Monday, August 19, 2013

The Ability to Reproduce

Recently I've been reading a lot about pregnancy. Many of my online friends are getting ready to welcome their little ones into the world, and their blogs are full of hopes and dreams and tips on how to stay thin and loose postpartum weight while juggling their dimpled newborn. And I'm happy for them. So happy it hurts sometimes, because I'm a little jealous too.

You see, I really want to have a baby. I've wanted Brian's baby ever since I spied him across the coffee shop, where we met for the first time. Odd feeling. I thought, because until that moment I'd never wanted babies. Even in previous relationships, I really wasn't interested in procreating. Ever. 

But after marriage, I felt for the first time financially and emotionally ready to start a family. I couldn't wait for those two little lines!
Our Wedding Day

I thought it was easy. Get married. Have unprotected sex. Boom. Baby. At least, that's what they always tell you in high school. It just takes one time, girl, one time.

It doesn't help that every woman in my family has achieved pregnancy with a drop of the hat. I've been thinking about dropping hats for months and still, nothing.

I'll be honest, I used to look at people who were dealing with infertility or complications with pregnancy with mild sadness and a large helping of relief. Oh-I'm-so glad-that-will-never-happen-to-me. But, it is happening. Because it has almost been a year, and I'm not pregnant yet.

The past 8 months or so, I've struggled with questions like

Why do I feel so ashamed?  
Is there something wrong with me?
Why isn't this working?
Maybe this month I'll be pregnant?

I even have the names picked out. For a girl, Larkin Elizabeth. For a boy, Sage Alan.

To make it even more complicated, last night I saw this on Pinterest: “You haven’t really lived until you’ve tucked your kids in.” What? I thought, to myself, Maybe I'll never know what that joy feels like.

It’s hard to ignore the fact that there’s a whole segment of the online population categorized as “mommy bloggers," and not feel like I'm missing out on something. And, as a young married women, it's beyond annoying when people ask me when I'm going to have kids. What do I say? We are trying, but nothing is happening? We want kids? Maybe later? Mind your own business?

To be honest, I'm a bit angry over all these expectations and feelings. Because not every family has to have children in order to be complete. Contrary to that pin, you can live a full and abundant life without ever tucking anything into a bed. On the other hand, I need to realize that everyone with a kid is not pointing the proverbial finger at me. It's just a fact of life that some people can have kids and some people can not. No one is judging anyone, and nor should we.

If you are struggling with infertility, I have some things to say to you. First of all, its not the end of the world. When I started researching infertility, I found a ton of blogs where women talk about themselves as if the entire world is over because they cannot grow a child in their uterus. They say things like "I've failed as a women," and "My life will never be complete." Yes, I understand that when you want to have a baby, the inability to produce one is sad. But it is not the end of the world. You shouldn't feel bad or ashamed about something you have no control over. You are still a complete person. While their might be something biologically wrong with you, there is nothing wrong with YOU.

The fact that you can't have kids should NEVER stop you from living life to your fullest! Do you hear me? Go out and dream other dreams! Live other lives! Don't obsesses that you might never have a biological child. IT'S OKAY! Really. And don't let this tear apart the relationship between you and your husband.

One of the things I've learned is to never make sex completely and totally about having a baby. Sure, its okay to plan and its okay to have sex in order to have a baby--what I'm saying is, don't lose the romance. Don't lose the spontaneity, the fun, the passion! The most annoying thing I think I can hear is "well, I guess we should have sex, since you might be ovulating"--or, "I hope this time I/you can get pregnant", or (after another month of Aunt Flo) "all that sex was for nothing!" Sex with the love of your life is never for nothing, and it should never be just a tool used for having a baby. Don't bring expectations into your sex life--keep that intimacy free of worry and fear so that you still have a place to totally open and at peace with each other.

we so silly!
I realize that a year of infertility and a few miscarriages are nothing compared to many other heartbreaking stories I've heard. I have not been to the doctor yet about my struggle, but I do plan on going. I want to try to have a family, and I'm determined to rejoice, no matter what the outcome. So what, I can't have kids? I will focus on the fact that I am still alive, breathing, creating and knitting and living.

