One in Eight

Oct 18, 2021

 It's an honor to share my heart daughter's words with you today.

Whatever pain you may be experiencing, in her vulnerability you will find courage to take one more step, try one more time, tackle one more day. When the tidal wave of loss crashes over you -- again, wracking you on the ocean floor of despair with liquid fear flooding your lungs of hope, dig your fingers into the gritty sands of grace and fight to come to the surface once more. Breathe. Breathe deeply. Breathe hope. Exhale peace.

And remember, when you're enjoying a season of strolling along the shore, far from tumultuous waters, others are convulsing under cruel currents. While life doesn't always allow us the opportunity to pull others free from the tide, we can always send a lifeline of strength with our compassion, kindness, and presence.

When you look into your future it is always the good things you see, never the bad. There are some things in life that you never plan for… I never planned to be celebrating my 30th birthday and still not have any children, but here I am.

When you’re standing in a crowd and you hear someone say “one in every eight women suffer from…” you probably look to your left and look to your right wondering who might be the one they are talking about. I never had to look around, all I had to do was find a mirror.

One in every eight women suffer from infertility… I am one in eight.

I don’t mind answering people’s questions, I never have. I don’t mind accepting advice I never asked for, even though I’ve heard the same things time and time again. I can still stand alongside friends and family members as they celebrate their new bundle of joy and feel happiness for them even when it isn’t easy. I can tell my story and be OK, it’s not a secret. I’m broken and I have never had a problem with people knowing that. But there are a few things I have held close to my heart, unsure if I could trust anyone to understand. But if my journey thus far has taught me anything it is that I am not alone, “one in every eight…” So for all my other “one in eights” who are out there, I speak because I know you hear me.

There are these moments. These moments when I am holding a child in my arms. They’re either the sweet babies I am babysitting or nannying for, but they’ve usually known me long enough to trust me. I’m rocking them to sleep or snuggling with them and I can feel my heart sewing into theirs. During those moments I Iike to pretend they’re mine. I am usually able to keep that charade up until their mom gets home, when that child I sewed my heart to pulls away and reaches for the most important person in THEIR world, and they take those strings I so lovingly created with them. Have you ever felt your heart rip? I have.

I’ve had my baby names picked out for years now. They’re my favorite names. I often wonder if I should use them for pets so they don’t go wasted…

I’m a Christian. My faith is everything to me.

But sometimes I wonder if some of my fellow Christian women understand the sting behind the encouragement they are trying to give. I have lost count of how many times Rachel, Elizabeth and Sarah from the Bible have been mentioned. Or that faith and prayer will always fill my womb in the end.

It very well might, I will never devalue the power of faith and prayer. But God does not always say yes. He just doesn't. And if He needs to say no, what will they think of me? Was my faith too small? If they keep telling me that my faith will give me a miracle, what will they think if I never get one? ...what will I think?

I could probably cover all the walls of my house with all the pregnancy tests I’ve taken for no reason other than hope. They’re negative. Every time. I still keep taking them.

There is a special place in the world for women to grieve who have lost a child. Whether they were inside the womb or out, their child was physically there with them. The world cries for them because what they are going through is unimaginable. I cry with them too. But it makes me wonder…where is my place to grieve my children? I don’t mean to grieve my infertility, but my CHILDREN. You see, my children were never created, they never had any physicality, but they feel very real to me. But if they never existed, the world will never see them as real, and if I grieve them, am I invading someone else’s section of the world? The questions that keep me up at night…

Sometimes I put my hand over my empty womb and see if I can feel anything, if I can sense a spirit through my fingertips. I’m not empty, the eggs are there… are you in there? Can you hear me?

I work hard to not let myself be bitter. But it is not always a success story. Speaking of success stories,

why do people think that telling me about all the ones they know about will help in some way? Is it that knowing someone else succeeded will amp me up to find my own success?

As if I am not already searching the nooks and crannies for a solution? Anyway, bitterness. It likes to rear its ugly head when women complain about being pregnant. I understand pregnancy is hard, but you know what is harder? Not being pregnant at all. …I apologize for my bitterness.

Every twinge, every cramp, every stomach ache, breast pain and period-free month sparks this new hope! Maybe this is it, maybe this one is different, maybe it is finally time…there were times I ate food that I knew would make me feel sick on purpose so I could pretend that the pain was from pregnancy…I’m not proud of that one.

Did you know that it costs about $300 to get an abortion? A private infant adoption is about $30,000 and that is on the low end…I found that interesting. It is easy to say the words “you can just adopt!” when you have no knowledge of the funds it takes to make that happen.

Adoption, apparently, is made for the wealthy…can I ever forgive this world for that?

This is the big one…I feel guilty. I feel like I let my babies down. I wasn’t strong enough to make them, to give them their life. They don’t exist because of me. I know that it isn’t true, I shouldn’t feel that way, I get that. …I don’t think that feeling will ever go away.

I’d like to think that my babies’ spirits still exist out there somewhere, that they know they were wanted, that I would have brought them here with me if I could have…does a Heaven exist for spirits that never had bodies? The questions…maybe they’re too big for me.

Here’s the truth, the biggest truth that I will hold above all else, even in the midst of the hardest thoughts, feelings and actions. God sees me. He hears me. My pain is His pain and I know that He wishes He could just give me what I long for. But, like the very best of daddies, He has to give me what I need instead of what I want. I don’t understand it, I never will…but I will accept it.

God has hurt my heart…I love Him more than anything. I. Love. Him. More. That includes more than a child. Sometimes I forget, but it’s still true.

I am broken, I am so very broken…but I am not gone and no one can tell me that I am not strong.

My womb is empty, my heart is full.

I am one in eight, and that’s OK.