My Facebook newsfeed is full of baby excitement. Pregnancy announcements. Baby bump updates. Pictures of newborns and birth announcements. In the last couple of weeks alone, I’ve been overjoyed to see online updates of pregnancy announcements and births from close friends and online friends – including an embryo adoption and implantation, an adoption, and a rainbow baby (I am so privileged to know so many people whose families are grown in such special ways!). Admittedly, it makes my ovaries ache with a major case of baby fever!
As I was smiling at the most recent birth announcement on my newsfeed yesterday, I was reminded of how differently I used to react a couple of years ago. Joy and happiness for the parents, while also struggling with feelings of sadness, envy and (admittedly) anger as we struggled to grow our family. I would be lying if I said that even now I don’t feel twinges of envy with every pregnancy and birth announcement; Mark and I would love our children to be close in age, but right now I’m trying to focus on work and school. But I can recognize that these twinges of envy are radically different than those with which I struggled while trying to conceive.
I’m glad I was reminded yesterday of the complex feelings of joy mixed with grief that I used to face. If it’s been so evident to me recently the abundance of baby announcements, how stark must it be for someone who is struggling with some sort of loss?
One person’s birth announcements may be another person’s reminder of painful miscarriages or infant loss.
One person’s adoption announcement may come at the crux of another person’s difficult decision of going down a similar road to expand their family because of struggles with infertility. (Don’t get me wrong, the decision to want to adopt is exciting! But there’s loss in it as well.)
One person’s pregnancy announcement may be another person’s reminder that they have been faced with yet another period of waiting or loss (unsuccessful IVF, failed adoption match/placement, unwanted menstrual cycle, etc).
Please don’t get me wrong – celebrate your joys in life! Share your pregnancy with the world – it is so incredibly exciting! Share that newborn photo – I just want to pinch their chubby cheeks! This post isn’t meant to burden the joyful; it’s to remember those who are struggling with loss. It is easy to share joy! It is often more difficult to be transparent in our grief and struggles. I am blessed to read the stories of some bloggers who have shared the trials they’ve faced in growing their families. But I also know there are many who are much more private in their struggles. You are not forgotten! I think that is important for you to hear. I have not forgotten the feelings of longing, and I want you to know that in the midst of joy and new beginnings, you are cherished and remembered.
(This photo is also part of Rethink Church’s Lent Photo-a-Day project that I’m participating in. Every day in Lent there is a word for which you post a picture in response. Today, the first day of Lent, the word is “announce.” I was already writing this blog post on joyful announcements when I saw that it was today’s Lenten word!)