Sometimes I think that perhaps I am destined for a different fortune--a different kind of life then the normal "have 2.5 kids work, retire, and die". I am determined to be excited no matter what happens. Having kids isn't the only way to live. This life, these dreams I have--this is my adventure, and I won't squander it just because I happen to have a few unfulfilled expectations along the way. Instead, I will change my focus, blaze a new field, and keep learning, dreaming, and trying to be who God made me to be. Because, as a christian women, I'm going to trust God completely with my life, kids or no kids.

I'm not going to spend my years thinking I've failed. I'm going to live with no regrets. Will you?

To read all my posts about infertility, click here! 


Deanna Fike said...

this was wonderful. i have a handful of online friends who are struggling with infertility right now. some have been trying for years, and my heart really goes out to them. not because i think they "aren't living until they have kids," but because i know they really want children.

ignore those pinterest boards. you are definitely living right now, with or without kids.

considering i accidentally got pregnant with gage before peppy and i even celebrated our first anniversary, i would say to focus on the time with just you and brian. i wish we would have had a little bit more 'us' time.

also, i love the new blog layout. :)

Rachel G said...

I believe that children are a huge blessing...but I also don't believe that you haven't lived if you don't get to experience having your own. You're right! I can imagine that would be scary not even knowing if it's possible or not. And people will always say and ask weird things. People ask why we don't have kids after being married nearly 3 years...and if we did have kids, they would probably be asking why we would want children at such a young age! They'll always find some reason to question your situation and motives.

Lindsay-Marie Yates said...

Great post! I am not married at this point in life, so my feelings are similiar: "What if I get married too late to have children?" etc, etc...

I'm glad you have a healthy outlook. And I'm glad that being a mother is not where you find your worth :)

Can't wait to see you soon, friend.

Anja MacGillivray said...

My parents tried for years to have a child and my mom was one of those women who felt bad because of her "failed uterus" :-( And it was comments like that pin that made her feel even worse! It took years but she overcame the "UN-completeness" people told her about! It was then that I was adopted (orphan from Bosnia lol) Families are different and they don't "need" to have kids to be real - everyone is different! If you are meant to have a baby then God will provide it in his own way - pregnant or not you need to be happy with "you" first
Don't let others dictate your happiness or tell you what you need to be complete :-)

Jane Eyre said...

Such an honest post! I love you, and I'm always here for you!! :) You've always been so supportive of me, and I can't say how appreciative I am of that. Thinking of praying for you, dear friend!

Kaitlyn Wifey said...

a) I love your new blog design!!! The background is beautiful!

b) I am so proud of you for sharing this. I know we have talked about this through email, but God really does have perfect timing and a plan. The part you said about keeping sex fun - I am telling you, this is SO important. When we were going on 6 months of trying, I'm not going to lie, we said a lot of the "well I guess we should have sex because your ovulating" lines. And that's the month we decided to stop trying. Because I felt like trying was taking the romance and fun out of everything...and then we took a cabin getaway and I planned Club Sexy...and bam, I ended up pregnant. That is very cliche, but for me, when I stopped trying I got pregnant. I think I stressed myself out by focusing on all the negatives you mentioned above.

Love you!

Carolynn said...

Thanks so much for your comment! Wow, your mom is really brave. Regardless if I can have my own kids or no, I really want to adopt and/or foster children. Tell your mom she is amazing :) And hugs! I am learning slowly that it doesn't matter. This post chronicles my journey! I am learning more and more to trust in God.

Carolynn said...

thank you for the comment :) I love my design too! And I totally agree with you. Its hard to keep things balanced sometimes :) Right now I am trusting God and just enjoying married life. Hugs!

Amanda said...

I am one of the women who is still not a mom. I have been struggling with this for a couple years now. It is really hard and can get you down a lot. I keep trying to focus on living and figuring out what we want in life and for me right now babysitting is fulfilling my itch of being a mom. I can only hope that God will fulfill the right path for me and others!

Steph said...

Thank you for this honest and heart felt article. I too have tried to have a baby now for 11 years. I am also pursuing this stay at wife role now, because honestly since we were married 15 years ago, I wanted to stay home and take care of my family. I have professional degrees and worked professionally for most of our marriage, BUT somehow I was not fulfilled, that longing in my heart to take care of my family never ended.

Carolynn said...

Ooh I really want to adopt! There is different requirements (in my state you have to have been married 3 years) and we are totally excited about adopting! I wish it was not so expensive! thank you for your comment :)