfast, notice the oven clock says 1:30am. Yes. I woke up at 1:00am, after falling asleep around 11:00pm, and SHOWERED.

At least now I have some better opportunities for offering it up, right? ;)



I also had a Moment last week. A Moment when the pain of childlessness choked me, catching me by surprise. Hormonally-charged, perhaps, but mostly a throwback to "Infertility Year 2." It was bad. It was ugly. It was everything we know that infertility can be, at its worst. And it offered no hope or beauty or grace.



And while I didn't expect to meet it, the Moment was manageable because I've gone through them before. While the pain was suffocating, I remembered not to fight against it and gasp for air, but rather to go through it and breathe long and slow.

These are the lessons you learn as a veteran. I may not be a pro at working through the pain of labor and delivery, but I think in much the same way, I am seasoned at managing the pain of childlessness, even when it appears unannounced like a premature rupture of heartstrings - the strings of love that are grown and cultivated with hope, and rupture unexpectedly in a moment of lost hope.

The analogy is a labor of its own - a labor of love are both. The blessings and graces obtained at the end are tangible in one, intangible in the other, and yet equally powerful and real. It is in recognizing this that we are better able to heal after the pain of an Infertility Labor; we are better able to open our hearts to conceiving those strings of love in our heart once again. And perhaps, with time, carry that fruit in our hearts longer and longer with each conception.

I don't know when next I will go into Infertility Labor. But one thing I do know... I'll be ready.

18 comments:

the misfit said...

I think you're the only person I know who prays for Lent to be WORSE. God bless you.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry. Hugs!

barbie said...

yes!!! you learn to breathe through it and ride it out. so very true! I see so much of myself in you....watching you go through it.

Beth said...

oh gosh. I so remember these feelings!

Leila@LittleCatholicBubble said...

I'm just throwing the biggest hugs through the screen. One day, all will be revealed. One day, this crazy unfairness will make sense.

matchingmoonheads said...

what a good analogy. for so many reasons but the main one i'm thinking of right now is that although we can learn all sorts of techniques and strategies to get through both infertility and labor, no matter how many times you've been through it before, it always breaks you and hurts like hell. and anyone who tells you differently is just being prideful. (maybe with the exception of the person that just got the epidural at the second contractions started....but we won't count her because that makes the analogy fall apart :) ).

Blessed and Broken said...

"I remembered not to fight against it and gasp for air, but rather to go through it and breathe long and slow." So so so perfect! I am figuring this out with therapy but don't think I would have got this on my own.

Katie said...

bahahaha... I've totally done the wake up and shower in the middle of the night thing.
.ahem.
Thanks for the reflection. I guess, I'm glad your Lent is becoming more challenging? ;) In any case, thanks for the reminder of the graces we're receiving through *this* pain, even though we can't through the pain of childbirth...

Hope with Endo said...

This is so beautifully written, and I so identify with the need to breath long and slow through the pain (both of IF and mental illness in my case). Many blessings to you on your lenten journey!

Hebrews 11:1 said...

You know, I'm normally a fairly eloquent person (English degrees will do that to you), but every post you write is SO beautiful, SO poignant and so incredible that my comments are only stupefied, subpar repetitive comments about how you blow me away every time. But if you want a more eloquent comment out of me, stop blowing me away every time. :) I am hardly ever rendered speechless, yet your posts do it almost every time.

I am a better person for having known you. And I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels that way. Thank you for being the amazing person that you are. You continue to inspire me every day.

And feel free to continue sending hilarious, Walken-inspired texts anytime you want. :)

polkadot said...

You prayed for suffering? I think that's one of those dangerous prayers, like praying for patience. ;) (I admit though I've done it before, but I won't do it again.)

Couldn't you have just given up another thing (or five) for Lent so you had more to offer up? :)

JellyBelly said...

Is it a coincidence that we had equally horrible days together?

Continued prayers for you, my buddy in suffering! ;)

Sew said...

I'm LOL @ misfit! Cracking up over here!

When you got up at 1am you should have started cleaning your house. :)

I'm sorry it smacked you in the face. :( But you asked for it. Booch!

Stephanie Z said...

I love the idea of "Infertility Labor," such a great analogy.

Grace martin said...

i prayed for suffering long ago because i felt so dang unrelatable and too high up on my horse when i offered advice since i had suffered so little in life and.....i had a misscarriage and my son was born so early i was told to take him off life support because he would have so many problems.

he's healthy as a horse now but still. i learned my lesson about praying for suffering haha.

xoxo, ill be praying for you to have that baby!

Megan Eccles said...

Praying for you lady, that God might bless you as you need to be blessed and give you the strength to be a light in the darkness.

Shannon Camp said...

I too have had those moments ... I hate the feeling of not being able to catch my breath , the sting in my chest but recently as I stood frozen in pain, I realized Jesus moved! He felt , most likely worse, and he walked! Up hill! This small connection to His suffering helped ease the pain , just a little, and gave me a moment of clarity to see that my suffering is united with His, even if it just a speck. You are in my prayers , Happy Lent!!

Shannon Camp said...

I too have had those moments ... I hate the feeling of not being able to catch my breath , the sting in my chest but recently as I stood frozen in pain, I realized Jesus moved! He felt , most likely worse, and he walked! Up hill! This small connection to His suffering helped ease the pain , just a little, and gave me a moment of clarity to see that my suffering is united with His, even if it just a speck. You are in my prayers , Happy Lent!!