When I think about this topic I think about embracing who we are deep down. Underneath it all. I can’t help but think back to how this topic so affected me recently.
Almost exactly two years ago today, my husband and I were sitting in a sterile doctor’s office. My world came crashing in as we sat across from the doctor who proceeded to tell me that I would never be a mother.
Ever since I can remember, I have always had a strong desire to one day become a mother. I have much ambition for the other areas of my life, but in the back of my mind I was always preparing for my future calling as a mother.
It felt at this time that everyone and their dogs were pregnant. I even heard on the news of a man getting pregnant!! (back to the topic though). I couldn’t go to the mall during the day because the sight of so many mothers pushing their precious babies in strollers made me so sad. Going to church, in a church that so heavily talks about families, was a very difficult thing. So many conversations revolved around motherhood, pregnancy and how tiring raising children can be.
All the while, dealing with this crushed dream I had in my head of me one day being able to have what appeared everyone else around me was having.
I longed for conversation that involved ideas, topics, politics, hobbies, jobs…anything but motherhood!
In the depths of my sorrow I felt I couldn’t go forward with my life with the thought that I would never be a mother. This is what I was born to do and I definitely couldn’t picture a future without this possibility in it. I was forced to ask myself the question
“Who am I and what worth am I in this life?”
As I began to ponder this question in my heart, I began to realize that infertility wasn’t me. It was something my body was experiencing. And I love my body. Hips and all. ;)
Who I am is something far beyond my biology. The term “Child of God” took on a whole new depth. It was no longer just a primary song that had very little meaning. To me, it began to mean everything.
I am my Father’s daughter. He made me. For this alone I am someone special. My spirit has so much to offer. Yet if I focused on what I didn’t have in the flesh and compared myself to what appeared to me everyone else had - I was going to be a very sad person. And, most likely I wouldn’t discover or become the person my Father is molding me into.
Something changed in me when I began to fully embrace this. Instead of shrinking away from the “mother” conversations, I started to participate. Only, I would share my experience of not being able to bear children. I started sharing my story more and more and walking with as much dignity and grace as I could muster. The more I would share, the stronger I would feel.
Amongst my growing strength was my willingness to show my vulnerability. I just never wanted to pretend. And to this day if I’m having a bad day, I go ahead and have a bad day! If I treated my infertility as a great secret that would mean there was shame involved. And I didn’t feel shameful. I am a daughter of God after all. Where is the shame in that? The last thing I wanted from anyone was pity. And the only way for me to feel strong was to act it.
I also started to become more aware of others’ struggles around me. Whenever my burden started to feel bigger than me, without fail I would be driving in my car and see someone in a wheelchair on the side of the road who didn’t have legs. Or, I would hear about a woman helping her child through a drug addiction. This life was more than just what was happening to me. So many others were facing mountains in their life too. Mountains I wouldn’t trade mine for! But mountains that were very real and just as important. I began to feel grateful. I began to cling to the strength I got from reading the scriptures. And the undeniable peace I felt through prayer.
A great strength began to build within me as I did this. I wasn’t going to let my infertility define me. I was going to embrace it. I felt with all my heart the love that I know God has for every single one of us. I don’t have to be perfect to receive it either. Christ’s atonement applied to me and on a whole other level. I felt His comforting hand. And many times I felt my burden being completely lifted. That was a reason for His atonement and I could literally feel Him bearing my burden. Until this moment I hadn’t realized that I mattered so much. What love filled my soul.
There are times that my infertility hits me like a ton of bricks. And it usually comes so unexpectedly. But it does come and go and I expect that it will be something that I am always going to deal with. The one thing I have learned through all of this is who I truly am. And, I am a work in progress! But, beneath it all, I am my Father’s daughter. I love Him and I am so grateful for my life, imperfect body and all.
Last night I held both of my one-year-old babies in my arms. For a good five minutes they just lay there cuddling with me. How truly blessed I feel to be called “mother” to my two special children. Tears filled my eyes as I thought back to where I was two years ago, or even a year ago. I closed my eyes. Said a prayer. I thanked God for my babies. And, I thanked God for my infertility.