Monday, August 4, 2014

Not Bitter

I'm not bitter over the fact that I'm struggling with infertility. There, I said it. And I feel kind of odd because a lot of the blogs I read on this subject sound so bitter. I can't report on their actual feelings, since, you know, I'm not them, but that is the general vibe I get: one of bitterness and anger.

And truly, I can understand why someone going through this might feel that way. It isn't fair when you are finally in a position where financially and emotionally and physically you are ready to become a mom and it seems like the entire universe and your own body is suddenly against you. It isn't fair or fun when everyone around you is having their second or third baby and you are still waiting for your first. And it hurts when well meaning people who don't understand or know ask you when you are going to start popping them out.

But bitterness destroys.

Truly, I hurt and grieve over my unfulfilled dreams and the miscarriages I have suffered. But I'm not bitter.

I've been bitter before. I've been so bitter I've hated myself and others. I've almost destroyed my life, and bitterness has lead to the destruction of a previous relationship I was in. When I gained some distance from that relationship and realized the state of my own heart, I resolved never to give into the lies of bitterness. Because it takes away all the happiness in my life and causes me to only focus on the one thing that I don't have, when I have so much.

The lies of bitterness tell me: I'm hurting, no sense in trying to even have a good day. Why is everyone smiling when I'm hurting so much? I hate my body, it won't do what I want. I can never be a good wife if I can't give my husband a kid. I can't do anything today because everything is worthless without kids. They have it, so I deserve it as well. If I can't have it, I'll never be happy.

Bitterness sows hate into my heart. With God, there is no room for this kind of hate. You know what, I do hurt. And that's okay. But I still have good days. And people smile because they are happy! I can still be happy too even if I don't ever become pregnant. People deserve their own happiness, they don't need to be a sad just because I am. And their joy is not a slap in my face.

If my body has a medical problem, well, that's no reason to hate it! I love my body and the way I look. I enjoy having sex with my husband and dressing up. I don't need to feel shame or guilt over the fact that I have a medical problem. Sure, I'm sad. I'll probably always mourn. But I don't hate myself. There is still beauty in my body even if it is broken.

And lastly, a life without kids is far from worthless. This is a lie society tells us--that marriage without kids is somehow sub-par. Yes, children are wonderful and amazing gifts from God. But they are not the only gift God gives, nor the greatest. God has given me so many great gifts, and I am so thankful to him. The role of marriage and kids is one that fits many people. But not every person is called to have kids. For some, life has just worked out that way and the kids come easily. But for others this is not the case and that is where grief and bitterness can come in. I don't think grief is a sign of faithlessness, but instead the collision of a good desire with a broken world. Bitterness is just a choice I am choosing not to make.

Yes, God calls us to live obediently in our brokenness, but I know his heart is aching right along with mine. And I will honor him with my desires, unmet or otherwise.

I've learned so much in the wonderful motherhood grief support meetings I've been attending in my town.  It's been a true blessing to see each woman grapple with infertility, miscarriage and child loss and to know that I am not alone. I see strength and determination in these women, along with sadness and mourning. Sometimes this road we ride is a roller coaster of emotions. The things we struggle with are hard. But you know what I don't see? Bitterness and anger.  Oh, I'm sure we've all dealt with it. But it's so amazing when we can all come together in fellowship and grieve together. I hope I can one day be there for them the way they are here for me.

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