I hate confrontation… I hate conflict. And I have been trying to work at becoming more assertive and confident in loving and compassionate ways. I have come to realize that I do not always assert myself in situations where I should because I am nervous about hurting other peoples’ feelings in the process of asserting my own. (Side note: I love reading, so if you have any books that you think I would like, tell me!)
It is not news that conceiving is hard for me and my husband. So far, our infertility is unexplained (we have had a few tests to be able to rule out some things, but nothing has become clear about why it has been difficult for us to conceive). In the three years we waited to have a child (before A.J.), it was difficult for me to overhear complaints about other peoples’ pregnancies or children. In my own longing for children, I became bitter overhearing others complain about things like tiredness or morning sickness; when I suffered from both while pregnant with A.J., I had a greater appreciation for expecting mothers needing to share their experiences with others, both positive and difficult. (I wrote a little about this here). As I long for another child, I try to remind myself of this as I feel the creeping of bitterness overcome me again. I have been working to find ways to be joyful in others’ growing families while also preserving myself and mental well-being. One of these ways was to remove myself from some social media platforms where I found I was becoming discouraged when I came across peoples’ complaints of weight gain, tiredness, sickness, or something else that they were entirely allowed to feel, but in the process triggered me into a spiral of sadness and self pity.
This past weekend, we were watching the Olympics with my parents. With the exception of A.J., everyone in the room suffers from their own personal physical affliction(s) – bad knees, hips,shoulders and backs all around. Watching a gymnastics event, we all watched in awe, exclaiming that it pained us just to watch these women run, fling themselves over a vault, twirl through the air, and land (or not land…). Watching others in their physical prime reminded us of our own incapacities. We were in awe of these athletes and their talents, skills and abilities while also very aware of our own shortcomings.
I feel similar when I hear and see pregnancy announcements. Especially being fortunate to already be a mom myself and knowing the happiness A.J. brings to our entire family, I feel joy for someone else when they announce that their family is growing. But lately I have heard and read many exclaim excitedly that getting pregnant happened on their first try, or very easily, or perhaps was a joyful “surprise”. I can’t help but admit that hearing of other peoples’ fertility only makes me so much more aware of my own broken body and infertility.
I have written before about finding strength through my faith and through the Bible. On Pinterest, I came across a printable which really resonated with feelings I have been having about my body and how it is failing me in our desire to have another baby. I have been reflecting on all that I experienced while waiting for A.J. – experiences and jobs I wouldn’t have had if we had gotten pregnant right away. And I take comfort in knowing that God has stuff in store for me as I await another child. I have taken the verse and created a cover picture for Facebook for anyone else who would like to use it.
In reflecting on how I assert myself and communicate, I have realized (read: am realizing this only as I am writing this post) that I have hesitated to share too much of my own longing for another child, the difficulties of infertility, and my feelings about it all. I think that I resist being too vulnerable in fear of making others feel uncomfortable. (Even as I write this post, I second guess actually publishing it). But this is my journey, my reality. I’ve shared before that I enjoy writing to process my feelings. As many of my friends and family who have read my (very) sporadic postings can attest, I cannot promise to write faithfully. But I was invited this month to be a guest poster on The Twelve for the four Sundays of August, and I have come to appreciate the discipline of making myself sit down, reflect and write as a practice. So perhaps I will try to be more disciplined at writing here. And maybe this will be a place where others who are feeling vulnerable about their journeys can feel less lonely.